Maverick Citizen

Civil Society Watch, 27 – 31 July

Civil Society Watch, 27 – 31 July
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 12: People with face masks seen at a South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) building in Cape Town South Africa, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. The South African goverment announced that a R350 grant to help unemployed people not receiving any form of subsidy or grant during the Covid-19 pandemic would be paid from May to October. It will be open to South Africans, refugees and permanent residents already in the Department of Home Affairs' system and those residing within the borders of South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images/Nardus Engelbrecht)

This week sees organisations discussing gender-based violence, universal basic income grants, and the plausibility of virtual lectures for undergraduate students. From a virtual book launch to a workshop on growing your own food, the week ahead seems to have something for everyone.

Every week, Maverick Citizen surveys the civil society environment. We scour the web, reach out across WhatsApp groups, and read emails from those who kindly inform us of your activities. We want to show the effort, imagination, and the level of humanity that goes into working towards a just world.

As Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood once wrote: “We want to show how, because civil society lives on the front lines of poverty and inequality, it’s forced to innovate and organise, for public good rather than private profit.”

This could not be truer, especially in these hard and uncertain times where everyone is experiencing their own difficulties, yet somehow, people manage to come together and organise solidarity with those who need it the most.

Noteworthy mentions for the week ahead

NKOMAZI, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 12: People working in the fields of the Sizabantu Youth Project in Naas Village on June 12, 2014 in Nkomazi, South Africa. A group of young people in Mpumalanga are running a farming project which they believe is a step up from poverty and unemployment into financial independence. Sizabantu Youth Project was started in 2011 with the help of the government’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. These young people grow their own vegetables which they sell to street vendors, supermarkets such as Boxer Stores and cooperatives hired by government for the school nutrition programme. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo)

On Wednesday, 29 July, the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign, together with COPAC and the Tshwane Leadership Foundation, is holding the second of a four-week virtual workshop on moving towards a food sovereignty future for South Africa.

This week a practical and theory workshop will be taught by permaculturalist John Nzira. You will learn about what to plant, when and where, based on nutrition. You can join the workshop live on Facebook at 3pm.

The pandemic has caused major economic and financial distress for businesses, workers and consumers across South African. Millions have lost their jobs or faced salary cuts and uncertainty around job security will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

According to Statistics South Africa, Quarterly Labour Force Survey released on 23 June 2020, the unemployment rate in South Africa increased to 30.1% in the first quarter of 2020.

On Thursday, 30 July, the Mail & Guardian has partnered with Old Mutual and Power 98.7 to bring you an engaging dialogue on the outlook of the economy, politics, and labour.

Experts will unpack the effects of the pandemic, project the outlook from an economic, political, and labour perspective, and provide practical tips on how to deal with the financial impact of job losses and salary cuts.

Panellists include Zingiswa Losi (president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions), Dr Somadoda Fikeni (political analyst and advisor, University of South Africa), Johann Els (chief economist, Old Mutual), John Manyike (head of financial education, Old Mutual), Sakina Kamwendo (radio presenter and co-anchor for SABC 2 News). Register here.

Friday, 31 July brings you the third in our series of Solidarity Webinars, organised jointly by Maverick Citizen, Lawyers for Human Rights, Liliesleaf Farm, and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation looking at issues of migration in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.

This week’s seminar is titled: Redefining work – the informal economy, survival, and eradication of poverty. For further information or to join the webinar contact [email protected].

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 02: A general view of artisan and trade worker sitting along the roadside waiting on work on July 02, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to leading economist reports, its reported that South Africa could potentially be heading towards a depression given the additional impact of the Covid-19 pandamic and given the economy was in recession prior to the start of the pandemic. (Phot: Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

Finally, on Saturday, 1 August trade unions, social justice organisations and affiliates of the C-19 People’s Coalition are planning a Working-Class Day of Action, with demonstrations across the country. In Gauteng the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) and Simunye Workers Forum are calling on workers and communities to go to the CWAO office in Germiston, where busses will drive to the Gauteng Legislature for a demonstration. Further details will be released during this week and will be available here.

The rest of the week

On Monday, 27 July, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is hosting the third part of their Unleashing the new global university series. If you missed the previous two webinars, watch them here, or read about part one here and part two here.

This week, the focus shifts from academics to undergraduate students and the viability of virtual tertiary education; the theme is undergraduate student mobility: are virtual experiences a realistic substitute?

Join Professor Sue Harrison (deputy vice-chancellor for research and internationalisation, UCT) will be moderating a dialogue between Ben Nelson (founder and CEO, Minerva Project), Andrew Gordon (founder and CEO, Diversity Abroad), Athenkosi Nzala (master’s student in education, UCT), and Mokgadi Marishane (master’s student in psychology, UCT).

At 2pm, the Joint Gender Fund in partnership with the South African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) will be hosting part two of its provincial level dialogues with women at grassroots levels to share their views and reflect on their experiences on alcohol related intimate partner violence (IPV). Part one looked at the Northern Cape and the Western cape; watch it here.

This week, attention will turn to Gauteng, the North West, the Free State, and Limpopo. The webinar will be streamed live on Facebook.

On Wednesday, 29 July, Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) is hosting a virtual discussion on gender-based violence.

Join Nomomde Nkosi (Pan Africanist and human rights defender), Nondumiso Nsibande (director, Action Aid), Fatima Shabodien (strategy director Raith Foundation), and Tshepo Madlingozi (associate professor and director of Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand) as they discuss power, hierarchy, and toxic ways of being.

On the same day, join Daily Maverick for a free book launch webinar, titled Dirty tobacco: spies, lies, and mega-profits. In a tell-all exposé, SARS Insider Telita Snyckers talks to Scorpio investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk about how reputable tobacco companies have been complicit in cigarette smuggling and her experience uncovering the illegal cigarette trade while writing her latest book, Dirty Tobacco.

At 1pm, join the Mail & Guardian and Debt Rescue for a virtual discussion on: Debt management amid Covid-19 and beyond.

Marcelle Gordon (eNCA anchor) and debt management experts Neil Roets (founder and CEO, Debt Rescue, Annaline van der Poel (chief operating officer, Debt Rescue), and Pascal Sinclair (chief relations officer, Debt Rescue) will converse on topics such as debt relief options, the pros and cons of debt consolidation, and payment holidays.

At 4pm, the Society, Work, and Politics Institute (SWOP) is inviting you to the second part of the Crashed Conversations series with Professor Adam Tooze, author of “Crashed: how a decade of financial crises change the world”. You can watch a recording of the first webinar here.

The series is co-hosted with Wiser (the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), History Workshop and the University of Johannesburg.

Join Tooze as he discusses the Political economy of the Anthropocene – Climate v. Covid-19. He has also put together a short piece, timeline and a set of readings that you can find here.

On Thursday, 30 July, the AIDS and Rights Alliance for southern Africa (ARASA), in collaboration with CoAct, will be hosting their third webinar in a series of four on harm reduction and drug policy in the Southern and East African region for community activists, people who use drugs, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

The webinar, titled Opioid substitution therapy, will be facilitated by Mat Southwell from CoAct and the panel will include Dr Abdulnoor from Kenya and Nathalie Rose, an expert on drug policy in the African region. Register for the webinar here.

Do not forget that at 2pm, the Call to Action Collective will be hosting their fourth virtual workshop in a twelve-week series on the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSP-GBVF). The workshops are held every Thursday until 23 September. You can subscribe to receive weekly updates on the webinars, including presentations and speaker bios.

This week, speakers (to be announced) will discuss the six pillars of the NSP-GBVF. The event will be streamed live on Facebook and Twitter.  Missed the previous webinars? Fret not, you can catch them here.

Since the start of lockdown (level five), the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign has demanded a universal basic income grant (UBIG).  At 4.30pm, the Co-operative and Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC) will be webcasting a talk by Guy Standing, an economist honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), a non-governmental organisation that promotes a basic income for all.

Standing was also the first person to propose such an income grant for South Africa when he was commissioned to do work for the Mandela government on South Africa’s labour market. Register for the webcast here.

Pilato (Photo: Thom Pierce)

On Friday, 31 July, you can join Zambian hip-hop artist and activist Pilato as he starts a series of conversations looking at inequality in Zambia. He will be hosting people from different sectors of society, locally and internationally, to understand what inequality is and how it affects the general complexion of our communities. The discussion will be brought to you live on Facebook and on Pilato welcomes anyone to share their experiences of inequality. DM/MC

South Africa is full of activists whose voices and campaigns need to be heard, and we want to report on all of them. So, wherever you live, if you have virtual events or meetings which you think other activists ought to know about, write to us at [email protected]

Also, please sign up for our weekly newsletter here.


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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