What is Human Right in your language?

Basic Human Right workshop for Church leaders

On the 1st of October 2022, Africa Unite hosted a workshop for 12 Pastors and leaders from different church organizations. The workshop was organized to capacitate church leaders on the basic Human Rights for Immigrant so that they can give advice correctly to their congregation members when they need assistance on Immigrant laws. On the same day, Africa Unite Invited an Attorney who has experience in the legal work of Immigrant as well as the home affairs system. All this was coordinated by the Africa Unite 3 Africa unite staff members. 

Pastors and church leaders were capacitated in the basic Human Rights of Immigrant. This section looked at the different types of Immigrants in South Africa (Asylum seekers, Refugees, emigrant, and immigrant) and all their rights. As well as learning what is Human Rights in the languages spoken by the different church leaders, this exercise demonstrated that Human Right is everywhere and in every language. On the same day, church leaders had the opportunity to ask Questions concerning documentation or any issues that required legal aid assistance (Advice) or how to go about applying for documentation.

Below are some questions that were raised from the session on Saturday’s workshop:

  • What do you do when a child is born here but both Parents are illegal (have no valid documentation)?
  • What do you do when a child is born of a South African Mother and a foreign father (vice versa)?
  • Various legal issues related to ZEP’s (Zimbabwean Exemption Permits) were also discussed. What to do when the permits expire in June? And what are the other options for Zimbabwean nationals?

    At the end of the workshop, church leaders had a greater understanding of South African immigration law and human rights in general. Strengthening of the relationship between AU and the Christian community in Cape Town and building networks and unity within the different immigrant churches.

    Lastly, participants had a positive view of the workshop. They enjoyed learning the rights of Immigrant (they realized that it is easy to say you know what Human Rights are but not understand). They also appreciated the question and answer session facilitated by the attorney. The session was crucial and the facilitator was practical when answering the question by giving everyday cases and solutions in simple English. Thus, the workshop has strengthened the relationship between the pastors, the different church organizations, and the relationship with AU.

    CHALLENGES/SUCCESSES OF THE WORKSHOP

    Challenge

    Timeliness- workshop started a bit late, and some participants had to leave early.

    Success

    The attorney we brought in was very experienced, knowledgeable, and helpful. He helped communicate the specific legal issues that many immigrants to South Africa face. And the church leaders were able to grasp and learn the Immigrant Rights.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    Invite immigrants from different backgrounds to the next workshop. This would expand AU’s influence and improve our relationship with the local community. And have more time for question and answer session.  

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    Heritage Day Celebration and the Global Week

    Youth of the Gugulethu informal settlement change a once crime hotspot and dump site into a peaceful walkway

    On the 24th of September 2022, African Monitor and Africa Unite in partnership with Gugulethu iThemba Walkway (Africa Unite, University of Cape Town: School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics, Baz Art, Gugulethu Urban Farming Initiative, Open SDG Club South Africa, Atlantic Seaboard & Gugulethu Community Action Network (CAN), Community Police Forum (CPF), Gugulethu Urban Farming Initiative (GUFI), Nobantu Primary, School South Africa CSOs Working Group on SDGs), hosted an Heritage Day celebration that coincided with the Global Week of Action on Sustainability Development Goals (SGDs). Approximately 70 people from different communities attended the event. The main purpose of the event was to create awareness through educational programmes, dialogues, and other public activities on the importance of Heritage as a vehicle to foster social cohesion, national building, sustainable development, making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, and resilient (Goal 11 of the SDG’s). The day honoured those who dedicated and continue to dedicate their lives to ensure that the country achieves the freedom and democracy that all of us enjoy today. 

    Further, we had a Roundtable discussion on (SDGs) as part of the ongoing Global Week of Action on SDGs. The main discussion focused on goals 5,11, and 16. The Theme of the Roundtable was South Africa – you can flip the script and act now for Justice, Climate & Peace. The Roundtable on SDGs brought together different stakeholders including local decision-makers, young people, grassroots communities, women leaders, civil society, and media) to act towards delivering the Sustainable Development Goals in South Africa. We had four panellists in the discussion: The Councilor of Gugulethu, Mr. Thembinkosi Mjuza; A youth representative, Miss Siphokazi Sigade; A member of the Community Policing Forum, Mr. Linda Kabani and a representative of the Gugulethu Development Forum, Mr. Mzwandile Phambiso. The Roundtable was facilitated by Mr. Mongezi Tamana a community member of Gugulethu. 

    Gugulethu is a township 15 km away from Cape Town. The name is a contraction of igugu lethu, which is Xhosa for ‘Our Pride’. This township was established along with Nyanga in the 1960’s. The Group Areas Act (1950) reinforced the policy of land dispossession and segregation in South Africa. In accordance with the Act, many Africans, Coloured and Indian people from inner city areas were relocated to new suburbs, often far from their places of work. Africans were the first group of people to be subjected to forced relocation. The Native (Urban Areas) Act of 1923 provided that all Africans, other than those exempted, had to live in a location. As a result, townships like Gugulethu, Nyanga and Langa (in the Western Cape) emerged.

    Mr. Mjuza did the welcoming at the event, he noted that it was good to see the gathering at the newly-cleared site to celebrate Heritage Day and raise awareness of the SDGs. “This is so great to see because the Walkway has been a crime hotspot and dump site and has now been transformed into this clean and colourful walkway, celebrating diversity and inspiring young people and the community at large”, Mr Mjuza added.

    Siphokazi Sigade spoke on behalf of the youth of the community. She noted that the involvement of the youth from the community is essential to the success of the project. She also emphasised the fact that we must push to transform these walkways from all the negativity to form part of the many heritage sites in Gugulethu. 

    Linda Kabani noted that we are changing the narrative of the pathway because we know terrible things have happened on the pathway. Further, he highlighted the fact that from the first day the walkway was cleaned, it was not littered with or damaged again because of the community’s commitment. 

    Mzwandile Panziso shared his appreciation for the event organisers and the change that has happened in the walkway because the Walkway has been known for crime and negativity and  has become an inspiration for many. 

    Other activities included among others painting messages of hope such as ‘INCLUSIVE SAFE SPACES’ on on the walkway’s  walls a the iThemba Partnership logo, planting trees (citrus and peach tree at the Nobantu Primary School) to highlight issues of climate change and environmental protection; stunts that provide the occasion to flip defining words such as ‘Apathy’ to ‘Action’, ‘Fear’ into ‘Hope’, ‘Crime’ into ‘Peace’’ and highlighted the importance of the moment to turn in a new direction, illustrating that the power is in our hands to tell a new story and change the narrative. Further, there was an exhibition on the walkway, looking into the before and after pictures of the walkway and displaying the pictures taken over the period since the work began. 

    Lelethu Nogwavu, the Human Rights Project Development Officer at Africa Unite, closed off by explaining why this was being done before the tree’s planting. The trees were planted as part of Global Week and working towards achieving SDG’s. Ensure sustainable development and ending poverty especially in Townships. While Mr. Vuyani Qamata of the Gugulethu Urban Food Forest Initiative planted the citrus and peach tree, Lelethu explained that this was symbolic and a part of realising the SDG goals and ensuring sustainable development. 

    • Recommendations:
    • The iThemba walkway needs to be maintained and cleaned regularly. 
    • The planting of fruit and veg trees should also be expanded to other schools and communities in Cape Town.
    • We should expand the work done at the iThemba Walkway to other similar walkways.
    • More paintings should be added to the walkway. 
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    Report From Workshop: Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Pre-Sessions.

    On the 20 – 22 of September 2022, Human Rights Project Development Officer, Lelethu Nogwavu attended the Universal Periodic Review Pre-Sessions in Sandton, Johannesburg. Approximately 30 other Civil Society Organisations attended and presented at the workshop. The main purpose of the event was to provide National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI’s) and Civil society organizations with an international platform through which they can inform the representatives of the recommended States about human rights situation in the State Under Review (SuR) before the UPR. Secondly, the event was to offer an opportunity for permanent missions to gather first-hand information on the human rights situation in the countries under review. As a result, the pre-sessions ensure that the recommendations made during UPR WG accurately reflect the reality of the SuR.

    Africa Unite is one of the Civil Society Organisations that were invited to meet the representative of the recommended States about the Human Rights situation in terms of the work that we do as an organisation. Africa Unite had also submitted a report to the UPR before this hence we were invited. We were also required to make a factsheet for submission after the event. This factsheet is meant to go the State representatives.

    Several issues were discussed in the sessions including issues of Vulnerable groups (Disability) GBV-F (The right to Land and Food), Sexual and reproductive rights. Xenophobia and Migrant Rights (Economic and Social Rights). Xenophobia and Migrant rights (Migration, Detention and Statelessness). GBV-F (Forced Sterilisation and Torture). Access to Justice for Women and Climate change. Although Africa Unite’s work deals with most of the issues discussed, the submission/report AU made at the UPR was on Xenophobia and Migrant rights (specifically on Refugees and Asylum Seekers). During the event, AU partnered with the Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the Dullah Ouma Institute (DOI) to come up with solutions and ideas and discuss in-depth, the work each organization does in relation to the topic/issue. The organisations also discussed how they can work together as a coalition to bring about effective solutions.

    The workshop was a good opportunity to hear from other stakeholders, especially those working in a similar field as Africa Unite. It also gave an opportunity for us who are youth-focused and working on grassroot to give a sense of how things are on the ground and to also be exposed to the litigation and research aspect of Migrant and Refugee work. Further, it highlighted the importance of grassroot work and advocacy and how we as Africa Unite can utilise institutions like the UPR to influence and change policies at an international level while also working on the ground with people and being their voice. This is because the UPR gives a platform for civil society to influence internationally. It also brings together different organisations to work together and make an impact using their different strengths as organisations.

    Africa Unite will submit a factsheet on the issue of Access to tertiary Education for young Refugee students who have completed matric. This has become a problem in South Africa as young refugee students are required to pay their school fees upfront without any government assistance. This is one of the plights of refugee tertiary students because most of them already come from financially insecure households. Most of them end up not getting access to tertiary institutions as a result of this. This has a ripple effect because there is also a huge problem of unemployment in the country and so when these young people do not get access to tertiary education. They cannot find work, meaning they have to stay at home and continue being victims of poverty. This is especially because education helps refugees to become self-sufficient, enabling them to learn about themselves and the world around them, as they strive to rebuild their lives and communities.

    By submitting this fact sheet, Africa Unite is using this platform to reach out to the international community and to try and find solutions to this problem. In doing this, Africa Unite in collaboration with other NGO’s hopes to bring to light this very important issue and to also help change policies and advocate for an international financial aid scheme for refugee students.

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    African Immigrant Church Leaders Forum (AICLF)

    Workshop held from 26-27 August 2022 in Goedgedacht Farm in Malmesbury

    The workshop was attended by 12 pastors (10 males and 2 females) and four Africa Unite staff. Participants were immigrants pastors from Rwanda, DRC, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Burundi, Malawi and Nigeria

    DAY 1

    Welcoming

    Pastors George started the meeting by welcoming all the participants. Lidia facilitated the introduction, rules, and expectations section for this meeting. During the introduction, the participants were supposed to learn more about each other (where they are coming from, family background, what they do for work, where they live etc).

    Rules

    Participants were divided into two groups and had to develop rules that will guide the workshop in the next day and half (this had to be done in drawings).

    Expectations

    Participants were put into two groups to discuss and share their expectations of the meeting.

    Group 1Group 2
    – Pastoral care for immigrants and
    what it entails.
    – How we can create a fellowship for
    immigrants (empowerment, educate).
    – Cohesion, intimacy, community,
    pastors

    – Learning
    – Clarity
    – Network
    – Plan of action
    – Strategy


      Purpose of the meeting

      The purpose of the meeting was for the group to bond so that they get to know each other and to develop a road map using the objectives that were developed by the AICLF.

      Primary Goal and Objectives

      The primary Goal and Objectives of the AICLF was shared to refresh the participants of what was developed previously and for those who were not part of the previous meeting to know the goal and the objectives. This section was facilitated by Pastor George.

      Goal
      The primary goal is to use our common devotion to religion to help guide each other to full social cohesion throughout South Africa. 
      Objectives
      1) To engage in networking, advocacy and lobbying on behalf of immigrants and the advancement of their rights
      2) To promote spaces of dialogues and conversations around social cohesion between immigrants and local communities
      3) To actively promote the social and well-being of immigrants including/through economic models of empowerment and related charitable actions.  
      4) To conduct research on matters relevant to the rights of immigrants and their relationships with local communities. 
      

      Mr Zoe Nkongolo shared the role of Africa unite and the temporary AICLF structure.

      Role of Africa Unite

      • To support and give guidance to the forum.
      • To capacitate the AICLF members with the needed skills and knowledge to effectively run the forum.
      • To act as a Fiscal Agency

      Temporary AICLF Structure

      • Leader of the Group
      • Secretariat
      • Steering committee

      Lidia shared a survey with pastors to fill in before the second day as a way for Africa unite to get a baseline information and to assess how much knowledge the Pastors have of human rights, immigrants law and regulations in South Africa, which will be used by Africa Unite to design future capacity, building workshops, and trainings according to the knowledge needed by the pastors as identified in the surveys. (Results to be shared)

      DAY 2

      Devotion

      Second day of the meeting started with reflection and devotion which was led by pastor George and Ps Muchanga. Pastor George shared from the book of Psalm 107 verse 23- 31. Pastor Muchanga led a prayer session (prayers for Immigrants, the forum and for the unity of the forum). 

      Migration

      After devotion, Mr Zoe Nkongolo facilitated the section of reasons for Migration and the 4 types of migration. Reasons for migration:

      • Safety
      • Economic reasons
      • Tourism
      • Studying
      • Medical reasons

      There are 4 types of migration of which 2 are Force Migration (where people do not have a choice but to leave their home countries), while the other 2 are known as Voluntary Migration (people who leave their countries/area are choosing to leave).

      Force Migration

      Asylum-seeker:

      A person who is at risk of persecution and who has applied for and is waiting to be granted refugee status

      Refugee:

      A person who has applied for asylum (protection) and has been granted refugee status

      Voluntary Migration

      Migrants:

      This usually refers to people who move from one place or one country to another on a temporary basis and who return to their place or country of origin. This can be both internal and cross-border migration

      Emigrants:

      this refers to people who have left their own country with the intention to settle in another country on a permanent basis and is usually only used with reference to cross-border migration.

      Immigrants:

      This refers to people who have settled in another country on a permanent basis and is also usually only used with reference to cross-border migration

      NOTE: Emigrant and Immigrant refer to the same group of people, but they are known as emigrants in their country of origin and immigrants in the country of destination.

      Action Plan

      After the definitions participants were put into two groups to go and develop activities for the 4 objectives. Below are the different activities developed by the two groups and presented by the two groups.

      Group 1Group 2
      Networking:
      §  Approach other NGOs & National organisations
      §  Build strong African migrant communities by linking with strong community organisations.
      §  Workshop on human rights.
       
      Advocacy, Lobbying and Research:
      §  Human rights training
      §  Roundtable discussions with relevant stakeholders
      (e.g. banks, government leaders, Department of Home Affairs)
      §  Research (NB!!)
       
      Media and Communications:
      §  Edutainment (Arts + Entertainment)
      §   Documentaries
      §  Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube,
      and Twitter)
      §  Radio interviews
       
      Integration:
      §  Dialogues
      §  Sports and events
       
      Social/Economic empowerment:
      §  Charitable actions
      §  Entrepreneurship
      §  Jobs, skills, training
      §  Leadership training
      Objective 1:
      Ø  Identify organisations with similar objective (solidarity)
      Ø  Identify critical issues and policies that need to be changes in relation to migration (Advocacy
      and Lobbying)
      Ø  Develop a profile (who are we?) 1 Page
      Ø  Seeking meetings
      Ø  Engaging the media who are
      “Pro” immigrants
      Ø  Launch the forum (due date of launch)

      Objective 2:
      Ø  Identify local church leaders (townships in South Africa) for dialogue – borrowing influence
      Ø  Organise different forms of dialogue/gatherings/information
      sessions

      Objective 3:
      Ø  Explore business ventures
      (undertakers, farming, hairdressing)
      Ø  Developing cooperatives/projects
      Ø  Short courses/short skills
      development programmes
      Ø  Open a platform for reflection/business ideas
      Ø  Fundraising/writing letters (charity)
      Ø  Psychosocial support (counselling)

      Objective 4:
      Ø  Identify issues, document, and publish the outcomes of the research for the benefit of
      both immigrants and locals.

      After the presentations of the above activities from the two groups, the activities were analysed, some new ones were added, and prioritised according to the month, as well as development of commissions according to objectives.

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      Enhancing MAR’s Youth

      A creative social media workshop

      On the 17th of September, the Movement Building Programme by Africa Unite held a workshop on Social Media for the MAR’s (standing for Migrants, Asylum seekers and Refugees) Youth, which took place at the Africa Unite Office in Cape Town. A total of 14 MAR’s members attended, as well as 3 staff members from Africa Unite. The purpose of the workshop was to raise social media awareness and to show the Youth how Movements can use social media effectively to promote their Movement.

      The workshop started with an introduction round and food for everyone. It continued with a short interactive presentation about social media which included a case study about Greenpeace Africa as active user on social platforms. The issues discussed how the MAR’s Youth can improve their social media presence and to make up a strategy and structure.

      After the presentation the members split up into groups of four to answer following questions: Why is social media important and what are the problems within the MAR’s social media platforms. Moreover, they had to find solutions to re-alive their social media pages. The identified problems were inconsistency and a lack of content, no team communication and a lack of engagement and support on side of every member. As solutions the MAR’s members presented that the members themselves have to support, like, and share their content way more. In addition, they want to improve their page appearance by making it look more appealing, and organized. This could be emphasized by creating introductory videos which could also be used as content. Further they plan to collaborate with organizations, and movements with the same aim and vision. The MAR’s members want to post two times a week, and have a better communication structure within their movement. 

      Finally, the MAR’s Youth got together in their Commissions and discussed about future content. They gathered a lot of ideas and participated in the making of a TikTok video in the end. In all, the workshop was positively received, and it was clearly, that every member has recognized the poor social media presence but has the willingness to change it. The Youth had many ideas and we, as Africa Unite, are excited to see their progress in establishing a sustainable social media presence. 

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      Women leading in Good Governance

      10 Women from 6 countries attended the workshop event on the 10th of September 2022 at Africa unite offices in the Cape town office at Spin Street. Facilitated by Mira Modise, assisted by Ashley Makore, and coordinated by Lidia Matabaro. The good governance workshop was developed to capacitate Tusimame Wanawake women on how to structure, lead and govern a social movement.

      The workshop started with an emphasis on the movement’s vision, mission, and objectives as a reminder to older members and an introduction to the new members. Then the facilitator led a discussion on the characteristics and challenges of a movement which are the self-governance, lobbying of people, voluntariness of the participation, and how volatile it is to mention a few. To emphasise how important it is to have a strong foundation for the movement, commitment, and consistency.  

      The facilitator also introduced activities that made the women realise that they were all leaders with unique leadership skills they can bring to the commissions. With regards to the movement, the facilitator explained the various phases a movement goes through which are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The women all agreed that we were moving past the storming stage (conflict) and were moving to the norming stage which meant the confusion and uncertainty were resolved and everyone was getting to know their role and place in the movement.

      The individual commissions were tasked with choosing a leader who will become part of the steering committee to encourage accountability. With this in mind the movement was challenged and tasked with designing a structure so that there is clear communication and accountability flow and, in the structure, they should incorporate Africa Unite so they can fulfil their role without uncertainty. The women were encouraged to open a bank account, identify personnel that will write reports, and mediate conflicts so they can be trained if there is a need.

      The workshop was a success as it set the movement in motion, equipped the women with knowledge of good governance and instilled a sense of self-confidence in women as leaders. The women realised they were leaders and had a role to play in the movement through various commissions. The various commissions met in groups and identified problems related to their commissions and activities they would do as commissions to address those processes.

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      Immigrant Women Leaders Rising up 

      Tusimame Wanawake: Leadership Training Workshop

      On the 13th of August 2022 Tusimame Wanawake (TW) in partnership with Africa Unite hosted a Leadership Training. The purpose of this training is to capacitate TW women so that they can be leaders for their movement.  The training was conducted by Lynette Maart (the facilitator) who has vast experience in building movements. There were 12 women from 7 African countries (DRC, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Ghana, and South Africa) who attended to be trained as leaders in their communities. 

      The discussion started with introductions and a brief explanation of an immigration issue the women are passionate about. The issues that came up were high unemployment rate, lack of documentation, misinformation among immigrants, lack of information among immigrants, immigrant children’s identity crisis, and leadership development among immigrants. This showed that the TW women were aware of the struggles of immigrants living in South Africa and that they only needed to be guided so they can address the issues in this movement which showed the importance of having the training.

      The facilitator went to talk about the fact that there are other women movements in the past that have been very successful, and it is important that we learn from their successes and mistakes. The example she gave was the Black Sash Movement. She presented a video https://www.blacksash.org.za/index.php/our-legacy/history-of-the-black-sash to the women on the origins which was in 1955 with only 6 white women who mobilised during Apartheid to challenge the laws that hindered people of colour from voting. The most important lessons noted in the video is how they used the daily struggles of people of colour to advocate for them, offered free legal advice, shared information and engaged the government on these struggles. 

      After the video the women went on to discuss their takes on the video. The women drew a lot of similarities between the Black Sash movement, and TW, both are women led movements that are dealing with the challenges faced by people in their time that is Black Sash was Apartheid and TW with immigrant challenges. Because these groups are similar this means they could learn from the Black Sash’s visibility through their black sash branding and as discussed above takingthe small practical steps, to help the success of the movement. 

      The training moved on to introduce a movement in the United States of America (USA) called the Suffrage through a video presentation   https://www.google.com/searchq=suffragette& oq=&aqs=chrome.0.69i59i450l8.489560812j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 and they also looked at the article called From Suffrage to Sisterhood: What is Feminism and what does it mean?

      This was a continuation of the Suffrage video as it illustrates how the movements for women’s rights has progressed post the Suffrage movement. The Suffrage was led by women who were advocating for women’s right to vote in the 1900s in USA. This video showed their struggle to be heard in the patriarchal society, the importance of a clearcut objective to fight for and how they ultimately succeeded even though it took a very long time. This is what TW women could learn from other Women movement. 

      The TW group went on to look at an article with the guidance of the facilitator as part of the training. The article is This highlighted how TW is part of a series of ongoing movements, how we are not fighting a new fight and need to constantly draw lessons from the previous movements. What this article also shows is how the movement for women’s rights adapts as it progresses. For example, in the 1900 it was about the women’s right to vote, and now it has expanded to equal income and intersection between gender, race and sexuality. This shows how the TW movement is in the right direction as it narrows down to immigrant women who are vulnerable in this time.

      Then the facilitator went on to guide the group in going through a pamphlet titled Leadership: the creative balance. The take home from this informative session was that leaders should ensure that they have a clear vision. They should ensure that old ideas are completed before moving to new ones. They must encourage fellow members to participate, delegate and be accountable to mention a few. 

      Lydia the Coordinator of movement building from Africa Unite with the help of the intern Ashley explained the commissions and encouraged women to choose which commission they would serve under. They did this with enthusiasm, a link was also shared so that women who were not there can also select a commission to serve under.  

      In conclusion, the leadership training session served to inspire the TW women to be leaders by showing how other women in the past led movements successfully despite the challenges. Finally, key aspect of being a good leader were shared and will be helpful to women as they lead various commissions. 

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      Leading a Movement with Confidence

      On the 5th of August 2022, Africa Unite in collaboration with the MARs movement (with MARs standing for Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees) held a Self-confidence Workshop at the Birtha House in Mowbray. One of our interns, Kaylee Nezwek, led the workshop as a means of fostering conversation regarding mental health and wellness, as well as leading a movement with confidence and leadership. A total of 21 members from the MARs movement attended, as well as 5 Africa Unite staff and interns. 

      The workshop began with an interactive discussion about defining mental health as more than a state of mind, but rather a state of holistic well-being. Self-confidence was also defined in a broad context, with members sharing what confidence meant for not only themselves but also as a group and movement. They were asked to evaluated where they stand on a scale from 1-4, and also asked to note whether their confidence has improved at all since being a part of MARs. Kaylee facilitated an “I Am” activity, in which participants were challenged to intentionally notice the positive in themselves and in those around them. The activity brought the members together, as they noted that many of them shared positive attributes, or noticed attributes about themselves from others that they had never noticed before. 

      Then, participants learned about different types of confidence and what those look like in a practical sense, and they also learned and spoke about ways to build self-confidence. One of these ways that was especially highlighted was self-talk. Members participated in another activity focused on transforming negative self-talk, in which they were asked to develop charts with one column representing situations or thoughts that trigger negative self-talk, one column representing the negative self-talk they find themselves using, and the last column representing a positive statement that replaces the negative one. This activity encouraged participants to learn to recognize what triggers negativity and how to reframe these thoughts positively; it also allowed members to bond over shared experiences and trauma. Members opened up about personal harmful experience, and together, they motivated and encouraged each other in a beautiful way. 

      The workshop concluded with a discussion regarding leadership skills. Kaylee facilitated discussions about giving constructive criticism, performance anxiety techniques, and motivating and empowering others. To conclude, the members were asked to write a letter to themselves about where they currently are, regarding confidence and leadership skills, and where they hope to be at the end of the school year. The letters will be given back to them then so that they can personally assess whether they accomplished their goals, or whether they need to continue working on them. In all, the workshop was definitely a step in the right direction toward leading a movement with confidence and self-belief. In a post-workshop survey, members stated that they will use their knowledge and leadership skills to endorse empathy, recognize efforts and not only outcomes, empower team members, maintain effective feedback, promote optimism, and turn challenges into opportunities. 

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      Migrant Advocacy Sector Mapping Workshop

      On the 26th of July 2022, the Witwatersrand Migration Governance Lab hosted a mapping consultative workshop at 6 Spin Street Cape Town. Representatives from various Cape Town-based organizations came together to discuss and place the promotion of migrants, asylum seekers, and many other vulnerable people’s rights at the forefront of their operations. The following is a list of the civil society organizations that were being represented: Africa Unite, Somali Association of South Africa, UCT South-South Migration Hub, Frame45, Human Rights Media Centre, Red Cross Society, Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students, Scalabrini, Migration Governance Lab, Congolese Civil Society of South Africa, The Public Interest Practice, SAVI, Safeplace International, Umoja Africa, World Wide Women’s Association, SWEAT, Adonis Musati Project, Pachedu, Black Sash, Legal Resources Centre and PASSOP.

      This was an opportunity to start a conversation between different groups within the sector, enabling each representative to gain a collaborative insight into the current position of the migrant ecosystem and to identify key areas for potential improvement.

      The workshop was attended by 26 representatives from their respective organizations. The intention was to provide insights and strategic advice to the foundation [Porticus] and its civil society partners, including migrant-led organizations and migrant leaders. The workshop provided the opportunity to validate findings from the Migration Governance Lab (MGL) at Wits University’s African Centre for Migration and Society and for the various organizations to work collectively to identify opportunities to strengthen the sector’s work in the years ahead. 

      The purpose of the workshop was to understand how different organizations working at different levels and on different activities relating to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, can work together to identify different tools that can be developed to expand rights afforded to these individuals. The key points that underpinned the workshop were the increasingly hostile environment, declining civil society support and political faith, and the debates over voice and representation for migrants. 

      The first session of the workshop started with presentations from Dr. Landau who is a Research Professor at the University of Witwatersrand’s African Centre for Migration and Society, Mr. Jacob van Garderen from The Public Interest Practice and Ms. Caroline Kihato from Frame45. During his presentation, Dr. Landau expressed the need to think about what the sector has done in the past 10 or 20 years and examine what can be done differently, he used the issue of xenophobia being at the centre of contemporary South Africa as an example of a matter that should be investigated and attended to with urgency. He further discussed the foundation for the project which includes the recognition of shortcomings, the identification of actors, interests and intersections, along with the identification of new allies. 

      Mr. van Garderen presented right after Dr. Landau and the focal part of his project looks at the region at large, and not just South Africa concerning migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Mr. van Garderen mentioned that he recently recognized that there are some existing collaborations in the region for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Another positive aspect is the founding collaboration between judges and courts regarding this matter. He went on to ask that there be a look into the existing opportunities on migration at the SADC level. He concluded his presentation by noting that the main issue that arose from the interviews he conducted was that most people felt the need for more engagement and deliberate initiatives in the region. The overarching point that was brought forward was the need to understand what the sector’s role is and ensuring that the needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are being met. 

      Ms. Kihato’s presentation pivoted on South Africa’s migrant ecosystem. She provided more information on what the migrant ecosystem is and who the ecosystem is composed of.  The key question she asked was related to how organizations can best work together to improve migrant ecosystems. She spoke on the importance of building coalitions because they will allow for migrants to have more access to opportunities. Ms. Kihato essentially spoke on the need to think more broadly about sector sustainability and the improvement of development outcomes.

      She concludes her presentation by speaking on the large distance that exists between villains and the champions on the map, and how there is a need to look at who are the actors on the map that sector can build coalitions with. The group of Allies were identified to be the ones who can be used to build coalitions with.  

      The presentations sparked up conversations on a number of matters such as migration policies and the need for involvement in the state activities regarding migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The issue of researchers who work against the rights of migrants. The need for consistency in the energy put in finding solutions for migrant lives of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in order for the plans to be more sustainable. A call to investigate how far the activities can be pushed into a continental comparative study and the possibility of taking from the best practices that have worked and using them in other parts of the region. The competitive funding that exists which ultimately affects the ability to be proactive and more impactful.  

      Key Discussions/Outcomes:

      Following the introductory presentations from Dr. Landau, Mr. van Garderen, and Ms. Kihato to set the contextual landscape regarding the migrant ecosystem in South Africa, the representatives of the present civil society organizations were split into three groups for a breakout session entitled ‘Validation, correction and direction’. The focus of these breakout groups was to identify the existing challenges faced by organizations within the sector in fulfilling their objective of maximizing the welfare of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Following the identification of such challenges, the three groups suggested varying ways in which we can improve the sector mapping currently being undertaken, as well as improving the operations and efficiencies of the sector. A prominent theme which emerged in these discussions was the need for sector mapping to be conducted on a much more holistic scale.

      To maximize its effectiveness, representatives from the organizations emphasized the need for sector mapping to be conducted by assessing the track record of organizations, and analyzing the extent to which their contributions to the cause were positive. These breakout sessions involved many passionate debates, as members constructively criticized each other’s perspectives. In conclusion, this workshop emphasized just how far dialogue can go in finding solutions to the problems which have continuously created obstacles for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the region and beyond. Africa Unite was honored to have hosted the workshop and been among one of the civil society organizations present at the workshop, which was a great success.

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      Africa Unite and MARs Movement visits the Castle of Good Hope

      On the 28th of June, the MAR’s drama group of Africa Unite attended a workshop at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. The workshop was organized by the Restoring Humanity Youth programme of the Institute for Healing of Memories (IHOM), who had created an exhibition for young people in South Africa to raise awareness of gender-based violence, gender roles and body healing. The Castle of Good Hope with its painful and very important history was the ideal place for such a workshop.

      When the participants came in the first room, various pictures lay on the floor. Everyone was asked to choose an image that speaks to them the most. After everyone has decided for an imagine, they had to give reasons why they chose the picture. Due to this different way of introduction, everyone got to know each other in a completely new and deeper way.

      After the introduction round, the participants got divided in two smaller groups. Each group walked through the exhibition rooms of the Castle of Good Hope and looked at all the different pictures on the walls. The participants had to choose one picture, stand by it and explain why they chose it. It was quite educational for everybody to see the different views on the same pictures. The facilitator asked two participants to go to a different place in the room and describe where one specific object in the room is located. Both described the location of the same object, but made different descriptions, because they stand somewhere else. The conclusion was, both have a different view on a thing, but both can be right. The facilitators delivered that important message in a way everyone is going to remember.
      Furthermore, the group discussed if it is okay to wear short clothes, especially on parties or in the night. The opinions were different but most participants agreed that short clothes are not an invitation to get touched without permission. Afterall, it is freedom to be able to wear whatever you want and most of our participants don´t want to live without this freedom.

      Another part of the program was a short game that addressed the implications of gender roles. The participants had to assign which items would relate to which gender. Even today, the man is still identified as the person that is responsible for money and has to work in a job while women are primarily still seen in the kitchen with responsibility for children. This alone is food for thought and further discussion.

      Conclusion: The day was educational, eye-opening and fun all at the same time. We would like to thank the IHOM facilitators for the fantastic job they have done! Africa Unite will definitely come back!

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