CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 18 – 22 JULY
This week — Mandela Day, global summit on intellectual property and talk on basic support for youth
Organisations across South Africa are honouring Mandela Day this Monday, 18 July, by hosting outreaches and awareness campaigns. Later in the week, there will be talks on a Basic Package of Support for youth; intellectual property and access to medicines; and the decolonisation of the queer movement in Zimbabwe.
Monday 18 July is Mandela Day. The theme for this year is “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.
While the day is celebrated around the world, in South Africa, people celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life for the whole of July — Nelson Mandela Month.
“A global movement for positive change begins with small actions. As each person acts, they fuel momentum toward positive change, raising awareness and expanding the reach of Mr Mandela’s values — fighting injustice, helping people in need and practicing reconciliation,” according to the SA government information page on the observance.
On Monday, 18 July, at 9am, the Water Research Commission, together with its partners, is holding an event “demonstrating citizen science tools for Kaalspruit River welfare with Tembisa Community”.
The event will take place by the bridge at Kaalspruit River, 1/5 Lekaneng RDP Houses, Tembisa, in the City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
On Monday at 9.30am, the Climate Justice Coalition (CJC) is holding a “Mandela Day March to Solve Our Energy Crisis”. The march will begin at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, 173 Visagie Street, Tshwane, and end at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The CJC will be handing over a petition addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa, demanding:
- The implementation of an emergency renewable energy plan to end rolling blackouts;
- The replacement of Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe;
- And the fixing of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
“With 2022 likely to be the worst year of load shedding on record and fuel prices at an all-time high, members of the coalition are part of a growing public call for urgent development of renewable energy solutions to address South Africa’s energy crisis,” according to the event description.
At 10am on Monday, Clean City South Africa is holding a Mandela Day 2022 Hillbrow clean-up. The event has been endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The initiative is intended to bring together property owners, businesses and the Hillbrow community to raise public awareness about climate change, and promote a “zero tolerance” approach to littering and illegal dumping.
Safe parking will be provided at Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, after which participants will be transported from this location to the blocks they will be cleaning up in Hillbrow. Each block will be staffed by security personnel.
After the event, participants will be transported back to Constitution Hill, where a climate change engagement session and prize-giving ceremony will take place at 2pm.
“We are honoured to work in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation on this historic initiative. Section 24 of our Constitution provides that everyone has a right to an environment that is not detrimental to their health and well-being,” said Clean City SA founder and CEO Dalu Cele.
“We are excited to bring the spotlight to Hillbrow on Mandela Day 2022, to enable everyone to do what they can, and play their part with what they have, where they will be in Hillbrow. Each participant on Mandela Day 2022 will contribute towards raising public awareness about the implications of litter to the environment and climate change.”
On Monday at 10.30am, the Collen Mashawana Foundation is celebrating Nelson Mandela Day by revamping the Ndawo Yakho Centre — a gender-based violence (GBV) and childrens’ shelter in Yeoville, Johannesburg.
“With the ever-rising number of GBV crimes in the country, it was a no-brainer for the foundation to extend a helping hand and support a shelter that provides such an essential service to the community of Yeoville,” stated the foundation.
“In the true spirit of Nelson Mandela, we will be making this a long-term initiative by adopting the shelter.”
On Monday at 11am, Gift of the Givers will hold an official opening for its 13th newly drilled borehole in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, at Walmer High School, Gqeberha.
The collaboration between the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, business chamber and Gift of the Givers in dealing with the region’s “Day Zero” water challenge has been significant, according to the event description.
“This is a prototype of what South Africans can do collectively as corporates, government, civil society and media for nation building and the enhancement of our fractured country,” stated Gift of the Givers.
At 1pm on Monday, the Democracy Development Programme NPC and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung are hosting a webinar, “#Young&Presidential: Youth as a catalyst for change”.
In most developing countries, there is a lack of youth participation in politics, according to the event description. The primary cause of this is the state’s incapability to develop platforms that facilitate the meaningful involvement of citizens, particularly the youth, in political processes.
“When we look at the major political changes and dynamism, youth is at the centre of furcula. There continues to be a need for the youth to be empowered politically — it is crucial for social and economic development,” according to the event description.
The objectives of the discussion are to:
- Unpack the impediments faced by young people in participating in political spaces;
- Understand the role of young people as economic actors;
- Engage around the current legislative framework in regard to youth eligibility for political office; and
- Engage on the role of political parties, business and civil society in promoting capable young people into positions of leadership.
Also on Monday, Chefs with Compassion is holding its “#67000litres Challenge” in celebration of Mandela Day. The aim of the event is to get home cooks, chefs, corporates and communities all over the country to spend 67 minutes or more cooking soup for vulnerable people.
“More than 70 people have pledged to cook as little as one litre, right up to 12,000 litres of soup in the biggest nationwide compassionate cooking challenge in South Africa — but there’s still 14,000 litres to go to reach the target of 67,000 litres,” stated the event description.
In its third year of running, the #67000litres Challenge is intended to raise awareness of the fact that 12,3 million tonnes of food go to waste every year while 20 million people go hungry every day.
Anyone, anywhere, can participate in the challenge. Those who join the effort select their own beneficiaries.
Find more information on how to participate here.
On Monday, Constitution Hill will be celebrating Nelson Mandela Day by providing free tours of the human rights precinct, including the Mandela cell and the Ghandi and Mandela exhibitions.
“Our tour guides are ready to welcome you to join us in commemorating our great liberation struggle hero and father of the nation — Tata Madiba,” stated Constitution Hill.
Visitors are asked to donate a book during their visit. The book drive will run throughout the month, facilitating the donation of reading material to local communities and organisations.
For Mandela Day, the global alliance of civil society organisations and activists, Civicus, is calling for the release of imprisoned Eswatini members of Parliament before the anniversary of their detention and ahead of the Southern African Development Community summit on 21 July.
The imprisoned officials are Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube. They were detained on 25 July 2021, following protests demanding political reforms, and charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act and for flouting Covid-19 regulations, according to Civicus.
The detention of Mabuza and Dube was politically motivated and fuelled by a crisis impacting Eswatini, said David Kode, Civicus advocacy and campaigns lead.
The call for their release forms part of Civicus’s global “#StandAsMyWitness campaign”, which calls for the release of activists in prison or facing pre-trial detention.
“The #StandAsMyWitness campaign launched on Mandela Day two years ago to honour South Africa’s iconic former president, who fought tirelessly for freedom and democracy. Like Mr Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail, many activists and rights defenders featured in the campaign have been convicted in unfair trials, on trumped-up charges,” stated Civicus.
On Tuesday, 19 July, the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition and the Make Medicines Affordable consortium are holding the Second Global Summit on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines 2022 (GSIPA2M-2022), which will run until 21 July.
A hybrid event, the physical summit will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, while also being open for virtual participation.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that the need for radical change to the global intellectual property system is more urgent than ever. As pharmaceutical corporations reap enormous profits and rich countries stockpile health products, developing countries are still struggling to offer testing, provide treatment and vaccinate their people,” according to the event description.
The GSIPA2M-2022 focuses on civil society from the global south with the aim of promoting dialogue, sharing experiences, building capacity, creating alliances and developing strategies.
Register for the summit here.
On Tuesday at 8.30am, the National Economic Development and Labour Council and the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection are hosting a webinar looking at lessons and legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic for social contracting and social partnerships.
The event is titled “Social contracting during the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it could be argued that the social contract between the people and government was high, with strong adherence to lockdown restrictions. However, by the end of the pandemic, this was reversed with, for example, far fewer numbers of people agreeing to be vaccinated,” according to the event description.
The webinar will explore what happened to the social contract, with focus on adherence to non-pharmaceutical measures, respect for lockdown regulations and attitudes to vaccination.
At 10am on Tuesday, the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (Saldru) at University of Cape Town, the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg and the DG Murray Trust are hosting a webinar titled “Basic Package of Support for Youth: Preliminary findings from the Pilot”.
These organisations have been working on the “Basic Package of Support project”, intended to “assist young people in finding their way back to work and education opportunities, and support services available”.
The pilot site for this project was Atlantis in the Western Cape. It opened in January 2022.
“This webinar will discuss how the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) and the Basic Package of Support (BPS) are attempting to build the networks and systems that will create an ecosystem of support for young people as they navigate the transition from school into income-earning opportunities,” according to the event description.
“In particular, the findings thus far from the [Basic Package of Support] pilot in Atlantis will be discussed.”
Speakers at the event include Lauren Graham, director of the CSDA; Ariane De Lannoy, chief researcher at Saldru; Najwah Allie-Edries, deputy director-general of employment facilitation and head of the Jobs Fund; and Penny Foley, chief community partnerships officer at the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.
On Tuesday at 3pm, the Land Portal Foundation is hosting a workshop, “Using Data to Tell Compelling Stories About Land”.
The workshop will feature a selection of recent data stories published by the foundation. Participants will present their data stories and share the process behind producing it.
Speakers at the event include Dr Konrad Hentze, geographic information systems expert at the Land Portal Foundation; Auta Azevedo, member of the Revelar.si Collective; Dr Manuel Enrique Pérez Martinez, professor at Javeriana University, Colombia; and Diana Angela Wambui Wachira, programme officer of Pamoja Trust.
Wednesday 20 July is World Chess Day. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in chess players and events, according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the observance.
“Chess is one of the most ancient, intellectual and cultural games, with a combination of sport, scientific thinking and elements of art. As an affordable and inclusive activity, it can be exercised anywhere and played by all, across the barriers of language, age, gender, physical ability or social status,” stated the UN.
On Wednesday, 2o July, at 8pm, Youth Capital will be hosting a Twitter space titled “#KZNShutdown: Where are we now?”
“Last year, we hosted an open forum where we deconstructed the July uprising together. In this space, we want to take stock of where we are now, and where we are going,” stated the event description.
Set a reminder for the Twitter space here.
On Thursday, 21 July, at 4pm, the Centre for Civil Society will be hosting a webinar on the struggle to decolonise the queer movement in Zimbabwe. The event forms part of the organisation’s webinar series, “Reflections on LGBTQIA+ Rights and Movements”.
The current African discourse around queer rights is influenced by the legacy of colonialism and African imperialistic resistance, according to the event description.
“The upcoming discussion on the [LGBTQIA+] movement in Zimbabwe will be centred around the political, socioeconomic and cultural context of Zimbabwe,” it stated.
The speaker at the event is human rights activist, Samuel Matsikure.
Join the webinar here.
On Thursday at 5.30pm, the Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust will be hosting a talk on “The Growing Economic and Financial Crisis in Zimbabwe: What will be the Effects on Elections in 2023?”
The moderator of the discussion is Ibbo Mandaza of Sapes Trust. Speakers include Steven Hanke, professor of applied economics at John Hopkins University; Tinashe Murapata, CEO and founder of Leon Africa; and Chenayi Mutambasere, development economist.
The discussion will be live-streamed on the Sapes Trust Facebook page. It can also be accessed via Zoom with meeting ID 530 628 3186 and passcode 555888.
On Friday, 22 July, at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group is hosting a Facebook live discussion unpacking culture, stigma and mental health. The event ties in with Mental Health Awareness Month and the theme of “end the stigma”.
The discussion will involve Dr Prudence Molete, a psychiatrist, and Taz Sithole, a traditional healer.
Avoiding charity scams
In light of Mandela month this July, South African volunteering platform Forgood has warned people to watch out for charity fraud and scammers who may use the occasion as an opportunity to capitalise on donors’ goodwill.
“The impact of charity fraud is twofold — on the one hand, donors and volunteers are cheated of their time and money, and are less likely to risk it again in the future. On the other, non-profit organisations and social initiatives lose out on money and skills they desperately need in order to continue functioning, which can have devastating long-term effects,” said Romy Heldsinger, CEO of Forgood.
The Forgood platform is intended to assist people to find skills-based volunteering and donation opportunities online. Causes on the site are verified and guaranteed to be legitimate, according to the organisation.
When verifying a volunteering or donation opportunity, Heldsinger recommends:
- Checking the credentials of the organisation by asking to see the not-for-profit certificate, public benefit organisation certificate and evidence of SA Revenue Service clearance;
- Keeping track of the organisation’s activity on social media;
- Checking if the site that you would donate money through is secure; and
- Double checking the organisation’s name and URL. Scam websites and email addresses may mimic an established, well-known charity.
There is more information on Forgood’s verified causes in need of assistance here. DM/MC
Daily Maverick © All rights reserved