1. Youth Day Reflection by Anya Kreider

                                                                                                June 2013

Many of my teachers, coaches, elders and even role models have an engrained assumption of (particularly North American) teenage apathy. I will admit that many of my peers, and if I am honest, at times myself as well, take education for granted, complain excessively and feel little passion towards anything more meaningful than video games, sports, and celebrity gossip.

So when I was first introduced to the events of June 1976, I was thrilled! I was formerly bombarded with the mindset that perhaps I could make a difference when I grew up. Maybe I would work my way up to a job where I would have power to make a positive impact or maybe I could gain enough respect that my voice was heard.

However, the events of 1976 proved to me that these ideas are only excuses for apathy. I couldn’t contain my excitement that there were indeed youth that chose for themselves that injustice was at their doorstep, and that they would refuse to be silent.

In the same spirit, the youth in Empangeni gathered on Youth Day, to celebrate their continued role in the struggle for justice in South Africa. I was honoured to be among them as they remembered those that had walked this path before them.

The pounding music and emphatic stomping left no one in their seats. It was a beautiful symbol of standing together against the injustice that they face as a community. Though I cannot claim to have near the rhythm of even the youngest children there, I could not help but bob to the music and smile at their enthusiasm.

These youth have not only kept the struggle alive from 1976, but they are passing their passion on to the generation that cautiously peaked into the tent, and eventually crept in, before gaining the courage to show off their best moves.

However, it is essential that their spirit be encouraged and valued. They are a vital asset to the struggle and their perspective should not be taken lightly. They are the ones who serve as my own example in forging justice in the midst of difficult circumstances, not because of accreditation, but raw experience, perhaps the most genuine form of authority on the topic.

* Anya is from Pennsylvania and was an intern at CLP

2. Making Connections at Enaleni by Anya Kreider

                                                                                                            June 2013

It was big news in my small community when a nearby farmer got an automatic milking machine that tracked when each cow was last milked, how much milk they produced, and optimized the process in order to get maximum yield and quality. This industrialized procedure seems desperately far removed from the raw authenticity of small scale, subsistence farming. In fact, I highly admire the farmer who feeds his family and community with the work of his own hands, from his own soil.

With a similar approach farmers from across SA met with Surplus People’s Project, Biowatch and the UKZN Farmers’ Support Group in order to support one another in their quest for sustainable and responsible small scale farming. The Church Land Programme was also present with comrades from the area.

The meeting originally arose from a concern that farmers were not adequately documenting the amount of their harvested, sold and consumed produce. On the first day of meetings farmers were able to share experiences of how quantity has been documented in various forms, including photographic documentation, video/participatory documentation, and the chart system.

On the second day about 30 people from Cape Town, Zululand, the Midlands, and Durban gathered at Enaleni Farm to share ideas and inspiration for farming success. The trip highlighted the importance of agro-ecology in the sustainability of rural farmers and a healthy environment.

Enaleni provided a practical application of the ideas discussed the previous day. People were able to see how one can utilize their resources productively in order to create less of an environmental impact, and make the most of their resources. The experience placed agro-ecology into a practical setting.

Additionally, farmers were able to see how value can be added to produce in order to ultimately better care for their families.

It is in the serenity of farms such as Enaleni, as well as South Africa’s rural farms, that farming becomes a beautiful lifestyle rather than a business where resources are pushed to maximum potential. In this lifestyle, lies the solution to the food crisis, the environmental crisis and our increasingly modern and stressful lives.

See pictures here

* Anya is from Pennsylvania and was an intern at CLP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *