CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 28 NOVEMBER-2 DECEMBER
This week – People Living with HIV Sector community meeting, World Aids Day and talk on domestic work in South Africa
The People Living with HIV Sector is holding a community accountability meeting ahead of World Aids Day; the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse is hosting a webinar about electoral reform; and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation are leading a dialogue titled on ‘Two Years after Mahlangu: Taking Stock of Domestic Work in South Africa’.
On Monday, 28 November, at 10am, Media Monitoring Africa and Unicef hosted a “Children and Xenophobia” workshop at the SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. It was intended to bring journalists, experts and children into one room to unpack the challenges around media coverage of children and xenophobia.
“One of the media’s responsibilities, as a duty bearer, is to ensure that children’s rights, dignity, privacy, access to information and freedom of speech are realised, promoted and protected,” according to the event description.
“When it comes to covering sensitive but important topics like xenophobia, the media still faces great challenges in helping its audience better understand how xenophobia impacts children as well as finding creative ways to include children’s voices while upholding journalistic best practices.”
Tuesday, 29 November is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The Palestinian people, who now number more than eight million, live primarily in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, according to the United Nations (UN). The areas in which they live include East Jerusalem, Israel, neighbouring Arab states and refugee camps.
“The International Day of Solidarity traditionally provides an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people have yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the [UN] General Assembly – namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property, from which they have been displaced.”
On Tuesday, 29 November, at 4.30pm, Iranti is hosting a leadership roundtable on “Movement Building and Wellbeing”.
The themes that will be explored include:
- Managing triggers and violence;
- Burnout and wellness;
- Collaborative organising; and
- Competition versus generosity.
The discussion will be led by Iranti founder and former executive director Jabu Pereira. Speakers include Liberty Matthyse of Gender Dynamix and Njeri Gateru of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
On Wednesday, 30 November, at 10am, the Electoral Commission in Limpopo will host a “Waterberg District Disability Sector Event” in the Bela-Bela Community Hall.
The event is intended to engage the disability sector on inclusive and accessible platforms towards true democracy.
On Wednesday at 12pm, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) will host a webinar on “What You Need To Know About Electoral Reform”.
“Outa unpacks its recently released research report on electoral reform, compiled in collaboration with My Vote Counts and funded by KAS South Africa,” say the organisers. “This crucial process will determine whether the 2024 national elections will save or destroy South Africa. Join us to understand this complex issue more, and take control of the country’s future.”
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Speakers include Rachel Fischer, parliamentary engagement and research manager at Outa; Dr Sithembile Mbete, director of programmes at Futurelect; Letlhogonolo Letshele, electoral systems researcher at My Vote Counts; and Gregor Jaecke, incoming resident representative at KAS.
Also on Wednesday, at 12pm, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation is hosting an immersive workshop on “Affirming shared narratives of home and belonging”.
The workshop forms part of the foundation’s “Courageous Conversation”, a platform through which it works with activists, individuals and organisations to “facilitate experiences of healing and existing together in a safe and democratic society”.
“Through interrogating the roots of anti-migrant sentiment, and challenging constructed ideas of difference that continue to stoke xenophobic violence, this immersive workshop looks at the possibilities of reimagining our shared humanity through sharing narratives of home and belonging,” according to the event description.
The workshop will be facilitated by foundation CEO Janet Jobson and Professor Noor Nieftagodien, National Research Foundation chair on local histories and present realities at the University of the Witwatersrand.
RSVP to [email protected].
On Wednesday at 2pm, the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) Sector will host a community accountability meeting ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December. It will take place at Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.
The PLHIV Sector is made up of the National Association of People Living with HIV; the Positive Action Campaign; the Positive Women’s Network; the South African Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV; and the Treatment Action Campaign.
Deputy President David Mabuza is expected to attend the meeting in his capacity as chairperson of the South African National Aids Council. Other attendees include community members, PLHIV Sector leadership, the minister of health, the Free State premier and MEC for health, and the Unaids executive director in South Africa.
“The PLHIV Sector has been mobilising in Mangaung district, Free State, throughout November as part of efforts to re-galvanise the fight against HIV in the country, working with the department of health in the Free State and other duty bearers to ensure access to quality healthcare services for all,” according to the event description.
“Through facility and community monitoring, as well as using secondary data from the Ritshidze project, the sector has identified key areas needed to improve the HIV and TB response, as well as strengthening health systems.
“Community members will be speaking to key themes raised, including but not limited to staff attitudes, stockouts and shortages of medicines, and struggles faced when attempting to return to care.”
For more information on the event, contact Ngqabutho Mpofu on 072 225 9675 or [email protected].
On Wednesday at 4pm, Youth Capital is hosting a Twitter Space to discuss the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Quarter 3 2022, and how to bridge the gap between small businesses and young job seekers.
The event will follow the release of Youth Capital’s latest research brief, “Bridge the Gap. Finding the ‘right’ young hire”, on Monday, 28 November.
In South Africa, small businesses contribute up to 40% of South Africa’s gross domestic product, according to the event description. They are often categorised as small, medium and micro-enterprises, or SMMEs.
“Youth Capital calculations estimate that over 60% of all employed people are working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and that SMMEs created more than 1,800 jobs per day between 2016 and 2019.”
The panel will frame the potential of the SMME sector, and solutions for creating better access to the sector for young people. It will be facilitated by Youth Capital’s Lethiwe Nkosi. Speakers include Khaya Sithole, author and chartered accountant; Luisa Iachan from the International Labour Organisation; Bentolina Nnadi from fintech Mama Money; and Eniola Price, ONE Champion and entrepreneur.
Set a reminder for the Twitter Space here.
Also on Wednesday at 4pm, the Human Rights Programme at Harvard Law School is hosting a panel discussion on “Keeping the Promise? The Children and Armed Conflict Agenda at the United Nations”.
Other organisations involved in the event include the Programme on International Law and Armed Conflict at Harvard Law School; the Dullah Omar Institute; the University of the Western Cape; and HLS Advocates.
“International law provides children protection against, among others, recruitment and use; killing and maiming; sexual violence; attacks on schools and hospitals; abduction; and denial of humanitarian access. Still, millions of children in all four corners of the world continue to be subjected to grave violations of their rights in the context of conflicts,” according to the event description.
“While limited progress has been made to hold perpetrators in conflicts accountable for abuses against children, there are growing concerns that employing double standards in how the UN treats those responsible for egregious violations against children will only put children further at risk.”
Speakers at the event include Yanghee Lee, a former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar and one-time chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Allan Rock, Canadian ambassador to the United Nations in New York during a period that involved responding to several complex regional conflicts; Jo Becker, the advocacy director of the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch; and Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow in the Human Rights Programme at Harvard Law School and a Professor of Law at the University of the Western Cape.
On Wednesday at 6pm, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation are hosting a dialogue titled “Two Years after Mahlangu: Taking Stock of Domestic Work in South Africa”.
The event can be attended virtually or in-person at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 107 Central Street, Houston Estate, Johannesburg.
The keynote address will be delivered by Seeham Samaai, director of the Women’s Legal Centre. Other speakers include Pinky Mashiane of the United Domestic Workers of South Africa; Chriscy Blouws of the Women’s Legal Centre; Nokuthula Sihlangu of the Compensation Fund; and Jacqueline Utamuriza-Nzisabira of UN Women.
Thursday, 1 December is World Aids Day.
It is an opportunity for people around the world to unite and fight against HIV, show support for those living with HIV, and remember those who have died due to an Aids-related illness, according to the World Aids Day website.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Equalise”.
In 2022, the estimated number of deaths from Aids in South Africa stood at 85,796, according to Statista. In the previous year, Aids-related deaths in the country reached nearly 88,000.
“There have been many scientific advances in HIV treatment and we now have a much better understanding of the virus. More people are receiving antiretroviral treatment, which means HIV infection rates are decreasing,” according to the South African government’s information page on the observance.
“However, despite these advances, stigma and discrimination still persist for many people living with, or affected by, HIV.”
On Thursday, 1 December, at 2pm, the Competition Commission in South Africa and the Health Justice Initiative are hosting a seminar on “Remembering the Hazel Tau case: The ground-breaking battle for fair pricing of HIV drugs”. It will be held in honour of World Aids Day 2022.
On Thursday at 6.30pm, the South African Medical Association and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) are hosting a webinar titled “Three years into Covid-19: Lessons, challenges and recommendations”.
The event will involve experts in the field exploring issues that have needed to be confronted since the onset of Covid-19 from a scientific, health and ethical perspective.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected large parts of the population, and its effects will last for several years. That there may be another outbreak, which could be more dangerous than the current pandemic, is an inevitable reality. We must utilise the lessons learned during this pandemic to be prepared for such an eventuality,” said Professor Glenda Gray, CEO of the SAMRC.
“A good understanding of the scientific and technical aspects of this outbreak is critical to inform acceptable and comprehensive ethical deliberations and analysis around different aspects of the pandemic. This webinar will explore uncertainties and consider what our trajectory going forward should be.”
On Friday, 2 December, at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group will be hosting a Facebook live discussion about “World Aids Day: Unpacking mental health and HIV”.
Speakers include Zelna Young and Patricia Mohome. DM/MC