CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 23-27 MAY
This week: Climate justice protests, Africa Day and a talk on corruption in municipalities
The Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education is hosting a talk on the rise of Operation Dudula; climate justice activists are gathering across Africa to demand that the African Development Bank commit to a just transition to 100% renewable energy; and Plaas is hosting a webinar on changing customary land tenure regimes and implications for women’s land rights.
Monday, 23 May is International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. Obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without access to timely, high-quality medical services, according to the United Nations (UN) website.
The condition causes incontinence and often leads to chronic medical issues, depression and self-isolation.
“This problem is preventable with the correct medical assistance and its occurrence is a violation of human rights and a reminder of gross inequities,” according to the UN.
“We must put an end to the obstetric fistula as a critical step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realising the promise of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. Both plans are oriented to fight for women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive health.”
On Monday at 10am, RISE Africa 2022 will host the first in a series of sessions exploring how urban change agents should hold the tension between deliberative, thoughtful processes and the need for swift action.
The series will open each morning of the RISE Africa Action Festival 2022 from 23 to 25 May. This annual event is intended to inspire impactful actions for “enhanced sustainability and resilience in Africa’s urban areas”, according to the RISE Africa website.
The theme of the first session is “Creativity/Re-embedding imagination into the everyday”. The two follow-up sessions will be held at 10am on Tuesday and Wednesday, themed “Agency/Realising Human Rights in African Cities” and “Urgency/Acting Now for Better Futures”, respectively.
On Tuesday, 24 May at 5.30pm, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education is hosting an event called “Operation Dudula: What now?”
A panel, including Faisal Garba of the University of Cape Town and Roshila Nair, convener of Global South Against Xenophobia, will discuss xenophobia in South Africa.
“The launch of Operation Dudula on the 16 June last year has brought back violent attacks on migrants, led to displacements of residents and looting of migrant-owned shops,” according to the event description.
“While our democratic dispensation is not new to xenophobic mobilisations and attacks, the persistence of poverty, unemployment and criminality has created conditions for groups like Operation Dudula.”
The event will take place at Bertha House, 67 Main Road, Mowbray, Cape Town. To attend in person, RSVP to [email protected] by Monday, 23 May.
The event will be live-streamed on Tshisimani’s social media platforms.
Wednesday is Africa Day.
The annual commemoration of Africa Day marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The OAU was the predecessor of the African Union.
Africa Day is intended to celebrate the successes of the OAU in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, while acknowledging the progress Africa has made, according to the South African government’s information page on the event. It is also a time to reflect on the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.
On Wednesday, 25 May at 9am, Fraycollege of Communications will commemorate Africa Day by hosting a webinar on “New ways to tell Africa’s Stories”. It will explore measures of content creation that involve documentation, virtual reality, TikTok and podcasting, according to the event description.
The webinar aims to encourage new ways of thinking and brainstorming to create messaging for various audiences, outside of what is done in traditional media.
Speakers include Charity Ekezie, journalist and influencer; Martha van der Wolf, podcast producer for The New Humanitarian; Michelle Angawa, film editor, climate justice activist and XR curator; and Zoey Black, filmmaker and human rights activist.
On Wednesday at 10am, climate justice activists will gather outside the African Development Bank Group at 339 Witch-Hazel Avenue, Centurion, Johannesburg to demand that the African Development Bank (AfDB) commit to a just transition to 100% renewable energy in Africa.
The gathering will coincide with similar events across the continent, including in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Togo and Ghana.
“Activists are using this moment to demand that AfDB commits to Africa’s transition to 100% renewable energy by excluding all fossil fuel financing from their investment portfolios and shifting investments towards socially owned and gender-inclusive climate finance,” says the event description.
“A just transition to renewable energy is increasingly critical as climate change and its impacts become more and more threatening to societies and people living in Africa.”
For more information about the demonstration in South Africa, contact Dean Bhebhe at [email protected] or 060 327 8042.
On Wednesday at 2.15pm, the first in a series of discussions forming part of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Ibrahim Governance Forum will take place. The forum is running from 25 to 27 May.
“Exactly six months ahead of the COP27 summit hosted by Egypt and immediately following the COP15 summit hosted by Côte d’Ivoire, the Ibrahim Forum will help inform and articulate Africa’s position in the global debate around climate change,” according to the event description.
This year’s forum will explore the unique challenges and opportunities that the climate crisis presents in Africa.
The first session is titled “Africa’s vicious cycle: low resilience worsens, and is worsened by, climate change”. The discussion will focus on the specific impact of climate change in Africa, while exploring the extent to which current climate solutions are adequately addressing Africa’s specific context.
The next session, on Thursday at 2pm, is titled “The elephant in the room: what is an acceptable trade-off between development and climate goals?” The final session, at 2pm on Friday, will explore how “Africa’s assets are key for a global sustainable future”.
On Wednesday at 11am, Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia will picket outside the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) at JD House, 27 Stiemens Street, Braamfontein.
It has been more than 10 years since the release of the SAHRC 2009 report on the 2008 xenophobic violence in South Africa, and four years since the 2018 SAHRC hearings on xenophobia. Despite this, recommendations from these processes have not been enforced, according to the event description.
The picket will call on the SAHRC to publish its findings and recommendations from these processes so that xenophobia in South African can be dealt with in a humane way.
The picket will be followed by a film screening and reggae music at The Forge, starting at 1pm.
On Wednesday at 6pm, Wits University Press will host a book launch for Bones and Bodies: How South African Scientists Studied Race by Alan Morris, professor emeritus in the Department of Human Biology at the University of Cape Town.
The event will involve a discussion between Morris and Professor Maryna Steyn, biological anthropologist and former head of the School of Anatomical Sciences at Wits University.
“Alan G Morris takes us back over the past century of anthropological discovery in South Africa and uncovers the stories of individual scientists and researchers who played a significant role in shaping perceptions of how peoples of southern Africa, both ancient and modern, came to be viewed and categorised both in the public imagination and the scientific literature,” says the event description.
The launch will take place at Love Books in the Bamboo Centre at 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg. To attend, RSVP to [email protected] by Tuesday, 24 May.
On Wednesday, two new works by Mike van Graan will premiere at the Theatre on the Square in Sandton, Johannesburg. They are The New Abnormal, a “scathingly humorous commentary” about South Africa’s real and metaphorical pandemics, and Country Duty, which highlights the many trials of the country’s whistle-blowers.
The one-person shows will run as a double-header from 25 May to 11 June.
Twenty-three-year-old AFDA graduate Nhlanhla Shabangu will perform in The New Abnormal, directed by well-known television actor Khutjo Green. Green will perform in Country Duty, directed by stage veteran Fiona Ramsay.
On Thursday, 26 May at 10.30am, the Dullah Omar Institute in partnership with the Hanns Seidel Foundation will host a webinar on the prosecution of corruption in municipalities, with contributions from Advocate Barry Madolo of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The NPA must prosecute corruption at all levels of government, according to the event description. While much of its focus has been on the capture of national government and state-owned enterprises, there has also been widespread corruption at municipal level.
“In a recent opinion-editorial, Advocate Barry Madolo, director of public prosecutions in the Eastern Cape, has described some successes enjoyed by the NPA in prosecuting corruption in municipalities in the Eastern Cape,” reads the event description.
“There is highly specific legislation relating to municipalities, and to municipal finances, such as the Municipal Finance Management Act, with which prosecutors must be familiar in order to successfully prosecute offences relating to municipal finances.”
The facilitator of the discussion is Dr Jean Redpath of Africa Criminal Justice Reform. Speakers include Madolo and Professor Jaap de Visser of Multi-Level Government.
On Thursday at 1pm, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) will host a webinar on “Changing customary land tenure regimes and implications for women’s land rights”. It will begin with a documentary about women’s land rights in Mozambique and Zambia, All we have comes from the land.
“After screening of the documentary, a panel of researchers and practitioners will share their views on women’s customary land rights and the implication of its formalisation on tenure security and livelihoods,” according to the event description.
The speakers are Maria-Waltraud Rabitsch, Austrian Development Agency adviser on poverty reduction, rural development and decentralisation; Dr Fatima Mandhu, head of the Department of Private Law at the University of Zambia; and Clemente Ntauazi, programme manager at Livaningo, Mozambique. The discussion will be chaired by Chilombo Musa from Plaas at the University of the Western Cape.
On Thursday at 2pm, the Free State Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State will host a webinar on “Impoverishment, inequality and human rights: A conversation with Sandra Liebenberg”.
There have recently been calls for a constitutional challenge to the South African government’s failure so far to introduce a comprehensive social assistance response, such as a universal basic income grant, to South Africa’s crisis of impoverishment, according to the event description.
These calls raise interesting questions about the role of human rights and constitutional law in the context of social and fiscal policy, as well as whether the state can be held constitutionally responsible for poverty.
The webinar will explore these questions with Liebenberg, HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Stellenbosch and extraordinary professor at the Free State Centre for Human Rights, and Professor Danie Brand, director of the Free State Centre for Human Rights.
Those wishing to attend the webinar should RSVP to Mawanda Mokoena at [email protected] by 25 May.
On Thursday at 5.30pm, Jacana Media and The Commune will host a book launch for Crossroads: I live where I like by Koni Benson. The book is illustrated by South African political cartoonists André and Nathan Trantraal, together with Ashley Marais.
The venue is The Commune, 14 Reserve Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to [email protected], with “Crossroads Launch” in the subject line.
On Thursday at 7pm, Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane will be hosting a #TalkwithTlhogi Twitter Space on “Vaccine Mandates: Reflections on the ethics and constitutionality of mandatory vaccines mandates”.
Speakers include Rufaro Samanga, epidemiologist and writer; Sibusiso Dube, a partner at Bowmans; and Kneo Mokgopa of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
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