Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on a nine-day trip to South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Togo, concluded his official visit to South Africa today with a visit to Robben Island for a guided tour of the facility where opponents of apartheid were held. His visit was particularly symbolic and significant on the occasion of Human Rights Day for South Africa which commemorates the Sharpeville massacre.
Shown is the Secretary-General (centre) and Mrs. Nane Annan as they visit Robben Island Prison. Right is Eddie Daniels who was in prison with Nelson Mandela showing them Mr. Mandela's cell. Left is Aziz Pahad, Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa (UN Photo/Milton Grant)
Swedish consultants teamed up with ACCORD to host an 18 month long course on how to conduct peaceful political transformations.
ACCORD together with the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, based at Uppsala University and Indevelop, a Swedish consultancy working for sustainable social development, has for the last 18 months been undertaking an International Training Programme on Peace and Security in Africa.
The fifth and final leg of the training, comprising a two week course, took place from 02 – 13 November in Cape Town and Durban respectively and was a continuation of the lecturing and mentoring provided during phase 2 that took place in Uppsala, Sweden in May this year. Twenty-nine participants selected from key inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and Regional Economic Communities converged in Cape Town and Durban respectively to complete phase 4 as part of the eighteen month training Programme. The participating organisations included the African Union Commission, COMESA, AU Southern Africa Regional Office, ECOWAS Commission, IGAD, East African Community, Goree Institute, KAIPTC, NPI-Africa, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Rema Ministries, SACCORD, SADC Secretariat, and SADC Election Support Network.
The course content was developed to enrich the understanding and expand the knowledge of the participants on specific topics related to political transformations with a peaceful approach. In this regard, the content of this phase addressed peace and security within the region and specifically the transition from Apartheid to Democracy in South Africa. Within the South African context, discussions focused on the negotiations that took place as well as human rights and the institutions that have been created to address these violations. Study visits to the Robben Island, District Six and Albert Luthuli Museums provided further lessons on the impact of and struggle against the Apartheid legacy, and the lessons learnt from it. Key individuals instrumental in the negotiation process, such as Professor Willie Esterhuyse provided an in depth account of the process. Other topics in the programme included: Transitional Justice, Gender and Reconciliation in Africa; Africa’s Hegemonic States; Mediation; Leadership; and Peace Agreements, presented by academics and experts in the field.
ACCORD’s engagement in the Programme contributes to the objectives of the Organisation as it helps to capacitate institutions that seek to achieve peace on the African continent. Strengthening the peace and security architecture in Africa is a key output of ACCORD’s overall institutional strategy. Participating in this comprehensive programme provides the knowledge and the tools for addressing major challenges facing African organisations involved in peace and conflict programmes.