All roads led to Upington in the Northern Cape on Saturday to discuss the critical issue of how we can promote a violence-free society in a time when numerous communities are tormented by violent rebellion. Upington is home to only six Activators, Dineo Segopisho, German Jacobs, Nadine Jacobs, Lea Nkathane, Mmeza Gaborone and Mandilakhe Mbob who adopted the name K6-Krag Van Ses (Power of six). With little to no resources, these six individuals have been a powerful force within their communities. With the assistance of Northern Cape Activators from Kimberly, Kuruman, Oliefantshoek and Springbok, they started a conversation with the community of Pabellelo around what it would take to achieve a society where violence is not prevalent. The dialogue was an intense discussion that shook many in attendance and took us out of our comfort zones to force us to tackle this very real issue haunting and tearing our communities apart.
With the participation of Stakeholders like the South African Police Services (SAPS) represented by Warrant Officer Marina Brewis; the Community Policing Forum of Pabellelo (CPF) represented by the Chairperson, Samuel Sandlana and the South African Student Congress (SASCO) represented by Regional Executive, Richard Moncusi, the dialogue started with a simple question: What is Violence and what are the Causes of violence?
Facilitated by Activators, Nadine Jacobs and Lea Nkathane, Warrant Officer Brewis explained that: “Violence starts by anger that we carry around because of incidents in our lives we never dealt with, as a result, we direct that energy to violence. We need to find peace within ourselves and deal with symptoms that cause violence. Violence is furthermore common because of the abuse of alcohol.” In my estimation as an Activator, I explained that violence is caused by the intergenerational transfer of poverty which causes a ripple effect in the community. With so many unemployed young people, combined with factors like alcohol and drug abuse, the effects of sustaining the needs of an individual eventually leads to various forms of violence.
Youth leader, Lee-Roy Mbusha explained that violence is also learned behaviour: “Violence is what we learn in our family homes. For instance, if one has a violent father and elder brother, eventually as a child we learn these behaviours and we think it’s right. We grow up and only then do we realise that it is wrong, but then it’s too late because we’ve already learned the behaviour.”
Because the community is faced with many persistent forms of violence, the community of Pabellelo was grateful to have the opportunity to ask SAPS, the CPF and SASCO questions on how to ensure the community stays free from violence. The collective consensus reached was that a non-violent society starts with us. The community agreed that the dialogue should continue because silence can no longer observed against the plague of violence: “We need to be accountable for one another and keep each other accountable for our actions, it’s not only the job of SAPS and the CPF but the community to ensure safety in our community,” said Dineo Segophiso.
The powerful dialogue came to an end with Activators asking the community to continue discussing issues of this nature and to continue supporting one another in all areas of life. Activators furthermore challenged community members to make a personal pledge to the future of Pabellelo and what small actions or steps they are going to take to ensure that their commitment is carried through. Community members thanked ACTIVATE! and encouraged them to continue driving change. They also extended a warm gratitude of thanks for the K6 Activators from the community who inspire and motivate them through tough circumstances. The event ended with Activators and the community of Pabellelo singing and dancing.
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