Dr. Braam Hanekom and the Centre for Public Witness visit towns all over South Africa to facilitate discussions with the community and its leaders in order to cultivate a culture of unity and mutual respect. The ultimate goal is to establish a sense of caring and helpfulness among the people within the community.
Since 2019, the Centre for Public Witness has been helping church groups in towns to reflect on the social cohesion in their community. In such a talk, the following four questions are usually asked:
What is the state of relations and feeling of social cohesion in the community?
What are currently the most significant challenges?
How do the different communities see it?
What are the one or two actions that need to be launched now?
Those interested in similar conversations in their community or who want to attend some of these conversations, please contact our offices at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can complete the form below.
We believe social cohesion in South Africa is possible. But we know we cannot do it alone. We need your help! Getting the right people around the table is the valuable first step towards unity and social harmony. Feedback on prior dialogue sessions is available under the NEWS tab, or read the most recent feedback below.
Please complete the form below and we will arrange a session with community leaders and members in your town or suburb.
Together, Cloetesville's leaders want to make a difference
Approximately 60 Cloetesville leaders and community members met on Saturday 16 October to address the biggest challenges facing the community. The gathering is the initiative of Malena Fourie, who received significant support from all the role players in the community, in collaboration with the Centre for Public Witness. Braam Hanekom gives us feedback on the discussion.
"The group decided to create a platform that will meet more frequently in the future in order to discuss the following issues in the hope of achieving concrete results:
The establishment of a multi-purpose centre where both skills training and the healing of trauma will be addressed.
The clarification and establishment of updated value systems as well as the role of parents in this connection. This includes respect for each other and the community.
The needs of young people, including unemployment and substance abuse.
Cooperation between NGOs.
Gangs and the absence of role models.
Safe spaces for entertainment and leadership training.
The participants decided to draw up a memorandum of understanding that will determine the platform's mandate. The six members of the management group who have been selected are Edward Crawley, Kevin Jooste, Valerie Fernandez, Magdalene Blankenberg, Martinus Groenewald and Kauthar Adams. People who want to receive further information or make contributions can call Malena Fourie on 083 858 9779."
Engaging with NGOs and other interest groups in George
The Centre for Public Witness held a discussion in George on Tuesday 20 September. In this discussion, members of NGOs, the police, the local government and the chamber of commerce participated. The above-mentioned role players discussed how cooperation among workers in the town can keep the George region thriving.
The George Community Network will seek to continue the discussion that has taken place in the months ahead. An annual conference is currently in the works that will bring civil society, businesses, and the state together to energize, inspire, and equip NGOs for their work. This community network will also work towards a common vision and goal where social cohesion, relationships and trust can be restored.
We also talked about how a joint value system could be developed for George. In the meantime, we must take note of the fact that there are 270 churches and only five police stations in George. It is clear that the church is much better positioned to make a difference, but we need to join hands and work together more closely. We are really looking forward to the wonderful future that God has prepared for George.
Inclusive discussions are the way forward
In the wake of two more inclusive discussions in Heidelberg and Oudtshoorn, Braam Hanekom tells us that South Africans must continue with dialogues.
"It is encouraging to hear a spectrum of people from sectors such as agriculture, health services, local government, the business sector and even a rugby club talking together. Civil society's relationship with local governments remains a major challenge. Furthermore, unemployment and economic growth, our youth and housing are among the issues that must remain on communities' agendas."