2018 Gender Based Violence Workshop


Learners engaged in a workshop about the definition of gender.

What is a gender just society? How can we create it? These were among some of the questions tackled during Africa Unite’s School Club’s annual Gender Based Violence (GBV) workshop held on March 10th at the Africa Unite Offices. Africa Unite, Activate!and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation came together to facilitate a GBV workshop with four schools from across Cape Town.  This event allowed Learners to have meaningful conversations about gender, what gender-based violence means to them, and what they can do within their schools to promote a gender just society. The purpose of this event was to unpack the term “gender” and cultivate a deeper understanding of the topic in order to promote understanding, tolerance and respect.


Learners were able to converse about the difference between sex and gender and were given room to discuss their understanding of different gender-based terms and concepts. Intentional conversation about the construct and fluidity of gender was had and students offered valuable input to help the entire group grapple with the complexity of gender.


Learners broke into small groups to discuss what they believe a gender just society would look like.

Following this, the Learners were asked an open-ended question about their understanding of “gender-based violence”. Students named physical acts like “bullying”, “sexual abuse” and “domestic abuse”. Learners also recognized that abuse can consist of “emotional and verbal abuse”, “being excluded from spaces because of your gender”, “abusing power over others” and “being forced to act differently than how you feel” which can lead to “self harm or anger”. The facilitators also discussed the issue of economic abuse and the exploitation that occurs at the hands of economic dependence.


A highlight of the event was the small group conversations that were held in teams of five. Here the Learners were able to discuss what they believed a gender just society would look like.


Learners discussed GBV with members from others school clubs

The Learners mentioned the ability for men and women to hold the same power positions, for no person to be sexual abused or exploited, for all people to be accepted regardless of their sexuality or their gender and for all spaces and occupations and communities to be inclusive to all regardless of gender or appearance.

Learners then were able to discuss the framework for hosting their own GBV Hackathon in their respective schools. Several students expressed interest in having one of the facilitating organizations attend their school and help their club host their own GBV Hackathon.

To end the workshop, Learners were given the opportunity to discuss what they will take away from their workshop attendance. Many learners mentioned that they now feel better equipped to understand and respect all genders and people.


Thank you to all who left the learners smiling at the end of their workshop!

Learners noted their improved understanding of gender and GBV and their inspired commitment to solve GBV issues in their own community. In light of this project’s success, Africa Unite would like to extend thanks to Activate!, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and the Learners from Nelson Mandela High, Portland High, Rosendaal High and Heideveld High. For more photos, please click here.

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2018 Youth Weekend Human Rights Training

Africa Unite held its annual Human Rights Training Weekend in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on the 23rd of February to the 25th of February 2018 at Goedegedacht Farm in Malmesbury Cape Town, South Africa.The training brought 30 young people from different backgrounds as follows: 25 local youth from South Africa among them was 1 refugee from Somalia, 1 from Nigeria and 1 from Kenya.


Vincent Williams Africa Unite Chairperson facilitating a morning session.

The group was also joined by 5 young people who are part of Africa Unite’s Youth Exchange Program coming from Cameroon, Namibia and Democratic Republic of Congo. The purpose of this exchange program is to continue building a bigger movement of young people in Africa that can collaborate together in the realisation of their human rights and to build a culture of human rights communities in Africa.

The training covered the following topics:

  • Human Rights Principles
  • Human Rights Education: What and Why?
  • Instruments protecting Human Rights locally and globally.
  • The rights of vulnerable people (people with disabilities, women, children, elderly people, refugees and migrants etc).
  • How to build Human Rights Communities.
  • How to facilitate human rights information sessions in various communities.


    Youth Peer Educators enjoying a meal together

One of the highlighted events of the weekend was the mock presentations to the African Union assembly by the youth who were divided in different African countries. The youths were placed into 5 countries in order to compete for $200 Billion offered by the World Bank through the African Union. Each country was asked to select a president and its cabinet. This resulted in the following five countries being selected: Namibia, Somalia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and DRC. The above countries were instructed to deliver a presentation to the acting Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki. The youngest in the group, Celine Thomas from Bishop Lavis in Cape Town, was selected as the


DRC team delivering their presentation to the AU and World Bank Chairpersons

Chairperson of the African Union. Each country was tasked to do a presentation based on the following topics: a brief history about the country, current political issues, socio-economic and cultural dynamics, and how each country intends to use the $200 billion donation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

After interesting presentations from various countries, the winning country was selected by a panel that was composed of the chairperson of the African Union, and the President of the World Bank.The criterion was based on team work, knowledge of the country, history and background and how they were going to use the money to achieve the Sustainable Developmental Goals. Cameroon was selected as the winner of the evening and received a mock cheque of $200 billion for aid to their country. The purpose of this activity is to allow our youth to research and understand the political and socio-economic background of African countries. During one of the interval on day 2 the I.E.C had an


The newly trained youth peer educators pausing with their human rights manual and certificates after the trainin

opportunity to facilitate a leadership session to encourage the youth the be active citizens and custodians of democracy and good governance. Following the conclusion of the workshop, the youth from different backgrounds were extremely excited about the different levels of interactions, content of the training and the skills which were gained during this weekend. They reflected on their experiences, provided constructive feedback to enhance the program, and thanked Africa Unite for this learning opportunity. Overall, the youth made a clear commitment to go back in their respective communities and countries and conduct similar information sessions.Africa Unite would like to give a special thanks to Vincent Williams for the professional and high quality facilitation. Our special thanks also goes to our funders DKA- Austria, IEC, CCFD and other individuals.

For more pictures click here.


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Launch of the Youth Innovation Lab in South Africa

Africa Unite in partnership with AYANA International held a 4-day workshop from 10,11, 12, and 17th of October 2017 with 15 learners who are part of the Masibambane Secondary School AU Club in Cape Town South Africa. The workshop titled Youth Innovation Lab sought to ignite the creative, problem-solving potential of these youth! This project is about informing the youth on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they can develop innovative projects in order to realise these goals in their respective schools and communities.

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Youth Innovation Lab Poster

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are part of the Global Agenda designed in 2015 by the United Nations’ 193-member states. They replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed in 2000 to reduce world poverty, which mainly focused only on the less developed countries. In contrast, the SDGs involve all the countries of the United Nations at the same level as they tackle many issues (poverty, socio-economic inequalities, gender issues, access to healthcare, education and climate change).

During the first 3 days, the learners had time to discuss some of the challenges they face in their schools and communities in relation to the SDG’s. Below are some of the topics which emerged;

  • High rate of school drop-outs, especially in township schools,
  • Lack of equipment and inadequate capacity of teachers to deliver quality education in township schools,
  • Marginalisation of the learners on all levels of decision making,
  • Majority of the underprivileged communities are characterised by poor service delivery and lack of access to basic socio-economic services that are necessary for survival

Following this the learners were divided into three groups then given the opportunity to identify solutions and develop projects that can address some of these issues. On the last day the learners were tasked to give a presentation on their project plan and budget. These presentations were done in the presence of African Monitor, one of the leading Pan African organisation championing youth participation on SDGs.

Below are the three projects which were identified by the learners;


One of the the 3 groups presenting their project

Group #1: Youth Taking Charge (YTC)

To reduce inequalities that are still existing in the post-apartheid South Africa and give young people a voice, YTC seeks to create a platform for learners to engage various stakeholders and decision makers in all levels of society for their voices to be heard (i.e. school, community, local and provincial government). The group will also inform other youth on good governance – how the local government works and how the public can participate in the decision, implementation and monitoring processes.

Group #2: School drop outs

The current school curriculum in most townships does not provide for creative and extramural opportunities such as music, art and sports. In these schools the focus is mainly on theoretical subjects’ contrary to suburb schools. As a result, some of the learners in township schools lack motivation, drive and interest thereby increasing the chances of dropping out of school. The group seeks to advocate and lobby provincial and national government to provide more resources to underprivileged schools for the above activities can take place.

Group #3: Creating a Safer School Environment

According to University of South Africa (UNISA) about 34% of learners have been bullied and 23% of the learners admitted being bullies, this has been a huge challenge in schools for the past years.  The learners have discovered that their school did not even have an anti-bulling policy. The group intends to schedule meetings with various stakeholders so that such a policy can be developed in various schools. Furthermore, the group would like to launch a campaign with the aim of raising awareness against bullying through various activities.


The group following one of the presentations with their lunch

The learners are currently developing the budget for each of the above thematic areas which will be submitted to AYANA International. Africa Unite would like to thank AYANA for this collaboration and also African Monitor for their technical support.

 For more pictures click here.

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Mandela High School Club Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon

In celebration of Nelson Mandela Month on July 28th Mandela High’s Africa Unite School Club visited Ikhaya Loxolo, a home for the elderly in Gugulethu. This event was initiated by Mandela High learners in order to show respect for elders in their community. Learners served a delicious meal of chicken, rice, and salad prepared by the family of Alice Dolan, an Africa Unite employee. Instead of celebrating her birthday with family and friends, Alice asked that her family donate this meal. Over 120 people were fed including the elderly residents, school learners, and Ikhaya Loxolo staff members. During lunch learners served in the dining hall and fed residents who were not physically able to leave their rooms. They even sang and danced with residents and care takers throughout the meal. Others washed dishes or assisted the Ikhaya Loxolo cooks in peeling potatoes for the next meal.

The Mandela High President began the speaking portion of the event by introducing the AU School Club to residents. He was followed by Bombvana Ntswaki’s passionate poem on the frustrations of poverty “poverty I am not your property,” that moved many in the crowd. Alice Dolan spoke emotionally on behalf of Africa Unite and was recognized for her family’s generous gift. Cllr. Siyabulela Mamkeli was the keynote speaker and used his teenage experiences to encourage the learners to continue serving their community and invest themselves in the political process. He noted that the new management of Ikhaya Loxolo had made vast improvements to the building and well-being of its residents since his last visit. He then commended the Africa Unite School Club for uniting the community and taking the initiative to appreciate our elders as they fought for the freedom we now enjoy. Next, learners presented Ikhaya Loxolo with gifts of vegetables and rice to be served at future meals. The manager Nandi Diamini spoke warmly to her residents and then directly to the School Club. She advised the learners that it is important to know who they are so they always know where they are going. Ms. Diamini closed her speech with, “keep it up, you are the best.” To close the event, an elderly woman spoke on behalf of Ikhaya Loxolo community members and was brought to tears in thankfulness for the learner’s enthusiasm and entertainment.

*** Africa Unite would like to thank the Dolan family for their generous contribution and hard work. In addition, we thank Nandi Diamini and her staff for welcoming us at Ikhaya Loxolo. Finally, Mayoral Committee Cllr. Siyabulela Mamkeli for his kind words and presence at the event.



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AU School Clubs extended to Johannesburg

From the 28th to the 29th of July 2017 Africa Unite in partnership with Chrystal Horizon Youth Center conducted a workshop with over 20 learners from Fons Luminis High School and New Gate College from Soweto and Hillbrow respectively  in Johannesburg. The workshop was meant to capacitate the newly elected cabinet leaders and parliamentarians from the two schools on their roles and responsibilities within the Africa Unite school Clubs.  The session was also attended by 4 teachers from the two schools and 6 learners who are part of the Braamfisher Youth Club in Soweto.


Learners following the presentation on Human Rights Friendly Schools by Amnesty International South Africa.

During the two days, the learners had an opportunity to discuss some topics on human rights facilitated by Africa Unite and Chrystal Horizon. They also had a presentation on how to successfully lobby and advocate on various issues affecting them from CIVICUS which is a global network of civil society organisations and activists working to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world.

The learners also learnt on how they can create human rights friendly schools which was facilitated by Amnesty International,  a global movement  dedicated to ending grave abuses of human rights and getting justice for those whose rights have been violated.

The learners were then tasked to develop their 3-month plan of activities which they will implement in their respective schools and communities. After the workshop, the learners and teachers thanked Africa Unite and Chrystal Horizon for the training and opportunity given to them to officially establish school clubs in Johannesburg. They were also excited to see what other school clubs are doing in Cape town and Durban and vowed that they


Group photo with the cabinet members, their teachers and members of Africa Unite and Chrystal Horizon.

are more than ready to join the movement of young active learners. Africa Unite will be running these school clubs in Johannesburg in Partnership with Chrystal Horizon Youth Center.

For more pictures click here

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Soap making in Nyanga

Hygiene is a very important topic that a lot of children do not know enough about. For instance, some of them are not used to washing their hands when necessary. That’s why we – Africa Unite and our Singamakhalipha Team – decided to address this topic and organised a workshop in Gugulethu. We invited kids from different townships we cooperate with to join.

After arriving at the Nyanga Open Library, the kids watched an informational video about germs and bacteria, teaching them in a fun way the importance of hand washing.

While the first group started to make their own soap, the others attended a quiz about hygiene.

We asked the kids to tell us why they should wash their hands, what hygiene means to them, and why it is important to clean the toilet before using it.

Nowadays, soap is affordable, but it is either missing, or not properly used in many households. Making soap and bringing something self-made home is a first step to convincing the kids on the importance of hand washing. Moreover, deciding which colour and fragrance their own soap should have, made them the workshop more enjoyable, and many wanted to take more soap home for family and friends.

While everybody was excitedly waiting for the soap to firm up, the day ended with some singing, playing, and refreshments.

It was a successful event. Learning and having fun don’t always need to be separated.

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Gender Based Violence Workshops

Gender based violence (GBV) includes sexual, domestic, economic, structural, and intimate partner violence. Recent statistics indicate how profound and widespread the problem of GBV is in South Africa. The country ranks first in the world for the number of sexual violence cases with 500,000 people raped every year. It is also estimated that one woman is killed every eight hours. Africa Unite is therefore deeply committed to finding ways to tackle this problem. So far, our efforts have included a workshop, silent marches, and a social media campaign. The central element has been our workshop, that we have been conducting with learners from different high schools, as well as with young people in community meetings in the Western Cape region.

The workshop aims to raise awareness on GBV, and giving young people a heightened understanding of gender, its power structures, and the ways this may lead to violence, thus allowing them to become partners in ending GBV. So far, the workshop has reached nearly 400 young people.

This is a snapshot of what young people have been discussing so far.

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