YOU(th) for YOU(th)

Each year on the 24th of September South Africa celebrates Heritage Day. During this day, we are encouraged to celebrate culture and diversity to reiterate that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. Being a nation that is commonly known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, a nation that encapsulates multiculturalism and the coming together of people from many different nations, we in South Africa have the ethical duty to recognise our differences, appreciate those differences and safeguard them, as human rights call us to do. 

South Africa is recognised as a diverse country and whilst simultaneously living in a world that wrongfully threatens diversity, it is gravely imperative to remember that we all ought to consistently live happily, safely, and in unity with one another. One of the fundamentals of humanity is co-existence and in doing so we are upholding human rights, which is known in South Africa as the practice of ubuntu – meaning umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu and of which translates to ‘a person is a person through other people’.  

So, what happened this month for young people?

Angelina Jolie and Amnesty International joined forces to create a resource for children and young people to learn about their rights, with the publication of a new book that empowers teenagers to speak out against injustice. 

Know Your Rights and Claim Them explains what child rights are, equips young people with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and others, and shows how governments are failing to uphold their commitment to child rights. We were lucky to have Zulaikah Patel featured in the book, telling her empowering story about the importance of standing up for your rights, and identity. 

You can read more about the buy, and buy a copy here. 

We hope that you enjoy the fourth edition of our youth newsletter. If you, or anyone you know, would like to be featured in the newsletter, please send a one-pager telling us about yourself to youth@amnesty.org.za, and who knows, you could be featured in the next You(th) for You(th). 

We look forward to hearing from you! Together our human rights shall thrive!

FEATURED ACTIVIST

ZULAIKHA PATEL

ANTI-RACISM ACTIVIST

“Asking me to change my hair is like asking me to change my blackness

In 2016, when she was 13, Zulaikha and other black school students marched against Pretoria High School for its racist and sexist hair policy. The school had instructed students to ‘fix’ or chemically straighten their hair and had enforced its rules using racially derogatory language.

The girls used social media to communicate their cause. The hashtag #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh was used over 150,000 times and brought together Black students in a collective sharing of grievances about former white institutions.

Pretoria Girls’ High, which was founded in 1902, was all white during apartheid, but since 1990, it has been integrated to all races. The protest inspired similar actions at other schools. It worked, as the regional department of education suspended the hair policy. She is now a best-selling author of the book titled, My Coily Crowny Hair.

FEATURED INTERNATIONAL ACTIVIST

AISHA SALEH

ACTIVIST

“If you are ignorant of your rights, you can easily be taken advantage of …. If you know your rights, you will not be cheated easily.

Aisha lives with her brother and grandmother in a low-income area of Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria. She has been an activist since she was eleven, fighting for the right to education and against child marriage.

In 2019 she won a place to represent Nigeria at the United Nations International Children’s Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, but the Nigerian passport office blocked her, refusing to believe her travel plans because she was poor.

A year later, when she was fifteen, Aisha began a campaign on period poverty and tackled the cultural taboo on talking about menstruation. She urged the Nigerian government to provide free menstrual products to girls like her, who cannot afford sanitary products so miss school when they are menstruating. Many people donated money and pads for distribution to girls across Nigeria, including in camps for displaced people.

Amnesty International Book Launch: Know Your Rights And Claim Them

Angelina Jolie and Amnesty International have joined forces to create a resource for children and young people to learn about their rights, with the publication of a new book that empowers teenagers to speak out against injustice.

Know Your Rights and Claim Them explains what child rights are, equips young people with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and others, and shows how governments are failing to uphold their commitment to child rights. It was written in collaboration with Professor Geraldine Van Bueren QC, one of the original drafters of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Angelina Jolie said:

“If governments kept their word, and if all adults respected children’s rights, there would be no need for this book. Children have rights just as adults do and they should have the power and agency to claim them.

“Know Your Rights and Claim Them is the book some adults don’t want children to read, as it will arm them with the knowledge to defend their rights and those of others.”

 

 

An Introduction to Child Rights

To accompany the launch of the book “Know Your Rights and Claim Them” the Human Rights Education (HRE) team has developed an online course “An Introduction to Child Rights” available on Amnesty’s Human Rights Academy. The course launched on 2nd of September 2021, and is designed for youth and adults looking for an introduction to child rights and wanting to support children in claiming their rights. The course should take roughly 90 minutes to complete. It is a self-paced course, interspersed with activist videos, self-reflection activities, and motivation for further action. Created with experts and human rights lawyers, the course is the perfect place to start your journey on understanding and defending children’s rights!

Amnesty’s Human Rights Academy is our dedicated online learning platform. It is available for everyone and enables learners around the world to take HRE courses anywhere, anytime, free of charge. To date the Academy offers 18 courses on a variety of different human rights, in varying lengths from 20 minutes to 10 hours, and has been translated into 25 languages. Please note that not all courses are available in all the languages.

For more information about An Introduction to Child Rights please visit Amnesty’s Human Rights Academy here

ACTIVIST CONVERSATIONS

Amnesty International South Africa hosted a two-part youth conversation with local youth activists Alwande Khumalo, Boniswa Dineka as well as Zulaikha Patel that looked at Amnesty International’s “Know Your Rights And Claim Them” children’s book in collaboration with Angelina Jolie. The conversation was also centered around Zulaikha’s activism on anti-racism, and the experience of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) people in previously “white schools”. The links to the conversations can be found below.

Instagram live 1

Instagram live 2

Zulaikha was also interviewed by Angelina Jolie and the link can be found here

YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES

Yale Model African Union (YMAU)

Yale Model African Union (YMAU) conference is a leadership development conference that encourages participants to discuss, engage with, and craft solutions to Africa’s most pressing issues of the 21st century.

The virtual pre-conference will take place January 6-8, 2022, and it will be completely free of charge. This pre-conference is intended to provide delegates with an opportunity to hear from African leaders on the world stage and connect with members of other delegations before meeting in person.

Early bird registration for the virtual pre-conference starts Friday, September 10, 2021. This registration period will close on September 25. The regular registration period will open on September 26 and close on October 10, 2021. All delegates who register and attend the virtual pre-conference will have a secured spot at the in-person conference. Payment and application for financial aid for the in-person conference will happen at a later date.

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