TAC FACING SEVERE FUNDING SHORTFALL

South Africa’s oldest and most recognised civic society organisation active on AIDS treatment is under threat of closure due to lack of funds.

The treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was launched 10 December 1989- International Human Rights Day- to campaign for access of AIDS treatment. TAC came at a time where South African communities were being torn apart through fear, death and stigma of HIV. Today, the organisation which represents users of public health care system in South Africa faces a risk of shutting down due to lack of funding. TAC is hoping to raise R10 million by the 1st of December, which is also World Aids Day.

World Aids Day will also mark the 10th year anniversary of the distribution of Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, which TAC has been very instrumental in.

According to the organisation, 12% of the South African population- 6 million people- is HIV positive and for people between the age of 15 and 49, the rate is at 17%. With over 2.4 million people on ARV’s as of mid-2014, South Africa has the world’s largest AIDS treatment programme. TAC also believes that at least another 2 million people will require treatment in the next five years. The life expectancy at birth moved from 51 in 2005 to 61 in 2012.

Amongst many victories, the TAC is most popular for its victory against the South African government after they challenged the reluctant government under former president Thabo Mbeki’s leadership to make antiretroviral treatment available to South Africans. The group also engaged in a legal battle with the government where they were fighting for the prevention of mother-to-child (MTC) transmission. They were victorious and won on the basis of the guarantee of the right to health care by the South African constitution. The government was then ordered to provide MTC treatment and programs in public clinics.

The HIV/AIDS activist group has received national and international support over the years but now the group is in a crisis which could lead to it shutting down if not funded and the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over, regardless of the progress that has been reached so far.

“If we don’t get this money, we don’t have a plan B. We’ve got plan A, and plan A is to make sure we get this money because if TAC closes, we need to understand-all of us here, that many people will die,” said TAC general secretary Anele Yawa at a press briefing held by the TAC early November in Braamfontein. 

Many of the groups’ sponsors and donors have pulled out and the TAC has turned to South Africans for assistance in maintaining the HIV/AIDS treatment campaigns and programs. The group has only one third of its 2015 budget currently.

“We are not asking for charity but for money to save lives. We are faced with a financial problem the people who were donating to us pulled out,” said TAC board member Mark Heywood during the press briefing.

UNIVERSAL CELEBRATION OF CHILDREN

“Grownups have a strange way of putting themselves in compartments and groups. They build barriers…of religion, caste, colour, party, nation, province, language, customs and of rich and poor. Fortunately, children do not know much about these barriers, which separate. They play and work with each other and it’s only when they grow up that they begin to learn about these barriers from their elders.” – Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of Independent India.

The 20th of November is marked to celebrate the universal Children’s Day. The day corresponds with the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1989. It was recommended by the UN in 1959 that “all countries should introduce an annual event for children to encourage fraternity and understanding between children world-wide and it was recommended that individual member nations choose appropriate dates.

The South African government declared the first Saturday of November-01 November – as National Children’s Day. The aim of the celebration is “to highlight progress being made towards the realisation and promotion of rights of children,” according to the state.

Children’s rights are found in Chapter 22 of the Bill of Rights within the South African Constitution and they aim to protect children from harm, neglect, abuse and exploitation.

Section 28 of the South African Bill of Rights states that every child has the right to:

  • A name and a nationality from birth,
  • Family care or parental care or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family,   
  • Basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services,
  • Be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation,
  • Be protected from exploitative labour practices,
  • Not be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that are inappropriate for a person of that child’s age, or place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development,
  • Not be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under sections 12 and 35, the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time, and has the right to be kept separately from detained persons over the age of 18 and is treated in a manner and kept in conditions that take account of the child’s age.
  • Have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at the state expense in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result
  • Not be used directly in armed conflict and to be protected in times of armed conflict.

 

“There can never be a keener revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children”-Nelson Mandela

 

 

SESIKHONA LEADER'S CONDITION IMPROVING IN HOSPITAL

The condition of controversial Sesikhona Peoples Rights Movement leader is improving at the Tygerberg Hospital after being shot four times outside his Makhaza Home in Kayelitsha on Wednesday night.

The former African National Congress (ANC) councillor and chairman of the Sesikhona Peoples Rights Movement Andile Lile was shot four times in his car on the eve of a march he was meant to lead with his movement to the ANC provincial headquarters in the Cape Town central district to stop the party from meddling politically in the affairs of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The shooting was labelled by the group as an attempted assassination. “There is nothing called attempted robbery here and it is a politically driven thing,” said Seskhona’s Sthembele Majova.

The movement started off as a sanitation movement and has now moved on to land and unemployment issues.  They first robbed national and international media attention in October 2013 when the group under the leadership of Lile and Loyiso Nkohla marched against the city of Cape Town’s use of portable toilets in informal settlements.  The movement took service delivery protests to the next level after they dumped faeces at the entrance of the Western Cape Legislature and at the Cape Town International Airport.

The group participated in various protests with their conduct and behaviour constantly questioned. The poo protest resulted in Lile being suspended for a year and Nkohla being removed as councillor and expulsion from the ANC. Both were reinstated as ANC members after they appealed.  

The shooting is currently being investigated by the Cape Town Police and no arrests have been made.

 

 

Art of Human Rights logo

Art for Humanity is proud to present the logo for the Art of Human Rights project which will be launched in March 2015. We are currently underway with preparations for the exhibition launch which will be at the Durban Art Gallery on the 21st of March 2015.

The exhibition will also include the Art of Human Rights publication which AFH is proud to say features short articles on the topic by 20 contributing authors. The introduction for the publication will be written by Justice Albie Sacks.

The Art of Human Rights project follows the 1996 Images of Human Rights project by AFH predecessor Artists for Human Rights. This project will see the coming together of 29 artists and 27 poets to create work that will inspire all South Africans with the values, spirit and meaning of the South African Bill of Rights.

All the art and poetry pieces have been submitted and we are now in the printing stage and signing of works by artists.

For more on the project, visit >> http://www.afh.org.za/art-human-rights

I AM MALALA: 2014 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER.

By Zimasa Magudu

When Taliban gunmen asked a pick-up bus full of women “who is Malala”, before shooting her at gunpoint, little did they know that two years later she would have every right to be able to reply and say: I am Malala, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

17 year old Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with 60 year old Kailash Satyarthi from India, “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to an education”.

The recipients were announced by the chairman of the Nobel Peace Committee, Thorbjorn Jagland at the Nobel Institute in Oslo on October 10.

Jagland said that children should be able to go to school and not be financially exploited, he was speaking on the struggles that Malala and Kailash had been recognised for fighting against.

“It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation,” added Jagland. 

Children rights activist Satyarthi was commended for his courage and for walking in the steps of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Mahatma Ghandi who was also from India.

“Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Ghandi’s tradition has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” said Jagland emphasising that the protests were “all peaceful”. Jagland also added that Kailash has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.

The two laureates are not just from different countries but also different religious groups, Muslim and Hindu respectively and this was seen as an important point by the Nobel Committee that the two “join in a common struggle for education against extremism.”

“It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78million higher,” said Jagland, further adding that the world had come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.  

Malala’s struggle gained worldwide attention after she was shot in 2009 by Taliban gunmen when she was returning from school. The gunmen reportedly called out “who is Malala” as they stormed into the school pickup bus before shooting her at point-blank range in the head. She was only 15 years old at that time but her bravery and yearn for an education intimidated the Taliban.

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, is a memoire written by Malala and British veteran journalist Christina Lamb that tells Malala’s tale and is now a best seller. The books not only looks at Malala’s struggles as she was advocating for children right to an education but also reveals the support structure she had from which her father played a big part. 

Malala has presented many speeches and interviews at prestigious events and venues, prior to the release of her book she had also blogged for BBC under the pen mane Gul Makai.

“I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and the first young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award,” sad Malala. “This is not the end, this is not the end of my campaign, and this is the beginning,” she added speaking in Birmingham where she currently lives.

The two laureates will be presented with their prize of $1.1 million on the 10th of December which will also be the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Laureates protest summit over Dalai Lama visa debacle.

The 2014 Nobel Peace Laureates Summit initially scheduled to be held in Cape Town this month, has been suspended due to the South African government failing to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend the summit.

The ANC led government has received heavy criticism from Laureates, NGO’s, opposition parties and public figures following the government’s  decision to not grant a visa to His Holiness, in a bid to allegedly avoid angering China which views the Tibetan spiritual leader as a campaigner for Tibetan independence. 

China and South Africa are both part of BRICS- an association of five emerging national economies that represent 18% of the world’s economy at large. BRICS consists of countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. China is also South Africa’s biggest single trading partner and an estimation of 350 000 Chinese have settled in SA since 2000.

The city of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille announced earlier this month that the summit would be suspended following refusals by other Laureates to attend in protest for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. “The National Government has treated our request and that of the Laureates themselves with distain, and in so doing showed that they are more intend on pleasing Beijing than with ensuring a prestigious international event is held in South Africa, which was intended to celebrate the late Nelson Mandela and 20 years of democracy in South Africa,” said the Mayor addressing reporters at the Civic Centre last week Thursday. De Lille further accused the SA government of undermining the countries international standing and of arrogance and inefficiency.

The value of international exposure and visitor spend would have brought in an estimation of R60 million worth of economic opportunity as the summit would have been the largest gathering of Nobel Peace Laureates with 14 Peace Laureates and 11 Peace Laureates organisations, according to De Lille.

In a letter to the host committee, Laureates from the Nobel Women’s Initiative laid out reasons why they had decided to not attend the summit and expressed their disappointment in both the South African government and China. The laureates said that their decision was not just about SA failing to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama. “It is also about the Chinese governments expressed policy of non-interference in the internal policies of other nations –apparently except when it comes to the Dalai Lama,” they said, also adding that they would be willing to participate in the summit if it were hosted where the Dalai Lama would be able to attend.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in a statement lambasted the ANC led government referring to them as a lickspittle bunch that he was ashamed to call his government. Tutu also added that he couldn’t believe that the government could shoot itself in the same foot thrice over.

The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and is close friends with fellow Laureate Tutu who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. South African Laureates also include Albert Luthuli-1961; FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela who were co recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. 

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in the town of Dharamshala in India since 1959 after fleeing Tibet.

Mayor De Lille affirmed that the summit would not be cancelled, rather it would continue in association with the city of Cape Town and an alternative host city. The date nor venue for the summit has not yet been confirmed.

Celebrating the French culture

The Durban University of Technology International Education and Partnerships Directorate held a FRENCH DAY AT DUT programme, on Wednesday 1st October, at Ritson Campus-DUT.

Hosted by Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment Executive Dean Theo Andrew, the programme was attended by DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof A.C Bawa, French ambassador to South Africa Her Excellency Ms Elisabeth Barbier, eThekwini Municipality Head of International and Governance Relations Mr Eric Apelren and other well respected academics.

Head of International and Governance Relations Mr Eric Apelren, presented an overview of Durban sister city cooperation programme with the French speaking city of Le Port.

The programme included an exhibition of works from the DUT departments of Jewellery Design, Fashion, Photography, Media, Language and Translation, Alliance Francaise and Art for Humanity respectively. 

Representatives from the various faculties took turns delivering speeches related to collaborations between South Africa and France and Durban’s sister city Le Port, hence the partnership between the Durban University of Technology and the University of Reunion. Campus France University Cooperation’s Officer Ms. Chrisna spoke about studying opportunities and scholarships in France for South African Students.  

Other presentations were that of aspects of French culture, French language teaching in DUT, modules in French language in DUT as well as perspectives from two current French exchange students.

Acapella singers from the Department of Drama and Production studies serenaded the guests with traditional South African and French music pieces. A French themed three course lunch prepared by Master Chef Jean-Paul Videau and students from the Hospitality Department.

The programme was sealed off with a French Day concert featuring a deejay set from Labella from Reunion Island.

Transparency and accountability within funding institutions

A set of High Level Norms and Standards for Grant Funding were laid out in a document presented to beneficiaries by the National Lotteries Board during the third National Lotteries Board (NLB) 2014 Indaba in Boksburg from the 22nd until the 24th of September.

The document is a draft that will be a living document- giving insight into the NLB as a funding institution and how it operates -after all stakeholders and beneficiaries add their inputs. The main objectives for the development of norms and standards include reflecting a high level of transparency and accountability regarding all structures and processes. The document also serves to establish a clear mandate for the NLB in terms of beneficiaries and priorities and to improve communication and strengthen the relationship between the NBL and the beneficiaries.

The NLB came into existence after the development of the Lotteries’ Act of 1997 and as South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy, the NLB celebrates 15 years of existence.

The Lotteries’ Act No.57 of 1997 was amended and the New Lotteries’ Amendment Act was passed in December 2013. The new Amendment act will see the NLB restructured into the National Lotteries Commission and will see the appointment of a commissioner. According to the new amendment act, the board shall in consultation with the minister of Trade and Industry, appoint a person with suitable qualifications and experience. The commissioner will be accountable to the board for the performance of all financial, administrative and clerical functions. The commissioner will also hold office for a five year term and may only have their contract renewed once.

Speaking at the Indaba, NBL CEO Mrs Thabang Mampane revealed that the changes would be implemented on the 1st of April 2015.  Mampane also outlined the National Lottery Distributional Trust Fund (NLDTF) statistics which state that since inception, the NLDTF has distributed R18 billion.

 According to the Lotteries Act, The NLDTF receives 34% of all National Lottery revenues every week and distributes these funds to good causes across different sectors namely: Charities sector- 45%; Arts, Culture and Heritage- 28%; Sports and Recreation- 22% and Miscellaneous Purposes- 5%.   

Some of the topics discussed during the Indaba were those of governance and compliance by NGO’s and NPO’s; poverty statistics in South Africa; fraud prevention, monitoring, evaluating and compliance in funding institutions; job creation for youth through funding and public private partnerships.

The Indaba also allowed for beneficiaries to network with each other as well as engage with members of the NLB during the three day course of the conference.  

The beneficiaries and NLB were urged not to misuse the funds or engage in fraud or corruption as such would backtrack the progress of the NLDTF.

“Serve your community and not yourself,” said NLB board member Ms. Zodwa Ntuli speaking to the beneficiaries during the Indaba. “We are going to rely on you to ensure that you are honest and you can point out those that are fraudulent. It is not the job of the government to ensure that there is no corruption,” she added.

Taking street art to the galleries

Amending space. Swinging compass. Transporting Zone. Rearranging land. Adapting district. These words are the essence of Shifting Territories, an initiative of bringing street art to the gallery, hence shifting the perception of the art form.

It is not often that one finds an exhibition of street art at a gallery, one would even argue that the two are an oxymoron as they speak an entirely different language, but Shifting Territories is about exactly that. The Shifting Territories exhibition opened on Tuesday evening (16/09/2014) at the KZNSA.

Curated by Iain Ewok Robinson, the exhibition had three parts to it. There was a projector displaying videos showing the artists creating their work. The second part was the display of the artists’ individual works with QR codes besides them and the last part was a combination of the individual works traced on the floor.

“Street art is about constraints, this exhibition is about constraints,” said Ewok. He also added that the exhibition was part of an initiative to contest the perception that people have of the art form.

“The curator stretched our abilities and bent our minds by making us work blind folded and with our opposite hands and then trace it on the floor,” said street artist 4GVIN, who was one of the six artists responsible for the works displayed. The group exhibition was put together by artists; MOOK LION, Pastelheart, Stops, Ewok and Tymz9ine.

“Street Art doesn’t speak to its immediate environment, it doesn’t speak about its immediate environment. It joins the environment, attaching itself and all of its ego and contradictions and politics, forcing itself to be seen, experienced, witnessed, and ultimately reacted with. It claims its space unashamedly, forcing us to question its existence, to contest its existence, and when we cannot provide any adequate rationalization for why it shouldn’t exist, we must eventually accept it,” said the concept note written by sociolinguist and educator William Kelleher referring to the street art culture of writing the city.

Ewok said that conversations between street artists and the city had started and the Shifting Territories exhibition was just the beginning.

2014 Digital Arts Festival, a platform for Students

The Durban University of Technology successfully hosted its first Arts and Design Digital Festival at City Campus over the past weekend, 12th and 13th September respectively.

“A student and staff showcase promoting connectivity, collaboration and creativity. The #DUTDigifest is experimental in many respects, stimulating engagement with the digital- both technical and conceptually,” said DUT Faculty of Arts and Design Acting Executive Dean, Dr Rene Alicia Smith.

The various activities within the programme included a staff exhibition, QR code exhibition, creative code workshop, film festival, animation workshop, fashion show, talk fest, academic discussions and displays of works by students and staff from the respective departments within the Faculty of Arts and Design.

Live painting, poetry, dancing, bands, hip hop performances and comedy are but just few of the entertainment activities that were taking place at the main stage throughout the course of the festival.

“Our students and graduates of DUT’S Faculty of Arts and Design should be identifiable by their innovative, creative exploration of themes  and concepts; engagement with local and international contexts and ability to navigate the digital world,” said Dr Smith, also adding that she was proud of the talent and work the students produced and displayed.

The digital festival allowed students and staff to portray their own understanding of democracy through various art forms from fashion, film, poetry, visual art and other respective forms as per the theme of the festival: “democracy 20/20”.

Digital Arts Festival Curator, Suzy Bell said the primary outcome of the festival was to create a professional and contemporary space for the DUT students to exhibit and expand their creative portfolios. She also added that the students got the opportunity to enjoy media attention and engage with potential clients and some were able to sell their works.

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