CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH — 27 NOVEMBER-3 DECEMBER
This week — solidarity with Palestinians through music, walks and dialogues, Joburg water protest and 16 Days of Activism
Two significant dates will be marked this week — International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare.
Wednesday, 29 November is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
‘In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B). On that day in 1947, the assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II))
In resolution 60/37 of 1 December 2005, the assembly requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organise an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN.
30 November is the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare
Efforts to achieve chemical disarmament that culminated in the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention began more than a century ago. Chemical weapons were used on a massive scale during World War 1, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths and a million casualties.
However, chemical weapons were not used on the battleground in Europe in World War 2. After the war, and with the advent of the nuclear debate, several countries gradually came to the realisation that the marginal value of having chemical weapons in their arsenals was limited, while the threat posed by the availability and proliferation of such weapons made a comprehensive ban desirable.
Find more details about the day of remembrance here.
Friday, 1 December is World Aids Day, when people from around the world unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from Aids-related illnesses. Each World Aids Day has a theme, which this year is “Let Communities Lead”.
Events this week
On Monday, 27 November 2023 at 11am, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will release the sixth South African HIV Prevalence, Incidence, Behaviour and Communication Survey findings (also known as the sixth South Africa Behavioural, Sero-status and Media impact survey, SABSSM VI). The launch will be held at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) PRF Training Centre.
First commissioned by Nelson Mandela in 2001, the study is a population-based, cross-sectional survey of households throughout South Africa that gathers information on HIV incidence, prevalence and other related indicators.
The HSRC has implemented a series of population-based surveys on HIV over the past 20 years, starting with the 2002 Nelson Mandela/HSRC-funded survey on HIV and Aids, followed by the 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2017 surveys.
The survey was conducted in all nine provinces among more than 27,000 households on key HIV indicators, social and behavioural factors and access to medical interventions in South Africa.
The study was led by the HSRC in collaboration with partners, using funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, with technical collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the South African Medical Research Council, NICD, the University of Cape Town, the South African National Aids Council and Unaids.
Join the conversation.
On Tuesday, 28 November from 8pm to 9pm, mental health activists will hold a webinar on “Understanding GBV”, in line with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
Attendees will receive a certificate “acknowledging their commitment to fostering awareness and promoting change”. Complete the questionnaire to register.
On Tuesday, 28 November at 2pm, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies will host an academic webinar on “The Great Conservation Tragedy?” Professor Bram Büscher will discuss the intricate relationships between nature, biodiversity and capitalist development. Register here.
From Wednesday, 29 November to Friday, 1 December, Gender Dynamix will host the sixth Biennial Regional Trans Health, Advocacy and Research Conference in collaboration with the Africa Trans Network, Southern Africa Trans Forum, Community of Practice and the South African National Gender Diversity Coalition.
The theme is “Reimagining and Driving Innovative Possibilities: Gender Equity in Health and Law in Africa”. The conference aims to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss and address the challenges and opportunities that trans and gender diverse communities face in Africa.
For more information contact Lindsay Louis, national programmes manager at [email protected] or 071 935 9528.
On Wednesday, 29 November from 6pm to 8.30pm, African Women Writers Network will host a cultural evening in solidarity with the people of Palestine, in partnership with Palestine Festival SA. The evening of poetry and music will feature jazz vocalist and trombonist Siya Makuzeni, Muhammad Dawjee (sax), Tshegofatso Teffo (guitar), Simz Tshabalala (drums), Gally Ngoveni (bass), Themby Khumalo (vocals), and poets Dshamilja Roshani and Vuyelwa Maluleka. There will also be a talk by Professor Salim Vally from the University of Johannesburg.
The venue is the Photo Workshop Auditorium, the Market Square, Newtown, 138 Lilian Ngoyi Street. Entry is free. RSVP to [email protected] Donations of R100 upwards are welcome towards the bursary fund for an arts student in Palestine/
On Wednesday, 29 November at 8.30am, the Joburg Water Crisis community organisation will protest at the Brixton Multipurpose Centre in Mayfair West. “On 31 October, the mayor received our memorandum and promised to meet us within 14 days. The 14 days have long passed. We are tired of broken promises,” the committee says.
“In a display of complete disconnect and indifference, the mayor of Johannesburg, councillor Kabelo Gwamanda, failed to meet the Water Crisis Committee’s deadline for addressing the city’s water challenges, choosing instead to spend a crucial day playing golf. As communities grappling with persistent water shortages, the mayor’s apparent lack of urgency raises serious questions about leadership priorities and accountability.
“As the Water Crisis Committee, we represent diverse communities across Johannesburg. On 31 October, we held a protest to highlight the severity of the water crisis and handed the mayor a memorandum of demands. Among these demands was a call for a public meeting within 14 days to present a credible plan for tackling the water crisis. This deadline came and went without any meaningful response from the mayor’s office. After the deadline had passed and the committee followed up, an official in the mayor’s office communicated that they were under the impression that the deadline was 14 working days and so we waited patiently until 21 November. But that deadline too came and went without a meeting being set up. We followed up and waited a few more days. But then our patience ran out like the water in our taps.”
For more information WhatsApp 065 5999 898 or 065 8033 396.
On Thursday, 30 November at 10am, Defend Our Democracy will officially launch its Election Watch campaign, which aims to encourage civil society organisations across the country to observe and monitor the 2024 elections and to pronounce on their integrity. RSVP here.
On Thursday, 30 November from 4pm to 6pm, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will launch an exhibition titled Nelson Mandela is Dead at its offices at 107 Central Street, Houghton, where attendees will be invited to participate and contemplate their deepest aspirations for freedom, by whispering these hopes into an enamel cup. Exhibition curator Kneo Mokgopa explains: “Enamel cups hold a profound significance in our identity and culture. They have been pivotal in our most intimate cultural rituals, spanning weddings, funerals, memorials, and even conversations with our ancestors.”
Previously showcased at Stellenbosch University and The Forge in Johannesburg, the exhibition is set to transition to the #NelsonMandelaFoundation.
Join the official opening here.
On Thursday, 30 November at 1.30pm, Unaids will launch a report in London titled Let Communities Lead, which aims to show that the world can end Aids if communities are included, funded and supported to lead the way. It also shows that by removing these obstacles, the full potential of community leadership will be unleashed, allowing the world to end Aids by 2030.
On Thursday, 30 November at 6pm, Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood will host a webinar commemorating World Aids Day, titled “Are we winning the war against HIV/Aids in South Africa?” He will be in conversation with Dr Fareed Abdullah and Dr Catherin Orrell, South African and world experts on the science and management of HIV infection, to discuss the progress that has been made, but more importantly the unfinished business of HIV and the risks we face if we don’t rise to the new challenges of preventing and treating HIV.
Register to attend the webinar here.
On Friday, 1 December at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group will host an “Ask the Expert” dialogue about substance use over the holidays.
On Sunday, 3 December, Pace4peace and the Islamic Medical Association invite all healthcare workers to walk for freedom in their white coats and scrubs to honour selfless medics in Palestine. Venue: Zoo Lake. Details are here.
Launch of the Futurelect Online Civic Education Platform
“The platform has been developed to support engaged voters and active citizens in South Africa’s democracy. Futurelect’s online civic education programme is a series of multimedia micro-courses aimed at supporting young people in particular and is freely available to the public. The courses provide clear, easily accessible knowledge on the workings of politics and government and on how to participate actively in the democratic process.”
Find more information here.
Youth Capital campaign
“Ready to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment head-on? It’s time to empower yourself to bring about change in your community. Join EmpowerU, Youth Capital’s guide to equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to start taking action,” Find out more here. DM