EMPOWERING ENGAGEMENT AT HUMAN RIGHTS CELEBRATIONS
By: Dale Munatswa
This was Dr Rama Naidu’s motive when he turned what was meant to be a traditional seminar into a full-on discussion on human rights and sustainable democracy.
As Naidu kicked off proceedings at the DUT Arts Gallery on Tuesday night, he made 21 guests form a “discussion circle”. And while the two speakers – Maud Blose and Kanyisa Booi – dominated the discussions, Naidu’s unique approach led to more talk and chatter than is usually seen at such events.
Blose presented on the role of the media in maintaining democracy in South Africa. She highlighted the effects and challenges the freedom of media faced during the apartheid era, comparing these to what the media faces in present-day South Africa. Meanwhile, Booi brought to attention the existence of a “bill of responsibilities”, explaining that the Bill of Rights co-exists with the bill of responsibilities, by which people are held accountable to exercise their rights without violating another person’s.
DUT students and staff, artists and human rights activists were present at the event.
“There is a need for more empowering conversations like this to be held, so that people know that the power to control the government lays in them,” said Booi.
One of the event’s coordinator, Nontobeko Mbatha, said, “As much as I was involved in planning this event, the discussion inspired me to do more as a young person.”
Naidu encouraged people to engage into constructive discussions in small groups in their societies, as it enables other people’s voices to be heard and helps promote and keep the democracy of the country alive.
“You can learn more from talking with your mouth rather than just listening to other people,” said Naidu, whose fresh approach made the evening.