More than 100 Cape Town pupils were taught unlearn violent cultures at Orange The World Youth Summit at Spine Road High School in Rocklands at the weekend.
Madina Institute Centre for Non-violence and Peace Studies, has been running this conference at different locations in Cape Town for the past four years to spread awareness of the UN secretary-general António Guterre’s call to the world to UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women Campaign (UNiTE campaign).
It calls for global actions to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations.
The colour orange symbolises a brighter future, free of violence. It also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence, and it is used to denote International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
This year, the summit coincides with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, which started on Monday November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ends on Tuesday December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Programme director Zainab Taonga Chirwa, from the centre, told the Plainsman on Saturday November 30 that they wanted pupils between Grades 10 and 12, to discuss various terms, with the purpose of action-based learning and dialogue discussions about gender-based violence.
“We recognise that despite the work that’s being done, gender-based violence, particularly femicide, continues to be a scourge in our society.”
She said the summit required pupils to interrogate how men and women understand themselves in relation to each other.
“We will look at what informs this, and its role in the perpetuation of gender-based violence, as we seek to unlearn and learn healthy ways of being,” she said.
Pupils were asked to register ahead of the conference, divided into groups and assigned a facilitator from various local gender-based violence interest groups.
Youth directed the programme and communicated in song, speech, poetry, drama and dance.
Spine Road High School pupil Mogamat Imaad Abrahams, who was also the MC, thanked mayor Dan Plato for popping in and showing that youth were important in leading the country to a better future.
Mr Plato thanked organisers for empowering youth to feel good and to “give them the clear impression that they are important”.
He said youth should be encouraged to matriculate, get certificates, diplomas and degrees to be uplifted and developed.
“We want professional adults and leaders to take this country, this province, this city, forward into the next generation.
“The next generation is in your hands. We want educated leaders. We want professional leaders.
“There are too many issues in this new South Africa. Too much poverty in this country; too many disadvantaged people in this country.
“To turn the tide around is lying fairly and squarely in your hands as well,” he said.
Mr Plato said it was important to get men together to empower themselves and talk about abuse.
“Mothers must raise their sons to have the necessary respect for the women in their lives.”
He pleaded with girls and women to rid themselves of the belief that “my boy will look after me. My man will look after me”.
“You must get your own education and work out your own professional path in life so that you can look after yourself.”
Mr Plato said women should not see themselves as inferior to men. He said women, whoever they are, should tell themselves that, “I am going to carve out my own future so that I can stand on my own two feet.”
Delegates drafted and ratified a plan of action in their personal lives and schools against gender-based violence.