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Students Debate Whether Peace is Possible

April 28, 2017


Taking part at the debate were, from left: Ms Keri Khoza, Ms Silomo Dlamini, Ms Banele Ngubane and Ms Khethelo Gama.

Is peace possible? That was the question probed during a panel discussion recently hosted by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Durban.

The debate, held at the Howard College Theatre in partnership with the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) and UKZN’s Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ), formed part of a global campaign to encourage dialogue on peace.

The campaign is also driven online under the #peaceispossible hashtag with the aim of mobilising people to work towards the attainment of world peace.

Executive Vice President and Local Peace is Possible Director, Ms Keri Khoza said JCI is a global network of young active citizens between the ages of 18 and 40. These individuals share the belief that in order to realise positive change people need to take collective action to improve themselves and the world around them.

‘With over 5 000 Local Organisations in more than 150 countries and territories, JCI forms a vibrant international community of nearly 200 000 active citizens belonging to a JCI Local Organisation where they focus on finding solutions to improve their local community,’ said Khoza who was also on the discussion panel.

Khoza and fellow panelists Mr Khayo Mhlongo, Ms Banele Ngubane and Ms Khethelo Gama engaged the audience on what peace means to each individual and whether it is possible.

Some of the views from the audience were that peace is possible but was hindered by the lack of awareness in certain sectors of society. Some participants felt that some of the behaviour that gives rise to conflicts is a result of people’s upbringing, surrounding environment, and that peace should be taught at home.

However, other members of the audience argued that peace was not possible and that schools were the right place to teach young people about peace.

The audience also raised concerns that political and economic frustrations were a root cause for some of the problems. They cited the recent xenophobic attacks in the country; unrest related to the FeesMustFall campaign; and the police brutality attacks that led to the BlacksLivesMatter campaign in the United States as examples of these conflicts.

Most of the students agreed that people needed to be tolerant of other cultures, race groups and beliefs.

Concluding the discussions, Programme Director Ms Silomo Dlamini said people should not only create awareness but needed to be brave enough to stand up for peace, make a difference and be willing to learn while also educating themselves.

The JCI also used the platform to promote its upcoming events to UKZN students.

Khoza spoke of upcoming JCI events and encouraged students to continue to take part in the online discussions by visiting @JCIdbn on Instagram and Twitter, JCI Durban on YouTube and Facebook or the JCI website. 

Sithembile Shabangu

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