On Saturday 17 August 2017, IJR had the privilege of hosting the first inter-race meals for change dialogue at the Fountains Hotel in Cape Town. Participants of different ages from diverse races, geographic communities and cultures came together to share a meal and share with each other what their lives are like living in Cape Town. Particants also got to dream of the South Africa they hope for but also to share how they can be part of contributing to that dream.
Participants shared their experiences of challenging circumstances, from surviving gangsterism, drug abuse, poverty, inequality and injustice, to some acknowledging how privileged they are and another coming to the realisation that it is safe for people from Durbanville to travel to areas like Bonteheuwel and Khayeltisha to visit friends.
Through sharing their stories, peoples perceptions of each other were changed. Participants gained deeper insight into each others’ joys, fears, struggles, hopes and dreams. They also enjoyed spending time with people who are different from themselves, and for many it was their first experience.
One of the participants thanked IJR for creating the space for him too share his story with people of other races, which he says he has waited for so long. He says a ‘burden has been lifted’. These are hopefully spaces of healing for some and for others, a space to gain perspective and understanding. It was unanimous that this should be the start of many. The next meals for change dialogue with be held in September 2019.