Introducing The Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa

 

The Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa, NPO Registration number 135-398 is a voluntary association of professionals engaged in all aspects of legal and social justice. Our aim is to contend for peace and access to justice for all. Founding Members are:

 

Sheena St Clair Jonker, , former attorney, now Academic Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Restorative Justice Peacemaker and Human Rights Activist (Founder)

Andrew McGibbon, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer, Creative Director

David Roome, Entrepreneur, Pastor and Philanthropist

Advocate Khaya Tango, advocate in practice at the Durban Bar, Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Activist, Fiduciary Expert

Brandon Abdinor, Admitted attorney, sustainability practitioner, legal advisor, Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Activist

 

The core legal and dispute resolution team is made up of Sheena Jonker, Khaya Tango, Brandon Abdinor and Krishna Jairam.

 

All dispute resolution practitioners trained by ADR Network SA and registered on its panel are service providers to The Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa.

 

Our mission is to contend for peace and access to justice for all through the recognition that peace is not simply the absence of conflict but is the presence of justice.

 

To this end, Access to Justice provides:

 

Legal Services

Dispute Resolution Services: Mediation, Arbitration, Managed Dialogue

Restorative Justice Peacemaking

Creative Services

Public Speaking

Human Rights Activism

Access to Education

Sustainability

Peacebuilding

Economic Empowerment

Empowerment in Education

Range of Designer Streetwear

 

To date the core legal team have engaged in the provision of extensive legal and dispute resolution services without compensation. Having now registered as an NPO, it is intended that this work can be resourced and sustained into the future as a significant contribution to the wellness of South African Society.

 

But what of justice? Who is responsible to do justice? Who are the stewards?

 

Where there is pain

Let there be grace

Where there is suffering

Bring Serenity

For those afraid

Let us be brave

Where there is misery

Let us bring them relief

And surely we can change

Something

-David Crowder

 

Everyone shall be remembered, but each became great in proportion to his expectation. One became great by expecting the possible, another by expecting the eternal, but he who expected the impossible became greatest of all.

Kierkegaard

 

To do justice means to restore humanity to the original template. That we are all restored to who we were created to be both individually and in relation to the world around us.

In reality the world understands “justice” primarily as the “bad” guys getting what they “deserve”. Poor choice-makers, offenders, are brought to book or punished. And we accomplish this primarily through adversarial, dualistic or competitive processes. So in court, we pit humans against one another and see who wins. The win, then, is based on who has the best lawyer which is often a product of who can afford the best lawyer. So access to justice becomes about money.

We apply similar competitive styles of dispute “resolution” is our schools, workplaces and our marriages.

There are varying ways that one could explain justice and imagery that one could use

Woven cloth consists of innumerable threads interlaced with one another conveying the importance of community, family and relationship.

The threads must be rightly and intimately related with one another in literally a million ways.

All things were created to be in a beautiful, harmonious, interdependent, knitted, webbed relationship to one another.

Rightly related humans form a community. Rightly related humans form family.

Peace

Shalom is often translated as peace. But it is more than that. It means complete reconciliation, a state of full flourishing in every dimension-physical, emotional, social and spiritual-because all relationships are right, perfect and filled with joy.

When your body is healthy, especially when you are young, you have energy, strength and beauty, because all the parts of your body are working in unity.

But when you are injured, parts of your body may be out of alignment with others. Cancers Cells work not with, but against the other systems of the body.

When the parts of your body fail to work interdependently, you experience the loss of physical shalom or well-being. And when you die, you literally unravel.

When you experience a season of mental well-being, it is because the things your emotions want are those of which your conscience and reason approve.

When your inner shalom unravels you may experience guilt, feeling conflicted or anxiety.

When society disintegrates, when there is poverty, crime and family breakdown, there is no shalom.

When people share resources and work with each other so public resources work the environment is safe and beautiful, the schools educate and the businesses flourish then the community is experiencing shalom.

When people with advantages invest in those with few the community experiences civic prosperity or social shalom.

But this is not the state of the world.

To do justice means to live in a way that generates a strong community where humans flourish.

Where the fabric has broken down, weaker members of society are falling through it.

We need to repair the fabric. We need to reweave it. We need to weave ourselves into it-socially, relationally, financially and emotionally. We are the miracle workers. The agents of Justice. The game changers.

Pursuing peace by contending for justice

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. A counterfeit peace exists when people are pacified or so distracted or weary that all seems calm. True peace does not exist until there is justice, restoration and forgiveness. Peacemaking is not a passive thing. It is about interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice. Disarming evil without destroying the evil-doer.

It is about a revolution of love big enough to set free the oppressed and oppressors alike. We recognize in the faces of the oppressed our own faces, and in the hands of the oppressors, our own hands.

-Shane Claiborne

To do justice means to live in a way that generates a strong community where humans flourish.

Where the fabric has broken down, weaker members of society are falling through it.

We need to repair the fabric. We need to reweave it. We need to weave ourselves into it-socially, relationally, financially and emotionally. We are the miracle workers. The agents of Justice. The game changers.

We plant. Not in certainty. But we plant in hope.

Peace like most beautiful things, starts small.

And all of us have a responsibility to plant

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