Remaking the World: Experiences from Eswatini and Colombia
Caux Peace and Leadership Talks 810/11/2021
The eighth edition of the CPLP Talks recognizes the courage shown by Caux Peace and Leadership Programme alumni in responding to the challenges that the world is facing. Below alumni from Eswatini and Colombia describe intiatives they are taking.
Stand up and speak out
Temantungwa Ndlangamandla, from the Kingdom of Eswatini, took part in the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) in 2017. She currently lives in Taiwan. She writes:
On 29 June, I woke up to the news that my country was burning. The Kingdom of Eswatini, a country which took pride in its history of stability and absence of open conflict, was on the brink of chaos.
For the first time in our history, we saw brutal killing and maiming of unarmed civilians.
The shootings happened throughout the day and night. In the morning, the whole country had been painted red. Eswatini was bleeding. Terror and trauma invaded homes like a thieves in the night.
I asked myself, ‘What is next for the kingdom of Eswatini? Do we forget about those killed and wounded? Do we just hope that if we do nothing and pray, that history never records this tragedy?’ Then I asked, ‘What do I do next? Do I sit with this and try to pray it away? Or do I stand up and speak out to try and amplify the voices of those affected?’
My reflection times, learnt through the CPLP, helped me see clearly where my mission was and where I could be of most help.
What do I do next? Do I sit with this and try to pray it away? Or do I stand up and speak out?
However hard and long the journey, transformative justice is an aspiration worth pursuing. So a group of us AmaSwati in Taiwan organized and formed a team, which I chair. Our mission is to support and amplify Swazi voices as they march on to achieve quality of life and sustainable change.
We donated to organizations on the ground and partnered with social workers to help counsel children injured by stray bullets. We partnered with Swazi writers and poets to share their lived experiences in Eswatini. We also partnered with artists to use art as a form of advocacy. This helped us to get a better understanding of the complexities of the work on the ground. We have also started partnering with organizations in Taiwan to educate the public on what is happening in Eswatini.
So how do we have a part in remaking the world? We start by making time for reflection and by speaking out about the injustices happening around us. We need to stand with the people of Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Congo, and all other countries where human rights violations occur. Caux inspired me to dare for a world where peace can exist, where everyone can live safely.
Breaking down isolation
Alumni of the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme in Colombia describe their response to the unrest which broke out in their country in April 2021, in response to economic and political divisions aggravated by the pandemic:
Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in the world. We have lived through more than 50 years of armed conflict.
This April, protests broke out against tax reforms, with lower-class youth as protagonists. In response, the state used excessive force and there were human rights violations.
CPLP alumni in Colombia came together to create a space for dialogue, the Youth Beyond Borders Forum, where we could hear directly from young people from state schools in Bogotá. We wanted to create a safe space, so that they would not feel isolated.
The forum took place in May. It offered young people a chance to connect with CPLP alumni Antoine Chelala (Lebanon) and Lorena Mier y Terán (Mexico), who spoke about the actions they had taken to bring change in their own countries. Ismar Villavicencio, who is part of IofC’s Latin International Exchange Support Team, joined us from Uruguay.
The Forum helped us to connect in new ways with the emotions generated by the situation in Colombia and also connected young people with the Caux community of support.
Young Colombians will soon receive letters of love and support, organized by We Love From, an initiative led by CPLP/Creative Leadership alumni from Mexico.
Our intention was to create a safe meeting place so that young people would not feel isolated.
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