Cape Town Launch

Posted on September 13, 2011. Filed under: Events, Gender, Publications, Sudan |

All you Cape Townians!

If you plan to do anything this week, come to the launch of the IJR’s latest book, ‘Hope, Pain & Patience – The Lives of Women in South Sudan‘. Edited by Friederike Bubenzer and Orly Stern, this is among the first volumes released that focuses on gender since South Sudan became independent in early July.

The event will include readings from both editors, and plenty of time for Q&A!

Event details:

14 September 2011, 17:30-19:30

The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town

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Amazing addition to the Living Reconciliation series

Posted on August 25, 2011. Filed under: Events, Reconciliation |

I hope everyone enjoyed last night’s seminar on A Moral Imperative to Speak, which forms part of the Living Reconciliation series, as much as I did! And the future certainly looks bright with young leaders like Amanda Ngwenya, Rayne Moses, Jan Greyling and Noncedo Bulani rising in our ranks!

Today’s Cape Argus featured an article that focused on panelist Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s call to allow ‘white people an opportunity to heal from the wounds of apartheid’, and we hope to hear more from others who attended the event. We will also post more pictures soon!

I also thought I would share the very interesting opening remarks made by Professor Jaco Barnard-Naudé, who leads the Living Reconciliation initiative together with Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.

Barnard-Naudé describes some of the inspiration and thinking behind the initiative:

‘It is in order to justify to you our choice of this word ‘living’ in naming our project that I refer to the work of Oscar Wilde (not the only enfant terrible from whom we will hear tonight) who, somewhat pessimistically, once remarked: ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.’ While the Living Reconciliation Forum is inspired by a notion of ‘living’ that is more than mere existence as Wilde indicates, we believe, contrary to Wilde, that living does not have to be a rare thing, that all of us can learn to live and not just merely exist in the world. Living, when it is expressed as more than existence, suggests effort, action, vitality, work, difficulty, process, struggle. And it is not mere coincidence that this word imposed itself upon us standing next door as it does to the word Reconciliation. For is it not true that when we talk about reconciliation we are essentially naming this difficult, but vital, activity or event to which the notion of ‘living’ already refers?’

Read Professor Barnard-Naudé’s full remarks here, and please post your responses below!

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A Moral Imperative to Speak

Posted on August 22, 2011. Filed under: Events |

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Happy Birthday Madiba

Posted on July 18, 2011. Filed under: Events, ICC, Justice |

Kate Lefko-Everett

Today is the birthday of South Africa’s beloved first democratic president, anti-apartheid struggle leader, and in many ways the ‘Father of the Nation’ – we wish you happy birthday Tata Madiba!

In South African and around the world, everyone is encouraged to take 67 minutes out of your day to do something for the greater good! Need some ideas? Have a look at the Mandela Day website, or check in with your preferred local school, public library, NGO, etc. For Cape Townians, the hard-working Equal Education – which is campaigning for libraries in all South African schools – invites volunteers to help cover books at the Bookery in Roeland Street.

Go on. Surrender your soapies today. Abandon the treadmill. Have a working lunch. Then – hopefully – don’t stop with today!

Another cause for celebration and reflection is the commemoration of International Criminal Justice Day yesterday, on 17 July. The International Criminal Court has posted a series of videos online – I am adding a statement by ICC Judge President Sang-Hyun Song below, and more can be viewed here.

What about combining efforts around these two events? If you live in a country that is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, today could be the day to start an advocacy campaign that contributes to international justice? Post more ideas here!

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Tim Murithi speaks on Electioneering Tonight

Posted on June 8, 2011. Filed under: Elections, Events |

Tim Murithi, Manager of the IJR Transitional Justice in Africa programme, will be speaking tonight at a public dialogue on Electioneering and its impact on Nation Building, hosted by the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre.  The dialogue will be moderated by Nomfundo Walaza, CEO of the Centre, and other participating panelists will be Rev. Courtney Sampson of the IEC and Raenette Taljaard of UCT.

The dialogue will be held at the Centre for the Book, Queen Victoria Street Cape Town, from 18:00 to 19:30. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Seminar on Sudan in Pretoria

Posted on May 24, 2011. Filed under: Events, Sudan |

Good news for readers in Gauteng – the IJR will be co-hosting a seminar with the Institute for Security Studies on Justice and Reconciliation in Sudan after the Referendum on Southern Independence, on Thursday, 2 June 2011.


John Yoh, South Sudan Liaison Office in South Africa

Tim Murithi, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Boitshoko Mokgatlhe, African Union Liaison Office in Sudan

Time: Registration begins at 8h00, and the programme is from 8h30 -10h45.

Venue: ISS Conference Room, Block C Brooklyn Court, 361 Veale St, New Muckleneuk

RSVP: Monique de Graaff (012) 346-9500.

The discussion with be chaired by Anton du Plessis, Head of the International Crime in Africa programme at the ISS. For more information and full contact details, click here.

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Trace your lineage, bind a book!

Posted on May 10, 2011. Filed under: Events |

I just learned that this week is National Archives week – and amazing resources are available in Cape Town, particularly in a city and country in which history impacts on our daily lives in important and complex ways.

Visit the Western Cape Archives and Records Service at 72 Roeland Street to learn more about the ‘importance of preserving our documented memory’, and for guided tours, slide shows and exhibits (including the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Traveling Exhibition, with photos/video of Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Albert Luthuli and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu) daily from 8.00 to 15.00.

The archives are ‘the custodian of South Africa’s earliest written records, dating from 1651 to the recent past’ – and are freely available to the public. Imagine the amazing research possibilities!

A free two-day workshop on Paste Paper Making and Basic Bookbinding is on offer (11 – 12 May 2011)(can I escape the office?), as is a half-day session on Family History (11 May 2011,  8.30 – 12.00).

The invitation can be viewed here, and the full programme with contact details here.

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Employment Equity Dialogue Tonight!

Posted on May 4, 2011. Filed under: Events |

Just a reminder to everyone in Cape Town – this evening, the IJR and the Rethinking ‘Race’ and Affirmative Action in the United States and South Africa project will be hosting a Dialogue on Employment Equity: Ticking Boxes or True Transformation.

The Dialogue features the following speakers:

Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, UCT Ombud (Chair)

Zimitri Erasmus, UCT Sociology Department

Ian Ollis, Shadow Labour Minister, Democratic Alliance

Kashif Wicomb, Provincial Chairperson, Black Management Forum

Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO, Afriforum

James Ngculu, Chairman of the Basileus Group and member of the African National Congress.

The Dialogue starts at 17.30 for 18.00 in the David Bloomberg Room at the Cape Town City Hall in Darling Street (use Corporation Street entrance). Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Germany’s Genocide of the Herero

Posted on April 20, 2011. Filed under: Events |

Lots of exciting events coming up!  Yesterday I posted the invitation to a Dialogue hosted by the SA Reconciliation Barometer on 4 May on Employment Equity: Ticking Boxes or True Transformation?

Then, on 5 May the IJR hosts a discussion with Professor Jeremy Sarkin on his new book, Germany’s Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers. The book is available in Southern Africa through Juta/UCT Press (published elsewhere by James Currey, an imprint of Boydell).

The discussion takes place from 14h40 to 16h00 – come visit us in Wynberg and see where the magic happens! (click here for our location) Please RSVP to Paulos Eshetu on peshetu -at- or on (021) 763-7128.

About Professor Sarkin

In addition to being an IJR Board Member, Professor Sarkin is Chairperson-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. He is an attorney of the High Court of South Africa and the State of New York, and holds degrees from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Harvard Law School. From 2008-2009, he was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Hofstra University, New York, and is an Extraordinary Professor at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

About the book (from UCT Press):

‘In 1904, the indigenous Herero people of German South West Africa (now Namibia) rebelled against their German occupiers. In the following four years, the German army retaliated, killing between 60,000 and 100,000 Herero people, one of the worst atrocities ever.  The history of the Herero genocide bears not only on transitional justice issues throughout Africa, but also on legal issues elsewhere in the world where reparations for colonial injustices have been called for.

‘This book explores the events within the context of German South West Africa (GSWA) as the only German colony where settlement was actually attempted. The study contends that the genocide was not the work of one rogue general or the practices of the military, but that it was inexorably propelled by Germany’s national goals at the time. The book will argue that the Herero genocide was linked to Germany’s late entry into the colonial race, which led it to acquire multiple colonies all over the world frenetically within a very short period, using any means available, including ruthlessness.’

‘The seminal influence of the German view of race, racial identity and racial superiority on the unfolding events cannot be overlooked. This book shows how the Germans, in their attempts to confirm their belief that their race was superior, were preoccupied with race identification and the origins of races. It also examines the Kaiser’s role. This study recounts the reasons why the Kaiser likely issued the order and why proof of this has not emerged before now. The book reveals his history of violence and the ordering of brutal actions, even against his own citizens.’

‘Questions relating to human rights are very much in the news, yet genocides in Africa are understudied,  especially those that occurred during colonial times. The history of the Herero genocide has been examined by very few writers and almost no-one in Africa. Sarkin’s book deals with the issues from an entirely different point of view and proposes new understandings from an alternative position. It provides a lot of new information not previously dealt with in the little literature there is on the subject.’

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Employment Equity: Ticking Boxes or True Transformation?

Posted on April 19, 2011. Filed under: Events |

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