Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 22-26 AUGUST

This week – remembering Babita Deokaran, Saftu shutdown and gender-based violence at higher learning institutions

This week – remembering Babita Deokaran, Saftu shutdown and gender-based violence at higher learning institutions
Members of the South African Federation of Trade Unions on a nationwide protest in Johannesburg on 24 February 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is hosting an event in remembrance of whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, to mark the first anniversary of her assasination; the 14th biennial Consultation on Urban Ministry will see ‘urhan changemakers’ engaging on how to transform crises into situations of hope; and Wits RHI is hosting research professor Matthew Chersich’s inaugural lecture on climate change and maternal health in Africa.

Monday, 22 August is the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

The right to freedom of religion or belief is enshrined in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to the United Nations.

“The open, constructive and respectful debate of ideas, as well as interreligious, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national, regional and international levels, can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement and violence,” it says.

Tuesday, 23 August is International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), it is a reminder of the tragedy of the slave trade: “… it should offer an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of this tragedy, and for an analysis of the interactions to which it has given rise between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.”

On Tuesday at 4pm, Media Monitoring Africa, together with the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), will announce the finalists in the 2022 Isu Elihle Awards.

The organisers “have received more than 100 story ideas from 16 African countries. Six journalists will be given an amazing opportunity to publish their child-centred stories”.

“These awards seek to give children a voice and highlight the status of children in our continent.”

Register for the event here.

On Tuesday at 6pm, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will host its “Remembering Babita Deokaran” event to pay homage to the whistle-blower as a “corruption buster and hero” on the first anniversary of her assassination.

The event will take place at the Mondeor Baptist Church at the corner of Columbine Avenue and Ashden Road in Mondeor, Johannesburg.

RSVP to [email protected].

On Wednesday, 24 August, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and allies will hold a national shutdown, which is directed against the rising cost of living in South Africa, as well as austerity and privatisation measures implemented by the government, according to a GroundUp report.

At 6am, Saftu members in Gauteng will gather at Burgers Park in Pretoria for a march to the Union Buildings. For more information, contact Lebo Phanyeko at 076 387 8607.

On Wednesday at 2pm, registration for the 14th biennial Consultation on Urban Ministry will open. The opening session will be at 4pm.

The three-day programme is hosted by the Institute for Urban Ministry and its partners in Pretoria. The final day coincides with the conclusion of the Feast of the Clowns, a community-based festival, on Saturday, 27 August.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Urban Changemakers”.

“The 2022 Urban Consultation will create space to engage with other changemakers to consider how we might transform crises and ongoing injustice into situations of hope,” according to the event description.

“Studying the actions of everyday changemakers, the consultation will showcase windows of innovation to overcome challenges in the contested spaces of our cities. Leaning into stories of acts of resistance, reimagining and resilience, we will explore new ways to connect and commit to our communities.”

For more information about the conference, contact consultation director Jennifer Lee at [email protected] or 065 896 0327.

Register for the event here.

On Wednesday at 5pm, the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute will host research professor Matthew Chersich’s inaugural lecture, “Climate change and maternal health in Africa: From thermal physiology to public health and advocacy”.

There has been a 1.1°C increase in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, with temperatures expected to rise a further 1°C to 2°C over the next few decades.

“Extreme heat causes a range of adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth and stillbirths. Most health programmes in Africa focus on pregnant women or infants, making these groups a strategic focus for climate change research,” according to the event description.


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“The lecture presents a body of transdisciplinary work, ranging from physiological pathways underpinning vulnerability to heat during pregnancy, to data science applications, public health approaches and advocacy around reducing carbon emissions.”

The lecture will take place in the Marie Curie Lecture Theatre of the Wits Medical School at 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg. It can also be attended virtually.

Register here.

On Thursday, 25 August, at 9am, the Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University will host an expert round-table on “Gender-based violence [GBV] in Institutions of Higher Learning”. 

The aim is to “explore the historic and current consequences” of discourse on GBV in such institutions, while building understanding of the “nature and intersectional dynamics of GBV through a social justice lens anchored in human rights”.

The keynote speaker is Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, deputy chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality.

It is a hybrid event, with the in-person session taking place at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. For more information, email [email protected].

Register for online attendance here.

On Thursday at 2pm, the Presidential Climate Commission will hold its third dialogue in the “Just Energy Transition Dialogue Series”. This discussion will focus on “Finance and Investment in the Energy Transition”.

It will explore:

  • Funding models for the transformation of electricity generation, transmission and distribution;
  • The financial instruments needed;
  • The role of international finance; and
  • How to allocate and govern resources.

Register here.

At 4pm on Thursday, Black Sash will host a Khuluma or public conversation about “The role of women in food security” at the Black Sash National Office, Elta House, 3 Caledonian Road, Mowbray, Cape Town. It will also allow for virtual attendance.

Register here.

On Thursday at 5.30pm, the Department of Science and Innovation, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and partners will host a lecture and exhibition on “Generation equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future”. It will take place at Future Africa, University of Pretoria, as well as virtually.

“This year, we celebrate Women’s Month [August] under the theme ‘Generation equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future’. The concept of generation equality is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030,” according to the event description.

“The purpose of this lecture is to inspire debate around gender equality, unemployment, equal pay and representation of women in leadership roles.”

The speakers include Professor Leickness Simbayi, acting CEO of the HSRC; Professor Tawana Kupe, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria; advocate Mojanku Gumbi, human rights lawyer; Professor Himla Soodyall, executive officer of the Academy of Science of South Africa; and Matshepo Dibetso, feminist and social justice activist.

Register here.

On Sunday, 28 August, at 1pm, the Climate Justice Charter (CJC) will celebrate its two-year anniversary with a virtual mass assembly.

Among the issues that will be discussed are:

  • The climate crisis and climate justice struggle;
  • CJC policies for South Africa;
  • A climate justice deal framework; and
  • Building grassroots CJC movement structures.

Register here. DM/MC

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