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CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 6 MAY — 10 MAY

This week — Artfluence Human Rights Festival, unused public land debate and Equal Education march 

This week — Artfluence Human Rights Festival, unused public land debate and Equal Education march 
Various webinars and events on housing, water crisis, and education activism are scheduled for the week ahead. (Illustration: Lisa Nelson) South Africa’s education system is in a poor way. We asked political parties what they would do to fix it.

The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal continues with the 4th annual Artfluence Human Rights Festival, the African Centre for Cities and Ndifuna Ukwazi will host a webinar series aimed at recentering the conversation on housing and thousands of Equal Education members will be taking to the streets of Cape Town for a mass action to call for the prioritisation of education ahead of the national elections.

On Monday 6 May, The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal continues with the 4th annual Artfluence Human Rights Festival, a week-long exploration of the power of art as a defender of social justice and human rights. Running from 3 May to 8 May 2024, this year’s theme is “Bridges of Solidarity”.

“Against the backdrop of South Africa’s 30th anniversary of democracy, the festival will engage with the vital role that the arts can play in defending human rights and social justice. Engage with cultural producers, participate in networking sessions, and explore strategies for global collaboration. Celebrate the transformative power of artistic expression in fostering solidarity and positive societal change,” read the website.

Part of the programme on 6 May is Shakespeare to Gaza,  a form of protest theatre drawing on the motif of liberation and resistance.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Middle East crisis news hub

“A searing monologue by Ali entitled From Gaza to Shakespeare is a deep yearning call for Shakespeare to ‘get up’ and inspire the people of Gaza at this time of darkness and despair. This performance is a response to this monologue. Our voices and bodies weaving together Shakespearian works with the Gaza Monologues as a motif of liberation and resistance,” read the programme.

This will take place at 7.30pm at the Square Space Theater (UKZN Howard College).

On Tuesday, 7 May, at 5:15pm, Ndifuna Ukwazi will have a publication launch.

“On (un)Freedom Day, hundreds of land and housing activists from across Cape Town joined Reclaim the City, Housing Assembly, Indibano Yabahlali, Covid-19 and Ndifuna Ukwazi to put forward a new, transformative vision for four pieces of extremely well-located public land in Cape Town. These sites are currently wasted as parking and storage for government cars.

“Join the dialogue to be the first to see our solid solutions for how this land can help us build a more just city. Hear from land and housing movement leaders, social housing experts, shelter providers, and more!” read the poster.

The launch will take place at Ndifuna Ukwazi, 18 Roeland Street, Gardens, Cape Town.

RSVP here.

On Wednesday, 8 May at 5:30pm,  there will be a young urbanists monthly meetup discussing housing, parking, and elections.

“Anyone is welcome to join an evening with young people interested in urban issues as we dig deeper into the vision for these four sites and how we can all get involved with making this vision a reality,” read the event poster.

The meetup is free and will take place at Urban Think Tank Empower, 76 Church Street, Cape Town CBD.

On Thursday 9 May at 1:30pm, the African Centre for Cities and Ndifuna Ukwazi will host a webinar series aimed at recentering the conversation on housing.

The first webinar will focus on the historical context and intersectionalities of housing in South Africa.

Register here.

Also on Thursday at 2pm, The University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) and the University of Cranfield’s Centre for Water and Environmental Development (Cwed) are co-hosting a webinar titled “How to Organise Collective Action in a Fragmented Society: Averting a Water Crisis in Johannesburg”.

The panel of speakers includes Professor Anja du Plessis, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Unisa; Dr Luvuyo Jalisa, Policy Specialist at the Department of Water and Sanitation; and Professor Mike Muller, a Professional Engineer and Visiting Adjunct Professor at the Wits School of Governance.

Register here.

Also on Thursday at 3:30pm, The Nelson Mandela Foundation will host a dialogue with the theme “Understanding Christian Zionism”.

The Reverend Dr Munther Isaac will be the keynote speaker.

Register here.

On Friday 10 May, thousands of Equal Education members will be taking to the streets of Cape Town for a mass action to call for the prioritisation of education ahead of the national elections.

“We demand that government meet the deadlines in the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure AND that they provide adequate funding to address the education crisis. Join us in our collective call to action. Let our voices be heard,” read the poster.

From 10 May to 12 May, there will be a Global Anti-Apartheid Conference taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre that will induce a delegation of Palestinian Christians who embarked on a visit to South Africa on 4 May.

“Their visit to South Africa ahead of the Global Conference aims to raise awareness of the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, the genocidal war on Gaza, and the urgent need to work vigorously for a just peace in Palestine- Israel. The context of the visit is not only the current war on Gaza, in which nearly 40,000 people lost their lives, including thousands of women and children, with 70,000 injured and without any hope of proper hospitalisation. The context is also that of the 75-year-long Israel Occupation and Apartheid in Palestine,” read a press statement regarding their visits to churches in South Africa.

For more information contact Rev Moss Ntlha at 082 809 8533

Also on Friday at 11am Western Cape Provincial Council of Churches will host a special gathering to discuss the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

“As part of the growing civil society/citizen voice against “BAD” governance, the Western Cape Provincial Council of Churches considers it a calling and ministry of justice to address these wrongs”.

This will take place at  Bethel Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E. CHURCH) 8 Harmonie St, Hazendal, Cape Town, 7764. DM

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