On 11 October 2019, ACCORD represented by Mr Jerome Sachane, Deputy Director of ACCORD, presented during the Social Cohesion and Anti-Xenophobia School Summit convened by Africa Unite at the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban, South Africa.
The summit brought together various schools from around Durban, ranging from grades 8-10 for a session on addressing the growing crisis of school violence in South Africa and the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals across the country. The event also drew a multitude of stakeholders in attendance including representatives from various sectors such as the KZN Legislature, Vuleka Centre, as well as religious leaders, traditional leaders, and educators. The outcome of the school summit put a key focus on the unrest amongst students, by strategically identifying how to bridge the gap that exists between students that leads to conflicts, and by further identifying attitudes, stereotypes, discriminatory behaviour, and xenophobic attitudes between peer groups.
Towards the end of the summit, Mr Sachane took the floor to address the summit on the topic of peer mediation. Students were thought the fundamentals behind what conflict at its root actually is, the drivers of conflict amongst students and rational practical steps the youth in attendance could take to effectively resolve conflict and in the process become themselves, conflict mediators. Mr Sachane extended his offer to the KZN Legislature in attendance, to advocate for Peer Mediation programs to be incorporated into school curriculums nationally, citing the successful programs in US schools and its vast success, and stressed that ACCORD would be ready to heed the call and tackle the conflicts prevalent in so many South African schools.
We would like to thank Africa Unite for putting together an engaging school summit and ACCORD looks towards taking peer mediation forward to empower the youth in South Africa.