Nelson Mandela Foundation Gender Lecture – 10.08.14

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“It strikes me that our society is not outraged about this violence. We know it exists and is a problem, but we don’t see the same kind of outrage that says, ‘This cannot continue’,” Machel stated

In continuing with educating ourselves to better perform as an organisation, the Humanitarians team were invited to attend the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture Series. This year it was hosted by the University of Cape Town chancellor, Mrs Graca Machel on Sunday, 10th of August 2014 and was led by the African Gender Studies Unit of UCT at Jameson Hall. It was a very thought provoking and brain stimulating talk with the take home message that we should continue the conversation. The focus was on gender, however there was more of a shift towards Women with many issues surrounding them including abuse, violence and power. The President of Chile, Her Excellency Michelle Bachalaret was in attendance serving her second term as president. There were other guest speakers including: feminist writer Nombonisa Gasa, Sonke Gender Justice activist Mbuyiselo Botha and UCT researcher Zethu Matebeni.

We were greeted by lovely food and drink followed by a pre-discussion to get the conversation going whilst we waited for the guests of honour to arrive. Each issue raised was guided by video clips which brought about serious issues and personal experience of abuse and violence of both women, children and men.

The formal procession was guided by the ladies of the AGSU. It started off with a greeting by vice chancellor, Dr Max Price followed by the opening into the conversation by Mrs Graca Machel. This was followed by an introduction to the Chilean President by Yaliwe Clark. Guest speakers had a chance as well to raise issues with UCT researcher Zethu Matebeni receiving a standing ovation.

Some of the key issues raised are summarized below:

  1. Education, types and quality
  2. Language
  3. Crime and types
  4. Homosexuality and heterosexuality
  5. Family dynamics
  6. Gender justice
  7. Gender inequality
  8. Feminisim and women’s month
  9. Inferiority
  10. Reproductive justice – students at UKZN with 3-year implants
  11. Facilities for abortion
  12. Process of change/adaptation for society as a whole – slow
  13. Individualism – problematic discourse of rights relies on change
  14. Equal work vs equal pay

Graca Machel

  1. Masculinity vs mothers of the children
  2. Transformation of the INDIVIDUAL, not society
  3. A form of social outreach – ‘get out of the house’


  1. Remember your ROLE in society, ‘who is the elephant in society’
  2. Don’t forget or be ignorant of your culture or where you came from

Overall it was a good event for the Humanitarians to mingle with other activists and NPO/NGO’s to expand out initiative to give back in active way to the community.

Humanitarians in Action!

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