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Promoting human rights this Mandela Month

Katlehong youth engaged in a dialogue with the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa and Leratong Advice Centre as part of promoting human rights, identifying challenges and proposing solutions.

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (Comsa) and Leratong Advice Centre (LAC) partnered to host an educational dialogue session with Katlehong youth as part of celebrating Mandela Month, at Katlehong Resource Center, on July 15.

The dialogue session was supported by UNICEF. It aimed to teach children and youth about basic human rights and promote social cohesion with a focus on xenophobia.

It also included fun sports activities like netball and soccer.

The executive director of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, Thifulufheli Sinthumule, taught the youth about human rights during his presentation.

Comsa and LAC’s objective was to engage young people on the social cohesion concept and to expose them to xenophobic tendencies that exist within their communities.

Participants who took part in the activities were expected to identify existing xenophobic tendencies and come up with strategic ways to address the challenges.

The executive director of Comsa, Thifulufheli Sinthumule, said their mandate is to promote and protect the human rights of migrants who are in SA to make sure that they are included in any policies that are being developed.

Because Mandela led by example to ensure that oppression and exploitation of one race by the other ends and social cohesion can be built for people to live with each other and peacefully coexist.

“As you know that the Katlehong or East Rand is one of the areas that have been affected by social divisions which we normally refer to as xenophobia or hatred of African people who are residing in SA,” said Sinthumule.

The founder of Leratong Advice Centre Papi Thetele, Comsa advocacy officer Nyeleti Baloyi and Comsa executive director Thifulufheli Sinthumule.

He explained that they believe that by focusing on the youth and children they can build leaders for tomorrow.

“We are also trying to raise awareness for people to also contribute to the development of this country like what Mandela did. Mandela has played a pivotal role in making sure that SA is where it is today, you and I have the freedom of movement and speech, we can vote, we have rights to social assistance and security among others,” he noted.

The founder of LAC, Papi Thetele, said there are still sections that are prone to attacks in Katlehong like Palm Ridge and areas that sit with a lot of migrants. He said the reason for this is that criminals see fast cash when they see immigrants in those areas.

“Our interventions are effective because we reach different people every time. Our message is clear that we want to see Katlehong being an anti-xenophobic township and respect for human rights should be our order of the day,” said Thetele.

Members of the Leratong Advice Center attended the event.

The president of Eketsang High School Human Rights Club (HRC), Mbalenhle Nkambule (15), and the president of Ponego Secondary School HRC, Ayanda Mbatha (15), have identified random attacks and people blaming foreign nationals for every wrong thing in their communities as a challenge.

Thabiso Dlamini proposed that their action plan should include an anti-xenophobic walk, social cohesion workshop at Moleleki Ext 2, and social cohesion dialogues in schools spearheaded by both out-of-school youth and students.

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