The Peace Centre is a non-profit organization dedicated to working towards building a safe, peaceful society by addressing the issues that contribute to a high level of insecurity and personal and institutional violence.
What we do
To increase the number of people willing to act against violence and for peace
Change from within – essential
Threats – Community Threats – Societal
Low level of education Weak Economy
Lack of agency
Do not re-invent the wheel
LONG TERM ACTION NOW DEVELOPMENT
Information and support
Holding the corrupt accountable
Skills training Information sharing
Employment seeking Awareness raising
( screenings, dialogue)
Computer skills Constitution- values
Mentorship Basic Income Grant
Alternatives to Violence (AVP) AVP community groups
Our approach is developmental and ecological, and can be represented graphically.
WHY WE DO IT
We believe it wrong that in our incredibly unequal society, the poorest and most disadvantaged should suffer as they do. It is a failure of their constitutional rights.
25 years after apartheid ended and a constitutional democracy was installed, we still have appalling slums, high unemployment, a failed education system and a weak tradition of childcare and parenting. In consequence we have epidemic levels of violence. We also live under a government riddled with corruption on an industrial scale−a direct tax on the poorest. We realise that the state is incapable of quickly solving all the problems.
There has been change in South Africa. What is needed now is change focussed on the individual, on small communities and against corruption.
We believe that the extreme levels of violence in our society are driven by deep and inter-generational poverty, and the resulting hopelessness and inequality.
The most potent method of combating violence is to encourage self-help so helping to increase self-respect and responsibility. We are dedicated to growing individual and community agency. Our whole approach, our theory of change, is driven by this.
The latest Poverty Trends in South Africa report shows that, despite the general decline in poverty between 2006 and 2011, poverty levels in South Africa rose in 2015. More than half of South Africans were poor in 2015, with the poverty headcount increasing to 55,5% from a series low of 53,2% in 2011.
“In 2014, the top 10% of earners received two-thirds of national income.”
The youth (15-34) unemployment rate is 55,9%.
The 2016 PIRLS results showed that 8/10 Grade Four learners (i.e. aged 10) in South Africa could not read for meaning in any language.
Crime and violence.
South Africa is ranked 60th out of 163 countries covered by the Global Peace Index
19% of South Africa’s GDP (R184 trillion) is consumed in response to these high levels.
Violence in the home, including sexual violence, is at extraordinary levels in South Africa, which has arguably the highest global rates of: rape (some 65,000 reports a year, with the best-case scenario being that only 1/9 is reported); child rape (41% of reported rapes are perpetrated against children, and 15% of reported rapes involve children under 11); domestic violence (the WHO estimates 60,000 cases a month); intimate femicide (a woman is killed by her intimate partner every 8 hours) and a child homicide rate that is double the global average (many child deaths arise from ‘discipline gone wrong/too far’—corporal punishment in the home is still protected by the ‘defence of reasonable chastisement’.)
Violence in schools is rife: teacher-on-pupil, pupil-on-teacher and pupil-on-pupil. The problem is complex and multi-faceted, and manifests in bullying; sexual assault or harassment; physical violence; and psychological violence.
Despite being prohibited since the 1996 Schools’ Act, up to 73% of pupils are still being beaten at school in certain provinces.
There are also high levels of community violence. Many of South Africa’s township and informal settlement communities are bedevilled by gang activity, drug- and gun-running and high levels of substance abuse, including high alcohol consumption.
Violent service delivery protests are on the increase. There was one every second day, on average, in 2016.
Xenophobia is also an increasing problem. At least 200 foreign nationals have been killed or maimed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa, since the dawn of democracy.
Corruption and wasteful expenditure
South Africa ranks 71 out of 160 countries in the Global Corruption Perception Index, where any position below 50 is considered serious.
Corruption on a grand scale has taken place in South Africa. State capture has been facilitated by billions of rand paid in bribes and kick-backs for just about anything you can think of. This is feeding discontent, exacerbating poverty and fuelling violence.
Fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the 2016-7 period exceeded R2.5 Billion
The economy has been in recession since September 2018.
What and who we are
The Peace Centre is a non-profit organisation, a charity (NPO No 011-709), operating under its own constitution and with a volunteer Board elected annually. The majority of Board members are Quakers and the Peace Centre’s approach is founded on Quaker values.
The Peace Centre began life in the 1980’s−apartheids darkest days−as a project of the Cape Town Quaker community and played an important role in working toward a just, equitable and peaceful society. Since 2008, it has operated as an independent NGO operating from its Mowbray headquarters.
Following a funding crisis in 2016 and a strategic review, the Peace Centre decided in 2017 that it should re-invent itself and concentrate its efforts on communities most affected by violence, putting most of its energy and resources into community level activities concentrating on support and capacity building. In this it should collaborate with organisations and networks who are also working against corruption and for peace.
In 2018 the name changed from Quaker Peace Centre to Peace Centre.
The Peace Centre has three current projects
1 An information and support hub in Khayelitsha
2 Training for Peace, with two sub-projects:
- Alternatives to Violence (AVP)
- Constitutional literacy
3 Advocacy, with two sub-projects:
- Strengthening child protection via law reform
- Holding government to account for wide-spread corruption