Students hear about knife crime and the Ubuntu Round Table Project
Law students at Sheffield Hallam University have been hearing first-hand accounts of knife-crime and the preventative work of the Ubuntu Round Tables Project.
In a talk by criminologist Dr Bankole Cole and Blair Adderley, a 24-year-old Londoner who was thrown out of school at 14, they heard about the horror of knives on the street and ongoing efforts to reach out and help gang members.
For it was Dr Cole’s research that helped during the setting up of the Round Tables Project which is led by the Tutu Foundation UK and Youth Futures.
With joint funding from the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the Sir John Cass’s Foundation it helps police and social workers in some of the toughest inner city boroughs.
The success of the project, particularly in the use of ‘Ubuntu,’ the South African philosophy of recognising everybody’s shared humanity, has been remarkable.
Long championed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and recently embraced by the the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to South Africa, Ubuntu has recently become a popular lifestyle choice.
Perhaps not so when the police and youth workers first put it into practice engineering face to face discussions between those who often considered themselves to be natural enemies.
However the results were tangible. By creating a sense of mutual respect, gang members and authority figures learnt to sit down and discuss their differences and deal positively with seemingly insurmountable social problems. There is still a huge amount to do but many lives have been turned around including that of Blair Adderley who now runs his own street-wear business and works as a Round Table project facilitator.