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Title: Building a culture of peace in Durban, South Africa : an action research study with youth empowerment programme participants
Authors: Fudu, Hailey K. 
Issue Date: 2017
This thesis sought to answer the research question: How can youth programmes in South Africa contribute more effectively to peacebuilding?

South Africa is a country suffering from major inequality and violence. The mark left by the previous disempowering system is still affecting South African people and there is a clear need for justice and healing from all forms of violence and inequality. The existing inequalities are largely racial and economic and those under 25 years of age constitute a large percentage of both perpetrators and victims of violent crime (Clark 2012: 78). This study focused on youth in the Durban area who are South Africans of mostly Zulu heritage. The youth are surrounded by violence caused by disadvantaged circumstances, which include economic, racial and emotional damage inherited from the apartheid system. This group is referred to as ‘youth’ throughout this study as it examines the issues of violence in South Africa and how some young people are exploring solutions.

Through an examination of literature and action research (AR) with participants from various programmes, this thesis investigates methods for improving the ability of Durban-based youth programmes to respond efficiently to the needs of youth as they endeavour to transform their communities. Following the identification of methods through focus group discussions, interviews and a review of literature, an action team was formed. This team consulted on which methods they wished to use for a collaborative peace project. They took what they learned from this process forward by sharing their experience with their respective empowerment programmes and by continuing to work together on an ongoing basis to bring their peace project to various other groups of children and youth throughout communities in Durban.

The study concluded that when youth projects and programmes allow for youth to play a significant role in planning, action and reflection, whilst also receiving sufficient support from a mentor, they are empowered and the programmes are effective. The youth in this study began by discussing the issues surrounding them, brainstorming possible solutions and then designing a peace intervention in the form of a peace promotion performance. The performance was well received and the participants were empowered from the proactive roles they each played in preparing and delivering the performance. Through this transformational learning and service to the community, opportunities for youth to grow, mature and attain self-efficacy were nurtured. This process resulted in the further development of essential life-skills and positive values, and the youth participants learned to identify themselves with positive peers, mentors and purposeful activity. The action research also improved participants’ confidence, their desire to serve others and helped them to achieve a strong sense of positive endurance and strength to overcome the violence and negative influences around them. This peace project allowed the team members to make meaningful contributions to their community and inspired other youth by modelling peace in action.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management Science: Public Management (Peacebuilding), Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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