The 16th of June marks the anniversary of the iconic 1976 student uprisings which took place in Soweto. It is a day of solemn remembrance for the brave youth who were struck down while peacefully rising up in rejection of the Apartheid regime’s inferior education system for black students. It is also a day for celebrating the essential role of youth in our society, as vibrant catalysts for change, and the torch bearers of our nation’s future.
We join South Africans in commemorating Youth Day. As a civil society organisation we believe that it is our responsibility to confront our past, to challenge the future and to promote a more equal and sustainable society and region. In light of the incredible international solidarity shown to the people of South Africa – which ultimately crippled Apartheid South Africa’s economy – South Africa has a responsibility to repay its historic debt to the world by playing a role in bringing about a more just world for all. SALO believes that the work we do plays a part in that larger picture, both in seeking solutions to conflicts on our continent, and in bringing about awareness and behaviour change around issues such as homophobia, gender based violence and xenophobia.
Cognizant of the important role of the youth in affecting social change, SALO strives to mainstream youth participation in all aspects of our work. SALO places a strong focus on working with youth in our community-based anti-xenophobia, LGBTI rights and gender-based violence programmes. SALO’s network includes youth from a wide array of political and student organisations, however SALO strives to prioritise the voices of black youth living in townships.
Date: 25th of May – Africa Day
Venue: Sierra Burgers Park Hotel
Hosted by SALO
SAWA South Sudan was a virtual summit being streamed from Nairobi, Kenya. Its aim was to connect women activists in South Sudan with women leaders and activists from around the world. Speakers ranged from former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director at Oxfam International and Dr Koiti Emmily, medic at Juba Teaching Hospital.
It recognised the growing issues and conflict occurring in South Sudan as well as the lack of impactful responses in bringing resolution. The importance of women and their role in peace and reconciliation was raised as a paramount factor if South Sudan is ever to have sustainable peace.
The conflict itself is worsening with systematic state and militant force abuses inflicted on the civilian population. Human rights abuses are reported daily, and the issue of sexual abuse is becoming a rampant problem. With women making up over 60% of the population, events like SawaSouthSudan play a critical role in raising these issues and how we can empower more women to take an active role in fighting for human rights and for the betterment of their country.
SALO was delighted to have partners from the ANC, the South Sudanese Embassy and the Institute of Global Dialogue (IGD) present at our viewing function. There was lively conversation towards the end on the issues mentioned above as well as what more needs to be done to support South Sudan from South Africa.
The summit reached more than 115 million people on social media, with viewing events in 25 countries. The success of this campaign shows the importance of social media in spreading awareness around the globe.
For Navi Pillay, it’s because the women of South Sudan have suffered for far too long. Share your reasons for participating in the comments below and don’t forget to RSVP at https://www.sawasouthsudan.com/
YOU’RE INVITED: SawaSouthSudan is a virtual summit connecting the women of South Sudan to the world. Streaming live on Africa Day, 25th May 2pm EAT. Find out more here: https://www.sawasouthsudan.com/
As we mark this important day, may the words of our icon and founding father echo throughout our land, “Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement”, Nelson Mandela, 10 May 1994. Happy Freedom Day South Africa!
But what does freedom mean for the young people of this nation? Here are some views from the young people at SALO.
“For me, freedom means having the ability and the right to express myself. The ability to live in a society where everyone is equal and to take into account the immense responsibility of having that freedom, given the sacrifice that many gave for me and everyone to attain that freedom”, Athenkosi Thoba.
“Freedom to me is Choice! Which school I want to attend, what profession I’d like to go into and who I want to marry, where I’d like to live, travel at will. These were not just restricted by race but by gender” Jessey Matlou.
“Freedom to me means living in a society that values the importance and contribution of women in leadership roles, and where the choices I make for myself are not determined by surviving structural patriarchy” Daisy Mbutho.
“To me, freedom is living in a world with people who have boundless love for each other and a world absent of greed and arrogance. If we eliminate the thought “I deserve better, and I am better than you” we can achieve freedom. You simply cannot hurt or oppress another person if you regard them as highly as yourself, so to me it starts with a change in mindset towards one another.” –
We have come far, but the long walk to freedom is not yet over.
SALO April 2018
On the 17th April 2018 SALO facilitated a community screening and dialogue with high school learners in Khayelitsha, talking about on gender based-violence.
The session started with a screening of a clip of South African teenagers speaking candidly about gender-based violence, linking these behaviours to prevailing societal norms of what it means to be a “man”. This included a discussion amongst a group of friends on the topic of violence towards their partners. Some of the youths admitted to having hit their girlfriends out of anger, while others indicated that they did not condone gender-based violence and would never hit a woman.
Siphelo Mzondo, former National leader of COSAS active in the province, chaired the post-screening discussion. Participants were all grade 10 learners from Sizimisele Technical High School in Khayelitsha. The participants were evenly split in terms of gender, which added a stimulating dynamic to the discussion. All participants condemned gender-based violence, and with most female participants expressing how this issue affected their lives personally. One male participant shared that he was abused as a child by a relative, and that people don’t know this about him. He raised this as an example to highlight that abuse is so rife in our country that most South Africans walk with unseen scars of sexual and gender based abuse. He also touched on gender-discrimination in terms of society’s treatment of victims of abuse who speak out, saying that he used to be embarrassed as a young man to disclose that he was a victim of abuse, as it is still perceived as an issue only affecting women by many in SA society.
This screening, and other community screenings in this project aim to facilitate school environment change, and to change social norms related to violence at community level, by focusing on ideas of masculinity and violent practices of men and boys, and building relationship and communication skills amongst youth.
SALO mourns the loss of Ambassador George Nene who was a Senior Associate of SALO. Our heart goes out to his family and friends during this very difficult time.
DIRCO Media statement:
07 April 2018
Minister Sisulu extends condolences to the family and friends of the late Ambassador George Nene
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Lindiwe Sisulu, has extended her condolences and those of the DIRCO family to the family and friends of former Ambassador to Nigeria and Switzerland, Ambassador George Nene, who passed away on Friday, 06 April 2018.
Minister Sisulu said Ambassador Nene ranks among the top diplomats the ANC and the Government of South Africa ever deployed across the world. “South Africans must celebrate the contribution Ambassador Nene made to the fight against apartheid and his role in the development of our relations with various countries across the world. We have lost one of our best diplomats at a time when we still need their experience and wisdom,” said Minister Sisulu.
Ambassador George Nene was the chairperson of the South African Association of Former Ambassadors, South Africa’s first High Commissioner to Nigeria; former Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva; former Deputy Director- General Multilateral (DIRCO).
Details of the memorial service and funeral will be communicated during the week.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
460 Soutpansberg Road
07 April 2018
The African National Congress has learned with sadness the passing of a seasoned diplomat and life long revolutionary Ambassador Nene who lived his life serving the people of South Africa.
To us this is a double blow as we are still mourning the death of our revolutionary icon and stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The role that Ambassador Nene played in the liberation of our country cannot be measured.
Ambassador Nene did not only occupy death defying trenches of the liberation struggle, he was counted amongst those who held the flag of country flying high in the process of carving the role of South Africa on the international platforms.
His role and contribution is the legacy that we will always treasure as we continue to work towards the transformation of the world governance. To his family we extend condolences and may his soul rest in peace.
Issued by the African National Congress
Pule Mabe 071 6234 975
In March 2018, SALO Deputy Director, Dr Showers Mawowa attended the World Bank Fragility Forum in Washington DC under the theme, Managing Risks for Peace and Stability. Dr Mawowa (centre) was one of the presenters for panel discussion on Forging Resilient Social Contracts where he presented findings from a co-authored (with Prof Erin McCandless of Wits University on the right) research paper on Social Contract Making and the Building of Sustainable Peace in Zimbabwe.
In the picture from the right, Dr Showers Mawowa, Deputy Director, SALO; Hon Deqa Yasin Hagi, Minister of Women and Human Rights, Somalia and Prof Erin McCandless, Associate Professor, Wits University and Research Director, Forging Resilient Social Contract Research and Dialogue Project.
Human Rights Day is a day for celebration, as well as solemn reflection. South Africa’s Bill of Rights is world-renowned for its inclusive protection of Human Rights, making SA one of the first countries in history to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
SA’s Bill of Rights:
“The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth”
As we know, SA’s past was characterised by institutionalised Human Rights abuse. Human Rights Day presents an opportunity for us to solemnly reflect on the suffering of millions of South Africans at the hands of the Apartheid regime, and to appreciate the immense sacrifice and bravery of those who struggled to secure the rights and freedoms enshrined today.
As President Ramaphosa indicated in his State of the Nation Address, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all South Africans can enjoy these progressive human rights in practical terms. With the aim of tackling violent discrimination against LGBTI persons living in townships specifically, SALO is currently convening a series of community dialogues around this issue in Soweto. These community dialogues are supported by the Dutch and Irish Embassies, and facilitate candid discussion between national government leaders and relevant community stakeholders including religious leaders, youth leaders, community leaders and taxi operators.
SALO wishes to extend its heartfelt congratulations to the incoming Chair of the ANC’s International Relations Committee, Minister Lindiwe Zulu. The Minister’s appointment brings considerable skill and talent to the committee – with her vast experience and achievements as a seasoned foreign policy practitioner, both in the liberation struggle and in continuous service to the Post-Apartheid government, including as International Relations Advisor to President Zuma.
More importantly for SALO, Minister Zulu stands out as having displayed a strong commitment to human rights and social justice throughout our more than ten years of working together – supporting her as the SADC mediator for Zimbabwe, and as associates in the EU-SA Peace and Security Dialogue. Through working with the Minister in her various capacities over the years, we have come to know that women’s empowerment, pro-poor policies, regional integration and the protection of human rights are issues close to the Minister’s heart. SALO therefore welcomes and looks forward to working with such a highly capable, human rights -focused International Relations Committee Chair.
Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu, then-International Relations Advisor in the Presidency
“SALO has the capacity to engage people in dialogue, including those who are in conflict with each other. SALO’s experience in dialogue is something that needs to be emulated, as dialogue is the best way of resolving any conflict… we will continue to work as closely as possible with SALO, and hopefully this will result in taking the continent to a higher level of peace, security and stability.”
Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu, International Relations Advisor to the SA President and a member of the SA/SADC Facilitation Team for Zimbabwe. (May 2011 Workshop Pretoria)
“I think before I get directly to the topic itself, I’d like to thank SALO for organising this workshop. I think that it is an important workshop and we believe as the facilitation team that such gatherings are very important for us… This dialogue in my opinion must not be the beginning and the end now. I think this dialogue must be continuous because the questions that I get from here help me as I go again to engage with the facilitators. As we go and engage, they keep ringing in my head: what about this? What about that? It’s not that we’ll think of everything, but if we continuously engage like this, I’m sure that we will get somewhere.”
(September 2011 Workshop Pretoria) “I wish to thank SALO first and foremost for arranging this meeting, also because, as I said the last time I was here, the work that we are doing as the Facilitation Team – but also the work that everybody else is doing in trying to address the challenges that we have – needs to be communicated.”