'SEEDS' 'IMBEWU' Community Dialogue South Africa

Facilitated forums to transform the legacy of Apartheid, work with profound problems facing communities and seed community-led projects.

The Dream: Lungile's dream - A deeper dialogue in South Africa to transform the legacy of Apartheid, grapple with extremely serious issues facing communities and support communities to find their inner resources to build a different future.

Lungile with Arlene and Jean-Claude of CFOR appreciate your support in launching this project, which begins in the Township of Chesterville, where Lungile grew up.  www.cfor.info  CFOR Facebook 

The project began:  A sense of closeness and community arose as the forum participants began to speak together about grave difficulties - despair, poverty, lack of work, daily encounters with violent crime, youth with no outlook and the drug Woonga killing one's children. And the group talked about the legacy of  Apartheid as it replays each time doors close. We saw the 'ghost' of Apartheid that says  "You are unworthy" and how it replays in society and community, and when it feels near impossible to believe in one's own ideas.  

We also noticed that when one person was in need, without food or identity card, another participant stepped up to help. As we processed all this, there was an unstoppable fountain of ideas  - ideas for establishing youth activities (there are none); writing and communicating about their situation of using social media; starting an internet cafe and advocacy centre; making gardens so no one in the township has to go hungry; business and craft ideas from raising chickens and eggs, to printing Tshirts and tablecloths, working with beads, and starting a local restaurant with Zulu cooking to bring visitors to the township. There was a surge of energy and belief in the spirit of community. And then a spontaneous emergence of a new civil society organisation  "IMBEWU Community” to support continued  dialogue, and to launch the projects that came to life in the forum.   Report 

The Project Now:  The Township of Chesterville is eager for the next Forum, to work together on pressing community issues, the history of the struggle,  and to tap the local resources to build the future. The forum is for local community members, young people,  elders, civil society organisations in South Africa, and local authorities. 

Your Donation: Your contribution means a lot.

Donations will support

1) basic costs for the faciliated Community Forums, in Chesterville, and in other areas of South Africa. 

2) A pot of 'seed moneys' for the projects themselves that spring out of this community dialogue - to give a jump start to help a project on its own feet. Projects include building a simple internet cafe with refurbished computers (to help the community access information, self-advocacy, loans); bring awareness of diabetes; raise chickens and eggs; start a community garden; build a drug rehab referral and network addressing the extremely serious issue of the drug Whoonga; buy a billiards table and movie projector for a youth centre, and build the outlook for the future by way of communications within the community among diverse groups, and throughout South Africa and internationally. We'll also start a website and build social networking, beyond the local community. 

What we offer is faciliating community dialogue using unique ‘worldwork’ methods and drawing on our experience in conflict zones. This facilitation supports people to address current issues, emotions, the impact  and replay of history, while getting in touch with a sense of possibility , direction, wisdom, solutions and pathways forward.

Out of this interaction a powerful feeling of  community emerged and the outpouring of ideas for business, and community centres- along with a deep sense of pride and belief in oneself and community, finding support from your community for your ideas, and realising that your ideas are a contribution to community.

About us: Lungile Nkosi-Hill   I'm a black South African woman, currently living in London (UK). I grew up under Apartheid and together with the majority of Black South African people, experienced the brutality, discrimination and racism of the regime. I grew up with low self-esteem, lack of confidence, surrounded by generations who had experienced the same feelings. As I got older, I started to hear about Nelson Mandela. Only briefly. I was not informed openly about this great man. He was in prison for his beliefs about a non-racist and non-sexist South Africa.

I grew up surrounded by generations of people who did not speak about these injustices for fear of their lives. They had seen those who spoke be imprisoned, tortured, hanged or disappeared. Fear made everyone silent, not able to speak or trust even the people closest to you. The Apartheid Regime used people to inform on family and community members who spoke against the system. It is out of my experience of growing up under this Apartheid regime and the fear that I saw in my community that I began this project. It is also out of my belief in the strength of my community. The idea for this project also came up as a result of attending training with CFOR, where I recognised how my personal experiences are also collective experiences and I felt a sense of responsibility and possibility to contribute.

CFOR   CFOR is an NGO, a Charity based in London.  We facilitate awareness of diversity, conflict transformation and community building. We also train facilitators. Our facilitation methods are based in the idea of 'deep democracy', that the wisdom and direction forward comes from within community, when there is an opportunity to facilitate the interaction of all voices, points of view, dimensions of experience and presence of history. 

CFOR's long-term programmes have included facilitating post-conflict community recovery in Croatia from 1996-2002 and 2006 -2012, supported by the United Nations High Commission for refugees, many Embassies, the Millennium fund and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human rights. Forum participants were from opposing sides of the war, dealing with unanswered questions of loss, community wide trauma and how they could move forward together and build the future. CFOR's work is unique because we link together a deeper dialogue about accountability and recovery from community - wide trauma, with practical community engagement to access resources for economic recovery. CFOR also facilitates dialogue within Europe about issues of migration and asylum, national and ethnic identity, our history of violence and tyranny and our future as multicultural societies.

CFOR has a new programme 'SEEDS'. The idea is to work alongside selected individuals who by way of grappling with their own personal and collective histories, are in a unique position to envision a different future for their community.  In our 'SEEDS' Programme we are working along side Lungile in this project 'IMBEWU, Community Dialogue South Africa' 

Why Crowd Funding: While CFOR has capacity to support the coordination and facilitation of Forums and to mentor project development - we don't have funds.  Lungile spoke about her dream and the plan to begin in Chesterville where she was born and raised under Apartheid.  We looked at each other and said "Let's do it”. "It's simply a great idea". "Why not?" So we started.  We appreciate if you feel part, whether financially, or in proposing an idea,  talking about it with others, and networking with individuals, organisations, Universities, anyone who you think will want to know about the initiation and development of this project.  And whereever you live - the UK, South Africa, or anywhere -  we are all part of history and all part of the future.  (Practically, if you are in the UK, your donation is tax deductible because CFOR is a charity, but you can donate from anywhere)

What people say:'The forum was like milk to feed community. What I  learned is that we need one another. One hand cannot wash itself, but needs the other. When we work together, we will be able to beat the spirit of fear, poverty, the terrible crime rate, drugs and teenage pregnancy, and do things that will take our children off the street and prevent friction in our community. IMBEWU Community is a seed that will grow love, peace, trust, unity, joy and prosperity for our community - which I have received in these three days. "Together nothing is impossible"Forum Participant , Chesterville, Durban, South Africa

'... I've heard people talk about justice, freedom, equality, fairness, rights, human dignity and respect. It is an honour and a privilege to see you practicing these qualities, and influencing people to believe in those qualities. I'm one of those people. On behalf of my community ( Chesterville, Durban South Africa), thank you.'Forum participant, Chesterville, Durban, South Africa 

'When I was able to speak about my experience, it was like a magnifying lens…created by everyone. I feel completely physically and emotionally transformed.’Forum Participant in post-conflict neighbourhood

'All of us involved with this process witnessed tremendous transformation, not only among the  participants, but also in their home communities. With pride we believe that we made a substantial contribution to a slow reconstruction of communities affected by war and helped many people to start healing deep trauma. These forums dealt not only with issues directly connected with war, they also assisted democracy-building processes. Participants experienced their own power to make a difference in their community.’Tanja Radocaj, UNICEF/ formerly Founder Association Mi, Croatia, about forums in Croatia.  

‘Arlene and JC Audergon of CFOR together with Association 'Mi' have been UNHCR Croatia’s long-standing partners and have contributed important and exciting work on reconciliation and rebuilding of post-war communities in our region. I recently had the opportunity to personally attend one of the sessions and experienced first hand the specialised methods of the Audergons and their impact, as people were able to engage carefully and creatively with long-standing issues separating their communities.'Wilfried Buchhorn, UNHCR Representative.

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