On the 29th of August, LARC researcher Nokwanda Sihlali attended the Inaugural Social Justice Summit and International Conference hosted by Professor Thuli Madonsela's Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University. At the event Nokwanda presented on the land panel, where she engaged on the gendered nature of land dispossession in some part of rural South Africa, utilising the story of uGogo Mngadi as contemporary lived experience of such dispossession.
The aim of the summit was to bring academics, lawyers, legislators and other policy-makers, judicial officers and civil society voices together in the sharing of ideas for advancing social justice as a national and global imperative; to identify the nature of social justice; to identify the pathways available to address social injustice through leveraging the opportunities presented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2063, National Development Plans (NDPs) and national constitutions; to share information on research that is being undertaken; to source information for the Social Justice hub at Stellenbosch University; and to forge alliances that work in a coordinated way to advance social justice.
The Law Trust Chair in Social Justice’s work is anchored in the triple objectives of responsive research, teaching and having social impact. The chair promotes social justice consciousness, scholarship and collaboration to sytematise inclusive socio-economic decision-making throughout society. The Musa Plan for Social Justice (Social Justice M-Plan) is the flagship programme of the chair, with the following key result areas:
- Empower government and other policy-makers to leverage data analytics to catalyse social justice and SDG 16 responsive law and policy reform.
- Foster social accountability and social cohesion through legal, human rights and democracy awareness and empowerment initiatives.
- Mobilise societal, corporate and international support and resources towards accelerated reduction of poverty and inequality by 2030.
It is a type of Marshall Plan that aims to harness academic and civil society resources to catalyse progress towards zero poverty and the creation of equal opportunities by 2030. This programme, therefore, supports national efforts towards reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2063 and implementing the National Development Plan (NDP). Ultimately, the Social Justice M-Plan seeks to contribute to the university’s efforts aimed at strengthening and supporting constitutional democracy and sustainable peace through reducing poverty and inequality. These two challenges threaten to undermine democracy, the rule of law and social cohesion.
The summit and conference theme was: “Leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) and the Global Human Rights Agenda to advance Social Justice.”