Love music, dancing, having fun and meeting new people ? Join our African dance classes once a month !

Africa Unite invites you for African Dance Classes every first Saturday of the month.
If you want to spend a Saturday morning having fun and discovering a part of South African culture, this is the best opportunity for you ! Come and learn West African dance, Zulu dance, Gumboot dance and many others ! Moreover, it will be a great occasion to meet new people, have a good time and network.

Funds raised will be used for our ‘’Singamakhalipa’’ Children’s Programme” in Gugulethu townships which intends to help children develop their resilience skills so that they can solve a wide range of social problems such as domestic violence, alcohol abuse, poverty, HIV/AIDS, gangsterism and school dropout etc.

The sessions will take place at 6 Spin Street, at Africa Unite office between 10:00 am to 1p.m . You can buy a ticket only for R100 the session (3hours).

If you want to take part in this project, contact us at (021) 461 6551or info@africaunite.org.za

To check out more pictures from the amazing day, click here

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Ending violence against women and children in South Africa

142.  That is the disheartening average number of sexual offenses recorded daily according to the 2015/16  annual police statistics report. In addition, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS), 15,790 rapes perpetrated against children were recorded in 2015/2016. During this same time frame, more than 19 children were murdered in Cape Town alone.

All of this violence has created a public outcry, although the situation is nothing new. Year after year the violence rates against women and children, including rape and murder, have been extremely high. Rape has become a way of life in South Africa, according to the Health System Trust.

 

According to a New Age Newspaper article published on the 31st May 2017, 63 women were killed this year in the month of May alone. The media has embraced these alarming statistics, and South Africans everywhere have been engaging with the topic via social media. Very symbolic hashtags such as #MenAreTrash and #NotAllMen have been trending. However, hashtags alone are not remotely enough to remedy the situation.

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“So, what can be done to address the outbreak of gender-based violence in South Africa?”

Women and children are very vulnerable in our patriarchal society. Violence against these marginalized groups, should it be sexual, physical or psychological in nature, is a violation of human dignity and a threat to social cohesion.

To address this human rights issue, Africa Unite believes in raising awareness within the communities.  In response, we have decided to do the following activities:

  • Run a social media campaign starting from Tuesday the 13th of June. We will be asking for your support. You can connect with us on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Silent demonstrations starting from the 19th of June.
  • Information sessions on gender-based violence, targeting young boys and girls in schools.

How can you join Africa Unite in this social media campaign?

  1. Take a picture of yourself holding a placard with your recommendations (solutions, way forward, action plan) to end violence against women and children.
  2. Post the picture on your own Facebook and/or Twitter account.
  3. Don’t forget to tag Africa Unite and to use the hashtag:

#EndViolenceAgainstWomenAndChildren. It will enable us to find your post and share it on our own page.

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Tasting our way through Africa and beyond: Celebrating Africa Day at Africa Unite

Here at Africa Unite, it’s not all work and no play. We manage to sneak in fun whenever we can!  

On Tuesday, 23rd of May 2017, Africa Unite and friends celebrated an early Africa Day. On this day people not only celebrate the African Union, but the idea of a united Africa and its diversity. We at Africa Unite took it a step further and used the festivities as a opportunity to recognize and value all the different nationalities – European, American and African –  that form the Africa Unite Family.

FOOD Celebrating Africa Day started in the early afternoon with all the staff members of Africa Unite and Africa Unite’s Singamakhalipha programme coming together at the main office in town. Everyone brought in home-made traditional dishes, and the food was arranged in the board room to form a mouthwatering international buffet.

With 12 countries and cultures represented, we had a huge variety of food ranging from Malawian mandasi, Austrian apple strudel, Capetonian cottage pie, Congolese fish and cassava leaf stew, to Xhosa umvupho, French crêpes, American “dirty rice” and many more tasty treats.  After everyone filled  their plates with the assorted delicious choices the buffet had to offer, we joined together around the table to enjoy the different flavours and aromas of our homes.

As part of the celebration of our diversity, everyone prepared a short presentation of their respective countries and cultures. While digging into the food, the presentations started. They varied from powerpoint presentations, visual contributions (like short videos), to vocal inputs such as traditional songs and even a short role playing skit. Participants wore traditional clothes to add special flair to the event.

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Everyone is attentively listening to Priscilla’s presentation about the Warm Heart of Africa,  her home country Malawi.

To get an even better understanding of the different countries and cultures represented in the office, we were given the opportunity to have little discussions and ask questions for clarification.

Not only sharing food, but  laughter too, we really enjoyed each others’ company. Everyone appreciated the vibrant cultural atmosphere created by the mix of:

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Fatimata in her traditional Fulani attire, about to try the traditional Xhosa drink Umqombhothi

Fulani Culture (Senegal) – Zimbabwe – Brittany Culture (France) – The Netherlands –  Xhosa Culture (South Africa) –  Malawi –  Austria/Vienna –  Martinique –  South Africa/Cape Flats –  Democratic Republic of Congo – Somalia – USA/California

The event helped to broaden the participants’ view about all the countries and cultures represented and sparked curiosity among the colleagues to pay a visit.

Overall, it was a successful Africa Day at the Africa Unite office, thanks to all that participated! To check out a few more pictures from the festivities, click here.

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Africa Unite Teaming with the SA Red Cross for Disaster Relief During the Worst Storm in Cape Town in 30 years

On Wednesday June 7th, while most people were hunkered down in their homes enduing the wrath of one of the worst storms to hit Cape Town in decades, Africa Unite teamed up with the South African Red Cross to help with disaster relief.

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AU interns Nolween, Luuk, Swana, Laura, Sophie, and Lyvia teaming up with the Red Cross

During the course of the storm, 8 people were killed, 135 schools were damaged, and thousands of people were left homeless after gale force winds and extreme flooding pounded the outskirts of Cape Town.

Africa Unite interns and peer educators gathered in the morning of the storm at the Red Cross warehouse in Wynberg to prepare food packages, with non-perishable items such as flour, sugar, maize meal, soya mince, peanut butter, jam, and tea. An intern with a background in meteorology also assisted the Red Cross with storm prediction and assessment, to help predict what areas were going to be hit the hardest.

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Lyvia sorting hygiene products for first aid packs

After preparing and loading the supplies, the team then traveled to the community of Makassar, which suffered greatly during the storm.  The team met with the community leader and dropped off over 100 parcels of food, men and women’s hygiene products, baby supplies (including food, diapers, and soap), and blankets. The community leader dispursed the emergency aid packs throughout the night to affected families.

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Busy at work at the Red Cross warehouse in Wynburg

AU intern Luuk Hootsen said of the day’s events, “It was a heavy day, but very fulfilling. I gained so much respect for the Red Cross. After a 12-hour day of work, most of the work was done. We went home but a lot of the people from Red Cross worked throughout the night.”

A big thank you to the South African Red Cross for all their work in disaster relief from the storm; the affected communities are in the thoughts of Africa Unite.

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Crime in South Africa: Youth and the Deputy Minister of Police in Dialogue

The figures are alarming: with over 451.9 people falling victim to common assault every day in South Africa, 51.2 murders being committed on daily basis, and 42,596 rapes reported in 2015/2016 alone, crime is a big issue in South Africa. With 52 murders a day, the Western Cape is particularly affected; it is the province with the second highest number of murders in the country. Most of these crimes are committed by young people. Facing this disappointing and dire picture, Africa Unite hopefully looks to the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Mr. Bongani Mkongi, as a possibility for real action and change. This, AU took an opportunity to organise a dialogue between the Youth and the Deputy Minister on Saturday the 27th of May in the Fezeka municipality building of the Gugulethu township to learn more about the Minster’s plan to address crime in the Cape Flats.

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Newly appointed Deputy Minister of Police, the Honorable  Mr. Bongani Mkongi

Gathering the Youth to Talk Crime

The youth is the group most concerned by crime, and therefore Africa Unite wanted to gather them around a platform to address their concerns,  as crime affects their  education, their personal development, their futures, etc. About 60 young leaders took part to the dialogue with the Deputy Minister of Police. They were from 11 different organisations: Metro Youth Council, ANC Youth, Community Police Forum, Africa Unite, Gugulethu Youth Development Council, St-Mary’s Catholic Church, Youth League, Gugulethu Development Forum, Youth Desk, Somali Association of South Africa.  The aim of the dialogue with the deputy Minister of Police was to explore solutions to the issue of crime in the Cape Flats.

The Deputy Minister of Police: “Poverty Doesn’t Compel People to Commit Crime”

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The youth attendees, eagerly listening to the dialogue 

The Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Mr. Bongani Mkongi, was born in Gugulethu. His mother used to sell second hand products for her children’s education, for food, transportation, and rent; he knows what he is talking about when it comes to crime and poverty. Hon. Mr. Bongani Mkongi followed the good path thanks to the Boys Scouts of South Africa who taught him to value himself, his family and his country. His message to the young assembly was: “Be leaders and show through example.. Poverty compels none to do crime…you always have the choice”. The young assembly was satisfied to see a deputy who had his roots in the Cape Flats community, and who had himself experienced the realities that many in attendance are living. It gives hope.

A Rich Dialogue with many Suggestions to Address the Crime Issue in the Cape Flats

Picture3.jpgDuring the dialogue between the Deputy Minister of Police and the youth, the following suggestions were made:

  • Support each other as a strong community. When we see someone struggling, support him/ her, when we someone succeeding, do not jealous of him/her
  • Engage young people through success stories rather than attaching stigmas to things
  • Engage parents and develop education programmes for families
  • Support youth development structure, not necessarily financially, but at least through the facilitation of their work
  • Address the issue of corruption
  • Address the issue of crime inside the police to avoid fear, and gain increased trust from the communities
  • Build rehabilitation centres for drug users in the Cape Flats community
  • Engage youth from different backgrounds, not only South African youth
  • Redirect energy into positive activities through the building of sufficient recreation facilities
  • Involve other departments in the dialogue (Education, Social Development, Community Safety…) for a more holistic approach.

Africa Unite is planning a strategic plenary meeting to discuss on how to implement these suggestions.

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The Birthday Bash that Made a Difference

Life is a blessing and celebrating another year of birth is a privilege. Often people celebrate their birthdays by throwing parties for the people closest to them, such as immediate friends and family. However, for Taylor Naika turning 23 was an opportunity to make a difference and touch the lives of young children and teenage girls from the townships. Her birthday bash was real proof that you do not need to be old to be a philanthropist and make a special impact on peoples lives.
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On the 13th of May 2017, Taylor celebrated her birthday with the children of Africa Unite’s Singamakhalipha programme at the Gugulethu sports complex. 90 children attended the celebration from Gugulethu, Nyanga, Kanana and the township of Europe. The afternoon was filled with fun, games, singing and dance.

The children received party packets and toiletries from The Power To The Gurlz,  partners whom Taylor collected donations from. These gifts brought much joy and smiles to the children’s faces.  The toiletries given to the teenage girls at the event made them feel very special and will be very useful to the girls, as such toiletries can be expensive  and thus challenging to access.  image3

Taylor was accompanied by her family and friends who shared encouraging words with the children. The children also shared with the birthday girl: the guests marvelled as one of the programme youth read a poem that touched the hearts of all from the “Brave Warriors” poetry book.

Bags of clothing were also part of the donations for the children who may otherwise lack warm clothing for winter. These clothes will be distributed to the children identified as most in need based on our staff members who work with the children on a weekly basis.

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A big, special THANK YOU to Taylor, her family and friends, and last but not least to the Power To The Gurlz partners. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. Happy Birthday Taylor!

To check out more pictures from the amazing day, here.

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Africa Unite’s KZN Office: “Beyond What You See” Gender and Development Workshop

On the 4th and 5th of May, Africa Unite, in collaboration with the Democracy Development Programme, hosted a two-day Gender and Development workshop entitled “Beyond What You See”.  There were a diverse group of institutions and people present including the Legal Resource Centre, the South African National Aids Counsel, representatives of the LGBTIAQ communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexual, Asexual, Queer), etc. The workshop was hosted to develop ideas on how society organises work and opportunity around gender.  An additional aim was to examine the civil and human rights related to gender and sexuality that exist in other African countries. The goal of the day was to have the workshop attendees’ walkout of the event with specific ideas on how to tackle gender inequality.

FB_IMG_1495788094153.jpgThe facilitation methods varied so that all learners were accommodated: videos, group work, dialogue, presentations and demonstrations were all used. The participants were taught how they could replicate these methods if they chose to host their own workshops on gender in the future. A key factor throughout the workshop was language: the sessions were delivered in 70% English and 30% isiZulu. The use of both languages demonstrated their differences: while English allowed the participants to be more expressive and comfortable, it highlighted how difficult it was to explain complexities of gender in isiZulu, as most of the words that exist are deemed derogatory by the LGBTIAQ community.FB_IMG_1495788126477.jpg

During the course of the workshop, many issues were examined and unpacked including gender stereotypes, the (lack of) access to resources, media portrayal of gender roles (often reinforcing their rigidity), and how masculinity is affirmed while femininity is shunned, something that can manifest itself in gender-based violence. In addition, through role play the participants were forced to confront their own stereotypes and bias towards gender.

An interesting component was where the participants looked at their own childhood influences to examine the way these figures influenced them when it came to constructing gender. The majority of participants named their mothers and grandmothers as influencers. Although these female influencers seemed to have traits typically associated with masculinity (brave, bread winners, strong, etc), they still expected their sons and daughters to stay within the societal expectations of each role.

The ‘Gender in Africa’ session was led by Nkululeko Dlamini, a 2017 KZN Peer Educator. This session looked at African countries who had outlawed homosexuality and the ensuing brutality. It also looked at universal human rights and the very basics of the right to life and dignity, unpacking these notions to understand how sectioning society based on gender can lead to gross human rights violation under the pretext of morality.

FB_IMG_1495788213417.jpgThe group also discussed gender inequality and the issues it can cause, addressing everything from women not being afforded the opportunity to their own land, to openly gay people being side-lined in politics, to the taxi industry keeping female drivers out, to how understanding how rape is a product of inequality.FB_IMG_1495788183679

At the conclusion of the session, the individuals were asked to brainstorm on ways they could make the ideas discussed come to life through their organisations and communities. Ideas included:

  • Hosting information session about human rights
  • Hosting land acquisition information sessions with women
  • Holding man-to-man dialogues on gender

Thank you for everyone that participated in the”Beyond What You See”  Gender and Development workshop!

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