Monday, August 27, 2018

Youth rising and taking responsibility, Creators of Peace, Naledi, Soweto, South Africa


How fitting it was that the Creators of Peace team delivered the Peace Circles from the 13th to 15th June 2018 at the Naledi Recreation Centre to a group of nine men and eight women of Naledi Township in Soweto. This is because the country was in reflection of the 1976 Soweto youth uprising, the centenary celebration of the late Dr Nelson Mandela as well as the anti-apartheid activist known as mother of South Africa Albetina Sisulu. When the Creators of Peace was in Soweto, we contributed to planting seeds of healing for a stronger youth in the future.


This time of the year marks the remembrance of a painful history. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of rebuilding trust and restoring the brokenness in our community through healing of our rainbow nation. When one of the participants said, “I am expecting that after these three days to have hope because I and the rest of us, the youth, are in despair, and really don’t know how to overcome the hurt in our hearts or see possibilities because all our efforts are always in vain.” “I saw then that healing and the role of God in our lives needs to be a conversation we honestly have,” shared Cleo, a co-facilitator.


As the first day unfolded, the group started to understand the process of the Peace Circle.  Nonhlanhla, one of the participants requested to share her story to inspire and motivate the group. She told of how she had left behind the life of glitz and glam in order to lead a simple life of faith, because when God speaks man/woman listens and obeys. This indeed brought an awareness that often we search everywhere for role models.  However, we don’t realise that sharing our stories re-energises us to be and offer the best we can.


Despite the age group of the participants being young, they have experienced a lot of pain and have never had the chance or space to process it.  One of the hardest facts from all 17 participants of this Peace Circle, was that they each longed to have had a father in their lives. Realising this need Scelo, a participant said; ‘I want my sister to know that I love her and will always care be there for her despite the circumstances we live in’ and he hugged his sister. Another participant, Sanele expressed, ‘I now realise I need to forgive my father because that is for my benefit and healing not his, but I am not ready yet.’


The group took steps towards forgiving themselves, their absent fathers and other family members who tortured them.


Other outcomes included: starting a non-governmental organisation to assist the women and men in the community to build their confidence and become employable; start an agricultural business for food sustainability; be more serious in job searching; become motivational speakers and seek professional assistance such as mentorship and counselling to continue the inner healing journey.


Thank you to Initiatives of Change, City of Johannesburg and Aulicious food and Decor.


Reported by:

Cleopadia Mohlaodi and Lucel Snyers