This week the Berlinale presented four movies from a South African project called "Filmmakers Against Racism", which is supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Producer Don Edkins, whose film "Taxi to the Dark Side" was awarded an Oscar in 2008, talks in an interview about the initiative and xenophobia in South Africa.
Issue 05/2008 of Perspectives discusses South Africa's young democracy. It seems inevitable that 2008 will prove itself to be a definitive year for South Africa’s young democracy. Exactly what kind of future trajectory it will deliver is to be seen – the current state of the nation is that of flux.
South Africa’s National Credit Act has attracted the attention of policymakers worldwide who are keen to prevent reckless lending practices. The NCR is already assisting neighbouring Namibia to develop similar legislation.
By David Marrs
In 2006, the Ethiopian country office was opened in Addis Ababa. Nairobi is the ideal location for networking civil society organizations in the Horn of Africa region. Through our Ethiopian office, the Foundation is better able to observe the work of the African Union and make contacts.
The country office in Addis Ababa currently supports networking among civil society organisations in Ethiopia in the areas of environmental policy and promotion of women. New media and the arts are used to complement traditional activities in public education such as radio programmes, printed publications and conferences.
The regional office in Nairobi promotes networking among the region’s civil-society organisations in the areas of environmental policy, peace work and promotion of women, and monitors the programs "Environment" and "Civil Society Program" with the components "Women / Gender" and "Reconciliation Work (Academies for Dialogue)".
The regional office in Abuja promotes the country’s democratisation process by fostering and strengthening civil-society actors. Partner organisations are supported with basic and advanced training measures, the compilation of studies, and funding for their activities.
The regions East Africa and Horn of Africa are home to complex conflicts. The political crisis in Kenya after the December 2007 election revealed entrenched political and social problems in a country often described as an island of stability.
In Nigeria, civil society is increasingly involved in difficult democratization and conflict management processes. Even though women have been active for centuries in large areas of Nigeria as traders and businesswomen, they still must overcome many obstacles in order to participate in the political system.
Traditional emphases of the Heinrich Böll Foundation include support for environmental activists and grassroots groups in the areas of mining, biodiversity and water. Both currently and in the future, the topic of "Energy" will come to the forefront as well.
The Foundation’s environmental program targets civil-society and state-sponsored actors, whose environmental consciousness is strengthened and promoted. The Foundation also supports specific partner organisations in their project activities in the areas of resource protection, environmental education, and environmental lobbying, thus striving for enhanced consciousness on environmental problems among the population in the region.