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ICON: Continuity and change in nonviolence
Director, International Centre of Nonviolence, Durban
To locate our work on nonviolence in relation to global and South African developments
To set out the ways in which structural violence continues, and the ways in which those committed to nonviolence need to respond
To locate the work of
the International Centre of
2006 conference resolution:
We pledge to take forward the struggle for nonviolence and the peaceful resolution of conflict whether in our own lives, or in our organizations, locally, nationally or internationally by uniting together to work together as participants at this conference to:-
Establish Centres for Non-Violence based on the principles of Satyagraha and Ubuntu;
Lobby for the inclusion of the basic principles of Satyagraha within local regional and international fora such as the World Social Forum
Continue our dialogue
Broaden our engagement with organs of civil society to create a global movement for peace and non-violence through Satyagraha, and to work to end injustice, dehumanizing violence, destruction and economic exploitation and oppression of a large section of society.
The destructive nature of the global financial system is more visible
The accelerating decline in the health of the world’s ecosystems is more visible
We see violence being constantly reproduced, including by those who have themselves been the victims of violence
We also see movements to assert humanity, often faltering and uneven
The nature of structural violence
structures – economic, political, legal, religious, and cultural – that stop individuals, groups, and societies from reaching their full potential
What we usually mean by the term ‘violence’ can be defined as ‘personal violence’
Helpful to keep both concepts together as ways of thinking about the why and the how of violence
Violence in South Africa
December 2010: JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Embattled Aurora Empowerment
Systems, owners of
[‘large wetland’] mine,
said on Wednesday that it was being held under siege by illegal miners plundering
, east of Johannesburg.
Aurora GM Louis
said that the “extremely violent” illegal miners had been stripping unused shafts of metal and other valuables since the mine went onto care and maintenance in March
Rhetoric of violence, criminality and dishonesty.
Mine was bought by Aurora Empowerment Systems in late 2009 from liquidators of previous owner..
Closure of mines raises major concerns because of the permanent damage caused by mining: underground water becomes contaminated through chemical reactions with exposed rock, and requires
Directors of Aurora
nephew, on left),
Mandela (Nelson Mandela's
grandson, on right)
(legal adviser to the President)
The new owners stopped paying wages in February 2010, while gold was removed from the mine and equipment stripped
The mine stopped treating contaminated water, which began to flow into the wetland
Acid mine water flowing into local stream
The Blesbokspruit flows into a Ramsar site (a wetland of recognised international significance
April 2010; Workers protest at non-payment. Tear gas and rubber bullets are used to disperse them
Security chief (‘Bad Brad’) at mine shoots dead four illegal miners
Pumps were removed from the flooded Aurora owned mine for repair, leading to flooding of the eastern mining basin, east of Johannesburg. According to liquidator, Enver Motala, the switch off was planned. “The water pumps were removed and have to be repaired. It’s a normal routine. In one or two months the situation will be returned to normal.” He said that the flooding could be contained for up to six months before it would be a crisis.
Enver Motala no longer allowed to practise as a liquidator as a result of having lied about his previous convictions for fraud under his previous name, Enver
. New liquidators appointed.
Paddy Harper miningmx.com Sun:
papers filed in the Pretoria High Court this week, liquidators said the Master of the High Court inquiry into the Aurora deal had heard evidence of how the money was illegally diverted into an account controlled by Aurora.
Aurora‘s directors and managers sold R122m worth of gold from the mines and paid themselves and their families with the proceeds instead of paying running costs and staff.
The money was then paid to directors, managers and their family members instead of being used to pay creditors – as was agreed with the liquidation team headed by Motala.
Zuma purchases Maserati for R1 million
20 miners died in illegal mining
Gold One buys
Workers are hopeful that at least some will get jobs
What we see in the case study
How those who acted as agents of the oppression tried to portray those who suffered most directly – miners –as violent and
closely related violence against people is related to violence against the
quickly people with a history of struggle against oppression can become agents of oppression. ‘The enemy’ is not one group, but relationships of power, domination and
The possibility of new forms of collaboration and unity across groups divided through history, such as white and black
What does this tell us about structural violence?
violence sets up a situation in which the exercise of personal violence becomes more likely. Structural violence also enables the normalisation of personal violence against certain groups.
We can have major political change, but unless we face up to the role of structural and personal violence, long-term positive change is not possible
Violence is linked to corruption and secrecy. When the justice system and the media carry out their professional work, they are a force for nonviolence.
What response is needed?
The need to keep hope and build confidence that we can bring change
Developing ways of resisting structural violence – education, developing alliances across difference, modelling alternatives
Strengthening the ability of institutions such as the law and media as forces for democracy and truth
Creating spaces within society in which nonviolence is modelled and hope restored
Implications for the work of an International Centre of Nonviolence
ICON is a non-profit organisation based at, and linked to, Durban University of Technology
After a recent evaluation process, we agreed that
our focus is specifically
‘Strategic interventions in education related to nonviolence’
Crucially, our educational work needs to model nonviolence and be a force for a change
Building a network of those who can work
for nonviolence through
Specific areas of action:
- higher education, especially teacher education
- developing nonviolent ways of working with teachers at all levels
- research that leads into action
- popular dissemination of ideas
- developing a core of people with the understanding and skill to work
Developing a model for nonviolent practice within development projects
Immensity of task; this takes time, but even the smallest step forward matters.