The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Bhakti Charu Swami in Panel Discussion on 'Healing Historic Divisions in Durban South Africa

By: for ISKCON News on March 23, 2017
People

Bhakti Charu Swami (middle) at the conference

 On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the Department of Sport, Recreation and Culture of the city of Durban, South Africa, hosted a panel discussion at the prestigious Durban International Convention Centre entitled, "Healing Historic Divisions - towards racial harmony". Over 150 delegates, including city officials, political councillors and religious leaders accepted the Head's invitation to attend this important and ground-breaking event. The esteemed panellists included Bhakti Charu Swami, Governing Body Chairperson of ISKCON; Bishop Vusi Dube, Member of the Provincial Legislature of the Kwa Zulu Natal Province,  and Pastor Benjamin Khutsoane, founder of ‘Citizens Awakening South Africa’. 

The difficult conversation centered on principles that could be used to address divisive ideology, racist behaviour and negative social comments that continue to foster division, distrust and conflict in the young South African democracy. Bhakti Charu Swami engaged in proposing holistic solutions to promote peace, unity, social integration and inclusion. He presented knowledge of the soul and emphasised a focus on spiritual commonalities rather than material differences. Maharaja was invited by the facilitator Dr Devi Rajab, a well-known psychologist, academic and journalist to assist the process of reconciliation in a continued and sustained manner.  Other Christian ministers present also expressed a personal desire to engage with Bhakti Charu Swami and work together for the betterment of the country and its people.

The difficult conversation centered on principles that could be used to address divisive ideology, racist behaviour and negative social comments that continue to foster division, distrust and conflict in the young South African democracy. Bhakti Charu Swami engaged in proposing holistic solutions to promote peace, unity, social integration and inclusion. He presented knowledge of the soul and emphasised a focus on spiritual commonalities rather than material differences. Maharaja was invited by the facilitator Dr Devi Rajab, a well-known psychologist, academic and journalist to assist the process of reconciliation in a continued and sustained manner.  Other Christian ministers present also expressed a personal desire to engage with Bhakti Charu Swami and work together for the betterment of the country and its people.

The initiative was meant to further the social cohesion and nation building agenda of the city and country. It also kicked off a series of activations leading to the city's Social Cohesion Conference later this year.

The program included a kirtan by ISKCON youth as well as a gospel choir. Although racial tensions were palpable, there was great appreciation expressed by the panellists and the Head of Department Mr Thembinkosi Ngcobo for the willingness of the religious parties to come together to find ways to move forward in dealing with these challenges. Mr Ngcobo went on to express his appreciation for ISKCON and reiterate his department’s commitment to continue engaging with ISKCON in further interventions to bring peace and racial harmony to the region.

Tags:
[ africa ] [ bhakti ] [ charu ] [ durban ] [ racism ]
Disqus