South Africa: iThemba Advocacy Campaign

iThemba Advocacy Campaignis a project managed by Novalis, an institute in Cape Town  South Africa that runs an holistic adult education program combining the principles of Steiner education with Ubuntu, the universal spiritual values embraced by African philosophy.

The advocacy campaign aims at children and youth in Cape Town get access to their rights to safety in their living environment and schools, and complete their education. Novalis will guide (teach) Children and youth how to exercise democratic influence.

The long term goal with iThemba -”Account to the Children” is to create an impact in the South African election processes by distancing the acceptance of politicians status quo position in issues regarding human right violations of children’s rights in education. Given the South African context, it is problematic to identify any isolated measures that can be the solution to the problems faced in the educational system. We believe that the most effective solutions will be raised by joint efforts and collaborations between (the) civil society, politicians, governmental organizations, children, adolescents, youth and parent/guardian involvement. The specific goal of this projects is to create an arena for fruitful dialogues (conversations), networking and learning opportunities between different stakeholders; and to apply pressure on the politicians to step up to realizing the human rights of children, adolescents and youth.

Mzwandile, one of the colleagues at Novalis, led a very successful Intergenerational Conference partnered with the Department of Arts and Culture, Western Cape Provincial department and Y-Elders on the 25thand 26thOctober 2018.  This followed a successful awareness and human rights campaign in Langa, oldest township in Cape Town, for people suffering with the condition of albinism and hypo-pigmentation so stigmatized and mis-understood.

Dr Denis Goldberg spoke at the conference about how the Constitution of South Africa was crafted and how important this is for all South Africans. He advocated for the teaching and learning about the Constitution in every school in the Country.   It was interesting to Novalis how keen the learners were to have ‘direct access’ to politicians.    Every student who attended the conference received a Constitutional booklet.

Mzwandile has also identified Government officials, and Human Rights Commission representatives and previous contacts, and has started communicating with them with the view to inviting them to join the upcoming Human Rights Conference 20-21 March 2019.

Mzwandile has started working on a programme to continue workshops at Schools to capacitate the children in the right elements to advocate for themselves and their future.

Nina Ljungquist, manager at SOFIA will attend the Human Rights Conference and get an update of  the proceedings of the iThemba project, which is supported by SOFIA.