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Friday, June 18, 2021


(René Tshiakanyi)

Durban-based Congolese-born singer-songwriter has written a song especially for World Refugee Day, Sunday June 20, entitled All I need is a friend.

Tshiakanyi wrote the song especially to be the soundtrack for an informative and inspirational video which will be available for viewing on June 20: World Refugee Day, made collaboratively by a host of Durban NGOs who are honouring refugees living and working in greater Durban.

This year the global theme for World Refugee Day is “Together we Heal, Learn and Shine” which looks at ways of physical, psychological and spiritual healing; of learning from each other, and shining with best-case examples of social cohesion, art and sport.

Tshiakanyi was inspired by the theme, but also by his own lived experience: of finding healing and reconciliation by forging connections with South Africans: when one finds a friend, one can begin to feel accepted.

All NGOs are collaborating to tell important and good news stories. “There are great examples of collaboration and social cohesion, but these great narratives often get sidelined while the negative stories take centre-stage. We are using World Refugee Day to invert that – and to tell some of the stories worth telling, while talking to the global theme of healing, learning and shining,” reminds Gary Swart from Zoe Life.

Some of the partner NGOs who are working to support refugees include Zoe Life; Denis Hurley Centre; Tumaini Community Project; Refugee Pastoral Care; Nechemia Hope Africa and various individuals and refugee leaders. The group was bought together as an educational project of the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre.

An important component of World Refugee Day is being aware of not endorsing the sense of “other”. One of the calls to action with which the refugee leaders are challenging locals is to take time to get to know foreigners and find threads that bind, not differences that separate.

This Sunday is also Father’s Day – so the call is to put the focus on the commonality of fathers and families, not the perceived difference of languages, appearances and cultures. The leaders invite locals to be mindful of refugees – especially on June 20, when the spotlight shines on the need for social cohesion between South Africans and foreigners.

On this day the international community seeks to draw attention to the plight of refugees and celebrate their courage and resilience: At the end of the day, we are all humans.

All I need is a friend is conceived, written, arranged and performed by René Tshiakanyi, recorded, mixed and mastered by Colin Peddie, Sonic Studios Durban.

To view the video, visit the Facebook event page on the Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre, or on the platforms / sites of participating organisations.

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