Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies attend peace summit

The International Women's Peace Group's director, Hyun Sook Yoon, asked the women of Africa to unite for peace. Picture: Hazel Allies
The international organisation, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), hosted a two-day conference in Cape Town in the hope of building a conflict-free Africa.

Called the African Leaders of Peace Summit, the event was held on Monday August 13 and Tuesday August 14 at the Westin hotel and Cape Town International Convention Centre respectively. 

Organisations from Southern Africa, as well as from communities across Cape Town, were represented at the event.

According to Dr Quinta Joubert, who was part of the organising committee, the summit aimed to bring together government ministries, civil society organisations, including youth and women, media, teachers and religious leaders, to seek practical solutions for peacebuilding.

“It provided a platform for former and current leaders of Africa to advocate an intergenerational dialogue to promote sustainable peace and security and develop a legal framework for a conflict-free Africa,” Dr Joubert said.

The chairperson of HWPL, Man Hee Lee, said there are so many “unbelievable things happening these days”, hence it is everybody’s responsibility to work towards peace for the legacy of future generations.

“If we look at the vast universe, there is no other planet as beautiful as earth. As human beings we need to protect this earth. If evil becomes more and good becomes less, evil will destroy it. The reason I came to Africa is to tell people the need for peace. All families of the world must become messengers of peace. Presidents must sign a law to promote peace, and reduce the number of armies and weapons of mass destruction. I would also like to encourage you to write letters to your heads of state and ask them to do this,” Mr Hee Lee said.

Avril Andrews, who represented the Hanover Park-based organisation, Moms’ Move for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, at the summit, said attaining peace is important, especially for a community like hers.

“We work with mothers who lost their sons through gang violence or crime. What we have found, is that when a mother does not find peace in her home, her family and community can be ripped apart. As soon as she finds peace, she can put things together. Three years ago, a group of mothers, their family and friends, came in peace and marched to Parliament. And because we came in peace, government has since opened some doors for mothers to get justice for their sons’ murders,” Ms Andrews said.

Soraya Salie, chairperson of the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies, were among those selected for the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) Southern African Peace Committee. The IWPG is an affiliate of HWPL.

Said Ms Salie: “I’m so emotional. I did not expect this. I do this out of a passion for promoting peace. I plant seeds of peace, and as a symbol of peace, we grow sunflower gardens at schools in Bonteheuwel.

*The peace summit recognised the African Union’s 2018 theme – Winning the Fight against corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.

As a resolution to establish a legal framework for peace that can be implemented at both national and international level, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was discussed in the various sessions – including peace education, civil society, and youth.

The DPCW addresses principles of conflict resolution and international cooperation for peacebuilding such as respect on the international law, peaceful dispute settlement, and spreading a culture of peace. It also shares the vision of the Agenda 2063 supporting the goal of a peaceful and gun-free Africa.