Arts and Culture Continues to host Community Conversations to foster Social Cohesion

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) will on Thursday, 18 February 2016 host community conversations at Emalahleni Civic Theatre in Witbank, Mpumalanga to provide a platform for individuals and organisations from all sectors of society to engage on national plans to promote nation building and social cohesion as well as to combat racism in South Africa.

During the 2014/2015 financial year, the Department has conducted a series of community conversations in various provinces across the country to interrogate the state of South African affairs in terms of rights and responsibilities, social cohesion and national identity, active citizenry and volunteerism. To date,  about 30 community conversations with diverse groups were held across the country and provided an important reference point from which to proceed in terms of the second series of community conversations.

This year, the department has adopted a sustained dialogue approach where each community will engage in at least three rounds of conversation to prolong the discussion towards a collective solution. Although communities were optimally engaged in the first series of conversations, there were serious questions raised in terms of the impact of a once-off conversation. The new approach seeks to improve relations within communities that may  largely be strained along racial or ethnic lines. The key focus is  on probing the dynamics of troubled community relationships to better understand them and formulate appropriate remedies that are action-orientated.

After the lessons from the 2014/2015 series of conversations, it became apparent that some rethinking in terms of the overall methodological approach was necessary. The previous method employed in the actual conversations did less in ensuring that communities have practical tools to sustain the dialogue beyond the initial intervention by the Department.

The conversations will be conducted in all provinces, this week they were held at Mbombela Civic Theatre in Nelspruit,  16 February 2016 and Johannes Stegmann Theatre in Secunda, 17 February 2016.

Members of the media is invited to attend as follows:

Date                : Thursday, 18 February 2016

Time               :  09:00

Venue            : Emalahleni Civic Theatre – Witbank, Mpumalanga

 

Enquiries: Teresa Magidela, 060 601 7724, TeresaM@dac.gov.za

RSVP’s: Baile Maunye, 071 047 6770, bailem@dac.go.za

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture

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