GEORGE NEWS - The much-anticipated Thembalethu Imbizo was launched on Friday 28 September. The aim of the Imbizo is to stimulate fearless conversations on human rights issues in communities where they are needed most, such as Thembalethu.
Prominent national social activists gathered at the Thembalethu community hall to participate in the dialogue on gender-based violence and child abuse.
Anele Matshisi, one of the organisers, said this year they were looking at how gender-based violence and child abuse influence young boys. "Across South Africa's diverse and complex growing communities there is a vacuum for constructive human rights conversations. South Africa, now more than ever, needs this conversation, with the shocking reports of increased reported cases of targeted gender abuse and sexual violence against kids.
"The concept [of the Imbizo] was based on the need to create partnerships with various stakeholders who influence and serve the community," said Matshisi.
"The word Imbizo means 'the gathering' in isiXhosa. This is exactly what was achieved at the Thembalethu Imbizo; the gathering of true minds and influential individuals and concerned residents who are seeking real solutions to address gender-based violence."
He said this event is a first of its kind for Thembalethu and it won't be last, as there's still a lot of work to be done to educate the community and harvest a spirit of working together for the greater good.
The portfolio councillor for Community and Social Development Services, Sean Snyman, highlighted the importance of understanding that both women and men can be victims of gender-based violence. Children and people with disabilities often fall victim to both men and women.
He emphasised the need to create an empowering environment where children are protected at all times. Stakeholders, including George Municipality, community leaders, the South African Police Service, religious groups, the Department of Education, activist groups, media, non-governmental organisations and the community at large, attended the event.
Panellists included Capt Annacletta Mothoalo of the Thembalethu police station; Pastor Amos Moyikwa, a senior pastor and community leader; Linamandla Petse, treasurer of the student council at NMU; Yolisa Qunta, editor, social commentator and author of We write what we like; a new generation speaks; Siyabulela Jentile, founder of Not in My Name SA, Obama Foundation fellow and United Nations Association magazine contributor.
Anyone who wishes to partner with Matshisi and his partner Nelisa Sinuka to further the aims of the Thembalethu Imbizo is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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