CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 11 — 15 APRIL
Talks on extinguishing South Africa’s ‘flames of xenophobia’
The International Day of Human Space Flight, being a celebration of the beginning of the space era for all people, will be observed on Tuesday; the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town will be hosting a roundtable discussion on ‘Opportunities for drug substance manufacturing in Africa’ on Wednesday.
On Monday 11 April at 4pm, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research is hosting an online seminar centred on a paper titled “Macroeconomic determinants of South Africa’s post-apartheid income distribution”. The seminar will be presented by the paper’s author, Adam Aboobaker.
The paper places developments in post-apartheid income distribution within key macroeconomic developments and debates. An argument is made that the deterioration of the wage share between 2000 and 2008 is better explained by “factors associated with the commodity boom, rather than those associated with neoliberalism”, according to the abstract of the paper.
“The conventional wisdom underlying progressive advocacy for a better performing and more equitable macroeconomy are not in keeping with the data presented here, nor a closer reading of the policy debates it has drawn inspiration from,” according to the abstract.
“This calls for reorienting the focus of radical policy critique from insufficient state allocation of resources toward social policy to a critique concerning the post-apartheid state’s failure to mobilise the necessary resources to drive forth rapid structural transformation.”
Those wishing to join the seminar should first read the paper here.
Register for the event here.
On Monday at 8pm, Swazi Lives Matter will be hosting a Twitter space discussion around the theme: “12th April 1973 King’s Proclamation: Agrarian struggles and land, traditional governance, economy and trade”.
The guests participating in the discussion are Mlungisi Makhanya, president of the People’s United Democratic Movement, and Pius Vilakati, spokesperson for the Communist Party of Swaziland.
Find the Twitter space here.
Tuesday 12 April is the International Day of Human Space Flight.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 12 April the International Day of Human Space Flight in 2011, to celebrate each year at the international level the beginning of the space era for all people, thereby reaffirming the contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals, according to the organisation’s information page on the event.
The observance is further intended to recognise the importance of space science to the well-being of countries and peoples and ensure the realisation of the goal to maintain peace in outer space.
“From the very beginning of the Space Age, the United Nations recognised that outer space added a new dimension to humanity’s existence. The United Nations family strives continuously to utilise the unique benefits of outer space for the betterment of all humankind,” stated the UN.
At 9.30am on Tuesday 12 April, the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) will be holding its sixth just transition framework community consultation at Thabo Moorosi Multi-Purpose Centre in Mothibistad, Kuruman, Northern Cape.
The commission was established in 202o by President Cyril Ramaphosa to advise government and all social partners on South Africa’s response to climate change. It aims to develop pathways to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and society.
The PCC began to develop a “Just Transition Framework”, being a multipronged practical policy strategy to guide the implementation of necessary interventions, in late 2021. The process involves a series of policy briefs on key questions, public dialogues and sectoral engagements.
At 10.30am on Tuesday, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, together with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), is hosting a seminar, titled “How to extinguish South Africa’s flames of xenophobia”.
“Organised groups such as Operation Dudula increasingly target African immigrants in South Africa. Building on myths about foreign nationals and anti-migrant attitudes, widespread violence is becoming more likely. An outbreak similar to the deadly 2008 xenophobic violence that spread rapidly across the country must be averted,” according to the event description.
This requires civil society and government to proactively counter this trend and extinguish the flames of xenophobic sentiment.
The chairperson is Anthony Kaziboni, head of research in the Institute for the Future of Knowledge at University of Johannesburg. The speakers include Godfrey Mulaudzi, researcher for Justice and Violence Prevention at ISS; Dr Dale McKinley of Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia; and Elize du Toit, deputy director in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, South Africa.
On Wednesday 13 April at 12pm, NPower will be hosting a free webinar on the topic, “Focus on your Stress”. Dr Priyal Modi will be discussing how to manage stress, as well as some go-to tips on managing stress every day.
Register for the webinar here.
Another event taking place at 12pm is a webinar hosted by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa). The event is titled, “Electoral Reform: Why does it matter to the public?”.
Those involved in the discussion will be breaking down the technical aspects of the Electoral Amendment Bill, as well as the complex nature of its implication.
The host of the webinar is Rachel Fischer, research and ethics specialist at Outa. Speakers include Mudzuli Rakhivhane, community advocacy activist for ONE South Africa; Ebrahim Fakir, director of programmes for the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute; and Zarina Prasadh, director of the Africa School of Governance.
At 12pm on Wednesday, Daily Maverick will be hosting a live journalism webinar on food justice.
“South Africa faces an obesity-related health catastrophe linked to poor regulation of food advertising and this is also impacting children, the most vulnerable amongst our population. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause 71% of all deaths globally, says the World Health Organization (WHO), and 77% of these are in developing countries,” according to the event description.
The discussion will be hosted by Maverick Citizen journalist Zukiswa Pikoli. Other participants will be Adèle Sulcas, health, food systems and policy writer, and Desiree Lewis, professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape.
You can register for the event here.
On Wednesday at 1pm, the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town will be hosting a roundtable discussion on “Opportunities for drug substance manufacturing in Africa”. Opportunities for the creation of regional value chains through localisation will be explored at this event.
Among those participating in the discussion will be Dr Simon Agwale, virologist and vaccinologist; Petro Terblanche, managing director of Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines; and Dr Sam Machour, executive vice-president and chief quality officer at Samsung Biologics.
Join the discussion here. The Zoom meeting ID is 984 6536 5501 and the passcode is 231117.
At 3pm on Wednesday, the Climate Justice Charter Movement will be hosting a virtual public talk on “Advancing Rights of Nature and Human Rights in Africa and Beyond”.
The “Rights of Nature” movement seeks to ensure that ecosystems such as mountains and rivers bear legal rights that are the same or similar to those held by humans, according to the event poster. The session will encompass issues such as biodiversity loss, biocultural community protocols as part of community rights, and the legal empowerment approach and litigation trends in terms of rights to nature.
The speakers at the event will be Lucy Mulenkei, executive director of the Indigenous Information Network; Pooven Moodley, executive director at Natural Justice; and Amelia Heyns, programme manager at Natural Justice.
Register for the event here.
On Wednesday at 5.30pm, Professor Verne Harris will be conversing with Dr Kholeka Shange on Verne’s new book, Ghosts of Archive. The pair will also be discussing Shange’s work on the photographic archiving of Princess Magog. The discussion will encompass issues of archival practice, ghosts and justice.
The event will coincide with the opening of the exhibition, “Reality Check: Walter Sisulu Accused #2”. This exhibition will allow visitors to take a seat inside the Rivonia Trial, watching a 52-year-old Walter Sisulu give his original testimony as part of a virtual reality experience.
The discussion and exhibition launch will take place at 107 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg.
Those wishing to attend can RSVP here.
On Wednesday at 6pm, the Harvard Law School Project on Disability will be hosting a lecture by Professor Benyam Dawit Mezmur, leading expert on the international and regional legal standards on the human rights of children. The lecture, titled “Rights of Children with Disabilities in Africa: Lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic”, was co-organised with the Harward Law School’s Human Rights Program (HRP) and International Legal Studies, Harvard University Center for African Studies and the University of the Western Cape.
Mezmur is the new Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow at HRP and is a professor of law at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, where he coordinates the Children’s Rights Project at the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance, and Human Rights. He is currently a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, having served as the Committee’s chairperson from 2015 to 2017.
At 7pm on Wednesday, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) will be hosting a free online “Panic Awareness” webinar. The speakers at the event are Dr Colinda Linde, clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapy expert; Dr Frans Korb, psychiatrist and psychologist; and Zane Wilson, Sadag founder. The speakers will be discussing panic disorder.
The event will be livestreamed on Facebook.
Thursday 14 April is World Chagas Disease Day.
Chagas disease affects mainly poor people without access to healthcare or a political voice. The progress of the disease is slow, often showing an asymptomatic clinical course, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) information page on the event.
“Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal. Raising awareness of the disease is essential to improve the rates of early treatment and cure, together with the interruption of its transmission,” stated the WHO.
The theme of World Chagas Disease Day for 2022 is “finding and reporting every case to defeat Chagas disease”, according to the WHO. Many countries have low detection rates and significant barriers to accessing adequate healthcare. There are about six to seven million people infected with Chagas disease worldwide, with 10,000 deaths every year. DM/MC
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