South African society is becoming more, not less, violent. This was confirmed by the 2017/18 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) yesterday. Violence affects all South Africans, with the greatest impact on people who are black and poor. Young black men have the highest chance of being murdered. But violence against children and women is at the root of this problem. The effects on individuals are long term – children who grow up in violent households are more likely to use or become victims of violence later in life.
Police, on Tuesday 11 September, reported the killing of women increased 11% in the year to end March 2018, with 20% more boys (under 18 years) murdered compared to the previous 12 months.
Violent extremism remains a serious concern for many states globally. In general, violent extremism describes any form of violence that is used to enforce a certain set of values or political beliefs. Since extremist groups usually establish a network that operates in several states at the same time, it is near impossible to address the problem without international cooperation. While the path towards radicalization is often based on individuals’ personal convictions, the impact of violent extremism is profound and can change entire social constructs. The existence of violent extremism generates fear and hatred, destroys cohesion and increases suspicion between social groups. Radicalisation towards violent extremism is often a long-term process and can be triggered by a variety of factors. Government corruption is recognised as one of the motivating factors for violent extremism. In states where people lose trust in corrupt government institutions and officials, extremist groups increasingly take advantage of the dissent against the state and use it for their extremist propaganda.
The Ulutsha Street Festival 2018 turned out to be an ideal family event on a typical windy winter day in Port Elizabeth. This year’s Festival once again highlighted how public spaces can be transformed into positive spaces for recreation and social interaction. Further, the Festival demonstrated how festivals can be used as both recreational opportunities as well as opportunities to raise awareness on key social issues, such as gender-based violence and violence against children.
How can a participatory approach enable a better understanding of the ways in which identity and intersecting inequalities block accountability processes? This is the question that the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation has been exploring in their most recent action research process with the Delft Safety Group. And this was the question that catalysed the development of a novel participatory visual research method - hand mapping. Read more in this blog by Gill Black, co-director and leader of health participation at the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation.
In 2017, Azwi Netshikulwe and Ncedo Mngqibisa, Researchers at the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), conducted fieldwork in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng focusing on political assassinations and taxi violence. The fieldwork was part of a study conducted by UCT’s Centre for Criminology and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime (GITOC) in collaboration with SaVI. This article is based on findings from this fieldwork.
The Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention Programme (VCP) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its partners trained over 120 young people as youth leaders and ambassadors of safer communities in two provinces, Gauteng and Eastern Cape. The purpose of this training is capacity-building of young leaders who can then contribute to the building of safer communities and to reducing crime and violence, which is on the rise in South African communities.
The Seven Passes Initiative shows how supporting children with schoolwork creates a better society.
At the most basic level, we have a collective responsibility to make the streets in front of our homes safer. Not by exclusion, but by looking out for one another. The more we intentionally participate in street life, the safer our streets become.
The creation of a safe, non-commercial and welcoming public space in Cape Town is necessary to challenge the barriers cemented in the past which taint our experience of the present and keep us apart.