Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 5-9 JUNE

This week — Food Safety Day, Universal Basic Grant dialogue and men’s mental health

This week — Food Safety Day, Universal Basic Grant dialogue and men’s mental health
The University of the Witwatersrand will be hosting food safety awareness week as part of the World Food Safety Day, to raise awareness of food safety, the importance of food standards and enhancing collaboration towards ensuring food safety compliance. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Wits University will host food safety awareness week, UBI Africa Dialogue is hosting a virtual dialogue on the Politics of Basic Income in South Africa, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation is launching the Achmat Dangor Literary Prize.

On average, 1,600,000 people per day get sick due to unsafe food, 340 children under 5 years of age die due to preventable foodborne diseases, and every day 200 diseases are caused by unsafe food, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This year’s theme is Food Standards Save Lives.

(Image: World Food Safety Day)

From Monday 5 June 2023, the University of the Witwatersrand will be hosting food safety awareness week as part of the World Food Safety Day commemoration this year. The celebration will be undertaken for a period of five days, starting from 5 June and running to 9 June 2023. Activities will include food safety information stalls stationed around campus, where food safety quizzes and information sessions will be held with students and staff. On 9 June 2023, the University will be hosting the World Food Safety Day Conference, targeting university retailers, staff and students, with speakers from various sectors.

The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of food safety, the importance of food standards and enhancing collaboration towards ensuring food safety compliance. Initially proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO, the first World Food Safety Day was observed in 2019. South Africa, being a country blessed with rich agricultural resources and diverse food traditions, still faces challenges such as foodborne illnesses, malnutrition, and the vulnerability of its food supply chains. Observing this day in South Africa is crucial in addressing these issues and strengthening food control systems within the country, according to event details. Furthermore, it emphasises the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and responsible food consumption in ensuring safety throughout the food supply chain.

The events are all in-person. The conference will take place at the Professional Development Hub (PDH) Atrium, Gate 6, 92 Empire Road, Gauteng, South Africa, 2193.

On Monday 5 June at 4pm, Wiser invites you to join an online version of the Wish seminar. The discussion is on “Nets of Social Motion: Black Christianity in South African History”, presented by Natasha Erlank. Read the paper here and register in advance of the meeting on Zoom here.

Abstract: “This is partly a paper about Christianity and its influence on black family life in the first half of the 20th century, but more centrally about the conceptualisation of social change in South African history. Migrant labour and the differences between city and country life dominate discussions of black social change in South African history. While the impact of migrant labour was a powerful vector in shifts in family life, the changes wrought by a Christian sexual modernity were at least as consequential. Pointing to the importance of faith in African lives is not new, but considerations of why often lack critical theorisation. It only needs a moment’s attention to the texture of current African life to understand the power and influence of the space of the church. However, the church as a space in people’s lives is not separate from everything else that happened in them; it is not a separate field of social inquiry. In this paper I focus especially on how church life provided people with the tools and a shared repertoire of experience to behave in ways legible to public life in the early twentieth century, ensuring that ideas about gender, tradition, custom, and modern political life were imbricated in the constitution of black social life.”

On Tuesday, 6 June at 9:00 am, Author Paul Holden presents his latest and most crucial book, Zondo at Your Fingertips. According to the launch description, Holden’s presentation will cover the 19 volumes of findings, how the R57-billion was spent on Gupta-related contracts, the R16-billion scored by the Guptas in kickbacks and dodgy deals, and how it was hidden.

Venue: Mike’s Heritage House, 15 St Andrews Road, Parktown, Johannesburg.

RSVP at [email protected]

On Tuesday 6 June, from 6pm to 6.30pm the Nelson Mandela Foundation is launching the Achmat Dangor Literary Prize.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Achmat Dangor Legacy Project and Leseding La Dinaledi Foundation would like to invite you to the launch of a new book prize aimed at supporting Black South African authors who are currently working on their second manuscript. The prize is designed to provide these writers with concentrated time and space to complete their manuscript, by offering them a writing residency, a stipend, and final editing of their complete book.

Event Details: Venue: 107 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg

Enquiries: Morongwa Phukubye Communications Officer [email protected] +27 72 778 8770

On Wednesday, 7 June 9am to 4pm is the opening of the Cissie Gool House co-design exhibition.

On Wednesday at 6pm – 8pm the Fada Auditorium on UJ Bunting Road in Johannesburg will host the book launch of researcher and author Luke Sinwell’s The Participation Paradox: Between Bottom-up and Top-down Development in South Africa

Sinwell is associate professor at the University of Johannesburg, co-author of The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa, and co-editor of Urban Revolt: State Power and the Rise of People’s Movements in the Global South.

Speakers include Mosa Phadi of University of Free State, Ayanda Mabulu of Space Mecca, Luke Sinwell and Nombulelo Nyezi, PAC activist and former resident of Thembelihle. 

The cover image of the UJ Press book is drawn from Ayanda Mabulu’s collection of artwork. It suggests that as seemingly bottom-up participatory processes unfold, the eyes of the capitalist machine are watching.

Venue: Fada Auditorium, UJ Bunting Road (behind the SABC).

On Thursday 8 June from 9am to 2pm (lunch included) the Amadiba Crisis Committee is hosting a seminar where the Technical Team who have been assisting the crisis committee will  present the work they have done, and provide feedback on the outcome of their engagements with South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Dedeat)

“The alignment of the N2 Wild Coast Freeway in Bizana, as proposed by Sanral, not only disrupts a 90m wide by 32km long swathe of pristine and sensitive environment within the Protected Coastal Area. It also disrupts ecotourism and productive agricultural and grazing land on the coast and it has other ramifications extending way beyond a footprint of the road reserve.

“Since 2017, the Amadiba Crisis Committee has been trying to convince Sanral to move the N2 highway from the Amadiba coast. Assisted by a team of experts, the ACC is now going public with an Alternative Inland Route for N2 in Mbizana, Eastern Cape,” the brief reads.

Venue: AIDC Seminar Room, 129 Rochester Road, Observatory, Cape Town. An Internet link to the seminar will be provided. 

Please RSVP: [email protected] by Monday 5 June 2023

On Thursday, 8 June from 11:30am to 2pm, the Institute for Economic Justice is launching its latest research report on International Financial Institutions’ Covid-19 lending in South Africa. The report provides valuable insights and analysis on the context, contentions, and policy implications of pandemic-related lending in South Africa.

“Drawing on over a dozen interviews with members of Parliament, the Executive, multilateral institutions, bankers, lawyers, academics, and civil society groups, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of how IFIs have lent and what future lending (perhaps in relation to climate finance) might look like. Register here or you can physically attend in Rosebank, Southern Sun, Johannesburg,” the invite reads.

On Thursday, 7 June at 3pm, the Southern African Litigation Centre along with the Centre for Human Rights is hosting a webinar on the “Void for Vagueness Doctrine: Unpacking the Constitutionality of Sedition Laws” With Ugandan Judge Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza and UN Special Rapporteur Clément Nyaletsossi Voule.

The synopsis states “the administration of justice, the judiciary is faced with interpreting the country’s laws in compliance with the Constitution. In a world where many legislatures have maintained, reinforced, or reintroduced laws that fall within the parameters of the vagueness doctrine, the role of the judiciary in unflinchingly protecting citizens from such laws is of critical importance.” Using the example of colonial-era sedition offences, the webinar will unpack how courts have recently used the doctrine of void for vagueness in different jurisdictions. Sedition laws are frequently used against a broad range of speech and conduct critical of governments. Register here.  

On Thursday at 5pm, UBI Africa Dialogue is hosting a virtual dialogue on The Politics of Basic Income in South Africa, Perspective, Strategies and Realities with the co-founder and policy specialist at the Institute for Economic Justice in South Africa. Register here.

On Thursday 7 June, at 7pm, The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is helping men deal with grief in an online session. SA’s largest Mental Health Advocacy Group wants to create a supportive community for the online Men’s Grief and Bereavement Support Group, where strength, understanding, and connection intertwine as they navigate the healing journey of loss together. Contact Jonathan on 083 230 0007 to RSVP. DM

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