The Friday Stand-In 2016

#FridayStandIn thoughtful conversations on civil society and student protests

After the Open Line and Naked Scientist, psychologist and human rights activist, Nomfundo Walaza, moved on to discuss the role that civil society is playing in filling fill a gap left by what she termed 'questionable leadership'. She focused on how civil society works with government in situations where it is seen as 'the enemy'.

She terms this work 'minding the gap'.

Walaza and her guests, CEO of the Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa Colleen du Toit, and Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation Stanley Henkeman.

In actual fact where we would want to sit, is on the notion of supporting our government. It would feel so good to be in support. But as civil society we are pushed to be putting on pressure. And it is an adversarial kind of position, which has to be lessened.

Nomfundo Walaza, #FridayStandIn

A lot of times NGOs are not willing to speak to government and don’t accept that the problems they are solving are part of government’s mandate. I find that the bigger NGOs are predominantly white and do not represent the people being served.

Mandla, caller from Parktown

Listen to the audio below to hear du Toit and Henkeman responses on transformation and unity of the civil society.

She then shared her experience at the University of Cape Town when she was invited to to mediate, assist and advise in the creating and signing of the agreement between students and university.

Walaza says she has observed that many student protesters have felt depleted and exhausted. Together with UCT psychology lecturer, Dr. Shose Kessi, and UCT student, Khanyisile Mbongwa, looked at psychological implications of student protests.

Although there are psychological consequences to the kind of atmosphere on campus- the securitisation and militarisation, there are also psychological consequences of an untransformed universities.

Dr. Shose Kessi, UCT psychology lecturer

If racism is not recognised as violence or infringement to people, how do you then go report that to your HOD. How do you then continue to participate if your being is not recognised, and violence and types of oppression that occur, whether it is through curriculum or people not calling your name right.

Khanyisile Mbongwa, UCT student

Click here to read the full story on the implications of student protests.

Do current healing modalities help students deal with the trauma they experience?

Walaza says psychology is a white discipline, and does not allow traditional values and healing systems.

She says African healing modalities need to be adapted to allow all people to heal in their own way.

Listen to the full conversation below with the head of Division of Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town, Elewani Ramugondo, and executive director of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Nomfundo Mogapi.

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