Peace Starts, an independent organization that promotes the International Day of Peace in South Africa, launches a brand new year-long campaign; ‘Pledge for Peace’ on 21 September 2012, to encourage each South African to make their own pledge to peace, thus bringing about a tangible difference nationwide.
Officially observed worldwide on 21 September, The International Day of Peace is aimed at commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace.
In 1998, Jeremy Gilley, a UK-based filmmaker, began to make a documentary about world peace that ultimately led to the formalising of a UN resolution declaring an official day of the observance of peace. This goal was reached in 2001 when UN GA resolution (A/Res/55/282), put forward by the UK and Costa Rican Governments, was unanimously adopted to establish the first ever day of global ceasefire and non-violence fixed in the calendar as 21 September annually.
In 2008, entertainer Cito took up the call in South Africa and established Peace Starts, which is affiliated to Peace One Day. The first 4 years involved staging music concerts in Johannesburg featuring some of South Africa’s top bands, artists and DJ’s, creating awareness of this day.
2012 marks the 5th Anniversary of Peace Starts, and a brand new nationwide campaign for 2012/2013 launches on 21 September, entitled ‘Pledge for Peace’.
Says Cito; “At all of our Peace Starts events, I’d meet new people asking how they could get involved, why we don’t go around the country, what can THEY do to make a bigger impact. Thus this idea for a nationwide pro-active pledge campaign was born.”
He continued; “Pledge for Peace will empower every South African to do something, wherever they may be in the country, no matter how big or small, if they do something pro-active and positive, they can make a difference”.
PLEDGE FOR PEACE
Pledge for Peace is a year-long drive where each and every South African can now participate, nationwide.
Peace Starts asks the question “What does PEACE mean to YOU?”
As peace means different things to everyone, these answers could be as diverse as the fight against poverty, crime, domestic violence, racism, destruction of our environment and wildlife, amongst others.
Peace Starts encourages the public to go out into their own community and initiate a corresponding action to the cause that resonates with them. Some examples could be; planting a herb garden in a poverty-stricken community, building an animal shelter, environmental clean-ups, visiting the aged… The list is endless and your action is up to you.
Peace Starts offers the platform where people can post their documented actions in either video, photo, blog or Facebook comment format.
Another platform initiated is a Soundcloud page, where musicians, professional or aspiring, can contribute an original song that has a positive message of peace and upload it there.
To keep the awareness of the International Day of Peace alive for longer than just one day, Peace Starts welcomes multiple pledges from around the country between now and 20 September 2013.
How do you pledge for peace?
Answer the question; “What does peace mean to me?”
Then choose and action that could initiate the answer. This could be in the form of an individual action, or joining together with friends, family members and colleagues, or with a registered NGO or organization. The choice is yours.
- If the fight against hunger is what peace means to you, plant a herb garden with your community members.
- If cultural intolerance upsets you, make a point of meeting a stranger outside of your comfort zone.
- If domestic violence is something you feel passionate about, volunteer at an organization that addresses the issue.
- If pollution is an issue in your surroundings, organize a “pick-up-litter-day” in your neighbourhood.
Then get up and follow through on your action.
Document your action by either filming, photographing, commenting, blogging, writing a song or poem about it, and post it on Peace Starts various social media and website platforms.
Register on the Peace Starts website and post your pledge. Details on how to do this is on www.peacestarts.co.za
This campaign will be spearheaded by a number of high profile celebrities who have taken up the cause and been appointed Peace Starts Ambassadors.
This list includes; Chantal Rutter, Kerishnie Naiker, Lee-Roy Wright, Slikour, Kwesta, Shugasmakx, Kona Brown, Ashley Hayden, Rozanne McKenzie, Karl Thaning, Odelle De Wet, KB Motsilanyane, Khabonina Qubeka, Nadia Beukes, John Adams, Josie Field, Tema Sebopedi, Judy Ditchfield, Eloise Cupido and The Graeme Watkins Project, with more signing up each day to be involved.
For the first time, a Youth Ambassador has also been appointed by Peace Starts in the form of Jamie Odgers, the current triple gold medalist from the SA Junior Rowing U19 Championships 2012, who will be taking the initiative to the youth of South Africa and getting their involvement.
It is important to stress, however, that whilst these celebrities will drive the campaign and get the awareness out into the community, this campaign can only be successful if the everyday man of the street steps up and gets involved in his own right.
EVERY action, no matter how small, when added together with others, will make a big difference.
Says Jeremy Gilley from Peace One Day (UK);
“We are inspired by and fully support Peace Starts’ plans to mark the day with the launch of a new campaign called “Plege for Peace” in South Africa. Their commitment to the Global Truce will help us raise further awareness of this initiative in South Africa and inspire more individuals to get involved in Peace Day initiatives. We look forward to hearing how the launch and campaign goes, and wish you every success for Peace Day 2012.”
Cito ends off; “I believe all South Africans are essentially good at heart, want peace in their lives and have the potential to achieve it. We just need to make the first step and start from within. Peace starts in YOUR heart.”
Further details as well as terms and conditions on the Pledge for Peace campaign, can be found on Peace Starts’ website www.peacestarts.co.za