Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 11 – 14 APRIL

This week – Report on free expression in SA’s cultural sector, the International Day of Human Space Flight and talk on LGBTQI+ rights

This week – Report on free expression in SA’s cultural sector, the International Day of Human Space Flight and talk on LGBTQI+ rights
This week is the International Day of human space flight. (Photo: NASA via Getty Images)

The Campaign for Free Expression will be releasing a report on the state of free expression in South Africa’s cultural sector; the International Day of Human Space Flight will commemorate the first time a human flew in space; and the International Commission of Jurists — Africa is hosting a talk about ‘The right to freedom of association for LGBTQI+ rights advocates in Africa’.

On Tuesday, 11 April, at 3pm, the International Commission of Jurists — Africa is hosting a Facebook live stream about “The right to freedom of association for LGBTQI+ rights advocates in Africa: A conversation on the registration of NGOs advancing LGBTQI+ rights”.

Speakers at the event include Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum; Eric Sambisa, executive director at Nyasa Rainbow Alliance; Bradley Fortuin, programme officer and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre; and Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, regional director of the International Commission of Jurists — Africa.

Access the live stream here.

Wednesday 12 April is the International Day of Human Space Flight.

The day commemorates Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space on 12 April 1961 — the first instance of human space flight.

“The [United Nations] General Assembly expressed its deep conviction of the common interest of mankind in promoting and expanding the exploration and use of outer space, as the province of all mankind, for peaceful purposes and in continuing efforts to extend to all states the benefits derived there from,” according to the UN information page on the observance.

 

On Wednesday, 12 April, at 6pm, the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, Jass, the Triangle Project, international partners and LGBTQIA+ human rights defenders from around the world are participating in an event commemorating the life of Chriton ‘Trinidad’ Atuhwera on the 2nd anniversary of his passing.

Atuhwera, a Ugandan man, died after a homophobic attack at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The LGBTQIA+ community at the camp were targeted in a fire-bombing, according to Amnesty International.

       

Wednesday’s event, “Honoring Trinidad: A Kakuma Solidarity Event”, is an opportunity to hear from global black LGBTQIA+, migrant, refugee and asylum advocates and community organisations, as well as human rights defenders living in Kakuma Refugee Camp. 

“We will also hold discussions and question-and-answer [sessions] with international activists and organisers, to link the struggles of our people inside Kakuma with the hatred, criminalisation, violence and loss of livelihoods for black LGBTQIA+ people worldwide – especially in the United States, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Zambia during the past month,” according to the event description.

Register here.

 

On Thursday, 13 April, at 12.30pm, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) at Stellenbosch University (SU) is hosting a Social Justice Café on the topic of date rape.

The discussion will be facilitated by Professor Thuli Madonsela, director of the CSJ, and will bring together panellists to highlight different aspects of the issue and its impact on university campuses. The keynote address will be delivered by Qaqamba Mdaka, case coordinator at SU’s Equality Unit.

“Last year the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, released shocking statistics showing that 10% of all reported rape cases in South Africa come from institutions of higher learning. Date rape, also known as acquaintance rape, is one of the most common forms of sexual assault,” according to the event description.

“Discussing date rape can help disprove the misconceptions about sexual assault, and provide accurate information about consensual, healthy relationships, and reporting options, says Charl Davids, director of the Centre for Student Counselling and Development at SU, who will also be a panellist at the upcoming Social Justice Café. This can help to create a culture of respect and support for survivors and reduce the stigma and shame that often surround sexual assault.”

The event will be hosted in Room 1028 at SU’s Faculty of Law, as well as on Microsoft Teams. For more information, contact Marna Lourens on [email protected] or 021 808 3182.

 

On Thursday at 12.45pm, the Centre for Law and Society and the Centre of Criminology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are co-hosting a book launch for The Unaccountables.

The launch will take place in Lecture Theatre 3 on Level 2 of the Kramer Law School.

Co-editors of the book, Michael Marchant and Mamello Mosiana, will be in conversation with Irvin Kinnes of the Centre of Criminology at UCT.

RSVP here.

On Thursday at 4pm, the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society is hosting a webinar titled, “Africa is So Queer!”

The speakers at the event will be Princess Sibanda, a scholar artivist and post-doctoral fellow under the SARChI Chair in Sexualities, Genders and Queer Studies at the University of Fort Hare.

“Queerphobia in Africa is often clothed in Pan-Africanist regalia. Our leaders have made compulsory heterosexuality a Pan-Africanist ideal which consequently casts the queer body as deviant and un-African. Thus, an anti-queer sentiment reverberates across the continent, and is accompanied by acts of violence and decades long experiences of trauma,” according to the event description. 

“The acts of violence are hailed as noble measures to safeguard Africa from moral decay. There is a huge appetite to expunge the queer body from the face of the nation and Uganda’s anti-Homosexuality Bill serves as a good example. This, however, is not the entire story. Queer people in Africa have and continue to fashion resistances to this establishment. In this webinar, Princess discusses these scripts of resistance.”

Join the meeting here.

On Thursday at 5.30pm, the Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust is hosting a policy dialogue forum on “Debt and Corruption in Zimbabwe: Is the Al Jazeera Report the Tip of the Iceberg?”

The dialogue comes in the wake of an Al Jazeera report on gold smuggling and illicit financial flows. The details have emerged in a series of documentaries, beginning in March 2023.

“What is emerging out of these exposures is the extent to which Zimbabwe loses enormous amounts of revenue through the corrupt activities of a large network, an amount that could have a significant effect not only on resolving Zimbabwe’s debt crisis but also have a huge effect on the crumbling economy and the provision of public goods and services to the citizenry. The extent of the loss through corruption was alleged in September 2022 to be in the order of$33-billion by former Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti,” according to the event description.

“This policy dialogue unpacks the issues raised by the Al Jazeera report, and places these in the broad context of corruption raised by all the previous reports. It also examines the relationship between debt and corruption, and the problematic for re-engagement that the governance working group will have to face in bringing not only re-engagement but the extensive reform to the state itself.”

The discussion will be convened by Ibbo Mandaza, director of the Sapes Trust, and moderated by Mark Heywood, editor of Maverick Citizen. Other speakers include Tendai Biti, MP and former minister of finance; Allan Markham, MP and member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development; and Khadija Sharife, senior investigator with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Access the Sapes Trust Facebook page here.

On Thursday at 6pm, the Campaign for Free Expression (CFE) will be releasing a report on the state of free expression in South Africa’s cultural sector. The event will be hosted at the forecourt of the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg.

“Cultural workers face many obstacles in exercising the right to free expression. Many artists believe they are stifled and suppressed due to the politicisation of the boards of arts funding agencies,” according to the event description.

“The maladministration of the Presidential Economic Stimulus Programme (Pesp), which was meant to help the arts and culture sector at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, focused attention on how the National Arts Council (NAC), in particular, mismanaged and mishandled the distribution of funds and the selection of beneficiaries.

“The CFE report and subsequent discussion will explore the factors that affect and disrupt growth and sustainability in the arts and culture sector, as detailed by cultural workers.”

The report will be available here as well as at the event.

For more information, contact Thokozani Mbwana at [email protected] or 066 200 2857.

Friday 14 April is World Chagas Disease Day.

“Chagas disease, also known as ‘silent or silenced disease’, affects mainly poor people without access to healthcare or people without a political voice. The disease progresses slowly and often shows an asymptomatic clinical course,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO) information page on the event.

“Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal. Raising awareness of the disease is essential to improve the rates of early treatment and cure, together with the interruption of its transmission.”

 

On Friday, 14 April, at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is hosting a Facebook live discussion on “Managing work-life balance and the benefits of setting boundaries”.

Speakers at the event include psychiatrist Dr Alicia Porter and clinical psychologist Deborah Olusola.

Access Sadag’s Facebook page here. DM/MC

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