Opening Night of the Human Rights and Social Justice Season

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This year’s Human Rights and Social Justice Week on 17 to 20 March 2014 focuses on the right to mental health and access to mental health services. The week’s program aims to shed light on the many mental issues that students face and their rights and responsibility in accessing the care they need.

The University year is off to a great start. This quarter-of-the-way point provides a good milestone to review some of the significant life changes many first-year students have navigated over the past few months - living independently possibly for the first time, starting classes, meeting new friends, and exploring a new geographical area.

CCDU in partnership with Wits academic programme Drama for Life are bringing about the Human Rights and Social Justice Season to provide opportunities for students and staff of the university to get involved in activities and conversations around issues that affect them intimately.

Stress, anxiety, and depression are some key issues among the university population. So performances from inside the theatre, to right into the residences where students reside have been created to share information on mental illness.

At the core of the week is a campaign that is geared to make every member of the community to tell their story on mental, either by writing it, speaking out or just acknowledging. The aim of the campaign is to change the conversations on mental health from stigma to free talk. “The idea for the week is to bring balance into student’s lives; encourage a healthy lifestyle which can lead to a healthy mind and ultimately: speaking out”, Human Rights Week coordinator Refiloe Lepere says, “Where students know they can talk to friends or someone in person and that there are resources on campus for this”.

Numerous activities are scheduled throughout the week; theatre performances, among them one performance by Naledi Award Nominee Jefferson Tshabalala, street theatre, comedy and presentations on wellness and panel discussion on the right to access mental health.

The campaign aims to encourage participation and feedback from interested participants. It is aimed at creating two-way communication rather than just broadcasting and providing a space where rapid development of communities and groups with shared issues or goals can grow. The Human Rights and Social Justice Week motivates members of the community to connect actively to sites, resources and people. The Human Rights and Social Justice Season launches on 17 March, 5 for 5.30 pm to 8 pm, at the Wits Theatre Complex.

This unique project would not possible without the generous support of CCDU, BASA, Flow Communications, ELM Mission, GIZ, Goethe-Institute, NAC, CATHSSETA, Themba Interactive, UCLA Art and Global Health Center, the Johannesburg Repertory Players, the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the Wits School of the Arts.

For further information please email project coordinator Refiloe Lepere on or Ayanda Khala-Phiri on and (+27) 83 288 0500. Visit the Drama for Life homepage Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook: Wits Drama for Life and twitter: @drama_for_life.

Date: 17 March 2014
Venue: Wits Theatre (Johannesburg, Gauteng).
Contact: Gudrun Kramer
Phone: 011 717 4733

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