New 2018 initiative: Peace Forests

Sibusiso Xaba, community leader in Lindelani, shows the stream at the centre of the Peace Forest.

In response to requests from members of the Lindelani community, ICON is assisting in developing a Peace Forest. Lindelani has a long history of intense violence, in particular during the years before the transition to democracy. At one stage, a stream surrounded by trees was the dividing line between warring communities. Members of the local community, led by Sibusiso Xaba, have proposed that the area now been made into a Peace Forest; a place that offers local people peace and that also symbolises and celebrates peace.

The stream is presently polluted with sewerage overflow and a lot of plastic.

In 2018, this will be a project of the Durban Leadership Programme, which operates from the International Centre of Nonviolence in collaboration with staff of DUT and the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). A group of students will work on the project, undertaking tasks like assisting in the removal of refuse from the stream, removing alien vegetation, developing signage and setting up a web presence for the project.

Discussion taking place with community leadership about the project.

In addition, the project will also work at Pigeon Valley nature reserve, in Glenwood on the Durban Berea. This is a well-established and systematically managed municipal nature reserve. However, some of the issues, like the threat of crime, pollution and invasive plants, also affect this park. It could also be developed in innovative ways to foster ways of achieving greater peace.