HWPL Celebrates 30 Years of Democracy: Embracing Youth Participation for a Peaceful Future

Photo Credit: HWPL

In a vibrant gathering in Cape Town, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a leading international peace NGO, convened its 11th Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace. Themed “30 Years of Democracy: Promoting Youth Participation in Elections and Envisioning the Next Three Decades of Freedom,” the event aimed to confront global conflicts and inspire peace among citizens.

Over 200 participants, including Western Cape Premier candidates Mr. Khalid Sayed Mohammed of the ANC party and Mr. Axolile Notywala of the Rise Mzansi Party, alongside civic-minded demonstrators, convened to champion the cause of peace. Mohammed emphasised the interconnectedness of global struggles with the daily realities of South Africans, underscoring peace as the bedrock of true freedom. Notywala rallied the youth to engage actively in the democratic process, shedding light on the hurdles faced by marginalised groups, such as single mothers, in participating in civic affairs.

Andrew Bateman, a Democratic Alliance member, echoed these concerns, lamenting the pervasive levels of crime and gender-based violence in South Africa and calling for urgent action.

At the heart of the commemoration stood the 2013 Declaration of World Peace, a beacon of hope in a turbulent world. Last year, HWPL’s Chairman Lee Man-Hee reaffirmed the organisation’s unwavering commitment to global peace, stressing the transformative power of education in fostering a culture of peace from a young age. He urged attendees to become champions of peace rather than conflict, remarking, “We must not become the heroes of war, but the heroes of peace.”

Photo credit: HWPL

Concurrently, as South Africa marked three decades of democracy on April 27th, HWPL hosted its 11th Commemorative Dialogue at the Cape Town Civic Centre. Here, a diverse array of South Africans, including leaders from civic organisations, youth groups, and political parties, engaged in spirited discussions about the nation’s democratic journey.

Chairman Lee’s words resonated throughout the dialogue, urging attendees to embrace peace as the cornerstone of democracy. Panel discussions delved into the pivotal role of citizen engagement in shaping democratic processes, addressing community safety concerns, and amplifying the voices of marginalized groups, particularly women.

Photo credit: HWPL

Patsy Daniels, Director and Founder of the Lerato Family Foundation, championed the role of women in peacebuilding efforts, encouraging participation in international peace training initiatives offered by HWPL’s International Women Peace Group.

Aziz Hartley, a respected former editor, delivered a stirring reflection on South Africa’s democratic evolution, calling for a recalibration in the nation’s trajectory since 1994. He urged citizens, especially the youth, to demand accountability from their leaders and actively engage in shaping the nation’s future.

As South Africa prepares for elections, platforms like HWPL’s dialogue serve as poignant reminders of the transformative power of citizen engagement in advancing peace and democracy. These events underscore the inseparable link between peace, democracy, and active citizenship in building a brighter future for all.