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Centre for Civil Society Hosts Activist Training Day

04 Dec, 2017

Highlights from the Centre for Civil Society Training Day.
The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently held a training day for activists. It focused on Social Media and Activism, Democracy and the Right to Protest. Among the participants were activists from the Right2Know Campaign, the Farmer Support Group, the Active Citizens Movement, the Community Justice Movement, the Africa Solidarity Network, the South Durban Environmental Alliance, the Door to Door Foundation and the Centre for Critical Race.

The session on Social Media and Activism examined various social media platforms to support advocacy and social justice campaigns. Areas explored included being seen as well as being heard, social listening and ways to avoid getting caught in the fake news cycle.

Various apps were also considered such as Hootsuite. Participants noted that they typically used social media to engage and network, share struggles, raise awareness and influence transformation.

The session on Democracy and Protest examined the Bill of Rights, distinguishing civil, political and socio-economic rights. Participants engaged in a debate on negative rights (where rights award citizens protection from the state) and positive rights (which impose duties on the state).

The session also covered freedom of expression and association as well as the right to campaign, protest and advocate. Participants discussed their rights to protest, their rights on arrest and their rights to take photographs / be photographed and to use their cellular phones in environments of securitisation.

The trainers for the sessions were Happiness Maphumulo, Community Leader at Open Data Durban and Professor David McQuoid-Mason, Professor of Law at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

According to Centre for Civil Society director Dr Shauna Mottiar, the training day is designed to equip community activists in their daily campaigns to promote social justice and deepen democracy.

‘It is also an opportunity for activists to come together to network and discuss their campaigns. The training day is further designed to include input from local activists in terms of what their training requirements are and the training methods they favour. It is also planned that training will be expanded to include training for activists by activists with a focus on praxis,’ she said. 

Melissa Mungroo

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