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MAVERICK CITIZEN Civil Society Watch, 29 June – 3 July

Daily Maverick logo Daily Maverick 2020-06-29 Shani Reddy
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For those interested in the arts, for the first time in its 46-year history, the National Arts Festival is being held entirely online for the full 11 days. The festival kicked-off on 25 June and is running until Sunday 5 July. This week, attendees can look forward to a diverse selection of storytelling, music, theatre, film and workshops. Day passes can be bought online for R80.

On Monday 29 June, Equal Education is hosting a live Facebook event on “organising principles during uncertain times”. The panel will explore the experiences of a range of activists in grassroots mobilising during times of uncertainty.

Speakers include Itumeleng Mothlabane (Equal Education organiser), Dinga Sikwebu (trade unionist and activist), Miquel Angel Essomba (Barcelona educationist and chair of the Community Education at Universitat Autònoma), Jitu Brown (national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance), and Shaeera Kalla (activist and co-founder of Mbengu Platform).

The panel will also assist Equal Education members to develop and strengthen their organising tactics towards the realisation of an alternative education system for South Africa’s youth.

On the same day, Oxfam South Africa (Oxfam SA) will be doing a virtual webinar with Basani Baloyi (Oxfam SA) and Gilad Isaacs from the Institute for Economic Justice, University of the Witwatersrand, on the “economics of Covid-19 in Africa: perspectives from South Africa”.

The aim of the webinar is to provide a critical perspective to the recent economic developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The webinar is open to all and there is no need for registration; simply go to the site when the event starts at 15:00.

At 17:30, you are invited to join the University of Cape Town (UCT) for the launch of the first of its series of unscripted conversations around how to re-imagine the new global university in the current and post-Covid world.

The five virtual events will cover themes ranging from the pros and cons of digital conferencing to how Africa can become the leader in international collaborations. Each webinar will include four experts in an hour-long conversation.

The first webinar, titled Academic Conferences: How Virtual Can we Go, will focus on the future of conferences and international meetings.

The webinar will be moderated by Mamokgethi Phakeng, UCT Vice-Chancellor. Speakers include: Esther Ngumbi, assistant professor of entomology and African American studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer of Times Higher Education, Isabel Casimiro, president of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and Katye Altieri, lecturer in oceanography at UCT. 

On Tuesday 30 June, Oxfam SA is partnering with several organisations to bring a diverse range of webinars. At 10am, the first webinar, titled The Right to Dignified Healthcare Work is a Right to Dignified Healthcare for All, focuses on healthcare workers in South Africa, who are underpaid and overworked. Oxfam SA will release a report on healthcare inequality at the start of the webinar.

The panel will consist of local nurses, unionists, and healthcare experts, including Siphokazi Mthatho (Oxfam SA executive director), Fikile Dikolomela-Lengene (Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union), Catherine Modise (community healthcare worker), Timothy Hodgson (International Commission of Jurists), Anastacia Madagane (National Union of Care Workers of South Africa), Maredi Tebadi (registered nurse from Limpopo), Sibongile Tshabalala (Treatment Action Campaign) Dr Basani Baloyi (Oxfam SA) and Prof Laetitia Rispell (University of the Witwatersrand).

The event will be streamed live on Facebook and Twitter.

Later you can join economists and LGBTQIA+ activists for a discussion on the intersections of gender, race, sexuality and class in the economy. Register for the Queer Economics in Africa – a Queer Eye for the Straight Economy discussion, which will take place at 11am.

At 3pm Oxfam SA is hosting a webinar titled Dignified Work in the Gig Economy: a Conversation between Kenya, Mexico, and South Africa. The session will explore the gendered impact of digital platforms on workers and how they can be reconfigured to guarantee fair, dignified work, and gender equality. You can register for the event here.

While on the issue of economics and rights: also on Tuesday the Budget Justice Coalition will be making a submission before Parliament’s Finance Standing Committee on behalf of over 20 civil society organisations on the draft Procurement Bill developed by the National Treasury. This Bill is an important opportunity to improve transparency and accountability in government procurement and to protect against corruption which is costing billions of Rand.

With the reality of Covid-19 and with gender-based violence on the rise in South Africa, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is hosting an appropriately themed discussion: Fighting two Pandemics in South Africa: Covid-19 and Gender-based Violence. The discussion will be moderated by Nomvume Ralarala, SAFTU’s first deputy president, and will be streamed on Facebook and Twitter at 19:00.

The ongoing ban of tobacco products has divided many South Africans. On Wednesday 1 July, you can join former SARS customs lawyer Telita Snyckers for a webinar titled Dirty Tobacco. Presented by the Cape Town Press Club in conjunction with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Snyckers will cover topics such as the profitability of the illicit tobacco trade, the annual R7-billion in lost taxes due to the black market tobacco industry, and how well-known tobacco companies are facilitating this industry.

On the same day, Equal Education is hosting a live Facebook Children's conference and the focus will be on education during Covid-19 and beyond. This virtual conference will explore how this crisis could be an opportunity to push for radical change in the education system and build a new decolonised system which ensures equal and quality education for all South African learners.

The event will be moderated by Ntombi Mngomezulu (equaliser and a learner in Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal), Liyema Saliwa (equaliser and a learner in Khayelitsha, Western Cape), and Lawrence Manaka (equaliser and a learner in Tembisa, Gauteng).

At 4pm on Wednesday, the Transnational Institute (TNI) will be hosting the final segment of their Covid Capitalism series. Titled People Power and the Pandemic, TNI has brought together a unique global panel of thinkers, activists and organisers from across the globe to share their thoughts on how we can ensure this unprecedented health crisis becomes a turning point towards system change.

The panel will also look back on how a minuscule particle changed the world and why, for social movements, it has been a moment of possibility and peril. You can register for the webinar here.

On Thursday 2 July, Equal Education, represented by SECTION27 and the Equal Education Law Centre, will be in the North Gauteng High Court in a crucial hearing concerning ten million learners rights t0 school meals and basic education.

Also on Thursday, the AIDS and Rights Alliance for southern Africa (ARASA), in collaboration with CoAct, will be hosting their first webinar for what is to be a series of four one-and-a-half-hour stand-alone webinars on rights-based responses to drug policy reform and harm reduction.

This first webinar, titled Needle and Syringe Programmes and Community Mobilisation, will focus on sharing the importance of these programmes, provide practical information on how to keep safe when injecting, and discuss the need for community inclusion in these programmes.

The webinar will be hosted by Mat Southwell from CoAct and the panel will include experts from the South African Network of People who Use Drugs (SANPUD) and Nathalie Rose, an expert on drug policy in the African region. 

Lockdown-lit: On Friday watch out for a world-first when Maverick Citizen will be publishing Unmasked!, a short story by Andrew Kasrils written and based on South Africa’s experiences, agonies and imaginaries during the hard lockdown. Prepare to see South Africa differently. Set aside a few hours over the weekend for a great read. It won’t be wasted time…  MC/DM

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