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Residents to impact national policy through Community Conversations

A group of Capetonians will have their voices heard by the presidency of South Africa after taking part in the first of three Nation Building and Social Cohesion Community Conversations events in 2019 on Friday 8 February.

The event was hosted by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), as part of the national Department of Arts and Culture's strategy to promote dialogue on the topic of and ultimately redress the impact of apartheid.

Around 30 Lwandle and Mfuleni residents attended the event, which took the form of a workshop and was held at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.

Liezl Jansen, Deputy Director at DCAS, said the opinions of the participants will be included in reports which will eventually make it all the way to the presidency.

The Community Conversations bring communities together on a dialogue platform where communities identify the issues that impact social cohesion, propose solutions and propose who the actors are in those solutions, she said.

The report on the conversations forms part of the national report that is submitted to DAC. This report will contribute to a cabinet report on social cohesion in the country. So even a small community has input into changing strategies at a national level.

The event started with a presentation about the various factors which impact nation building and social cohesion across South Africa. These include the roles of race, language, morals, poverty alleviation, as well as the role of the youth.

After the presentation the participants broke up into groups to discuss these factors, focussing specifically on:

why these issues affect social cohesion in their communities

how they can be solved

who is responsible for solving the problems.

The different groups went on to present the results of their discussions. Apart from giving ordinary South Africans a voice, the Community Conversations are also meant to give meaning to the preamble of the constitution.

The next Nation Building and Social Cohesion Community Conversations events will take place on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 at the Wheat Industry Museum in Moorreesburg and on Friday, 15 February 2019 at the Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp.

Source: Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport

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