On the 4th August, Lancelot Thomas (DPI South Africa), Martin Mande (DPI and Xavieri) and Sr Aine Hughes (Caritas South Africa) attended a discussion group on the role of the Justice and Peace group of the Southern African Catholic Bishops conference to look at the needs of non-nationals in South Africa and how the SACBC, through the J&P commission can offer a worthy response. There were 20 participants from various stakeholders dealing specifically with xenophobia in South Africa. This was a great opportunity to learn from what has already been done and to meet with some of the key role-players. We thank the J&P commission for organising this most important discussion group.
From the 7th-9th August 2009, Neliswa Hlongwane, Martin Mande and Lancelot Thomas held a weekend workshop for 25 young people to deepen their understanding on non-violence. It was great to see how the concept of non-violence had gotten many young people to relook at their own situation. The group also felt more open to share on a very deep and personal level with one another. One young girl shared a very personal struggle and immediately the group decided that this will not happen to a member of their group and offered to support her from there on, since they had not known about it before. The young men had a problem with the act of non-violence making them seems weak and yet they could see how it was the only option for their violent community. They said that they hoped that they could be strong enough to implement it.
The 8th August also saw the launch of the Sunnyside, Pretoria PACT’s movie, “True Dream.” This was well received with many people applauding their efforts to both offer a way out of poverty to their community as well as showcasing their struggle as a mixed community of both South Africans and non-nationals. The director of the movie, John Wami, appeared on the local television news station, eTV, the Monday morning for an interview. We once again congratulate this group on their ingenuity. This has sparked other groups to want to do a similar project, though they are forgetting the struggle of this first group. They really sacrificed to make this a reality. Thus their success is all the more admirable.