From the 7th to the 9th of April 2017, Africa Unite in collaboration with the Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) held a youth human rights training camp at Froggy Pond Resort in Simon’s Town, Cape Town.
The camp brought 25 youth, both South African and migrants, together from the farm regions of the Western Cape, such as Robertson, Montagu, Ashton and Bonnievale. The purpose of the camp was to discuss human rights with a focus on rights to land and food, as well as to consider youth and their relationship to land. More specifically, the various sessions at the camp emphasized the cross-cutting nature of the land issue and how it can affect the realization of human rights. It was explained how land is not only a source of livelihood for some; it is also central to socioeconomic and cultural rights, fostering strong ties to peoples’ identities.
The camp utilized a variety of methods such as group activities, information sessions, documentaries, and performances in order to convey the subject. The following topics were covered:
- Introduction to Human Rights
- What are Human Rights?
- The Human Rights Principles
- Building Human Rights communities
- Civil, Political and Socioeconomic rights
- Rights of vulnerable groups including refugees and migrant workers
Once a general understanding of Human Rights was achieved, the facilitators began to focus on the issue of land and its role in the broader scope of human rights. The following was covered:
- Right to Land and Food
- Right to land for food production
- Youth and their relationship to land
- Difficulties hindering youths ability to gain access to land
One of the highlights of the camp was the evening Truth and Reconciliation Commission activity, whereby the participants were divided into 5 smaller groups. Each group was given a land restitution case, such as forced removals from District Six, and was required to develop either a song and/or play that recreated the land violation, while demonstrating knowledge and historical understandings of these events and how they have come to shape the country’s political and socioeconomic realities.
An important aim and lesson of the camp was to encourage the youth to be active in exercising their democratic rights and to take responsibility in pushing for change in their communities, specifically with regards to challenging the legacy of the 1913 Land Act, which impedes upon their human rights and their right and access to land. Therefore, the final activity of the camp focused on how the rural youth should organize themselves to facilitate real change. The youth developed an action plan, laying out the key strategies for the way forward, as well as identifying a core group of mobilizers in each of their respective areas.
We would like to thank TCOE for reaching out to us for our collaboration in this camp and we look forward to following up with the camp participants on their human rights and land rights initiatives in their communities. To see more pictures of the event, click here.