After the 2013 Kingswood College annual Neil Aggett Memorial Lecture given by Mr Jay Naidoo on Friday September 13, Professor Roy Jobson of the Neil Aggett Support Group announced the establishment of the Dr Neil Aggett Unit by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors without Borders. This regional initiative of MSF will assist, enable and empower young doctors and health care workers to take on various activist roles.
On the 36th Anniversary of the death in detention of Black Consciousness intellectual and activist, Steve Biko, our 'beloved country' sits at a stalemate. The historical turning points in our civic life, have tended to be massacres of the people who initiate citizen action for social justice.
Amongst those who take up this struggle everyday, are Khulumani members who advocate unceasingly for the continuation of the processes initiated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.
Reverend Paul Verryn, Khulumani Board Member and his colleagues on the Global Inquiry Panel of Experts, were detained for questioning after Swazi police led by Manzini Regional Police Commander surrounded the hotel where the proceedings of the panel were underway on Friday 6 September 2013 and ordered that the inquiry stop.
The inquiry had been convened to hear testimony from Swazi workers about the continuing violation of labour rights.
Water for Dignity is working on building a peoples' water science for a peoples' water movement into the future. The project presently involves five young Khulumani water activists in Makana Municipality (Grahamstown East's townships) in piloting solutions to the water challenges in Grahamstown's townships.
"Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one's own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness... And when I speak of change, I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions, nor the ability to smile or feel good. I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration in all those assumptions underlining our lives."
"Historical memory is more than a cautionary reminder – like the warning label (“Poison”) on a bottle or a sign that says “Danger of Electrical Shock”. Here the danger is not that something bad might happen unless we are careful but that what has already happened might still be going on unless we remember. But, if we remember, what happens will be different – the point is conceptual, not instrumental – the memory itself would make it different because we would be conscious of it happening again. Repressed by memory is the experience that it never stopped happening – that the past is unconsciously repeated"
Khulumani Support Group hosted a group of US students and their program director, Ms Linda Raven, from the Windhoek office of the Center for Global Education, a Minnesota-based centre that creates experiences for US students to engage with social justice issues in other parts of the world. The group visited Khulumani's National Contact Centre last Thursday, 22 August 2013.
The group responded that this was there first engagement with a South African civil society movement for social justice and that their eyes had been opened.
On Tuesday, 21 August 2013, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal dismissed the South Africa Apartheid Lawsuit. The basis of the dismissal was the argument that “the Alien Tort Statute does not reach the extraterritorial conduct in this case”, a judgment of the US Supreme Court of Appeals in the Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. case, handed down in April 2013. After the Kiobel judgment, US-based companies may no longer be held accountable for human rights violations that did not take place within the United States.
This Wednesday, 21 August 2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech of Martin Luther King. Central to King’s vision was a world that lived out the meaning of a substantive equality between and amongst all peoples.
King’s words were “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."