Demystifying Misconception by Local Youth and Refugees

Cape Town-20130621-01424On the 21st of June 2013 Africa Unite was invited by the African Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA) for a seminar to present on youth and misconceptions as they were one of the four panelists at the ARESTA Community Centre in Athlone Cape Town.  Other panelists included South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), Cape Town Refugee Centre (CTRC) and the hosts ARESTA. They presented on work ethic and right of employment versus misconceptions (refugees are taking our jobs), advocacy and education framework and then local integration respectively. The seminar theme and objective was on the general misconceptions between refugees and South African natives together with celebrating the world refugee day. Guests of the day came from different organizations such as Cape Town Refugee Center, Sonke Gender Justice, and International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Africa Institute for Migrant Workers (AIMW), Whole World Women Association and Africa Unite.

The seminar also had student representatives from different high schools across Cape Town. These representatives came from: Oscar Mpheta High School, Sthembile Matiso High School, Maitland High, Intsebenziswano Secondary School, New Eilsben, Zisukhanyo High School, Vuyiseka High school, Phakama High School, Phillipi High School, Phandulwazi High school, Sinethemba High School.

Important information was shared by the panelists which varied from the organizational goals and activities that they put in place in an attempt to demystify some of the existing myths between locals and foreigners and also how they try to bring socio-cultural integration within the communities in Cape Town and South Africa at large. Students had their time to ask questions and it seemed they had a lot to ask in relation to the theme and objectives of the day. However one of the most interesting questions raised was what measures the government together with private stakeholders was currently taking to address the recent attacks on foreigners in Cape Town. Most organizations seemed to have different measures in plan and were also concerned with the current outbursts. The event ended later in the afternoon with most participants being able to differentiate between a myths and a fact and gained understanding on how these misconceptions can lead to Xenophobia.

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