2012 Human Rights Fellow: Zandile Nhlengetwa of South Africa
The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights at Colby College is pleased to announce the selection of Zandile Nhlengetwa of South Africa as our 2012 Oak fellow. Ms. Nhlengetwa is the principal of Ulusda School in KwaZulu-Natal, a place of learning for young people, as well as a community center that organizes adults around issues such as gender inequity, sexual abuse, and violence. In a community marked not only by poverty but patriarchy and violence, Ms. Nhlengetwa works tirelessly to persuade families to allow their daughters to attend classes, and to encourage their sons to study rather than join local gangs or militia. As a dedicated human rights activist and a survivor of the political violence that affected her home province of KwaZulu-Natal, Zandile Nhlengetwa is known in her community for her ability to bring calm and stability to potentially volatile situations. Facing significant personal risk, Ms. Nhlengetwa has received numerous threats, and local police have reported, not always sympathetically, these come from individuals who believe she has “interfered with people’s customs and culture.” As recently as March of this year, Ulusda School’s security guard was shot in what is suspected to have been an attempt on Ms. Nhlengetwa’s life.
Before she began her work at Ulusda School, Ms. Nhlengetwa founded and directed an organization, the Harambe Women’s Forum, made up of widows, like herself, whose husbands have died during bloody conflict in KwaZula-Natal. After the loss of family members to violent incidents, Nhlengetwa has reached out to young people to help them break the cycle of violence through education. The group has promoted reconciliation between families and neighbors, and reached out especially to young men and older boys at risk of joining the cycle of violence.
In addition to her work on behalf of young people in South Africa, she was part of the team that spent time in Freetown sharing South African experiences to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone. After participating in South Africa’s TRC (1995-97), she agreed to share her experiences in Sierra Leone, working with children who were asked to testify about their service as soldiers in that country’s long civil war.
For more information on Zandile click here.
A student-made video of Zandile’s experience at Colby:
About the Oak Fellowship
Each year, the Oak Institute brings an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while residing at the College. The Institute organizes lectures and other events centered around the fellow’s area of expertise. The purpose of the fellowship is to offer an opportunity for prominent practitioners in international human rights to take a sabbatical leave from their work and spend as long as a semester as a scholar-in-residence at the College. This provides the Fellow time for reflection, research, and writing.
While all human rights practitioners are eligible, we especially encourage applications from those who are currently or were recently involved in “on-the-ground” work at some level of personal risk. The Oak Fellow’s responsibilities include regular meetings with students either through formal classes or informal discussion groups and assistance in shaping a lecture series or symposium associated with the particular aspect of human rights of interest to the fellow. The fellow also is expected to participate in the intellectual life of the campus and enable our students to work or study with a professional in the human rights field.
The Fellow will receive a stipend and College fringe benefits, plus round-trip transportation from the fellow’s home site, private housing near campus, use of a car, and meals on campus. The Fellow will also receive research support, including office space, secretarial support, computer and library facilities, and a student assistant. The Fellowship is awarded for the fall semester (September through December) each year. Following the period of the award, the fellow is expected to return to her or his human rights work.
If you wish to be contacted each year when we begin our annual search process, please join our electronic mailing list at: www.colby.edu/academics_cs/goldfarb/oak/mail.cfm or email the Oak Institute at: email@example.com
FALL 2013 OAK FELLOWSHIP – FOCUS ON INTERNMENT AND DISPLACEMENT
The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights is conducting its search for the Fall 2013 Oak Human Rights Fellow. This year, we are looking for a practitioner/activist involved in HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION IN SITUATIONS OF INTERNMENT AND DISPLACEMENT. We are particularly looking for those human rights practitioners involved in the protection of the international legal rights and basic needs of prisoners of war, civilians detained during occupation or as the result of political violence or states of emergency, and refugees and internally displaced persons fleeing from civil violence, political repression or economic dislocation.
For more information on the 2013 Oak Fellowship please view our Brochure.