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Special Webinar Series:Navigating South Africa’s Shrinking Civic Space: A Case of Black Sash.

Several international studies have noted a ‘shrinking space’ for civil society. This has been attributed to curtailing civil society organisation activities, increased regulation, repression and restrictions owing to increased and complicated reporting requirements. South African studies have echoed this trend noting threats of closer regulation, findings of pre-emptive repression of protest, intimidation of activists and the framing of social movements and some NGOs as ‘counter revolutionary’. Using data collected from eight civil society organisation that participated in the Centre for Civil Society’s “A Shrinking Space for Civil Society” research project, the special webinar reflects on whether civil society in South Africa is experiencing a ‘shrinking space’

Webinar:Navigating South Africa’s Shrinking Civic Space: A Case of Black Sash
Facilitator: Andries Motau and Danford Chibvongodze
Speaker: Danford Chibvongodze
Date: 18 October 2023
Time: 16:00-17:00
Zoom Link:

Using the case of Black Sash, a human rights organisation that lobbies for access to social protection in marginalised communities, this webinar examines how the Black Sash has confronted and navigated a “shrinking space” for civil society in South Africa. Despite the fragmentation of advocacy and communitarian activism due to increased intimidation of activists, depleting NGO funding, repressive policing and the recent disruptions of COVID-19, Black Sash has led some of the most illustrious campaigns for the universal coverage of social grants in South Africa. For instance, Black Sash’s remarkable 2017 Constitutional Judgement win against the Department of Social Development and its collaborative effort in a groundbreaking #paythegrant campaign on the universal coverage of Basic Income Grant attests to its resilience and tact in contemporary social activism.

Speaker Bios:

Danford Chibvongodze is a Post- Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa with over 10 years of combined experience in the field of research, community development, programme management, public service, and teaching at university level. Danford has coordinated and managed community projects and conducted participatory research in climate change adaptation, health promotion, poverty mitigation in rural South Africa. Additionally, he has authored and co-authored journal articles, a conference proceeding and a book chapter on issues ranging from environmental management, energy, water sustainability, climate change, and housing in South Africa. He has presented academic and technical papers at international conferences and seminars in South Africa, Romania, Norway and the United States of America.

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