Alicia Simoni



Download Full Text (887 KB)

Abstract or Description

In the following pages, you will find narrative stories along with additional information to provide a deep understanding of the conflict and one person’s journey within it. These complementary components include a brief biography of the peacemaker, a historical summary of the conflict, a timeline integrating political developments in the country with personal history of the peacemaker, a question-and-answer transcript of select interviews, and a table of best practices in peacebuilding as demonstrated and reflected on by the peacemaker during their time at the IPJ.

A survivor of the political violence that affected her home province of KwaZulu-Natal, Zandile Nhlengetwa is known in her community for her ability to bring calm and stability to potentially volatile situations. She is a community project coordinator for the organization Survivors of Violence, where she designs peacebuilding intervention strategies for communities that have experienced high levels of violence, both during apartheid and now in the post-conflict era when criminal violence is prevalent. Her work includes conducting trauma-healing workshops for survivors and developing income-generating programs to alleviate the effects of poverty as well as facilitating dialogue with traditional leaders to promote development in the province.

After the loss of family members to violent incidents, Nhlengetwa has reached out to young men in prison to help them break the cycle of violence. She and a network of families that have children in prison conduct campaigns to raise awareness about youth violence and drug abuse, and advocate for sentence reductions for convicted youth. She also joined with other women who lost husbands during violent conflict to form the Harambe Women’s Forum. The group initially supported one another financially and emotionally; today their activities encompass community-healing forums and the development of community-based structures to prevent violence and promote reconciliation.

After the end of apartheid, Nhlengetwa assisted in the successes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by counseling victims before and after they testified and setting up community assistance programs to support victims. A teacher by profession, Nhlengetwa also developed education and counseling programs for street children through the Department of Specialized Education at the University of Witwatersrand, and worked with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency to assist community members living with HIV/AIDS.

Publication Date


Document Type



peacebuilding, Women PeaceMakers, South Africa


Peace and Conflict Studies

DEEPENING THE PEACE: Zandile Nhlengetwa’s Grassroots Peacebuilding in South Africa