A new app from South Africa's Ahmed Kathrada Foundation hopes to put an end to racist incidents around the country, Business Day reports.
In South Africa, Anti-Racism Week is from March 14-21, and as part of the observance of the holiday, the foundation has released the Zimele Race Report app. Currently in its pilot phase, the app allows users to report racist incidents; the reports are sent to the foundation to review. The hope is that the data will allow experts to understand when and where racist incidents take place; the foundation hopes to work with local social justice organizations that operate near the sites of the incidents to address them.
Zaakirah Vadi, a spokesperson for the foundation, said, "The idea behind the app is to aggregate data around hot spots or trends of racism. If there is a school in a certain area where we get five reports from‚ we know there is something really serious going on at that school. We will then send in facilitators [to resolve the issue]. What we are doing during the pilot phase is engaging with a range of organizations, such as the South African Human Rights Commission … so that they can deal with some of the complaints as well."
Critics have already argued that trolls will be able to use the app to give false reports, wasting time and resources. However, Vadi says that the foundation has taken that into consideration.
"People could say something happened when it did not. It will require investigative capacity and legal capacity in some instances," Vadi said. "The legal resources unit is one of the organizations that is coming on board to assist with some of the complaints and will be following up on them."
As with many nations, South Africa continues to struggle with racism. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was created in 2008 to combat racism, and to specifically continue the legacy of anti-apartheid struggle. Through the app, the foundation hopes to deepen non-racialism in post-apartheid South Africa.
As the app is still being tested, it is only available to Android users at the time, and can be found in the Google Play Store under the name Zirra.