Our Peace Programme/ Peace Dinner and Revd. Jongi Zihle

A dinner giving members of the island's community an opportunity to hear The Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst, Revd. Jongi Zihle and students who participated in the Student Peace Debate, giving their views on Peace and the Rotary Peace Island Programme.

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During the course of the evening we received a report from Tony Allchurch on the activities of two Rotary Peace Fellows that we have supported in recent years. Firstly Yumiko Shinya from Hiroshima Japan and secondly from Rich Wainwright Jersey's own Peace Fellow. Various thought provoking slides on Peace were also displayed.

Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, then spoke and was generous in his praise of the Rotary Club of Jersey in his address and urged us to focus on completing the process of recognising Jersey as the first Peace Community in Great Britain by May 2015.

When introducing Revd. Jongikaya Zihle, Tony Allchurch recounted his first meeting with him in Walthamstow London and then Revd. Jongi gave a powerful speech on his origins in South Africa during the apartheid years and his work for truth and conciliation and as an advisor to other African countries. This was an absorbing performance by a man of great humanity and passion and he kept his audience enthralled with his stories of working for peace and conciliation and conflict resolution. He has known the depths of despair incarcerated in the infamous prison in Cape Town and the challenges of working with oppressed people during the final years of apartheid.

Those experiences gave him the skills to cope with gang warfare and knife crime in the east end of London and the aftermath of the Tottenham riots of 2011.

Jongi has an impressive style of oratory, with a remarkable range of tonal control that veered from quiet reflection to thunderous anecdotes. He was a most impressive and inspiring speaker and a humble man of great affection and charm.

The whole evening came to a delightful conclusion when Cathy Sara captivated the audience with her reading of  A Brave and Startling Truth - by Maya Angelou.

More photos of the occasion are available for viewing and download here.