Maverick Citizen


This week — Home Affairs crisis highlighted, World Breastfeeding Week and ushering in Women’s Month

This week — Home Affairs crisis highlighted, World Breastfeeding Week and ushering in Women’s Month
Zimbabwean nationals wait in long queues at Home affairs in Rissik Street on 13 December 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. They either still applying or waiting for their work permits before the deadline on 31 December 2010. (Photo by Gallo Images/The Times/Marianne Schwankhart)

1–7 August is World Breastfeeding Week 

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure a child’s health and survival. However, contrary to World Health Organisation recommendations, fewer than half of infants aged less than six months old are exclusively breastfed.

According to the United Nations, breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients that an infant needs for its first months of life, and continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of its first year, and up to one third during its second year of life. 

Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese, and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes continues to undermine efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and duration worldwide.

On Thursday, 3 August at 12pm, Maverick Citizen journalist Zukiswa Pikoli will host a webinar discussion with child nutrition experts and activists Dr Chantell Witten and Phunyuka Bvuma-Ngwenya. The webinar will discuss how breastfeeding can stem malnutrition and childhood stunting. In 2022, 22.3% (more than one in five) of children under age five worldwide had stunted growth. In South Africa, this number stands at more than 1.5 million children, meaning that almost three out of every 10 children in South Africa are already stunted, making the incidence higher than the global average. Experts and activists, backed by scientific evidence, argue that an increased uptake of breastfeeding can help to mitigate this problem.

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Other events this week:

On Tuesday, 1 August from 1–2pm, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), will host a hybrid academic seminar titled “The Land and its People; the South African land question and the post apartheid political order”. Register here.

Professor Andries du Toit, Director at PLAAS, University of Western Cape, will examine the disjuncture between the discourses of policy deliberation and contentious politics in debates about “the land question” in South Africa. He will argue that the South African land debate, as it unfolds in the public realm, is best understood as a displaced discourse indirectly addressing the terms of political belonging and the nature of the post-apartheid political order. Far from being a distraction, this is a challenge that urgently needs to be confronted on its own terms.

Andries du Toit has a PhD in Comparative Studies from the University of Essex. His training is in political theory and discourse analysis. He has done extensive research on the political economy of structural poverty and racialised inequality in a range of contexts in South Africa.

On Wednesday, 2 August, from 10am–12pm,  the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is jointly hosting the Annual Regional Conference with the Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN). The theme is “Re-thinking solidarity and pushing back against authoritarian resurgence: Our collective commitment to justice and inclusive development in Southern Africa.”

“Discussions will centre around the state of democracy, governance and social justice across the region, with a particular focus on hotspot countries, and explore avenues for providing more nuanced and appropriate solidarity in pursuit of just and inclusive development in Southern Africa. This forms part of our efforts to facilitate consistent, coherent and people-centred solidarity responses to address human rights, democratisation and governance challenges in the region, as we head towards the SADC People’s Summit, scheduled for 16-18 August in Luanda, Angola. 

“We hope this process will culminate in the adoption of the regional CSOs joint position paper that will be presented to SADC leaders by civil society leaders at the Luanda Summit,” say the organisers.

Register here.  

On Thursday, 3 August, at 3pm–4.30pm, join the Climate Justice Coalition for their second webinar in the “Intro to Economic Justice” series. They will host Nigerian-American philosopher Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò.

Register here.

“We invite Nigerian-American philosopher Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, a leading thinker on the intersection between colonial and climate reparations, to speak on decolonisation and reparations for economic justice, in the context of the climate crisis. We look at how colonialism and imperialism have impacted African economies, and the potential of using decolonisation as a lens to achieve economic justice, and the role of reparations in this process. We explore how decolonisation can be used to build a more just and equitable economic system for all, in order to achieve climate justice,” says the webinar brief.


On Friday, 4 August to Saturday, 5 August, the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will convene a National Dialogue on Coalition Governments, hosted at the University of the Western Cape.  The aim is to lay the foundation for a National Framework on Coalition Governments, to serve as a guide for “effectively managing and navigating coalition governments” where they become necessary. The dialogue will be held under the theme “Working together to build strong and resilient democratic institutions to serve the people”.

The need for such dialogue is informed by the adverse effects observed in certain coalition arrangements at local government, particularly their impact on service delivery and governance. To mitigate these negative effects and foster a more productive and harmonious governance approach, it has “become necessary to embark on a transformative national conversation”. The National Dialogue will bring together different sectors of society to work towards crafting a clear and predictable framework for coalition governments in South Africa, to ensure cohesive and effective governance,” says a media statement. 

On Saturday, 5 August at 10.30am–1pm, the Centre for Sociological Research and Practice at the University of Johannesburg is launching a research report on the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit “Neither a beggar nor a thief” – How Home Affairs has failed permit holders and what we stand to lose from the cancellation of the ZEP.

Venue: Humanities Common Room, C Ring 319, UJ APK Campus. For information, contact Sinqobile Akin at [email protected]

On Sunday, 6 August at 9am, join the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, and the Sophie and Henry De Bruyn Foundation, at their annual journey to pay homage to the 1956 Women’s March organisers. They will gather at the grave site of Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoyi at Avalon Cemetery. Contact 011-854-0082. DM



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