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Human Chain aims to bridge divides

Date Released: Sat, 15 February 2014 14:00 +0200

Grahamstown's Human Chain event organisers have reported receiving strong support from community organisations and city officials.

Taking place on 21 February, thousands of Grahamstown residents are expected to join hands, to reflect on the legacy of late former statesman Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela and to bridge the class and race divide.

About 5 000 residents are expected to participate in the first event of its kind in the province.

A human chain will form through the city, connecting residents from Ncame Street in Joza location to Somerset Street in town.

Co-organiser and director of Community Engagement at Rhodes University, Diana Hornby said that the event provides a space for residents, pupils and students to collectively commemorate Mandela’s death and celebrate his life.

According to Hornby, it has already received extensive support from organisations including Makana Municipaity, various schools, Rhodes University students and Departments, as well as from non-governmental organisations and other community-based organisations.

Mayor Zamuxolo Peter, Municipal Manager Mandisi Planga, Councillor Pierre Ranchod and Rhodes University's Vice-Chancellor, Saleem Badat, have all put their weight behind the project, said Hornby.

A range of cultural events has been organised for the day.

Bands will play before the Chain begins at four Living Legacy sites around the city, at the Joza Youth Hub, Drostdy Arch, Church Square and Albany Road.

An open platform for debate around the meaning of community is planned to take place in Church Square after the Chain.

There will also be art by local artists, as well as performances by poets, dancers and musicians.

Chalkboards that were handed out to participating schools in order for pupils to share their thoughts on what 'community' means will also be on display.

Roger Domingo, co-organiser and director of Gadra Advice in Grahamstown, said that while Grahamstown residents are often separated by location, the Chain affords them the opportunity to bridge thedivides that still exist in the city.

He said: "I think the fact that this event is non-political, is not aligned to any particular institution or organisation, and is a Grahamstown-led event plays an important part in really getting people to join forces and reflect on where we are as a country 20 years into democracy, where we want to go and how the values of Madiba can help with this.”

Domingo said the Local Organising Committee (LOC), comprised of various Grahamstown-based institutions and organisations, has been planning the event since 2013.

By Staff reporter

Source: Grocott’s Mail newspaper

Photo: Mr Roger Domingo, co-organiser and director of Gadra Advice in Grahamstown

Source:Grocott’s Mail newspaper