CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 13 – 17 JUNE
This week: Youth parade to the Union Buildings, launch of the South African Child Gauge and talk on socialism
Young people from a range of civil society organisations will be marching to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Youth Day; the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education is hosting a series of events marking 50 years since the publication of Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’; and Daily Maverick is holding a webinar on mental health and South Africa’s youth.
Monday 13 June is International Albinism Awareness Day. The theme for 2022 is “United in making our voice heard”.
This theme was chosen as including the voices of persons with albinism is essential to ensuring equality, according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the event. It is important to amplify the visibility of persons with albinism in all areas of life.
“People with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide. Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically,” according to the UN.
“The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalisation and social exclusion. This leads to various forms of stigma and discrimination.”
Between Monday 13 June and Thursday 16 June, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education, in collaboration with the Walter Rodney People’s Revolutionary Library, is hosting a series of events marking 50 years since the publication of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.
The series of events is titled, “Walter Rodney and anti-imperialist politics today”. The first event on 13 June falls on the day of Rodney’s assassination, while the last on 16 June falls on Youth Day.
The first event, taking place on Monday at 6pm, will be a film screening of The Past is not our Future and Disturbance ‘68, followed by a question-and-answer session with historian and film director Matthew Smith.
For more information, contact 021 685 3516 or [email protected].
Tuesday 14 June is World Blood Donor Day. For 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on people around the world to give blood as a “gesture of solidarity.
“Safe blood and blood products and their transfusion are a critical aspect of care and public health. They are key in treating people suffering from a range of diseases and as a result of accidents, natural disasters and armed conflict,” according to the WHO information page.
While the need for blood is universal, access is limited, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
“Becoming a regular voluntary blood donor is a simple but selfless step that everyone can take to strengthen their communities, support local health systems and save lives.”
On Tuesday, 14 June 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 Tuesday at 1pm, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and partners are launching an animation titled African Food Systems During Covid.
The six-minute animation will be followed by a short panel discussion and question-and-answer session.
“Plaas conducted a one-year action-oriented research project entitled ‘The Impacts of Covid-19 Responses on the Political Economy of African Food Systems’ to gather data on the impacts of Covid-19 regulatory and support interventions on the functioning and structure of food systems in Tanzania, Ghana, and South Africa,” according to the event description.
“These countries represent diverse food systems and Covid-19 responses and provide for comparison and a breadth of lessons.”
The animation is a visual representation of this research, produced by Plaas researchers Professor Moenieba Isaacs and Professor Ruth Hall.
Register for the launch here.
On Tuesday at 3pm, Both ENDS and the Land Portal Foundation are hosting a webinar on “Empowering civil society and communities through open land data”.
The talk will focus on the opportunities and constraints for civil society organisations and local communities in advocating for more open land data and using it for improved land governance.
“Open data can enable [civil society organisations] to advocate for better outcomes for public services related to land administration and governance, while promoting transparency, accountability, public debate, and anti-corruption,” according to the event description. “But there are legitimate concerns around privacy, trust, and first-movers to consider and overcome.”
The webinar will take place in English, French, Spanish and Bahasa.
On Tuesday at 6pm, the second event in the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education’s series, “Walter Rodney and anti-imperialist politics today”, will take place.
A seminar on the “character of imperialism that shaped Rodney’s world” will be delivered by Dr Natasha Shivji, director of the Institute of Research in Intellectual Histories of Africa, Tanzania.
Also at 6pm, Daily Maverick is hosting a webinar titled “Silent Torment: The Mental Health of South Africa’s Youth”. The discussion is intended to answer the questions of children and young people around mental health.
Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood will be speaking with Professor Petrus de Vries, academic head of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Cape Town, and Talitha Counter, RX Radio reporter.
Wednesday 15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The theme for 2022 is “Combatting Elder Abuse”.
The number of persons aged 60 years and over has been projected to grow by 38% between 2019 and 2030, from 1 billion to 1.4 billion, according to the UN information page on the observance.
“Elder abuse is a problem that exists in both developing and developed countries yet is typically underreported globally,” stated the UN.
“Although the extent of elder mistreatment is unknown, its social and moral significance is obvious. As such, it demands a global multifaceted response, one which focuses on protecting the rights of older persons.”
Wednesday 15 June is the deadline for applications for a capacity-building workshop geared towards African transexual activists. The workshop will be hosted by the International Trans Fund (ITF), with the support of the European Union.
“The workshop aims to provide capacity-building support to trans and gender-diverse persons from around the African continent in order to give them the necessary knowledge to better lead changes in our societies,” according to the event description.
The workshop will be hosted by Iranti in South Africa in August 2022. Those wishing to apply can find the criteria and application forms here.
Once the form has been filled out, it should be sent to [email protected] with a recommendation letter. The subject line of the email should include the language the applicant used and the country they are from. Example: (Name_CBWorkshop_Arabic_Egypt).
On Wednesday at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is hosting a Facebook Live discussion titled “Webinar Wednesday Youth and Mental Health Think Tank”. The roundtable discussion is a celebration of Youth Day.
Among the speakers are Chris Kemp, clinical psychologist; Vuyiswa Matsau, Sadag peer support group facilitator; and Chantelle Booysen, global mental health advocate.
On Wednesday at 2.30pm, the South African Child Gauge 2021/2022 will be launched at the New Lecture Theatre, University Avenue, University of Cape Town. This is a blended event, with both an online and face-to-face programme.
“This sixteenth issue of the South African Child Gauge focuses attention on child and adolescent mental health and how early adversity ripples out across the life course and generations at great cost to individuals and society,” according to the event description.
“It calls for a whole-of-society response to protect children from harm, build their capacity to cope with stress and adversity, and provide them with opportunities to thrive.”
On Wednesday at 2pm, as part of their series on “Walter Rodney and anti-imperialist politics today”, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education will host a workshop exploring the key claims of Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.
On Wednesday at 6pm, the Forge will be hosting a talk on “Living Socialism” with Lindokuhle Mnguni, chairperson of the eKhanana Commune.
The talk will be the first in a series of events intended to commemorate Youth Month. These events will focus on living socialism, youth unemployment in Africa and youth in the economy.
The talk will take place at 14 Reserve Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to [email protected].
Thursday 16 June is Youth Day. This event commemorates the Soweto youth uprising of 16 June 1976. The uprising began in Soweto, before spreading across the country and profoundly changing the socio-political landscape in South Africa.
“The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement and the formation of South African Students Organisation raised the political consciousness of many students, while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community,” according to the SA government information page on the event.
“When the language of Afrikaans alongside English was made compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools in 1974, black students began mobilising themselves.”
Between 3,000 and 10,000 students marched peacefully to protest the government’s directive on 16 June 1976. They were met by armed police officers who fired teargas and later live ammunition, at the crowd.
This year is the 46th anniversary of the 1976 student uprising. The event showed the brutality of the apartheid government, with hundreds of young people being killed.
“The aftermath of the events… had dire consequences for the apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed,” stated the SA government.
“Following the advent of democracy in 1994, the new democratic government declared 16 June as National Youth Day and June as the Youth Month. The declaration honours the contribution of the youth in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa.”
The theme for Youth Month 2022 is, “Promoting sustainable livelihood and resilience of young people for a better tomorrow”.
On Thursday 16 June at 9am, young people from a wide range of organisations will be meeting at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, for a Youth Day Parade.
They will march to the Union Buildings, where they will be handing over a memorandum highlighting the major crises of the modern day, including issues around joblessness, gender-based violence and climate change. The memorandum will also put forward young people’s solutions and vision for a better future.
The Youth Day Parade will highlight some of the substantive issues that are facing young people in the country. These include joblessness, gender-based violence, climate change, academic exclusion, and crime. The collective will hand over a memorandum to highlight the major crises of our time and to put forward their solutions and vision for a better society and prosperous future.
The march has been organised by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Youth Activism programme and its partners. The initiative has been endorsed by over 80 organisations from various sectors of society.
On Thursday at 2pm, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education will host the final event in their series, “Walter Rodney and anti-imperialist politics today”. It will be a book launch for A Rebel’s Guide to Walter Rodney by Chinedu Chukwudima.
At 5pm on Thursday, advocacy campaign Youth Capital is hosting a virtual launch of the short documentary, ‘I’ve been trying’. 8 years without a job.
The film was directed by Eh!woza’s Sam Flans, with camera work by Alfa Fipaza. It is narrated by Pearl Thusi, with commentary by Youth Capital.
“‘I’ve been trying’. 8 years without a job is a short documentary film that uncovers the real challenges young people face on their journey to employment,” according to the event description.
The launch will include a panel discussion with Quanita Adams, filmmaker and actor; Dylan Valley of the University of Cape Town; Prof Ariane Delanoy of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit; and Dimpho Lekgeu of Youth Lab.
Friday 17 June is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The theme for 2022 is “Rising up from drought together”.
Droughts are a great threat to sustainable development in both developing and developed countries, with forecasts estimating that by 2050, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the global population.
“This year, the theme of the International Day Against Desertification and Drought, “Rising up from drought together”, emphasises the need for early action to avoid disastrous consequences for humanity and the planetary ecosystems,” according to the UN.
On Friday 17 June at 10am, Defend Our Democracy (DOD) is hosting a community meeting at the Soweto Ipelegeng Community Centre.
During the event, representatives of DOD will take residents through the conference paper on democratic renewal and change, as part of preparation for the organisation’s upcoming Conference for Democratic Renewal and Change.
Those wishing to attend should RSVP to Celiwe Shivambu at 060 457 4668. DM/MC
This week Maverick Citizen will be focusing on youth-centred content to mark the lead-up to Youth Day. Keep an eye out for our stories bringing through the voices of young people on issues ranging from leadership to education, climate justice to gender-based violence.