Our research team was privileged to attend the Amy Biehl Memorial Lecture and Young Stars Awards ceremony last night at the University of the Western Cape. The event was split into two parts with one being a memorial lecture and the other part honoring local youth making a difference in their communities through the Young Stars Awards ceremony.
The Amy Biehl Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Cape Town that offers programmes designed to develop and empower youths aged between 5 to 18 years of age that come from impoverished and disadvantaged townships across the city. Their goal is to give children hope and a brighter future while contributing to community building and upliftment. The foundation was started in 1997, 4 years of the tragic death of American student, Amy Biehl, when she was killed in an act of mob violence in the township of Gugulethu in Cape Town. Amy was on a Fulbright Scholarship while dedicating her time in South Africa to establishing a multiracial democracy.
An excellent selection of guest speakers were on offer delivering powerful talks to a full house. The key note speaker for the night, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, delivered a thought provoking presentation on what it is to be active citizens living in South Africa and the importance of accountability from both ourselves and the government. She stressed that Apartheid is not to blame for the crises that our country is facing at the moment and that citizens should be educated on their rights in order to know what is expected of our leaders.
Susannah Clarke our Research Coordinator who attended the event on behalf of Creative Consulting & Development Works had the following thoughts on Dr. Ramphele’s speech:
Dr. Ramphele’s talk made me realise the importance of being an active citizen; a notion which incorporates holding government accountable. We also need to hold ourselves accountable and make sure we know our rights and what we should expect from our leaders. It’s our responsibility as active citizens to hold government accountable to it’s mandate.
Lindy Briginshaw, Creative Consulting & Development Works Director was not able to attend the event but when asked about her thoughts on how being an active citizen can impact on democracy, she had the following to say:
A healthy democracy is reliant on citizens actively participating in the democratic process. Each South African can make a meaningful difference by holding our politicians to account, speaking up and advocating for change when politicians step out of line.
The next Amy Biehl Foundation event will be the “A light unto the nation” Gala dinner which will take place on the 13th of October at the Grand West Casino. For more information visit www.amybiehl.org
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