As all of you know we are currently in the midst of tragedy and what is unfolding as a humanitarian crisis
Yesterday I met with Linda Zama (and a small group of legal and ADR professionals) Linda is a special advisor to the KZN Premier. The Premier’s Office has set up a reference group on migration and community integration in KZN.
I am assisting in co-ordinating and mobilising lawyers and mediators to assist in responding to legal and conflict resolution needs. The immediate need is for practitioners to offer services Pro Bono. The more of us who come forward, the less burden that falls to each. Please spread the word and get willing practitioners and students to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Although this is a KZN initiative we wish to compile a data base of available practitioners in each region. So please be in touch and give a brief description of your areas of expertise
The following urgent needs have been identified:
1. Many migrants have lost documents in the conflict. Affidavits are required in respect of lost passports and birth certificates to enable those who wish to return to their countries of origin
2. A fact finding process is required preceeding the drafting of affidavits. We envisage sending volunteers out armed with Pro Formas to interview individuals and gain required information. Those can then be sent to practitioners to finalize draft afffidavits
3. Other needs identified may be personal injury and patrimonial loss claims, questionable raids on those accused of crimes, bail applications, facilation of dialogue and many other legal issues relating to social circumstances such as families of mixed origin and the like.
The crisis is massive and we urge all members of the legal professions, students and those engaged in mediation, ADR in a broader sense and Restorative Justice to mobilize and rally up support services to help dismantle the crisis
Practitioners should articulate areas of expertise such as criminal law, refugee law, international relations, mediation, restorative justice, personal injury, family and child law including international child protection and matters of status and a whole host of other areas
All ADR Network SA panellists, trained mediators and trainees are expected to contribute time.
Please also point me in the direction of Refugee Law and assistance centres, Law Clinics, Legal Resources Centres, Law Associations, ADR associations and the like
Please contribute any ideas I may not have thought of in the interests of mobilizing hope and achieving healing in our land.
Peace and gratitude
Friends, Colleagues, Trainees, Panellists
We are urgently seeking names of lawyers and mediators able to assist in taking statements from those who have suffered loss, injury or have been displaced in the current conflict.
Please send your names with an indication of availability to email@example.com
For all registered panellists and trainees, you are expected to contribute at least one day of your time, so the question is when you are available and not if:)
Please also indicate if you have any specific expertise in refugee law or international relations. Every helping hand contributes to healing.
The immediate need and request emanates from the KZN Premier’s Office but the need is also wider
Please get in touch and also speak to your friends
1. Mediator Training in Johannesburg next week
If you still wish to join next week’s full five day mediator training program or the Thursday one day Court Annexed Mediator Program in Joburg, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
The training takes places at a venue in Auckland Park and trainees will tour the Constitutional Court and discuss how ADR is helping to advance a constitutional culture in SA. This is relevant in every sphere from workplace, to family, community and workplace settings
2. Featured Mediator Section
All ADR Network SA-accredited mediators get to appear in our featured mediator section which goes out to all our pages and lists every Wednesday. Please get in touch on email@example.com if you wish to appear tomorrow
3. Xenophobic Attacks
The media, as we know is about what sells the story the best and can be divisive and can add fuel to the fire. Nhlanhla Sangweni of Access to Justice and others of Newlands Youth Organization will be looking to raise the profile of the complex causes of these attacks which have been passed off as Xenophobia. These are not Xenophobic attacks per se and it is of exceptional importance that the complexities are understood. Only from an insightful vantage point will we ever be able to address the cause rather than trying to solve the problem at a symptomatic level
As always, peace
1. Mediator Training 20-24 April
We have 40 mediator training this month in Johannesburg. The Thursday of the Program covers court annexed mediation and can also be done as a one day Program at R 1000 for those with prior 40 hour training or relevant experience
Please get in touch for information packs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other workshop dates are:
20-24 April Johannesburg
20-26 June Durban
6-10 July Johannesburg/Durban/Bloemfontein
3-7 August Cape Town/PE
Please note there is a 75% discount for all SAPS or Correctional Services employees paying for themselves
The full cost of the program is R 11 999 with various monthly payment options and discounts for advance payment in full
To become an accredited member of our panel (including the Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa NPO) please email email@example.com. You will receive a dedicated ADR Network SA email address
3. Featured Mediator
Every Wednesday between 8am and 10am we run a featured mediator section. This is to introduce currently-registered and accredited members of our panel on all our networks and to our mailing lists. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
4. Current Work
Aside from long-established mediation and ADR work in Divorce, Workplace and Commercial Disputes, we are gaining growing traction and enjoying expanding favour in Disputes Relating to community evictions, public protest action and collateral public violence suits, personal injury matters and human rights matters generally.
Early next week we meet with the City of Durban on interventions on the ongoing Xenophobic attacks in our region. As always, we intend mobilizing at the cause, not just the symptoms. For two long, Restorative Justice Practitioners have mobilized mainly at Reactive and Redemptive Violence. We need to mobilize more strongly at originating violations and systemic and structural issues that violate communities and perpetuate poverty
5. Alternative and Solidarity Economics
I am currently looking at alternatives in economic systems and the role of ADR in solidarity economics. Developing Countries are seeing success in addressing ever-growing and devastating economic inequality with workers taking control of failing businesses in industry where owners are declaring bankruptcy. This is an exceptionally interesting development where worker co-operatives are established with the solidarity of supportive stakeholders. The application in this for ADR is endless and it is to be explored further. I will publish more comprehensive thoughts on this later this week. If you have a particular interest in this, please email email@example.com
My humanity is inextricably linked to yours.
It’s not enough that I concern myself with my own well-being and disregard the fact that you are not flourishing. Ultimately, if my brothers and sisters do not flourish, I pay a price, my kids pay a price, we all pay a price. We are all paying a price.
So what’s so important about Rhodes? He’s just some dumb-ass from an era of old. No?
I asked a friend of mine who does volunteer work for Access to Justice in Cape Town, just to help me with some of the history. For me, taking down monuments to oppression is a no-brainer. A monument or a statue denotes honour. We injure our own souls if we fail to see the importance of interrupting the enduring positions of honour of abusers. So Greshen Chetty helped me unpack the history as I refer to below:
Rhodes is said to have stood at the foot of Table Mountain and made a powerful declaration over Africa that he would dominate from Cape to Cairo. Words are very powerful. The old adage that sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm could not be further from the truth. Words have creative power, the power to heal, the power to denigrate. And it is exceptionally important that we take countervailing action to dismantle the legacy of his words. Why?
Rhodes brought with him an agenda. This agenda was steeped in the vision of freemasonry and along with it, the interests of the crown. The outworking of all of this was the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many. Within the narrative of the colonial era, the many were the native inhabitants of colonized lands. The modus operandi was to exploit the resources of the lands.
We like to say “What the heck is all the fuss about? Apartheid has fallen. Colonialism has fallen.” But has it really? Look around you. Take a very good look. The bondage created by the likes of Rhodes prevails. The ills of the migrant labour system persist. The methodology of the unrighteous enrichment of the few at the expense of the many, and its related systems endure today. Worker families, especially around our mines continue to grow up poor, fatherless, disconnected and broken.
Fatherlessness was not simply a by-product of the migrant labour system. It was central to it. If you take fathers away from communities, you leave them vulnerable. It was a method of control that left entire communities weak and deprived and it endures today. The road of poverty has very much followed the many exploited to enrich the few unrighteously.
The prevailing systems that started with the likes of Rhodes lead to the massacre of 34 miners at Marikana. Don’t try and kid yourself around the connectedness of what happened there to 300 plus years of economic exploitation and exclusion. And those systems endure today. The mentality of the enrichment of a small elite at the expense of the many is alive and well.
This leaves every single South African with a massive social problem to deal with. Its not just the problem of the poor. It’s the problem of us all.
All behavioural violence has social roots. The work of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking is necessarily variegated, yet of a whole cloth (That cloth includes symbolic reminders of abuse and abusers). Understanding how social power is distributed is key to responding to conflict. (From Ambassadors for Reconciliation)
Rhodes must fall. Images of him must go. The mentality of those that are enriched unrighteously at the expense of the many must go. And others from that era that had the same mentality and employed the same methodology in unrighteous enrichment must suffer the same fate.
It’s time to set aside our small little apathetic complaining lives and allow the flame lit by the students at UCT to start a fire in us all that will start to raze the enduring systems of inequality to the ground. It’s time to live with a passion that advances us all.
Don’t kid yourself that this is all about statues. It’s not. But often our symbolic physical acts point to something beyond the actual acts.
My daughter and myself went through domestic trauma during her early life. We have both needed to heal in different ways. I married an amazing second husband and that has been part of my healing and restoration. When she met her boyfriend 15 months ago she was going through a trauma counselling process. Her boyfriend, a teenager innately and intuitively felt that her space needed a makeover. So he helped her redo her room, getting rid of anything that reminded her of her traumatic past. Was that the be all and end all of her healing? No. But it was part of her healing. A necessary part.
If a teenager knows that the burying of symbols of the past is a necessary part of healing and restoration, why the heck are parts of the “educated” adult population still debating the value of the Rhodes Must Fall Campaign. Kids do this stuff intuitively, but we get so marred by intellectualism and political correctness on both sides, we no longer know who we are. We need to reclaim our humanity and say that we don’t leave symbols of abuse in prominent places and especially at places of learning and advancement that can keep triggering pain and anger. If we reclaimed the dignity in all for all which is central to humanity there would be no need for political correctness and the emptiness and apathy of intellectual debate.
I have heard those opposing the Rhodes Must Fall campaign raising the issue of King Shaka and his cruelty. Are there those alive today whose lives were adversely affected by King Shaka? Does his legacy trigger pain and anger? Are there systems and patterns that flourish today to keep people oppressed as a result of his legacy? If so, those must come to the fore and speak. But don’t be the guy that tries to use the legacy of Shaka, that you are unaffected by, to deride the passion of those affected by and still in bondage to the legacy created by Rhodes, to mute their voices. On a scale of below average to harmful to all, it’s harmful to all.
Dismantling abusive symbolism accords strongly with our work in restorative justice. We acknowledge that we cannot change the past, but we can bury with dignity for those hurt by. Not only can we, but we must.
It’s time to take strong countervailing action to dismantle the declaration of Rhodes (and others like him) over Africa. It’s in the interests of us all.
Peace, by the presence of justice.