Forty Years of Peacebuilding (1968-2008)

Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa
1968-2008

Established on 1 April 1968 as the Abe Bailey Institute of Inter-Racial Studies based at the University of Cape Town, the Centre remains affiliated to UCT. On 6 December 1973, the Institute's Board approved a change of name to the Centre for Intergroup Studies, and, two decades later, the name was again changed, this time to the Centre for Conflict Resolution, which took effect in 1994.

OBJECTIVES

The primary objective of the Abe Bailey Institute of Inter-Racial Studies was to carry out pure and applied research and education in the broad field of race and language group relations. The basic function of the Institute was one of research, with a focus on English/Afrikaans relations and on White/"Coloured" (mixed race) relations. The Institute also sought to organise lectures, talks, seminars and discussions, within and outside UCT, in order to promote understanding of human relationships and especially of relations among race and language groups in South Africa.

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CCR'S DIRECTORS SINCE 1968

Dr. H.W. van der Merwe
Dr H.W. van der Merwe
(1968-1992)
Laurie Nathan
Mr Laurie Nathan
(1992–2003)
Dr Adekeye Adebajo
Dr Adekeye Adebajo
(2003-2016)

THE 40 YEAR HISTORY OF CCR

1. 1968 - 1992

1968: The Abe Bailey Institute of Inter-Racial Studies is launched on the campus of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, 1 April 1968 under the leadership of Dr Hendrik W ("HW") van der Merwe.

1973: The Board of Governors approves the Institute's new name: The Centre for Intergroup Studies.

1976: The Centre for Intergroup Studies launches its Constructive Programme for Sound Intergroup Relations as an attempt to make a practical contribution towards understanding and improving relations among members of different population groups. The first task of the Constructive Programme was to undertake research analysing the effects of race discrimination in all spheres of South African life.

1980: The Resource Centre, now the Peace Library, is established. By December 1988, the Resource Centre contained about 1,500 documents, mostly articles and unpublished papers, and a small number of books. Today, the Peace Library's holdings comprise over 12,000 items.

1981: The Centre launches The Squatter Crisis publication. The publication was of considerable public benefit, having been studied and used by the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce. The publication received extensive press coverage and was well distributed.

1987: The Negotiation Skills Project (NSP) is launched. The NSP operated from an office in the Funda Centre in Soweto, Johannesburg, and was sponsored by Shell South Africa for six years. It offered a basic three-day course on negotiation skills to community leaders. The Project was renamed the National Training Programme in Conflict Handling, and the Centre's involvement ended in December 1992.

1987: The quarterly newsletter entitled Intergroup: A Newsletter of Conflict and Peace Studies and activities in South Africa is launched.

1989: Due largely to increased demand, the Centre began to place more emphasis on training and developing negotiation skills, and the Mediation and Training Services Project is established. Its purpose is to train a wide variety of people in facilitation and mediation skills. The project has provided training in mediation and other conflict resolution skills to a wide variety of people actively involved in negotiating a new political order in South Africa.

1990: The Centre is approached by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to undertake extensive training of DBSA personnel and clients to assist them in adapting to the new South Africa. This project was viewed as a pilot study that could potentially prove to be valuable for use throughout South Africa.

1991: The Facilitation and Mediation Services (FMS) is established to provide a forum for the constructive resolution of community and political conflict. In 1991, FMS successfully mediated between the two warring taxi associations of Webta and Lagunya in Cape Town.

1991: Conflict Resolution Among Youth (CRAY) launches as a project that aims to provide the Centre with an overview of the existing range of programmes available to assist South African youth in the acquisition of interactive skills.


2. 1992 - 2003

1992: Laurie Nathan becomes Executive Director of CCR. The quarterly newsletter Track Two is established, replacing Intergroup as the Centre's quarterly publication.

1993: The Mediation and Training Services Project is launched to assist in meeting the large volume of requests for mediation and training and as a means of building a network of community members skilled in conflict resolution. During 1993, the Mediation and Training Services project initiated conflict resolution training for police personnel.

1993: Former CCR Executive Director Dr H.W. van der Merwe arranges the first meeting between Professor Carel Boshoff, leader of the Afrikaner Vryheidstigting (Afrikaner Freedom Foundation), and Mr Nelson Mandela, then President of the African National Congress (ANC).

Carel Boshoff, H.W. van der Merwe and Nelson Mandela
From left: Prof Carel Boshoff, leader of the Afrikaner Vryheidstigting (Afrikaner Freedom Foundation); Dr H.W. van der Merwe, former Executive Director, CCR; and Mr Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, 1994-1999, pose for this March 1993 photograph

1996: The Africa Project is established and the Centre's conflict resolution activities are extended to Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

1997: CCR becomes an independent organisation, though still affiliated to the University of Cape Town.

A Saamspan team receive their certificates
Participants of peace education and conflict resolution workshops provided by CCR's Youth Project and aimed at schools and other settings receive their certificates (1998)

1998: The Prisons Transformation Project is established. The focus of the work has been to assist the South African Department of Correctional Services (DCS) role-players.

Staff and inmates of Pollsmoor Prison participating in a conflict resolution workshop
Staff and inmates of Pollsmoor Prison participating in a conflict resolution workshop (1998)

1999: Through CCR's intervention, the Pollsmoor Prison creche is re-opened in 1999. The creche had closed in January 1998, as a result of conflict between staff and inmates. Fearing negative psychological impact on the infants kept daily behind bars and high walls during the closure of the creche, CCR's Ms Dawn Nagar undertook to relocate the creche outside the female prison, but within Pollsmoor prison premises.

CCR established the Pollsmoor Creche in 1999 with funds from Irish Aid
From left: Mr Ben Skosana, National Minister of Correctional Services; Ms Dawn Nagar, Youth Project Administrator of CCR; and Bertie Ahern, then Prime Minister of Ireland, at a visit to Footsteps Creche at Pollsmoor Prison. (1999)

1999: The Human Rights and Conflict Management (HRCM) Project is initiated; and in September, CCR Executive Director Laurie Nathan is appointed by South Africa's Department of Defence (DOD) as the drafter of a Code of Conduct for Military Personnel in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Representatives of the Cape Town Refugee Forum
One of the pilot workshops of CCR's Human Rights Project was presented to representatives of the Cape Town Refugee Forum. (1999)
Conflict resolution drama performed during Cape Town's One City Festival
CCR took the message of conflict resolution to the streets in a drama performed during Cape Town's One City Festival. (March 2000)

3. 2003 - 2008

2003: Adekeye Adebajo becomes CCR's new Executive Director. CCR outlined a new pan-African vision for the organisation's Africa Programme that built on the successes of the previous Africa Programme (1996-2003). A new pan-African vision is outlined in which the staff, Board and theatre of work reflect the continent's diversity. Research is strengthened to focus on South Africa in Africa; the African Union; the United Nations; and HIV/AIDS and Security. Regional training focuses on human rights; gender and peace building; and early warning, with continued interventions in Swaziland, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

2004: CCR held major policy research seminars on South Africa in Africa and the African Union; and worked with the Tanzania and South African human rights commissioners. Nine public dialogue seminars were held, 20 newspaper articles were published in local and international newspapers, as well as journals and research articles, and one article appeared online.

2005: Major policy seminars were held on the United Nations; the Southern African Development Community; the African Union; and HIV/AIDS and Security. Training workshops on gender and with members of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) were also conducted. Through CCR's Youth Project, a group of unemployed youth (aged between 18 and 25) were recruited and trained as peer educators in Peace Education, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights. Twenty-one public dialogue seminars were held, and 22 newspaper articles published.

2006: CCR convened a policy seminar with then UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, in Cape Town at his request. The seminar brought together senior mediators to help build a strong Mediation Support Unit (MSU) at the UN. Other major policy seminars were held on the UN and Africa's regional organisations, and HIV/AIDS training workshops were held on early warning, gender, human rights, and restorative justice in prisons. Twenty-five public dialogue seminars were held, and 22 newspaper articles published.

2007: CCR held a policy meeting in Tanzania that involved the Southern African Development Community's Executive Secretary, Tomáz Salomão; the Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Bernard Membe; Namibia's Defence Minister, Major-General Charles Namoloh; and senior members of the SADC secretariat. CCR helped the African Union draft its HIV/AIDS strategy's 2007-2008 implementation plan. Regional training was conducted in Lesotho and Swaziland. The Centre assisted in the settling of a Department of Local Government and Housing workplace disputes. Twenty-one public dialogue meetings were held and staff published 17 articles in the print media.

'HIV/AIDS and Militaries in Southern Africa' seminar participants
Left: Southern African Development Community Executive Secretary, Tomáz Salomão; centre: Namibia's Defence Minister, Major-General Charles Namoloh; right: Dr Adekeye Adebajo, Executive Director, Centre for Conflict Resolution, at the seminar, "HIV/AIDS and Militaries in Southern Africa", held on 9 and 10 February 2006, Windhoek Namibia.

2008: CCR held capacity-building training workshops on early warning with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Workshops were also held for African human rights institutions. CCR and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Accra, Ghana, hosted two workshops in Accra to draft, and then test, a manual on HIV/AIDS in Integrated Peace Support Operations in Africa (IPSOs). The Centre was awarded a tender to provide mediation services to the National Department of Housing in the Western Cape. CCR held policy seminars on security and development challenges facing the southern African region; the relationship between Africa and the United Nations and the relationship between Africa and Europe in a new century. By 2008, seven CCR books had been published:

  1. A Dialogue of the Deaf: Essays on Africa and the United Nations ;
  2. South Africa in Africa: The Post-Apartheid Era ;
  3. HIV/AIDS and Society in South Africa ;
  4. The African Union and Its Institutions ;
  5. Africa's Human Rights Architecture ;
  6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Africa and China ; and
  7. Gulliver's Troubles: Nigeria's Foreign Policy after the Cold War

Nineteen public dialogue seminars were held. Staff published 19 articles in the print media and two were featured online.


2009

In January 2009, CCR is ranked Africa's leading think tank. The report was published in the January/February 2009 issue of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine in the US.

Two more books are published in 2009:

  1. From Global Apartheid to Global Village: Africa and the United Nations
  2. Peace versus Justice? The Dilemma of Transitional Justice in Africa