Imagine Peace Campaign aims to educate youth against violent practices
In the lead up to the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo, IIPT’s 2012 Olympic Truce Peace Ambassador Victor Mutanga is launching a global peace campaign. Needed now more than ever, Victor hopes this Imagine Peace campaign will help engage people from all over the world to work together for unity and harmony in the face of the violence that takes over so many people’s lives.
Victor, himself, has faced this violence head on having been a victim of xenophobic attacks in Cape Town, South Africa during 2008 and 2015. These attacks led Victor to stay at a refugee camp where he experienced what it is like to be cast out of a country by unsolicited hate. This spurred him on to create a change in the world and to help educate the younger generation to stop unnecessary violence.
After his stint in a refugee camp, Victor went on to follow his basketball passion, where he worked on his dream to be a professional basketball player while also regularly volunteering at Hoops for Hope, an NGO which promotes sport as a vehicle for social and personal development and empowering the younger generation to become leaders in their communities. An unfortunate shoulder injury let him to change his industry and worked up the ladder in advertising.
In 2012, he was nominated and sponsored by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) to represent South Africa and Zimbabwe at the UNESCO Olympic Peace Ambassadors Training and Assistance Program during the London Olympics. The program highlights the six weeks of Global Truce that dates back to 776 BC and today is still acknowledged and supported by all UN member countries. Bringing together youth from all around the world including conflict zones and areas suffering violence every day, whilst in the UK Victor and the other chosen youth representatives underwent a profound 10-day workshop, training them to be UNESCO Olympic Youth Peace Ambassadors.
Taking these skills back to Africa , Victor launched the Afro Global Youth Exchange, A Pan African youth organization, that specializes in providing inter-cultural exchange programs for young social entrepreneurs and sports community leaders from Africa’s conflict areas. Victor’s goal for the organization is to help Africa’s youth build strong interpersonal skills, engage in social consciousness, create pro-social friendships and reassert a sense of hope in the future.
It was only this year, when, despite all the positive impact Victor has made for the development of peace in the country, he was brutally attacked after coming to the aid of a young women about to run over by a car. With no provocation, he was stabbed in the face and the back of the head by a group of young men with broken beer bottles, after the attack he struggled but managed to make it to the nearest police station where he was given very little help and eventually transported to a private hospital for treatment. Four days past in the hospital and with a strong heart he worked to forgive the men who inflicted this vicious, uncalled for attack.
Standing up for what he believes in and what he knows the world needs, Victor has not been deterred in his stance for peace. Over the next 11 months, Victor will be creating real and digital platforms for young people across the world to engage in positivity, share ideas and resources to promote sustainable world peace. He will also be engaging global citizens including youth, policymakers and government officials in the advocacy to promote youth participation in peacebuilding and the fight against violence and extremism. This 11-month campaign aims to educate communities and build a better future for generations to come.