Since 2012 the National Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the National Institute Community Development and Management (NICDAM) have been rolling out the interactive social cohesion conversations between government and communities across the nine provinces in the country.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) supports DAC and NICDAM and hosted four workshops from 22 to 25 August 2017 in the Western Cape in Robertson, Wellington, Saldanha Bay and Atlantis.
Key role players from each community were given the opportunity at the workshops to explore the roles of race, language, poverty alleviation, gender-based violence, safety and security and values and morals. Underlying issues that divide and unite communities were identified and finally those who should be responsible for facilitating suitable solutions were announced. Eventually each participant pledged to play their part in making sure that their local communities become better places.
Lizahn Claasen at DCAS Arts Development stressed the value of the conversations and said: “The communities are sharing their common experiences at these workshops and it contributes to a better understanding of each other and also build bridges towards unity”.
After the collective conversations there will be further capacity workshops with community stakeholders and the ultimate goal is to formulate strategies to combat the above-mentioned issues at the 2018/19 Social Cohesion Summit.
Patrick Letsatsi, DAC Assistant Director for Social Cohesion was impressed with the level of interaction and said: “What strikes most are the diverse issues that the participants raised and even more interesting are the solutions that they were presented. This is evidence of how good the country can be if all citizens work together”, he said.
DCAS encourages citizens across the province to stand together to improve the social fibre circumstances of local communities BETTER TOGETHER.