[Welcome Drinks and Snacks will be served at 12.30pm]
VENUE: MANCOSA Campus, Ahmed Kathrada Auditorium, 1 Cedar Avenue (corner of Empire and Cedar Road), Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Mandla Nkomfe – Deputy Chairperson: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Board of Trustees
He is also the convenor of Future South Africa, a coalition of organisations committed to tackling state capture. Nkomfe became a political activist at an early age, joining the Congress of South African Students (Cosas). The fight against race-based policies in schools later led Nkomfe to join other activists in forming the United Democratic Front (UDF). He would serve two years in detention for his anti-apartheid political activism. A member of the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee, Nkomfe served as Gauteng’s MEC for Finance and Economic Affairs. He has also served as ANC’s Chief Whip at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the Chairperson of Committees, and was advisor to Minister of Finance. He is part of the Editorial Collective of Umrabulo, the ANC’s political journal, and has been part of the ANC National Executive Committee’s Political and Training Sub-Committee. Nkomfe has written and published numerous opinion pieces on various political and social issues.
Elnari Potgieter – Senior Project Leader: South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB)
Elnari currently manages the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR)’s South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) project, as well as writes and reports on the SARB’s findings. Previously, Elnari worked with the Political Parties and Parliamentary Support programme of EISA (Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa) doing election analysis, research and training work; worked as Programme Manager (Africa) with Common Purpose, facilitating cross-cultural and – boundary leadership development programmes for students; and, worked as coordinator for the Trade and Industry Chamber of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). Elnari completed a research masters in Political Science from Stellenbosch University as a Mandela Rhodes scholar. She furthermore holds an Honours degree in Political Science, and a bachelor’s degree in Value and Policy Studies. During her post-graduate studies, she visited the CPRS (Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies) in Coventry as an Early Stage Researcher, as well as interned with the UNPBSO (United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office) in New York.
Ebrahim Fakir – Programmes Director: ASRI
Awarded the Ruth First Fellowship for 2014 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – Ebrahim Fakir until recently headed the Political Parties and Parliamentary Programme at EISA [2010-2016]. He was formerly Senior Researcher and Analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg (2003-2009), he worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) [1998-2003] at both IDASA’s Pretoria and Cape Town offices and he also worked at the first democratic Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (1996-1998) in the Legilsation amd Oversight Division. Before that, he was junior lecturer in English Literature at the then University of Durban-Westville (1994-1996). Ebrahim is a part-time lecturer at the Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He writes in the popular press as well as academic and policy journals on politics, development, and the state. He is used as a commentator and facilitator by the domestic and international media, business and other organisations. He read for a degree in English Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand; Johannesburg where he was elected on to the Students Representative Council. He was visiting fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex (2005/2006) and was a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at the Centre for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, for 2011.
Professor Rajen Govender – Senior Research Fellow: IJR
Prof. Rajen Govender is an independent researcher, academic and consultant with 30 years of experience in teaching and research in the university sector and 25 years of experience consulting to national governments, science councils, civil society organisations and international development and donor agencies. His present work focusses on social justice issues and the protection of the most vulnerable in society, specifically: social cohesion, national reconciliation and peace; violence against women and children; racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; HIV and AIDS in the construction industry, and reducing child vulnerability to injury and mortality in poor communities. He has published over 30 articles in peer reviewed journals, co-edited the volume Rethinking Reconciliation: Evidence from South Africa, and authored over 80 commissioned reports and briefs. He currently works at the Department of Sociology and Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice at UCT, as Chief Specialist Scientist at the Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit (VIPRU) of the Medical Research Council, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), and as Key Expert to the Department of Justice on the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. He serves as board member and director for a number of community service organisations and is a Guardian of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust.
Ntombovuyo Linda – Research Associate: ASRI
Ntombovuyo is an ASRI Research Associate. She was previously a Research Assistant at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as well as a Project Analyst at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies. She has published various papers relating to issues in Sub Saharan Africa viz, “Crisis States in Africa: The Case of Zimbabwe”, “The Place and Potential of the Youth in Governance”, “Governance within Higher Education”, “The Nature of the South African Immigration System”. Ntombovuyo was a fellow of the ASRI Future Leaders 2017 cohort, and she’s completing her Masters in Political Science at the University of Witwatersrand. She obtained her BA Honors in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg and a BA Public Administration and Political Science degree at the Nelson Mandela University.
SEMINAR CONCEPT NOTE
Reflections on Race and (Re)conciliation: Findings from the IJR’s SA Reconciliation Barometer
The South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) posits that progress towards reconciliation in South Africa cannot take place without opportunities for and willingness to engage in, meaningful connection and interaction between different race groups.
Since the inception of the SARB, the extent of contact and interaction between different racial groups has been measured. The measure is informed by social psychology theory, related to the contact hypothesis attributed to Gordon W. Allport (1954). Allport posits that the most effective way to reduce prejudice between groups is through interpersonal contact under the correct conditions, namely: 1) equal status, 2) intergroup cooperation, 3) common goals, and 4) support provided by social and institutional authorities.
Evidence has shown positive outcomes (such as social peace and stability) emerging from constructive intergroup contact. In some instances, prejudice was reduced even in the absence of the four conditions framed by Allport. We should however, be mindful of the possible ‘paradoxical’ effect of intergroup contact and its potential adverse consequences – that is, that increased contact may reinforce previously held negative stereotypes and prejudices. This may serve to increase, rather than decrease, ingroup– outgroup distinctions and enmity.
The 2017 SARB round, found that more than half of South Africans surveyed indicated an openness to greater racial integration in SARB 2017. This is in the context of neighbourhoods, schools (in terms of learners and teachers), interracial marriage, and in professional settings, such as receiving treatment from a doctor of another racial group. Most South Africans also remain open to interracial interaction in all spaces – public and private – with the main inhibitors being the language barrier and a lack of self -confidence to interact with people of another race.
In general, the spaces where South Africans report having more interaction with people from historically defined race groups “other than their own”, are also the spaces in which they experience the most racism – such as at work or study spaces, and in commercial spaces.
Respondents surveyed also report that they find it the easier to confront racism in the workplace when a colleague behaves in a racist manner, than is the case with a stranger in a public setting, or a person in a position of leadership or authority. This demonstrates the importance of adequate management and conflict resolution systems in workplaces to address these experiences. It also highlights the vital role that employers and administrations of institutions play in addressing racism and aiding the reconciliation process.
The importance of socio-economic inequality (whether real or perceived), and its impact on inter-racial interaction, should not be under-estimated. SARB data shows a relationship between an individuals perception of inequality and their level of interracial interaction. Individuals who perceive the gap between the rich and the poor as becoming greater are less likely to participate in interracial socialisation, while those who perceive the gap as getting smaller are more likely to participate in interracial socialisation. In addition, the data shows that high levels of inequality and the perception that inequality has not been reduced in the post-apartheid period, can be identified as one of the key impediments to social cohesion in South Africa.
Join us as we unpack the various barriers to racial reconciliation, integration and interaction, as well as aim to identify new opportunities to uprooting racism and racialised inequality in post-apartheid South Africa.