#LivingUbuntu: A campaign hoping to promote social cohesion in communities

30 March 2023 - Industrial performer with learners at Phezulu High School in KwaZulu Natal province ©IOM 2023 

The Migration Multi Partner Trust Fund launched an awareness campaign #LivingUbuntu. The campaign is launched in collaboration with several UN organisation; International Organisation for Migration (IOM), International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Women, United Nations for Children (UNICEF), United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the government of South Africa.

The campaign was launched in March to coincide with Human Rights Month and International day for the elimination of racial discrimination, to align with government’s efforts to promote social cohesion and encourage people to safeguard the human rights and dignity of all people living in South Africa.

The campaign is targeting Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape in communities that have large numbers of migrants and have been identified as hotspots for violence, intolerance towards migrants as well as racism and racial discrimination.

The campaign titled #LivingUbuntu aims to connect with South Africans and migrants alike and aims to reawaken the South African spirit of ubuntu that has been lost in recent times. Ubuntu builds on the traditional South African philosophy that emphasises interconnectedness of all people and the importance of community and harmony. It suggests that we need to live the philosophy that individuals are only truly human when part of a community and that the wellbeing of that community is critical. This campaign stresses the importance of compassion and empathy.

The campaign is being rolled out with educational articles and adverts in community newspapers including Inthuthuko (KZN), Inner City (Gauteng) and Dizindaba (Western Cape). While a radio campaign that includes a radio drama series, interviews with experts on migration as well as radio adverts is being aired on Pheli FM and Alex FM in Gauteng, Izwi FM, Intokozo FM in KwaZulu-Natal and Zibonelo FM in the Western Cape.  

The campaign has also produced an exciting TV advert that showcases the many roles that migrants play and the contribution they make to South African society. The ad is being aired on GauTV, 1KZNTV and CapeTown TV. You can watch the ad here

The campaign features schools’ campaign that targets young people and aims to dispel the many myths around migration. The schools campaign includes an industrial theatre production for grade 8 – 10 learners and aims to promote tolerance and social cohesion.  These learners are targeted as young adolescents’ development, when their attitudes, perceptions and beliefs are being defined and cemented and their broader social value systems is being solidified. By challenging these young people and sharing facts about migration in South Africa, the campaign hopes to shift beliefs and attitudes and in turn change behaviour.  

The performance is followed by a facilitated discussion that aims to get young people to reflect on commonly held beliefs and ask the question “what is the real story?”. In this way it allow learners to engage with common beliefs, perceptions and attitudes and factual information with the aim to establishing that many common beliefs and perceptions are not based on fact.

Learners also take-home leaflets, posters and calendars that help to reinforce the messaging and also help to take the campaign back into their homes to enable sharing of information with their families. To date over 20 000 learners have been reached through the campaign and the feedback has been positive with many teachers commenting on how much learners have learnt from the campaign and the impact of the engaging format of the campaign. "The whole show was a breath taking and the message was clear, social cohesion is essential for our communities," said educator Patricia Oss, migrant teacher from Akani methodist school.

The final element of the campaign is digital with a social media campaign that includes positive messages around social cohesion as well as educational content to help create greater awareness around the role that migrants play and the contributions that they make to society. The videos are also being shared on social media to extend the campaign to a wider audience.

For more information please contact Reneilwe Moningi