News & events


National Social Cohesion Conference

29 October 2009


   Hosted by : Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), on behalf of the national Department of

                           Arts and Culture (DAC)


               Start : 29 October 2009

                 End : 30 October 2009

       Location : ICC, Durban




Theme: ‘Building a Caring Nation’


The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), on behalf of the national Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) hereby invites scholars and practitioners to submit papers to be considered for presentation during the national social cohesion conference from 29 to 30 October 2009. To ensure the conference is inclusive and representative, contributions are invited from a broad range of stakeholders, including academics, government officials, traditional leaders, civil society and NGOs.

Aims and Objectives of the Conference 


Under the theme ‘Building a Caring Nation, the purpose of the conference is to encourage robust dialogue and critical reflection on the state of social cohesion in South Africa. A key aim of the conference is to provide ‘a platform for policy makers and various stakeholders …. to jointly engage in a deep introspection on the nature of the South African moral fibre’.

The objectives of the conference are to provide a forum for:

  • Critical analysis and debate on the weak or negative indicators of social cohesion and social justice.
  • Raising awareness on current campaigns and programmes on social cohesion undertaken by the South African government and other social partners.
  • Strengthening the national effort and initiatives (partnerships between government and other social partners) to build social cohesion, social justice and identity.
  • Developing a national strategic framework and programme on social mobilization for social cohesion and nation-building in South Africa.  

The issues that the conference seeks to grapple with include, but are not limited to:

  • Best practices for dealing with threats to social cohesion and national unity so as ‘to ensure social and community solidarity, sustainable and safe neighbourhoods and communities’;
  • Identification and articulation of the sort of values and norms that should be promoted amongst all members of society;
  • Means of collectively promoting such positive values as human solidarity, self-reliance, human dignity and respect;
  •  Building and strengthening social institutions, including the family, community structures, schools and the church, and reaffirm them as spaces within which the desired positive values are nurtured;
  • Addressing the tensions and contradictions that derive from the needs of a  competitive market-based economy and the desire to build caring and socially responsible individuals and collectives; and
  • Reconciling the many socio-cultural divides that continue to retard progress in the social cohesion project.

Topics for the National Social Cohesion Conference 2009


The themes to be explored by the authors are:

  • Ubuntu and our Humanity: Includes addressing, through concrete examples where possible, the question of how Ubuntu, and similar value systems that define South Africa’s diverse society, can be mobilised to help build a stronger, more cohesive nation. Contributions that also explore how the notion of environmental stewardship can be meaningfully incorporated into the conceptualisation and operationalisation of ubuntu are encouraged.
  • Poverty and Access to Economic Opportunities: Class dynamics, in particular the implications of inequitable access to quality education, employment and economic opportunities for the social cohesion project.
  • Promotion of Gender Equity: Traditional and emerging gender issues in contemporary South African society, including gender-based violence and teenage pregnancies.
  • Social Integration and Nation Building: Tolerance and/or lack thereof across such socio-cultural divides as age, race, ethnicity and nationality.
  • Building a Caring Nation: Exploration/analysis of how socio-cultural institutions, including but not limited to the national constitution, the family and social networks could be involved in the articulation and inculcation of a Charter of Positive Valuesas well as the project of Moral Regeneration.

Guidelines for papers


One of the key outcomes of the conference is ‘to better define programs towards a cohesive and united nation for all role players/stakeholder’. To this end, and to ensure the conference does not become a mere ‘talkfest’, contributors are encouraged to also suggest and explore some of the ways in which their thoughts and ideas could be translated into tangible and purposeful interventions towards building a caring society.  The following guidelines are to be adhered to:

  • Authors are to use a consistent style of referencing.  
  • Maximum paper length is 4000 words excluding Abstract, references, and endnotes.
  • All papers must include an Abstract of no more than 500 words.
  • All submissions should be accompanied by a cover page that includes the title of the article and the author’ name and contact details (postal address, email, telephone and fax);
  • Please supply a short biographical note of about 50 words on your cover page. The note should include such relevant information as your affiliations, work/professional history.


 •   Deadline for Submission of Abstracts                        9 October 2009

 •   Notification of Acceptance/Non Acceptance                16 October 2009

 •   Complete Papers Due                                                                     23 October 2009 


All submissions and queries should be addressed to Dr Peliwe , Dr Mcebisi ,Prof L J   

We look forward to receiving your abstract.