Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 22 – 28 MAY

This week – Gift of the Givers conference, Africa Day and talk on the labelling and marketing of food

This week – Gift of the Givers conference, Africa Day and talk on the labelling and marketing of food
Gift of the Givers founder Ali Sablay speaks to a resident who lost her home to the fire. This is the second incident in four days in Phola Park and one of several in informal settlements over the holiday period. (Photo: Supplied)

The Gift of the Givers conference, ‘Preparedness for Humanitarian Disasters’, will kick off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre; Africa Day will acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union, since its founding in 1963; and the Healthy Living Alliance will host a seminar on the labelling and marketing of food.

Monday 22 May is the International Day for Biological Diversity.

“As the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few,” according to the United Nations information page on the event.

“This involves respecting, protecting and repairing our biological wealth.”

On Monday, 22 May, at 2pm, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and People’s Health Movement are hosting the Annual David Sanders Lecture in Public Health and Social Justice. 

The event will also serve as the launch of the book, The Struggle for Health: 2nd Edition, which Prof David Sanders was working on at the time of his death.

“We are continuously reminded of David’s passion, intellect and social justice action, and all these attributes were captured in his acclaimed book, The Struggle for Health: Medicine and the Politics of Underdevelopment. At the time of David’s passing, he was working on an updated edition of this influential book,” according to the event description.

“Since his untimely passing, and with the direction of Sue Fawcus, co-authorship of Wim de Ceukelaire and Barbara Hutton together with colleagues from the People’s Health Movement, and the considerable support provided by the UWC, [School of Public Health], the book was completed.”

Prof Fran Baum of the Stretton Institute, University of Adelaide, will deliver the keynote address.

For in-person attendance, RSVP here.

The event will be live streamed here.

On Monday at 4pm, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser) is hosting a seminar on the paper, “Centre-led Fiscal Reform and the Rise of Regional Power Blocs in a Limpopo Municipality, 1980-2020s”, by Joel Pearson.

“This article considers the changing role of a local municipality in the political economy of the Waterberg region of Limpopo. It considers the effects that centre-led processes of municipal fiscal reform over the course of the 1980s and 1990s have had on local and regional politics, and it suggests that this offers one dimension through which to understand why Limpopo has long proved a troublesome region for successive national South African governments, across the apartheid and post-apartheid decades,” according to the paper’s abstract.

Read the paper here.

Register here.

On Tuesday, 23 May, at 5.30pm, Wiser and Jonathan Ball Publishers are holding a book discussion on Winnie & Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage, by Jonny Steinberg.

Steinberg, author and part-time professor at Yale University and Wiser, will be in conversation with Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, lecturer in the department of international relations at Wits University, in the Wiser seminar room.

“One of the most celebrated political leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela has been written about by many biographers and historians. But in one crucial area, his life remains largely untold: his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,” according to the event description.

“Jonny Steinberg tells the tale of this unique marriage — its longings, its obsessions, its deceits — in a page-turning political biography. Winnie and Nelson is a modern epic in which trauma doesn’t affect just the couple at its centre, but an entire nation.”

RSVP to [email protected].

On Tuesday at 6.30pm, the Zero Dropout Campaign is hosting a Twitter space, “Pirls: Context Counts”, to discuss the newly released Pirls 2021 data.

Speakers include Prof Vuyokazi Nomlomo, deputy vice chancellor for teaching and learning at the University of Zululand; Prof Cally Ardington of the South African Labour and Development Research Unit; Nangamso Mtsatse, CEO of Funda Wande; and Pumza Ndamase, project lead for Reading for Meaning.

“Pirls has found that 81% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any language. We know that learners without basic foundational skills struggle to maintain their grip on opportunity, often dropping out before completing matric,” according to the event description.

Set a reminder here.

On Wednesday, 24 May, at 3pm, the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) is hosting the launch of a report titled A Short History of Organised Violence and Torture in Zimbabwe (1972 to 2020)

Speakers include Madrine Chiku, director of the RAU; Musa Kika, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum; Tony Reeler, senior researcher at RAU; and Roselyn Hanzi, director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Join the Zoom event here. The meeting ID is 912 1905 9788 and the passcode is 201077.

On Wednesday at 5pm, law firm ENSafrica will be hosting a panel discussion, “Unlocking State Incapacity”, exploring how state capacity can be improved through public-private partnerships and collaboration.

RSVP here.

Thursday 25 May is Africa Day.

Africa Day is the commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), on 25 May 1963.

“Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its creation on May 25, 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made, while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment,” according to the event description.

On Thursday, 25 May, at 9.30am, the Healthy Living Alliance (Heala) will be hosting a seminar on the “Labelling and Marketing of Food”.

The seminar comes in the wake of the release of draft regulations relating to the Labelling and Marketing of Foodstuffs Act by the Department of Health.

“Heala is galvanising society to understand the regulation in order to submit substantive comments and representations on the proposed regulations,” according to the event description.

The event will take place at the Holiday Inn Johannesburg in Sunny Side Park. RSVP to Eunice Montso on [email protected]

On Thursday at 10.30am, 350Africa.org is launching new renewable energy research on policies, opportunities and barriers to renewable energy in West Africa.

“The research focuses on the status of renewable energy policies in relation to climate change policies and strategies in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo,” according to the event description.

“Speakers will include 350Africa.org spokespeople and partners from West Africa. A copy of the research will be made available after the conference.”

Register here.

On Thursday at 5.30pm, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation are commemorating Africa Day with an event exploring “the power of storytelling and the essence of home and belonging”.

This will involve the screening of two documentaries, Lend Me Your Voice by Claudine Shenge Ndimbira and Coach by Damian Samuels.

“Immerse yourself in the powerful narratives that these films bring to life, as they explore the themes of identity, resilience, and the quest for a sense of home. Through the lens of talented filmmakers, we will witness stories that resonate deeply with the African experience and the universal longing for connection,” according to the event description.

RSVP to [email protected] by 22 May.

On Friday, 26 May, at 9am, Daily Maverick is hosting “The Gathering: Earth Edition” at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The event will bring together some of the world’s leading scientists, economists, business leaders, policymakers and activists to discuss real solutions to the burgeoning energy, environmental and economic crisis facing South Africa.

“Solutions-focused discussions will look at the effect of the climate crisis and ecosystem collapse across business, security, civil society, food production and much more,” according to the event description.

Book tickets for in-person attendance here.

For virtual attendance, register here.

On Friday at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is hosting a talk on “Bipolar Awareness Day: Overcoming the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder”.

Speakers include Marianna Stais, Ruleen de Witt and Vuyo Gayiya, support group leaders who will share their lived experiences of Bipolar Disorder.

“Bipolar Awareness Day… is observed annually to raise awareness of Bipolar Disorder, its effects, and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment,” according to the event description. 

“This day is an opportunity to recognise and honour those living with the disorder and educate the general public about the condition.”

On Saturday, 27 May, at 8am, the Gift of the Givers conference, “Preparedness for Humanitarian Disasters”, will kick off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The event will run until Sunday, 28 May.

Gift of the Givers CEO Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and his team will be using real missions to teach the logistical, medical and ethical principles of working in disaster settings.

“Don’t miss out on this exceptional opportunity to enhance your expertise in disaster response. Our comprehensive programme delves into critical aspects of disaster intervention, equipping participants with invaluable knowledge and skills,” according to the event description.

“Discover a wide range of topics, including the pivotal roles and responsibilities of search and rescue teams, K9 units, medical teams, counsellors and dietitians in the face of humanitarian crises.”

Register here

On Saturday at 9am, the official launch of the Defend our

Democracy Movement will take place at Gibs Business School in Illovo, Johannesburg.

The launch will see a review of Defend Our Democracy’s work thus far, as well as deliberation on its programme of action in relation to the central issues facing democracy today. A new leadership core that will drive the work of the movement forward will be determined.

According to the event description: “Defend Our Democracy was tasked at its Conference for Democratic Renewal and Change, attended by over 100 organisations in July 2022, to establish a civil society movement aimed at strengthening, renewing, protecting and enhancing our constitutional democracy. The conference declaration read: 

‘We hereby resolve that the Defend our Democracy Campaign be transformed as soon as practicable into a flexible popular movement based on institutional and organisational affiliation, including individual association, where deemed necessary. It shall not contest elections and will act in defence of our constitutional democracy and mobilise at every level in this regard. This movement shall be charged with the responsibility of implementing the programme of action adopted at this Conference, and the Conference Secretariat shall report on its activities to its members within the next twelve months.’”

Members of the media who want to attend the launch in person should RSVP here.

The event will be live streamed here.

Sunday 28 May is World Hunger Day.

World Hunger Day is an opportunity for people around the world to play their part in ending world hunger.

“Despite producing enough food to feed everyone, more than 800 million people still go hungry every day… Hunger is an insidious cycle. It’s often silent, invisible and relentless; passed from generation to generation. Unlike famines, which attract emergency aid, millions of people globally are forced to accept a life of hunger, unable to make their dreams a reality,” according to the World Hunger Day website.

“This World Hunger Day, unite with millions of people and thousands of organisations around the world to amplify the voices of those facing hunger and help make the [United Nations] Sustainable Goal of Zero Hunger a reality.”

Online Course on Community-Based Paralegals

The Socio-Economic Rights Project of the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights, the University of the Western Cape and partners will be hosting an online course on community-based paralegals from 5 to 30 June 2023.

“The course will take place online… with weekly readings and assessments over a period of one month. Applications are invited from persons working with or interested in the role of Community-Based Paralegals,” according to the course description.

This includes members of civil society organisations, non-government organisations, academia, judicial officers, prosecutors, investigators and paralegals.

Registration closes on 31 May. Register here. DM/MC

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