As South Africa continues to tackle xenophobia, young people will be given a voice to express their thoughts, observations and recommendations at a formal event, the Youth Dialogue on Xenophobia on Thursday, 11 June to discuss recent events involving xenophobic violence.
Hosted by loveLife, South Africa’s national youth leadership development organisation, in partnership with Constitution Hill, the dialogue is the first in a series of interventions involving the youth to address the incidence of xenophobia.
loveLife CEO Grace Matlhape says there isn’t a section of our society that is not affected by xenophobia. “Although the upsurge of condemnation that happened after the violent attacks was very welcome and good for our country, it is time to hear young people’s voices on the matter,” she said. “After all, they make up 60% of the population of Africa.
“loveLife runs a youth leadership exchange programme with three other African countries at the moment, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, and have established loveLife’s groundBREAKER Programme in Tanzania and Zambia.”
loveLife groundBREAKERs are peer motivators and community mobilisers who implement loveLife programmes.
The dialogue will feature a panel of young people who represent affected sections of the youth. They include young South Africans, African foreign nationals, young entrepreneurs and young victims.
The dialogue will explore the drivers of xenophobic violence, the perceptions and misconceptions about people on the ground, lawlessness, violation of human rights, and any other issues that young people will bring up.
Participants will also include representatives of youth non-governmental organisations, specialist institutions and think-tanks as commentators, organisations representing foreign nationals, religious organisations, business, government and media. The event will include various panelists to discuss and debate issues relating to xenophobia, including Bento Marcos, who manages the Southern African Youth Exchange Programme (SayXchange) at the Southern Africa Trust and newly appointed Deputy Director General of Home Affairs Mayihlome Tshwete.
The dialogue launches a three day youth festival at Constitution Hill called Basha Uhuru, which will also address various human rights issues and other subjects such as the recent statue removals.
Among the variety of speakers is Dr Judy Smith-Höhn, the Brand SA Research Manager, who will speak about the impact of xenophobic violence on South Africa’s image and economy as well as on encouraging huge and sustained mobilisation against violence towards foreigners living in South Africa.
“While research is being conducted to determine the root causes of the violence against migrants, we understand that it is caused by a number of reasons, one being the lack of knowledge as far as migration is concerned. It is one of our mandates to partner in such activities in efforts to advance understanding on migration issues. As we celebrate youth month it is also very imperative that knowledge is imparted to carry forward the legacy of those that fought for the right to good and free education.” says Ms. Marija Nikolovska – Programme Manager (Irregular Migration Unit) at the International Organization for Migration, who is a speaker at the Youth Dialogue on Xenophobia.
Clinical Psychologist, Tebogo Fafudi, who is on the Executive Committee of the Psychological Society of South Africa, will talk about issues relating to psychology and xenophobia, including the psychological impact on someone who has experienced xenophobic violence and assisting a friend or relative who has experienced xenophobia. ENCA reporter Phakamile Hlubi will be facilitating the four hour debate.