Maverick Citizen

Civil society watch 7-12 September

Civil society watch 7-12 September
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - Monday 30 March 2020: A child wearing a face mask that was donated by Mr Henri Ludski, a local printer, at a shopping centre in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, after the South African government declared a 21 day COVID-19 lockdown as part of the State of National Disaster declaration by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Health Ministry has asked residents to observe the regulations, practise hygiene, stay at home and practise social distancing. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

Although the lockdown is gradually being eased, and while South Africa is now on a downward trend (for the moment) when it comes to new Covid-19 infection and deaths, we are still feeling the drastic socio-economic consequences of increased hunger and gender-based violence. Judging by this week’s compilation of events, civil society, too, remains locked into webinars and online events to explore these issues. 

Last week was the first anniversary of the launch of Maverick Citizen. Together with sister news platforms like Spotlight, GroundUp and New Frame, we aim to bring you news and views about activism and social justice campaigning that the media often overlooks.

So, on Wednesday 9 September at 16:00, join Maverick Citizen’s Zukiswa Pikoli in conversation with Dale McKinley and Julie Reid on the launch of their new book Tell Our Story: Multiplying Voices in the News Media. The event will also feature a discussion with Nonhle Mbuthuma, a community activist and leader of the Amadiba Crisis Committee in the Eastern Cape, one of the communities whose story is told in the book.

The week ahead

The UNITE Global Summit kicks off on Monday 7 September with the theme, “Securing political leadership to end infectious diseases. The two-day conference brings together international experts in policy, global health and epidemic preparedness, including the World Health Organisation’s director general Tedros Ghebreyesus, UNAIDS’ executive director Winnie Byanyima, and director-general of the International Vaccine Institute Jerome Kim.

The summit aims to commit, inspire, and empower policy makers towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals over the next decade, while building a roadmap of clear policy actions to eliminate the threat posed by communicable diseases. You can view the full programme and register here.

This week also sees the start of the annual Distributed Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference (D-DebtCon 2020). This year, a group of leading academic and policy institutions, including the Geneva Graduate Institute and Queen Mary University (London). DebtCon brings together law and social science scholars, civil society representatives, and experts from the public and private sectors who work on sovereign debt, to help find creative solutions for urgent problems.

The 2020 conference series, which will take place from 7-18 September, is an urgent response to the ongoing global public health crisis that magnifies persistent sovereign debt problems and poses new crises of unprecedented scale and scope.

This week, the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) invites you to join the opening session of D-DebtCon 2020, titled Addressing the African debt conundrum. The keynote address will be given by South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago. 

Also, on Monday 7 September, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is hosting the final part of their “Unleashing the new global university” series. If you missed the previous three webinars, watch them here, or read about part one here, part two here and part three here. This week promises to be a culmination of all the discussions so far, challenging conventional thinking around whether the unprecedented global lockdown has, in fact, disrupted higher education for the better. Register here.

The African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics, an annual training programme that brings together academics, policymakers, and civil society representatives to investigate economic development options, is hosting two webinars this week covering the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

The first webinar takes place on Monday at 14:30 and will explore social policy responses to Covid-19, with lessons from southern Africa, India and elsewhere. Register here.

On Tuesday 8 September, the second webinar will focus on exploring the effects of the pandemic on inequality, to ensure that the reconstruction strategy helps overcome economic and social divisions as well as accelerating economic growth. Join here.

Even if the coronavirus seems to spare most children from severe illness, what about the mental, social trauma and the long-term psychological effects on young children and teenagers?

To explore these issues, the Mail & Guardian teams up with experts from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and the SA Paediatric Association at 12:00 for a webinar on the impact of Covid-19 on childhood and adolescence. Register here.

On Wednesday 9 September, Municipal Money, an initiative of the National Treasury which “aims to make municipal finance data widely available in order to increase transparency, strengthen civic oversight and promote accountability”, brings you a webinar on “Strengthening accountability and performance monitoring” in municipal budgets. You can expect to learn about the local government fiscal framework and the role citizens play in terms of oversight within local government, and why understanding and monitoring budgets and contracts at a municipal level is important. Register here.

At 12:00, join Maverick Sports editor Craig Ray ​​​​​​​in conversation with South African Cricketers’ Association CEO Andrew Breetzke and governance specialist Judith February as they unpack the challenges facing Cricket South Africa and ask if the organisation, in its current structure, is capable of running the sport.

Student hunger is a pervasive problem which has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has brought with it unprecedented challenges of unemployment, food price hikes, lack of social protection and limited accessibility to food – exacerbating the food insecurity of students as a vulnerable group.

On Thursday 10 September, the Socio-Economic Rights Project at the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape, invites you to the first of a two-part webinar series on “Student Hunger and Covid-19”. Register here.

At 14:00, the Call to Action Collective is hosting their 10th virtual workshop in a 12-week series on the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSP-GBVF). The workshops are held every Thursday until 23 September.

This week, join Bongiwe Ndondo from the Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa and Phelisa Nkomo (South African Women in Dialogue) as they discuss the funding mechanisms available for developing a gender-based violence fund.

You can register here. Alternatively, the event will be streamed live on Facebook and Twitter

Missed the previous webinars? Catch them here. You can also subscribe to receive weekly updates on the webinars, including presentations and speaker bios.

Finally, if you are missing your weekly Park Run, or just want to link pleasure with giving back to your community on Saturday 12 September you should join SECTION27 who are organizing a “Virtual Run for Social Justice”. Proceeds from the run will go towards the organisation’s campaigns to address inequality and their fight for the right to basic education and healthcare. Grab your tickets here. 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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