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“The bullet that kills is only the final instrument of the hatred
that began being nurtured in the heart long before the gun was picked up.
Hatred and hurt are a dynamic partnership that feeds on inequality, injustice and cruelty to contaminate the future. And no country or society is immune from it.
South Africa's remarkable ability to put centuries of racial hatred behind it in favour of reconciliation was considered a social miracle. We have come a long way. But reality shows a still hurting and fractured country. People trying to live normal lives but carrying huge burdens of pain and suffering.
Some have covered these hurts of the past. More often they need ways to uncover the wounds and to heal if they are to be whole people. The home, the community and the workplace often mirror our brokenness.
But with this comes the potential to make a difference. To deal with the hatred and hurt. To heal oneself, and then to help others to heal. This is a radical peace.
Our hurt can be turned into constructive stepping stones. But it takes the willingness to unlock the healing and peace process. To reveal the hidden wounds of the past and find ways to heal them.
How can this be done?
By starting with oneself. By deciding to affirm life, not death. By choosing blessing, not a curse.
But it takes a huge leap of faith and discipline. Creators of Peace Circles is a means to help the process unfold.
What is Creators of Peace Circles?
It is a workshop that creates a space for women and men of different cultural backgrounds, faiths and communities to discover their peace-making potential as individuals and as a group.
It aims to help individuals and communities create a better future by consciously decontaminating the present that reflects the pain, the humiliations, the hatred from the past.
It builds on a simple philosophy: the bitter and brutal past cannot be unlived: but it does not need to be relived.
The workshop is designed to:
deepen understanding of each other
create an atmosphere of trust and respect through story telling and the art of listening
give individuals the space and support to find personal peace
above all, help the process of healing and forgiveness.
Who runs Creators of Peace Circles?
It is a tool of Creators of Peace, a programme of Initiatives of Change (IofC), an international movement that seeks to heal the wounds of history and build trust across nation’s divides.
Initiatives that achieve this breakthrough can have a profound effect – bringing about fundamental change in a situation which in turn can change a community, a society, a nation.
This initiative was launched in 1991 at an international conference in Caux, Switzerland, by Anna Abdallah Msekwa of Tanzania, political and community leader. It is now a global network of people in many countries and communities all seeking to promote healing and peace so that the future may be better than the past.
How does a Creators of Peace Circle work?
It is preferred that men and women participate in separate workshops to allow different cultures to have the freedom to share openly.
It works through a series of topics and exercises designed to help participants become aware of their peace-making potential. Some of the topics are e.g. What destroys and what builds peace?; Listening; Power of Forgiveness
Participants work collectively through exercises that explore the personal challenges and costs of creating peace, the role of personal transformation and inner listening, and the particular needs of participants' own communities. This has proved a powerful instrument in many parts of the world for helping people to be peacemakers.
Participants are encouraged to share their stories with each other in an atmosphere of trust and respect.
The Outcomes sought
People empowered to play an effective role in national peace building.
Friendships fostered in a spirit of trust, respect and new understanding.
Issues with a potential for conflict in the community identified and a resolve reached to take common action by taking peace building initiatives.
A network of people built around the world, ready to pass on their peace-making and leadership skills in their communities and countries.
A tolerance built on care and love that fully appreciates the religions and faiths of all others and removes obstacles to working together.
How long does the process last?
It is up to the individual group to decide the duration of their Peace Circle. Ideally the Circle is spread over six weeks, meeting once a week. Alternatively, a two day workshop, using some of the topics, is possible.
If you are interested in taking part in a workshop, find contact details below:
Cleopadia Mohloadi Email Cell: 078 550 4450
Bukiwe Maseko Email Cell: 083 946 3763
Portia Mosia Email Cell: 074 517 3254
Jackie Euvrard Email Cell: 072 992 9492
Snowy Mohlala Cell: 073 125 5094
Vilma Maritz Email Cell: 079 425 3587
Peace circle in Ventersdorp, South Africa
What is the common bridge that can bring communities together in Ventersdorp? Jackie Euvrard and Portia Mosia were recently invited to Ventersdorp, a town two hour's drive east of Johannesburg, accompanied by Brenda Maluleke, a social auxiliary working for the Social Development department in Johannesburg.
Peace Circle Workshops in South Africa
In March 2011 workshops were conducted in Pretoria, Laudium and Ventersdorp. Each workshop had challenges of its own.
Peace Circles 2010 - my personal experience
Portia Mosia, who has been running Peace Circle workshops together with Jackie Euvrard and others throughout this past year writes: “I am so grateful for the opportunity to follow my conviction through working with the Peace Circles programme. It has been an uplifting journey for my own healing after an awful experience that I had to overcome.”
Creators of Peace circle workshop in South Africa
'I never knew I carried so much emotional baggage, but now I know where to start', said Fathima during the discussion on forgiveness. She was one of the eleven participants, Muslim and Christian, attending a Creators of Peace Circle workshop arranged by a Muslim NGO, Baytul Nur on 10 and 11 December in Durban.
Peace Circles workshops in Mossel Bay
Two of the participants from the Peace Circle workshop held in Mossel Bay in February invited us back to conduct workshops for 26 volunteers and carers in the communities of this southern Cape town. They came from SANTA (South African National Tuberculosis Association), Piet Julies who cares for those affected and infected with HIV/Aids and the Thabita group who give fellowship to a congregation of the VGK (Vrye Gereformeerde Kerk).
Peace Circle in Kwa Thema
Thirty-seven participants recently took part in a peace circle in Kwa Thema, 90 kilometres from Johannesburg.
Peace Circles continue to touch lives
Over the last two months workshops have been conducted for young people in Soweto; a multiracial group of women in the coastal town of Mossel Bay; for young and up coming social workers in Johannesburg. While the Gandhi group was in Johannesburg we took the opportunity to hold a follow up workshop on leadership for some of the young people.
Who we are: Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.
Purpose: We work to inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves, in the areas of trustbuilding, ethical leadership and sustainable living.
Omnia Marzouk, President, IofC International
'Nothing lasting can be built without a desire by people to live differently and exemplify the changes they want to see in society.'