AKF Wits to be launched

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will on Thursday, July 30 launch its first university division. It will be called the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Wits Society (AKF Wits Society).

Students, university management and staff, and members of the media are invited to attend the launch of the Society at 1.30pm at the University of Witwatersrand, CB 15 Hall, Central Block, East Campus, Braamfontein.

A first of its kind, the university structure has been established by Wits students and follows the directive of the Foundation in promoting the work of non-racialism amongst youth.

The Society will be launched by anti-apartheid activist and Rivonia trialist, Ahmed Kathrada, Director of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies, Professor Melissa Steyn, as well as activist and youth leader, Shaka Sisulu. Representing the Wits student community will be Acting SRC President, Shaeera Kalla.

The Society is set to contribute towards and support dialogue on key issues involving various forms of discrimination and division amongst students and staff at the university. It will also engage in awareness programs and campaigns that promote tolerance and understanding of diversity and non-racialism.

“Our vision, as AKF Wits, is to play a catalytic role in the creation of a truly transformative and socially cohesive university. Our primary aim is to deepen non-racialism at Wits by creating student awareness and activism that transcends racial lines,” said Nhlanhla Nkosi, holding the position of Chairperson until the Society hosts its elections. Nkosi, a Wits student, is also a product of the Foundation’s Youth Leadership Programme.

“We will engage individuals, clubs, societies, organisations and bodies at Wits University in research and educational activities that increase understanding of the importance of non-racialism, non-sexism, economic justice, and democracy at Wits and in South Africa. We will work towards progressive structural and policy change within the university and engage with university management to create an environment that will equalise the academic playing field.”

Kathrada Foundation Director, Neeshan Balton, said that he was encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment displayed by the Society’s current leadership. “It is exactly this type of youth activism that we hope to foster,” he said. “We are confident that the AKF Wits Society will be a prototype for similar university structures across the country. Already, students from other tertiary institutes have expressed interest in forming their own AKF university clubs,” Balton added.

“Universities play a pivotal role in shaping the future of any society, and we hope that student bodies, such the one that we are launching, will be a platform for the development of activists and leaders who can tackle racism and discrimination wherever they come into contact with it,” Balton concluded.

To attend the launch, RSVP by emailing or calling 076 243 1185. 

Date of event: 
Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 12:30

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