On May 10th, the Spanish newspaper El País published an online article titled Twitter, al Rescate del Sueño de Mandela (Twitter to the Rescue of the Mandela Dream) depicting the efforts of the Twitter communityto raise its voice against hate crimes in South Africa.
Solidarity and social cohesion became loud and clear after South Africa and the international community turned to Twitter to take a stand regarding the latest outbreaks of violence, which specifically targeted immigrants in South Africa mostly from Mozambique, Zimbabue, Malawi and Ethiopia. The most recent outbreaks, fueled by xenophobic sentiments, began in March in the city of Durban, but have spread throughout South Africa including Johannesburg. Twitter served as a platform for all those who felt the moral and social duty to speak up against the unfortunate series of violent occurrences. On April 14th, Twitter users started raising their voices and identified their call to social justice and human rights with different hashtags, which quickly caught on among the Twitter users and reached outstanding numbers of supporters. Among the most notable hashtags are #XenophobiaSA which almost reached 100,000 #NoToXenophobia, which surpassed 90,000 #SayNoToXenophobia is around 68,000, while #StopXenophobia has surpassed 38,000. Winnie Mandela, one of the most recognized and important figures of this Twitter movement, expressed her heartfelt sentiments on April 14th, “This is not the freedom that we fought for. I am hearth broken #StopXenophobia. (WM).”
Other media are launching campaigns to do their part to raise consciousness that aims to create social cohesion given that the great majority of the victims are from other parts of Africa. LeadSA is an organization that promotes social progress and justice. Foundation Africa 2.0 launched a campaign at the end of January through social media to reject the wave of violence that Boko Haram has created.
It became apparent that South Africans and the international community, individuals and organizations alike, felt the urge to react against the hate crimes with the aim of creating public awareness and cease the violence. As Nelson Mandela said, “We can build a society grounded on friendship & our common humanity–a society founded on tolerance.”
The Finding Ways to Walk Together Project, part of the Shared Societies Project, has celebrated its National Meeting in Gauteng, South Africa, yesterday and today with financial support from the European Union Delegation in the Republic of South Africa.
The intention with the national event is to have a visionary and inclusive meeting where “differentvoices” come together to do the following:
- Receive and reflect on key themes emanating from the provincial dialogues
- Draw inspiration from positive case studies of societies that are successfully walking together,both in South Africa and beyond its borders
- Have conversations with the National Planning Commission
- Have conversations with (national and international) political actors and Club of Madrid Board Members
- Consider key practical proposals on how to sustain dialogue as an approach to maximise theopportunities for cohesion and development
- Contribute to shifts attitudes (from despair to hope; from apathy to taking responsibility forone’s own destiny) and behaviour (a willingness to engage and dialogue as opposed toaccepting divisions and separation) in the South African context
The purpose is to inspire a core group of South Africans to unite around a vision of a countrywhere dialogue is practiced and sustained at all levels and to commit to achieving that vision.
We would like to say thank you to our partners: Idasa and The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.
We’ll give you further information very soon, but we are so proud of this initiative that ensures a pacific and democratic future in a country like South Africa.
By Dr. Hlope Brigalia Bam
We as South Africans have a way to come together in creative ways when it really matters. We came in our millions to vote peacefully in all the recent elections. We united to transform this country from an apartheid state to a constitutional democracy.
We hosted and won the rugby world cup in 1995 and the African Cup of Nations in 1996. South Africans successfully hosted the Fifa World Cup and made Africa and the World proud. We have the capacity to embrace one another and our brothers and sisters from around the world. We proved the skeptics wrong, time and again.
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We are still finding the way to build a shared society in South Africa!
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba is convening sixty South Africans from various sectors to renew their commitment to sustain and enhance meaningful dialogue in South Africa at a time when dialogue is often confused with debate.
This dialogue, which aims to strengthen existing efforts to help our nation succeed, takes place on 25-26 July 2012 at Liliesleaf, Rivonia, to discuss ways to ensure that civil society, business and government continue to find ways to walk together through sustained collaboration and dialogue.
South Africans from all walks of life have been calling for some time now for creative ways to assist our nation to overcome various challenges. The national dialogue is one way of responding to these calls and build on the momentum that has been created by various dialogue initiatives, such as the four Finding Ways to Walk Together regional dialogues, the National Social Cohesion Summit in Kliptown on 4-6 July 2012, the National Planning Commission’s consultations, and various other ongoing citizen-driven dialogue efforts at various levels, such as the Citizens Movement for Social Change, Partnerships for Possibilities, and others. These initiatives now need to be connected and woven into a national dialogue and cohesion infrastructure.
Among the participants are Minister for Planning, Min. Trevor Manual, and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, and participants from the regional dialogues. They will be joined by Club de Madrid Board Member President Ketumile Masire of Botswana who support South African efforts to promote shared societies.
The Finding Ways to Walk Together dialogue initiative is a partnership between the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Idasa as local partners, and a core group comprising The Citizen’s Movement for Social Change, Dynamic Stability, the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust, and the Africa Centre for Dispute Resolution of the Stellenbosch University School of Business.
By Ayanda Nyoka, from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
The Finding Ways to Walk Together dialogue initiative in South Africa hosted a youth dialogue, the last of the four regional dialogues on the 31st May to 1st June in the Free State province, in partnership with the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social justice of the Free State University. The dialogue was set to coincide with youth month which begins the 1st of June each year to commemorate the youth of 1976 who came together on June 16 in Soweto and different parts of South Africa in resistance against Bantu education.
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