Cape Town’s City Hall will host an international conference gathering voices and movements standing against violence and conflict from July 4 to 8. London-based War Resisters International (WRI), founded in 1921 by conscientious objectors to the First World War, will host the conference with local partner Ceasefire Campaign. Other local partners include Embrace Dignity, Goedgedacht Forum and Action Support Centre.
WRI has more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries. Its conference ‘Small Actions, Big Movements: the Continuum of Nonviolence’ is the first to be held in Africa. An estimated 170 peace activists from around the world will attend. The conference will look at nonviolent initiatives and constructive work in communities. It will also serve as a meeting place for the African Network for Nonviolence and Peacebuilding with the goal to strategise partnerships in Africa.
WRI said the conference was planned to be a pan-African meeting although not limited to participants from Africa. It places African movements and activists at its centre, both as organisers and as participants. The conference also intends to explore the links between nonviolent grassroots organisations in South Africa and globally.
The City Hall will host public multi-medium exhibitions relating to peace and disarmament. The main exhibit will showcase courageous, collective and creative responses of communities worldwide to the erosion and abuse of their human rights. Grassroots women, as well as other textile artists from different countries, have contributed to this exhibit.
The conference opening event on July 4, starting from 7pm, is free and open to the public. It will include Burundi drummers and a 60-voice African choir.
Conference speakers will include Palestinian and Israeli activists for peace, Omar Barghouti and Sahar Vardi, and Zimbabwean gender activist Jenni Williams.
The Cape Town organising group is led by South Africa’s former deputy minister of defence, Nozizwe Madladla-Routledge, and Terry Crawford-Browne of Ceasefire Campaign, also known for challenging the arms deal.
A full conference programme is available at the website http://www.wri-irg.org. VOC