We should not only speak peace, but start living it as well – and we can start in our homes and with our friends.
This is the message Downeville Primary School’s principal, Edmund True, shared with the pupils who attended the International Peace Youth Group’s (IPYG) event in Manenberg on Saturday May 28.
The South African branch of the IPYG and the Manenberg community celebrated the third annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace.
In Manenberg, guest speakers addressed those who gathered at Manenberg High School’s hall. However, the audience was mostly primary school pupils.
Mr True said: “This is the start of great things. I must talk and walk peace. We must do the good things and engage with one another. Let us appreciate the good things around us. Politicians can run away from the gang problem we are facing, but they can never run away with our sunshine. However, we do want a new Manenberg – without gangs, drugs and merchants. Who knows…the next Nelson Mandela could be sitting among us here today.”
Another speaker, Sebastian Haricombe, 26, a former gangster and drug addict, shared his testimony.
“My heart’s desire was to be in jail, because my father was there and I wanted to be like him. I even did drugs with my dad. I was stabbed four times, and nearly lost my life. This gangsterism is of no benefit to anyone. I gained nothing and innocent people are dying in our community because of it. I changed my life when I made God a part of it. Gangsters are young people who drop out of school. I have been volunteering at Manenberg schools for five years now. And the past month, I have been working with IYPG at schools, and I can already see the change. We can make Manenberg a better place,” Mr Haricombe said.
Resident Valma Ockhuis said she and her community wants to live in peace.
“Sometimes the gang violence gets so bad, that we can’t even walk to church. We are tired of all this violence,” she said. Another resident, Naboe Prins, questioned why there were so few men at the event.
“Violence usually starts with the men. So many emphasis is put on women to bring about change, but what about the men. Where are they? They must step up,” she said.
After the speeches and entertainment, the Manenberg community joined others by bus to Cape Town, where they participated in the peace walk.
The purpose of the event was to highlight the global peace advocacy movement, the Legislate Peace Campaign, which was recently launched to bring all wars to an end by establishing an enforceable law compatible with the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Drafted by the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), International Law Peace Committee and proclaimed on March 14, the DPCW has steadily received the public’s attention.
A media release of the event, reads: “It represents the voices of all those yearning for peace and urges states to protect their citizens’ rights to enjoy peaceful lives.”
This commemorative event saw over 500 religious and community leaders, women and youth and peace groups from across the Western Cape unite for peace in a peace walk which started from the Cenotaph War Memorial in Cape Town.
The Legislate Peace Campaign called on the Manenberg community to unite as one, to voice their positive demands for peace by adding their signatures.
In hundreds of cities, including South Korea, New York City, Gaborone, Shanghai and Oakland; youth, women, and all citizens will march for peace, replacing a culture of war with a culture of peace.
Tumelo Mothibe from the IPYG, told the audience: “It saddens me to see after the injustice, violence and gross humans rights violations suffered in our country that today in a democratic South Africa similar horrific acts of violence, discrimination and injustice are happening among us.
This is what makes this message so unique and powerful – because it aims to unite all of humanity by transcending race, gender, culture, language and religion all in the name of restoring light to mankind and establishing an ever lasting peace to be inherited by the future generations.
“The IPYG branch has been working relentlessly to promote this message of peace, unity, harmony and create an everlasting legacy for future generations to come.
“If the youth gather together as one, with one heart, one mind and one spirit no one can stop them. Lets unite and work together for peace and the advancement of Africa and the world.
Together we can achieve world peace.”