On 18 July 2018, Nelson Mandela Day and the centenary of his birth, staff and students from the UP’s Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) were invited to join the Elders at Constitution Hill to mark the culmination of their #WalkTogether campaign. The day championed 100 Sparks of Hope. These Sparks of Hope are grassroots organisations from all corners of the globe and are comprised of peacemakers, human rights defenders, justice advocates, feminist campaigners, LGBTIQ rights fighters, and community health workers.
On the 17th July Mary Crewe (Director: CSA&G) was invited by the Elders to attend the opening of the Sparks of Hope Park at Delta Park, Johannesburg, where 100 trees were planted in honour of Mandela and the Sparks of Hope.
In all the varied aspects of their work, these organisations carry forward the message Madiba left us: to work together for the freedoms that we should all enjoy as one human family—the freedoms of peace, justice, health and equality. A message that is inherent in much of the CSA&G’s work and projects.
The Sparks of Hope are working with their communities to realise these freedoms every day, often without visibility or public recognition. In a modest way, the Elders are serving as a platform to amplify their voices so that their inspirational messages and actions can be heard and seen by a wider global audience.
The invitation to join the walk was in recognition of the work of the CSA&G with young people at the University of Pretoria.
One Elder – Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, enjoys a long and productive history with the CSA&G. She was previously appointed as an Extraordinary Professor in the CSA&G and the Centre for Human Rights and her Ethical Globalisation Initiative collaborated with the CSA&G in joint projects in Africa.