Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 3 – 7 OCTOBER

This week — Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture, Garden Day SA and talk on mobilising people’s electoral power

This week — Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture, Garden Day SA and talk on mobilising people’s electoral power
The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture will be taking place at the City Hall in Cape Town on Friday, 7 October. (Photo: Esa Alexander / Gallo Images)

The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture is taking place in Cape Town; the University of the Free State is hosting the 2022 UFS Thought-Leader Panel Discussion, focusing on the future of South Africa; and The Forge in Johannesburg is holding an ‘Abahlali Basemjondolo Solidarity Campaign Meeting’.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. 

The objective of this month is to educate the public about mental health, while reducing the stigma and discrimination to which people with mental illness are often subjected.
“Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and job stress, are common, affecting individuals, their families and co-workers and the broader community,” according to the South African government’s information page on the observance.
“In addition, they have a direct impact on workplaces through increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and increased costs. Very few South Africans seek treatment for their mental disorders. Mental illness can be treated at your nearest clinic, hospital or healthcare provider.”

Monday 3 October is World Habitat Day.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Mind the Gap. Leave No-one and Place Behind.” This is intended to draw attention to the problem of growing inequality and other challenges in cities and human settlements.

“The [Covid-19] pandemic and recent conflicts have reversed years of progress made in the fight against poverty, resulting in the emergence of newly poor people — those who would have exited poverty in the absence of the pandemic but remain poor, and those who have fallen into poverty on account of the pandemic,” according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the event.

“According to the UN-Habitat’s World Cities Report, the number of people affected was between 119 and 124 million in 2020, and between 143 and 163 million in 2021. Tackling urban poverty and inequality have become an urgent global priority.”

Tuesday 4 October is the first day of World Space Week.

World Space week will run until 10 October. It is the largest annual space event in the world.

“The World Space Week 2022 theme is ‘Space and Sustainability’, focusing on achieving sustainability in space and achieving sustainability from space. The theme is inspired by how sustainability in space relates to how humanity uses space, most pressingly, the orbital area surrounding Earth,” according to the UN information page on the event.

“Space exploration and remote Earth observation can help drive change for our home planet. This includes measuring climate change, identifying pollution on land and at sea, supporting agriculture in developing nations.”

On Thursday, 6 October, at 10am, the University of the Free State (UFS) is hosting the 2022 UFS Thought-Leader Panel Discussion, titled, “A look into the future of South Africa”.

“As a public higher education institution in South Africa with a responsibility to contribute to public discourse, the University of the Free State (UFS) will be presenting the panel discussion in collaboration with the Free State Literature Festival and News24,” according to the event description.

Among those speaking at the event are Moeletsi Mbeki, Pieter du Toit and Dr Mareve Biljohn. The speakers will share insights on the social, political, economic and business landscape of South Africa.

“South Africa is at a precipice — unemployment is at an all-time high, almost half the population receives income from the state every month, there is an absence of policy systems with no leadership in the country at all levels, and complete distrust exists between government and communities. 

“As we approach the end of 2022 and reflect on the year that was, what opportunities are there to regain the confidence of our nation, establish much-needed credibility globally, and charter our country into a prosperous and successful terrain — where do we see ourselves?”

The venue for the discussion is the Albert Wessels Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus of UFS.

RSVP here.

On Thursday at 12pm, My Vote Counts is hosting a webinar titled, “Towards public funding of political parties”.

Speakers at the event include Robyn Pasensie, a political party funding researcher at My Vote Counts; Paul Mashatile, ANC treasurer-general; and Cathy Mohlahlana, journalist and broadcaster.

“After over a year of disclosures, we see that almost half of the total funding to political parties is linked to just three large donors! This illustrates that small and powerful elite finance is allowed influence over our politics,” according to the event description.

“In the next phase of [My Vote Counts’] work on political party funding, we will explore how political parties are using and can use public funds and argue that this can limit private influence in our politics and deepen democracy.”

For more information, contact 072 456 7260. 

Register for the event here.


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Friday 7 October is the closing date for submitting applications for grant funds from the Other Foundation.

The grants are available to organisations in 13 eligible southern African countries, to support work that advances or defends the equality, freedom and inclusion of homosexual and bisexual men and women, transgender people and intersex people.

“The grant funds, preferably given in multi-year grants, may be used for specific projects to advance advocacy and movement building strategies or to support the ongoing work of anchor organisations to re-create and reposition their organising and advocacy in a way that is fit for purpose in the changed context brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic,” according to the grant details.

The countries from which grant applications will be accepted are Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Find the focus areas for the grants here.

Find the guidelines and application forms here.

On Friday, 7 October, at 4pm, the annual Sol Plaatje lecture will take place at the Sol Plaatje University auditorium at 26 Scanlan Street, Kimberley. 

The theme for the lecture is “Intellectual Re-imagination: What can South Africa learn from the East Asian Developmental States”. The guest speaker is Professor William Gumede from the Wits School of Governance.

RSVP to [email protected].

On Friday at 5pm, the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture will be taking place at the City Hall in Cape Town.

The theme for the lecture is “A Vision for Hope and Healing”. The two speakers at the event are Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina J Mohammed, and best-selling author Doug Abrams.

“The heart of the Peace Lecture is rooted in the [Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy] Foundation’s work to transform our collective consciousness through the courageous pursuit of healing, inspired by the legacy that Archbishop Tutu left for us,” according to the event description.

“In the last few years, we all witnessed the devastating impact of a global pandemic, climate change and conflict. The Arch, as he was fondly known, held a lifelong conviction that one can only get through hard times by holding on to hope. As he put it, ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.’”

Book tickets here.

Saturday 8 October is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.
Across the world, there are many people facing life-threatening diagnoses, and others who are grieving both literal and emotional deaths, according to the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA). Hope can be found by helping one another to heal hearts and communities.
“This World Hospice and Palliative Care Day… wear a ribbon on your right wrist if you are grieving or are in solidarity with someone who is,” stated the HPCA website.
Find participating hospices where you can buy a ribbon here.

On Saturday, 8 October, at 9am, Rivonia Circle and the New Georgia Project are hosting a talk titled, “South Africa 2.0: Mobilising People’s Electoral Power”.

The event is intended to explore strategies for increased electoral participation in the lead-up to 2024.

The guest speaker is Nsé Ufot, voter rights activist and CEO of the New Georgia Project.

RSVP to [email protected] or 081 587 7274.

Sunday 9 October is Garden Day South Africa.

The observance is an opportunity for people to down their tools and “celebrate the fruits” of their gardening labour, according to the Garden Day website.

Some recommended ways to celebrate the day are:

  • Enjoying a meal in the garden with home-grown ingredients in each dish;
  • Hosting a “plant swap” and encouraging guests to bring rare and interesting plants;
  • Planning a garden scavenger hunt; or
  • Making seed bombs with your children.

On Sunday, 9 October, at 11am, The Forge is hosting an “Abahlali baseMjondolo Solidarity Campaign Meeting”. 

The event will see attendees calling for justice for fallen Abahlali leaders, including Lindokuhle Mnguni, Ayanda Ngila and Nokuthula Mabaso. 

The Forge is located at 87 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

For more information, contact Comrade Melita at 079 630 8005. 

Monday 10 October is World Homeless Day. 

The observance is intended to “draw attention to the needs of people who experience homelessness locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness”, according to the World Homeless Day website.

“World Homeless Day is something you can point to on the calendar each year and use to make a significant difference in your local community.” 

Monday 10 October is also World Mental Health Day.

The commemoration of World Mental Health Day is intended to create public awareness around mental health issues, so as to make these issues a global priority.
“Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterised by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others,” according to the South African government’s information page on the observance.
Discrimination against people with mental health disorders often discourages them from seeking mental healthcare. DM/MC
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