Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 10 - 14 OCTOBER

This week — Launch of Electoral Reform Campaign, World Food Day and talk on opposition politics in Zimbabwe

This week — Launch of Electoral Reform Campaign, World Food Day and talk on opposition politics in Zimbabwe
Sunday 16 October is World Food Day. Millions of people around the world cannot afford a healthy diet, putting them at high risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. A young boy begging on the street, Melville, Johannesburg. (Photo: Joyrene Kramer)

The 3rd International Conference on Social Justice is taking place in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape; the Climate Justice Charter and other organisations are encouraging rolling grassroots action under the banner #HungerSouthAfrica; and the South Centre is hosting a webinar on ‘The Future of the Trips Agreement’.

Monday 10 October is World Mental Health Day. The objective of this day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world, and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.

The World Health Organization will be working with partners to launch a campaign around the theme, “Making Mental Health and Well-being for All a Global Priority”.

“This will be an opportunity for people with mental health conditions, advocates, governments, employers, employees and other stakeholders to come together to recognise progress in this field and to be vocal about what we need to do to ensure mental health and well-being becomes a global priority for all,” according to the WHO information page on the observance.

Monday is also 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.”

South Africa Electoral Reform Campaign Launch

On Monday, 10 October, at 2pm, Defend Our Democracy is launching an “Electoral Reform Campaign” at St George’s Church in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Speakers at the event include Lukhona Mnguni of Rivonia Circle; Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution; Mbhazima Shilowa, former Gauteng premier; Mojanku Gumbi of Defend Our Democracy; and Terry Tselane of the Institute of Election Management Services in Africa.

RSVP here.

International Conference on Social Justice

On Tuesday, 11 October, at 8.45am, the 3rd International Conference on Social Justice will begin at the Boschendal Conference Centre close to Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.

The event will be a hybrid one, with the option of online attendance. This year’s theme is “Restitution”.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Prof Sibusiso Moyo, deputy Vice-Chancellor for research, innovation and postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch University, and Mondli Gungubele, minister in the Presidency and former mayor of Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality.

Book tickets here.

The Future of the Trips Agreement

On Tuesday at 10am, the South Centre is hosting a webinar on “The Future of the Trips Agreement”.

Sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic requires availability of medical technologies in all countries. However, inequity in access continues today.

“This session will bring together various stakeholders to discuss whether a reform of the Trips Agreement and… authoritative interpretations of some its key provisions are needed, having in view the proposals made in response to a request for a waiver for the Covid-19 pandemic and other possible public-health oriented solutions,” according to the event description.

Speakers at the event include Fatima Hassan, founder and director of the Health Justice Initiative in South Africa; Anne Orford, professor of international law at the University of Melbourne; Siva Thambisetty, associate professor of law at the London School of Economics; and Nirmalya Syam, senior programme officer for the health, intellectual property and biodiversity programme at the South Centre.

Register here.

On Wednesday, 12 October, at 8am, the first day of the 2nd African Social Movements Baraza will kick off in Johannesburg. The event will run until Friday, 14 October.

The theme for the three-day programme is “People Power: Reimagining the Future — Organising for Transformation”.

“We will host participants from numerous countries on the continent where the intersectionality of our struggles will guide us in discovering and championing alternative pathways for the inclusive and just evolution of our societies,” according to the event description.

On Wednesday at 8.45am, the 4th Annual Summit on Social Justice will take place at Boschendal Conference Centre near Stellenbosch. The event will follow the International Conference on Social Justice happening at the same venue on Tuesday.

The event will be a hybrid one, with the option of online attendance. As with the conference, the theme for this year’s summit is “Restitution”.


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“The 2022 summit and conference were conceived as platforms for difficult conversations on dimensions of restitution that seem to have eluded public discourse in the last 28 years of our democracy and over seven decades since the Universal Declaration on Human Rights at global level,” said Professor Thuli Madonsela, the Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University.

Book tickets here.

On Wednesday at 10am, the Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR), the Ubuntu Justice Initiative and the Zambian Law Development Commission (ZLDC) are hosting a webinar to discuss the findings of a stakeholder engagement workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia, in December 2021.

The original workshop looked into the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the criminal justice system.

Speakers at the webinar include Kristen Petersen of ACJR; Janelle Mangwanda of ACJR; and Hope Chanda of ZLDC.

Register here.

South Africa: #Hungersouthafrica

Between 13 and 19 October, the Climate Justice Charter and other organisations are encouraging rolling grassroots action under the banner #HungerSouthAfrica. World Food Day on 16 October falls during this period.

“Organise local protests, workshops, mural painting and more,” stated the poster about the movement.

Interested parties should demand we feed the South African people by:

  • Activating the Disaster Management Act to ensure immediate food relief for vulnerable children, households and communities;
  • Adopting the People’s Food Sovereignty Act to ensure zero hunger and local control of food systems; and
  • Ensuring a Universal Basic Income Grant for all.

The Challenges of Opposition Politics in Zimbabwe

On Thursday, 13 October, at 5.30pm, the Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust is hosting an online policy dialogue about “The Challenges of Opposition Politics in Zimbabwe”.

Among those speaking at the event are Justice Alfred Mavedzenge, a senior legal advisor; Chipo Dendere, assistant professor of Africana studies at Wellesley College; and Toendepi Shonhe, research fellow at the University of South Africa.

The meeting can be accessed on Zoom here with meeting ID 869 7331 6781 and passcode 533605.

On Friday, 14 October, at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is hosting a webinar on “Supporting your Child’s Mental Health”.

Speakers at the event include Joanna Kleovoulou, a clinical psychologist, and Ilhaam Khan, a support group leader for parents and loved ones of those living with ADHD.

The event will be streamed live on Sadag’s Facebook page.

South Africa: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

On Saturday, 15 October, at 2.30pm, the 13th Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Annual Lecture will be taking place at Sci-Bono, Newtown, Johannesburg.

The theme for the lecture is “The People shall Govern: It’s Time for a New Electoral System”.

The keynote address will be given by Valli Moosa, a former minister and veteran of the South African liberation struggle.

RSVP at [email protected]

Sunday 16 October is World Food Day. 

Although there has been progress in building a better world, too many people are still unable to benefit from human development, innovation and economic growth.

“Millions of people around the world cannot afford a healthy diet, putting them at high risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. But ending hunger isn’t only about supply. Enough food is produced today to feed everyone on the planet,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations.

“The problem is access and availability of nutritious food, which is increasingly impeded by multiple challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, conflict, climate change, inequality, rising prices and international tensions.”

Stakeholders in governments, the private sector, academia and civil society need to work together to prioritise the rights of all people to food and nutrition.

“We must all be the change.” DM/MC

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