South African Student among winners of United Nations 2015 International Diversity Contest

26 June 2015 | News and Media

Pretoria, 26 June 2015 – The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Pretoria is pleased to announce that a South African student, Sebudisi Mafabatho, is among the ten lucky winners of the 2015 UNHATE-UNAI International Diversity Contest. The winners will each receive 20,000 euros from the UNHate Foundation to implement their community based projects.

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2015 UNHATE-UNAI International Diversity Contest winner, Sebudisi Mafabatho, during a live interview on SABC Morning Live show with Lee-Anne Manas. Photo: UNIC Pretoria

Originally from Vanderbijlpark in the Vaal (south of Gauteng), Ms. Mafabatho, 25, who is studying Industrial Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology won the contest after coming up with a community project aimed at promoting awareness, tolerance and respect for human life in South Africa.

Ms. Mafabatho was inspired by her experience as a foreigner whilst studying in the US were she understood the different dynamics, which then prompted her to base her project on South Africa’s sentiments towards foreign nationals.

To promote tolerance and respect for human diversity, Sebudisi Mafabatho will host a series of debate competitions for both primary and high school learners from 150 schools in South Africa’s nine provinces. In addition, she also plans to produce a play entitled “Faces of Africa” that tells a story of seven African nationalities including South Africa, which will narrate what it means to be a migrant and all the challenges they face.

University students from around the world were challenged to develop specific initiatives at local or community level that clearly promote the ideals of tolerance, respect for diversity and harmony within and between peoples. Over 100 entries from 31 countries were received, addressing everything from sexual and gender based violence to xenophobia, homophobia, religious intolerance, and stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Winners will be recognized at an event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, 26 June 2015. The winning entries came from Burundi, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and the United States.

The International Diversity Contest follows the UNHATE NEWS initiative which was launched by the United Nations Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the UNHATE Foundation, as part of its efforts to create a world without hate and where human rights are recognized.