Long Term Conflict Resolution in Africa
|The Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) in Cape Town attempts to solve conflicts with long-term programs. Its trainers work systematically with schools and teachers as well as with police, prisoners, and prison guards. Its mediators advise high-ranking officers, including defense and foreign ministers, in Malawi, Burundi, Somalia, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. But still, one of their most difficult hurdles is only two hours north of Cape Town by car, behind the walls of Vorberg Prison.
The tough guys wait. They sit in silence on a long wooden bench, two dozen thieves and murderers. Their heads are shaved. Their coveralls are fire-engine red. Across each man's chest is emblazoned the word "Prisoner," along with a name: Ebrahim, Eric, Moses.
A foreboding stillness dominates the dust-gray room as the men take stock of Victoria Maloka, an attractive black woman in tight jeans and a bat-winged blouse. "I'm from the Center for Conflict Resolution," she explains. "We want to help you to solve your problems without busting each other's heads." She looks from prisoner to prisoner, laughing. "That means you respect each other and value the human dignity of everybody around you."
Human dignity? No one says a word. Victoria is used to that. Every mediator in the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) in Cape Town knows it takes time and patience to reach the prisoners. South Africa, ten years after the end of apartheid, is rife with tension. CCR attempts to solve some of those conflicts with long-term programs. Its trainers work systematically with schools and teachers as well as with police, prisoners, and prison guards. Its mediators advise high-ranking officers, including defense and foreign ministers, in Malawi, Burundi, Somalia, Zimbabwe, and Sudan.
1. CCR does work in several south African countries – see Web site for more information. They now work with many different kinds of social challenges.
2. The Full Text details CCR's work in one prison to illustrate one of their processes.
3. The current director is white. He says, "Although apartheid was abolished in 1994, the conflicts from apartheid remain and continue to be challenging. The majority of blacks live in grinding poverty without access to medical care, money, or education. The police are brutal in their reactions to even minor crime, where blacks are involved. "They were oppressed for 300 years," Nathan says. "You can't turn that around in just ten."
4. The institution employs 40 mediators and trainers. There are more requests for help than the center can fulfill.
5. The annual budget has increased tenfold, largely through through donations from national governments including those of Holland, Belgium, Sweden, England, Norway, and Finland.
6. The success of CCR can be traced in part to its training of people accustomed to transcending conflict as ambassadors to carry its message.
7. "The police hunt killers. But even killers have dignity. That's what these guys have to learn." The police are brutal even though it's superfluous. The CCR has been working with the police for ten years, trying to demonstrate through workshops and role-playing that violence is not the best way to solve conflicts. 'Violence provokes and creates more violence.'"
8. Key concepts in the program: human rights, conflict management, creating positive social bonds.
|Extent of Action:||Local|
|Issues:||Human Rights, Social Change|
|Source:||Peace-Counts Website (www.aja-online.org)|
|Center for Conflict Resolution (Africa) http://ccrweb.ccr.uct.ac.za, Centre for Conflict Resolution, Number 2 Dixton Road, Observatory Cape Town, South Africa, 7930 or PO Box 1228, Cape Town, South Africa, 3000, Email: email@example.com|
|Prepared By:||sl, 11/10|