Words: Feroza Miller-Isaacs Images: Supplied
Around the world, in war- torn and conflict-ridden countries, peace is prayed for and yearned for. War and the absence of peace are part of daily life in, for example, Syria, which has the unenviable title of being the top war-torn country in the world. Closer
to home, 15 African countries including Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, are embroiled in war, or post-war conflict and tension.
In Cape Town a different (but no less terrifying) war is raging; that of gangsters turning the Cape Flats streets into a bloodbath as they fight for drug turf. Violence and crime imprison communities here.
Despite their valiant efforts, the police have been unable to stem the violence, and in July this year, government deployed the South African National Defence Force to the most besieged zones – without success.
How then can a peace programme help to address our city’s crime epidemic?
Enter Professor Brian Williams and the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), named after its founder and Chief Executive Officer Forest Whitaker, famed for his roles
in movies such as The Godfather of Harlem, The Crying Game and Platoon.
Having successfully worked in the fields of peace, mediation and labour relations for more than 40 years, Brian was asked to design the impactful WPDI programme, which has made a global impact.