Fears, insecurities and stereotypes; a dialogue on current issues of gender-based violence

A DUT Dialogue on gender-based violence brought to the fore deep concerns over personal security in the current situation. Women spoke of their fears, and those of their friends, of going to and from campus. A woman spoke of an experience of being followed and intimidated in the street. Men spoke of the buses from residences to campus being empty of women.
At present rumours of abductions of women are circulating on social media, following a noted case in which a young woman’s body was found burnt in Johannesburg, and her partner charged with the crime. This led to a controversial hashtag on social media; #menaretrash. In the dialogue some men expressed outrage over the hashtag, while women insisted that the key issue is abuse, not a hashtag.

Nokuthula Magudulela on how socialisation of boys is a factor in the abuse we witness and experience


A particular point of conflict within the dialogue was the issue of women’s behaviour. Two men argued that a key element in sexual violence against women is women’s clothing that triggers men to rape. This drew a heated response, one being that this argument itself demeans men by portraying them as rapists-in-waiting, who spring into action when triggered.

Cabanga ka Mpanza insists that men take responsibility and speak to each other about how they think about and act towards women.


Various points for action were identified; one being to find ways in which women who feel insecure in public spaces should be able to approach other people for assistance without the fear of being exploited; others included how women in the role of mothers should address their son’s socialisation and how men speak to other men about these issues.

Taking the lead on sexual violence: GASVA speak at Diakonia

Members of the DUT group, Girls Against Sexual Violence and Abuse, spoke on their work at a meeting of the Indlebe group at Diakonia on 16th February. They spoke about the patterns of violence on campuses and how they are reaching women and men on these issues. The work of GASVA is linked to the Masters study of Ms Nokuthula Magudulela, who was with GASVA at the Diakonia meeting. The Indlebe group was interested to know how the organisation of young people can bring positive social change in the area of gender relations.

Two of the GASVA delegation, Wandiswa Dlamini and Nandi Hlengwa

Innovative Leadership Programe expands at DUT

An annual programme, Innovative Leadership, has become increasingly popular as an avenue for young leaders. This is open to all students at Durban University of Technology, but also to other local activists.
The Programme in particular fosters leadership as a nonviolent activity, leadership that is understood as a service to people instead of domination over people. Apart from attendance at monthly sessions at which members interact with leaders of this calibre, each participant is part of a project group that tackles a specific issue – work with the homeless, gender-based violence, dialogue, water and the environment, promoting the South African Constitution, school counselling, and HIV/AIDS support.

Members meet at the initial year’s session on 10th February 2017


This provides a rare opportunity for young leaders to develop in conditions of support

Peacebuilding Programme reaches new heights

An intake of over 25 new students onto the doctoral cohort of the Peacebuilding Programme has swelled the total number of doctoral students to over 60. This large group comes from many different parts of Africa. It is anticipated that at least eight doctorates will be bestowed this year on members of the cohort. This is the largest doctoral programme

New members of the doctoral group in the Peacebuilding Programme on a visit to Phoenix Settlement, former home of Mahatma Gandhi. On the right is Dr Sylvia Kaye, and left back is Professor Geoff Harris.

at Durban University of Technology.

Leadership awards testify to student commitment

On 7th October the Innovative Leadership Programme that ICON runs with ACCORD and Durban University of Technology ended for the year, with the presentation of Certificates of Achievement for those (40 in number) who attended the sessions, participated in the group projects and completed written assignments. Here are some of the successful graduates of the programme.

Crispin Hemson, Director of ICON, in exuberant mood.

Crispin Hemson, Director of ICON, in exuberant mood.


Most of the group who graduated, with members of staff who assisted with the Programme.
Gathering of the group at KwaMuhle Museum

Gathering of the group at KwaMuhle Museum

Leadership Programme extends ICON’s reach

Various community projects are extending ICON’s ability to bring about positive nonviolent change, through the Innovative Leadership Programme. This Programme involves ICON and ACCORD (the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes); ICON undertakes the major organisation of the Programme. Each of the 40 students on the Programme joins a project in which servant leadership is developed.
Presentations by students on 16th September 2016 demonstrated the range and reach of the work undertaken.

Workers at the Denis Hurley Centre kitchen.

Workers at the Denis Hurley Centre kitchen.

Seven projects reported on their work. One of the projects represented involved Programme members spending a minimum of five hours weekly serving in the kitchen at the Denis Hurley Centre that serves the inner city. They brought in measures to improve the hygiene of the food preparation. Another served to increase the effectiveness of a Centre that cares for children and young adults as part of an HIV/AIDS project.

Sanele Mathe, Lungile Shangase and Siphesihle Mthethwa report on the HIV/AIDS Project

Sanele Mathe, Lungile Shangase and Siphesihle Mthethwa report on the HIV/AIDS Project

The approach taken by the Amnesty group was to reach other student groupings. Recently the group led a workshop on Gender and Leadership with 38 members of student clubs and societies at Durban University of Technology. Such outreach work is extending ICON’s ability to develop peace-based forms of leadership.
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Cresencia Nyathi, Innocent Mutero, Kanyisa Booi, Anathi Teyise and Nkonzo Mkhize of the Amnesty Group.

Cresencia Nyathi, Innocent Mutero, Kanyisa Booi, Anathi Teyise and Nkonzo Mkhize of the Amnesty Group.

Another project dealt with issues of history, using museums as the entry point. For example, Karinda Jugmohan of this project presented how this work had developed her understanding of the role of women in the struggle against apartheid; her section of the presentation dealt with the resistance of women in Cato Manor.

Karinda Jugmohan

Karinda Jugmohan

The Student Counselling project presented information on DUT careers at different schools in the Durban area. Here Selisha Ramduth, Phumelele Gasa and Norman Ndisile present their report on the work done.

The Schools Counselling Project

The Schools Counselling Project