A national dialogue on violence in South African society

Following the killing of 34 miners by police at Marikana, ICON is calling for a national dialogue on how we end violence in South African society.  Whatever the strengths and achievements of reconciliation and building of new institutions since 1994, we can no longer ignore the terrible problem with which we still live.  Our societal structures continue to be caught up with violence, which becomes visible in such disasters, or in the spate of political assassinations in KwaZulu-Natal.

Political action has consisted too much on identifying one or other group as the enemy.  We have failed to develop a political and civic culture that values the lives of all in the society, and in our failure have perpetuated the damage done through colonialism and apartheid.   A society based on attempts by one or other group to gain control and to seize resources is incapable of addressing the deep problems of social inequality and environmental degradation.

We know that achieving the end of violence is a long task, but as South Africans we have taken on long tasks before.   Such a dialogue can only work if the process itself is genuinely inclusive and is based on some gentleness in how we handle each other.   While values such as ubuntu and respect are much spoken about, they are generally absent from our political life, and their time has come.

Crispin Hemson, ICON Director

Roots to Fruits: presenters, presentations and notes

Presenter or chairpersonTitleLink
Magnus Haavelsrud Mentality and participation in transformationText of link
Crispin HemsonICON: Continuity and change in nonviolenceText of linkText of link
Kirti MenonHigher education: A game of snakes and laddersText of link
Lalit Surjan
Role of the media in the promotion of nonviolence
Ravindra Kumar and Kiran DangwalAhimsa:
Pedagogy of its education in Gandhian perspective
Text of link
Nirvadha SinghViolence as a public health issueText of link
Catherine Odora-HoppersNon-violence plus a culture of peace means a changing of norms
Reshma Sathiparsad
Involving youth in preventive interventions to address gender-based violence
Pearl PillayThe anatomy of protestText of link
Rindai Chekerwa and Kate GardnerPromoting non-violence in schools: A practical example
Sal AlvarezTwo case studies from the American non-violence civil rights movement
Parallel session 11
Bryan K. Murray
Developing alternatives to violence: notesText of link
Vaughn JohnAlternatives to violence
Susan HackleyNegotiations in conflict resolution
Gambhir WattsHow do we promote nonviolence in societies scarred by inequality and structural violence?Text of link
Carolyn Wilkins64 Ways: Our Global Vision and Practice of Nonviolence
Matt Meyer, Elavie Ndura and Josef RizkSeeds Bearing Fruit: African Education and Action for Nonviolent ConstructionText of link
Priyanka Singh and Ajay MehtaThe Story of Seva Mandir: Experiments in Constructive Work and Non-violent Social ChangeText of link
Jannie MalanFearless honesty and stress-free modesty in religion can contribute to nonviolent coexistenceText of link
Nonceba Lushaba, Nkosinathi Shandu and Geoff HarrisWidening our understanding of restorative justiceText of link

The I in ICON really does mean International…

Delegates at the Roots to Fruits: Nonviolence in Action conference, held from 31 July to 2 August 2012 at Durban University of Technology resolved that ICON will take on the role of a platform for communication internationally for scholarship and action on nonviolence. ICON will publicise developments, direct visitors to resources, and be a point of contact for activists and scholars around the world. This will shift ICON into a much more central role. Crispin Hemson, ICON Director, said, ‘We have connected with work elsewhere, but never in a central way. Developments in IT make it possible for us to play a central role. This will mean new developments in our website, so watch this space.’