Africa Unite, in partnership with Activate! Change Drivers and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization / Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (UNESCO – MGIEP), Western Cape


Participants busy at various SDGs exhibitions stations in the morning

Provincial Government and City of Cape Town launched the International Youth Campaign on Kindness for the Sustainable Development Goals on the 2nd of October 2018 at the Cape Town City Hall.

Celebrated in commemoration of the International Day of Non-Violence, 100 years centenary for Mandela and the 149th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi himself, this global “kick-off” was launched concurrently with YESPeace partners in New Delhi (India), Islamabad (Pakistan) and Monterrey (Mexico). In South Africa, the launch took place at the iconic Cape Town City Hall where Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after being freed in 1990.


Hon. F. Mbombo, Minister of Health in the Western Cape Province welcoming everyone.

The event attracted more than 500 young people from urban and rural areas of the Western Cape Province, civil society and different government departments. The Launch began with NGOs/CBOs and various government departments exhibiting their

contributions to the drive towards the 17 SDGs. The exhibition allowed young people to learn more about how SDGs can be achieved through various transformative acts of kindness. Some of the organisations that exhibited their work included Greenpop, SHAWCO, Amy Biehl Foundation, Born to Be Free, MES Cape Town, Peninsula School Feeding Association, Ikamva Youth, Learn to Earn, World Merit, Red Cross South Africa, Activate as well as the Provincial Department of Community Safety and Department of Agriculture.

The welcome speech was given by Hon. N. Mbombo, the Minister of Health in the Western Cape Province, on behalf of the Premier of Western Cape. This was followed by one of the keynote speakers, the Indian High Commissioner to South Africa, Hon.


Indian High Commissionar who was part of panel replying to some of the questions

Ruchira Kamboj, speaking on the role the youth can play to achieve the SDGs in South Africa and India. Cllr. Ronel Viljeon, spoke on behalf of the City of Cape Town where she highlighted the plan of the City in achieving the SDGs. Director of African Monitor, Ms. Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso, roused the audience with her passionate speech arguing that Acts of Kindness are not a new phenomenon to Africa: it is the founding principle of our South African concept of Ubuntu. Namhla implored young people to demand justice and accountability from their government and communities around the continent. Dr. Zahid Badroodein a councillor and also youngest member of the City of Cape Town council spoke last; Dr Badroodein motivated young people to become active citizens based on his own experience as a medical doctor and now a councillor.


One of the youth asking questions to the panel

After these inspiring speeches, a panel of discussion was oppened where young people in the audience were also given the opportunity to comment and pose questions to the speakers. Following this interactive session, a group of six young people from different NGOs including SHAWCO and FaceUp Manenberg were invited on stage to share their daily kindness work in promoting the SDGs.  Africa Unite, Activate and UNESCO – MGIEP representatives explained how young people can upload their stories of kindness on the UNESCO website. Four young Kindness Ambassadors were announced to represent the nation in this campaign, namely Dr. Cllr. Z. Badroodien, Ms. N Mniki-Mnagaliso and Ms. P. Fielies (2017 South African Idols winner).


Selected 3 ambassadors of the campaign pose for a photo with their certificates and flowers flanked by the team from, Africa Unite, Activate and UNESCO-MGIEP

The announcement led to the ultimate launch itself – in which South Africa connected over skype with UNESCO YESPeace partners in India, Pakistan and Mexico to formally launch the campaign. Throughout he day artists such as Liso Sindo, Joy Fam, Paxton Fielies, the Ballistic Brass Band and DJ Aux Womdantso entertained all in attendance and contributed to the lively celebrations.

 The Campaign consists of two phases. The first phase from 2018 to 2019 will focus on building youth momentum on kindness by generating 250,000 stories on acts of kindness by young people. The second phase from the year 2020 onwards will mobilize United Nations Member States to declare an International Decade on Acts of Kindness.

Africa Unite and Activate would like to thank all our partners, UNESCO – MGIEP, Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and the civil society for making this historical event possible.


2017 South African Idols winner Paxton mesmerising the audience with her new single

To make this campaign successful in Africa,organisations, community partners, individual youth of South Africa and the rest of the continent are encouraged to be a part of this global campaign by:

For more pictures click here.

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