Reflecting on violence, conflict resolution and peace building

10 November 2015 | Story by Newsroom

"I fully endorse Prof Buhlungu's expression of utter disgust at the unbecoming behaviour of the protesting students yesterday in their capacity as budding intellectuals. Whereas I point the finger at the leaders of our student activists, I also find this to be a moment for deep introspection into our own attitude towards dialogue and peaceful approaches to conflict resolution and peace building.

"We really need to reflect as to whether we are doing enough to impart the pacific world view as opposed to violence that tends to breed more deep-seated resentment and lead to further violence. When adults in leadership and positions of authority in society (such as union leaders, taxi operators, political parties, adult drivers on the roads, and any other examples you might think of) prefer to resort to violent reaction at the slightest provocation, what should we expect of these 18-to-21-year old young adults that live in such a society? What role models can they select and emulate? I ask this from the premise that humans learn partly through emulation and I put it to us all that we have taught them that the only way to resolve disputes is through violent means. The more extreme the more likely those means are to get immediate results in the perpetrator's favour.


"Considering how long outsourced workers have been peacefully pleading with universities to take them back because of unfair conditions of service they face out there compared to their university employed counterparts, recent events just proved this stance beyond the slightest doubt in the minds of many. If even university issues are only resolvable through wildcat nationwide protests with immediate results, then I rest my case. The transformation of this world view within the South African society still needs some serious overhaul if we are to protect everyone's freedoms in our young democracy."


Associate Professor Mqhele E Dlodlo
Department of Electrical Engineering


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