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Carnival of Resistance opposes the Hostile Environment

Hosted by a group of local organisers, the Carnival of Resistance aims to spread awareness about the Justice for Simba campaign and NHS migrant charges this weekend.

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Simba Mujakachi and his partner Melissa.

Michael Duggelby

On Saturday 18 September, a group of organisations are holding a ‘Carnival of Resistance’ to the Hostile Environment for migrants in the NHS, which will also involve a march to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to deliver a petition about the case of Simba Mujakachi.

The Justice for Simba campaign was set up in 2019 to outline both his own individual case, where he was presented with a bill for £93,000 for the life-saving treatment he had been given, but also the overarching effects that the government's Hostile Environment policies have on our healthcare system. It’s also part of a much wider movement to bring an end to migrant charging in the NHS, particularly the Patients Not Passports campaign.

Simba’s family moved to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2004. In 2009, his father Victor had to apply for asylum after his criticism of Robert Mugabe’s government led to a warrant being issued for his arrest. When Simba turned 18, he applied for asylum himself, but his claim was refused.

Because of this refusal, he was unable to access NHS services without paying upfront – services that may have prevented him from suffering from a stroke, as he was known to have a blood-clotting condition.

Simba’s petition calls for his medical bill to be written off, the Home Office to grant him refugee status, and an end to all NHS migrant charging. The petition has already been signed by over 69,000 people and will be taken to the Royal Hallamshire as part of the planned action.

The Justice for Simba campaign also outlines additional demands. They want the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to meet with Simba and campaigners to discuss his care and their practices, cancel Simba’s medical debt, and base all healthcare decisions on Simba’s medical and human rights.

Campaigners want Sheffield City Council to provide suitable accommodation for Simba and ensure that any care or service that he receives is high quality and suitable to his needs.

Lastly, the Justice for Simba campaign is also asking the Home Office to give Simba his refugee status, provide compensation for the damages and injustices Simba has suffered due to the Hostile Environment, and for the government to scrap all Hostile Environment policies and legislation.

Aliya Yule, Access to Healthcare Migrant Organiser at Migrants Organise, told Now Then:

Simba's campaign is about more than scrapping the charges for his own treatment - it's a fight for the heart and soul of the NHS, for migrant justice, and for truly universal public services.

What happened to Simba, and what is happening to thousands of others across the country, shows why we must accept nothing less than an end to the entirety of the racist Hostile Environment. When we say migrants should not be charged, we are saying that nobody should be charged and that the government cannot use migrants as a scapegoat for their desire to privatise the NHS.

The fate of both these causes is inseparable, which is why everybody should support Simba's campaign and join the carnival of resistance in Sheffield on 18 September.

Stuart Crosthwaite, from South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG), added:

Nobody should be deterred from seeking vital healthcare because they can't pay for it or because they're worried their personal data will be shared without consent. Our protest on Saturday is for Justice for Simba, but also to defend the principle of universal healthcare which is central to the NHS.

The Carnival of Resistance will be a protest that centres joy and solidarity through music, dancing and speeches - all whilst showing resistance to the Hostile Environment.

The action will be hosted at Devonshire Green at 2pm on Saturday 18 September. For more information, visit the Facebook event here or email

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