The programme

The afternoon sun hung low in the sky, as I stood talking to the two canoeists.  I could feel my hands shaking, uncontrollably, with fear.

“You look like you have had a huge shock. What’s up?” One of them asked.

“I have just come out of a full-blown political meeting, in that school.” I pointed up to the rural South African school, perched atop a nearby hill.

I could taste the bitter adrenalin from my intense fear. My mouth was still dry even after drinking copious amounts of water.

Down below us, the Umsundusi river wound, through the majestic Valley of a Thousand hills, on its way towards the Umgeni river. From the oft-mighty confluence, both rivers combine their powers and surge towards the Indian Ocean.

I felt strangely distant and removed from this magical scene.

In less than a month’s time, 800 canoeists would climb into their canoes and race between the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg and the beautiful coastal city of Durban.

They would battle the mountains, the rivers and the rapids for 3 days over the 120km course. Barely 3 months later, South Africa would hold its first democratic election.

It was early 1994. We lived in scary times. People were free to move and yet were still separated by race and status. I was a societal oddity. There were comparatively few other white people who dared venture into rural South Africa on a social/ community liaison basis.

On one side of the river, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) exercised control, on the other the African National Congress (ANC). Some of the leaders and their people, were new to the concept of democracy and inter-party violence was the order of the day. Our media showed the violent scenes and pictures each day.

We had become accustomed to the terrible stories of these troubled times.

“Are you mad?”, asked the canoeist, as his partner nodded assent. “You certainly are braver than I am!” He laughed and shook his head in disbelief.

I was known as the “peacemaker” and had become what was then termed a “white Zulu”. Assimilated into their cultures and traditions and accepted amongst the Zulu people of Enkhambathini, I was beginning to believe that I was indeed at one with the amaZulu. Until now.

It had been over three hours, since I had left the meeting and a gnawing residual fear and emptiness reverberated in my chest. “What was it? I was safe now.” I began to re-live the events.

It was my responsibility to ensure the safety of the canoeists, through communication and initiating sponsorship of schools and clinics, in the poor riverside communities. Natal canoeing was the only sports body with a dedicated development fund for rural communities, and had been since 1982. I had been in the hot seat since 1990.

Wherever there was a clash between canoeists and the locals – I would meet the leaders and their communities, to find ways forward. I had even become a member of the Ngcolosi clan – near Inanda dam. I wore the traditional gear at weddings, funerals and ceremonies and truly felt that I was a “Zulu”.

My travels had taken me to many communities. I had met multitudes of rural people, in schools, halls and churches and had slowly become accepted.

My body language, my inflection, my perception of communities and communication was becoming more and more African each day.

A number of white canoeists had recently called to complain of youngsters throwing stones at them. I went to meet the perennially friendly and helpful Inkosi (Chief) Mlaba of KwaXimba and mentioned the problem. “No problem, Bhungane (my Zulu name),” he said, “come to our meeting on Sunday at 10am. All the people will be there.”

I felt comfortable with his invitation to talk to the local community. This was what I did so well.

So on that hot, humid January weekend I drove into the beautiful Valley of a Thousand Hills. I arrived at the school a little late – to compensate for rural time. I knew that people normally only leave their homes when they see the first cars arrive! And lo and behold, at 10.30 am I was still early!

A few formal looking people in suits, wandered around the deserted school. “Sanibonani,” I greeted. “Yebo! Sawubona.” they responded. “I have come to meet the Inkosi.” “Oh,” they said knowingly. “He will be here just now.”

I was ushered to a seat in a far corner of the schoolyard. The yard was closed in on three sides by lines of classrooms. It was a long way back to the only entrance. As the crowd slowly began to grow, I greeted people and was greeted in return.

An unusual spirit began to build.

This was no ordinary community meeting. Normally all of the older people would shuffle in first. Assisted, or with walking sticks. They would be joined by the Abazali (parents). The youngsters were seldom present. And yet the younger people were streaming in today. Dancing and hopping in the dance of unity and solidarity, they toyi-toyied into the area. (Toyi toyi is a form of political dancing – it often raises fear in those who do not understand it.)

A leader came past and said, “Inkosi Mlaba won’t be long now.” I respectfully responded “Ngiyabonga Baba.” (Thank you father.) And waited for long hours in the hot sun, whilst I thought of my speech.

Suddenly, and unexpectedly, buses began to arrive at the entrance. I could see ANC flags waving. Passengers chanted slogans. The buses rocked with humanity. People were hanging out of the windows and some even sat on top of the buses. “Oh no,” I thought in sudden terror, “I am in the middle of a major political meeting!”

People began to surge into the school. Their faces were shining with excitement. Jostling and sweating they toyi-toy’d their way in.

“Viva Mandela!” called out a leader. “Viva!”, responded thousands of voices.

People came skidding out of the crowd in dance. They began to giya (a war-like dance movement.) They ululated and delighted in their moment. “Viva Samora Machel!” called the leader. “Viva!” roared the people.
“Viva Joe Slovo!” Bellowed the leader. “Viva!”
“Viva ANC!” … “Viva!”
“Viva SACP!” … “Viva!” came the powerful responses, one after the other.

And I was trapped. Between me and the exit were thousands of over-excited and politically-roused Zulus. Freedom and political power was a hop, a skip and a jump away for them. And we all knew it.

This was a new energy.It was exciting and yet it was scary! Gasps of terror rapidly kneaded my heart.

My oneness with the Zulu people seemed to have deserted me. I began to feel very lonely and very white. My mouth was very dry and my heart palpitated at high revs. Colonel Custer, at Little Big Horn, must have felt like I did. “But,” I thought, “at least he didn’t die alone.” I stood out like a lighthouse on a dark night.

And yet someone would come by, every so often, to let me know that the Inkosi would be here soon. And I respectfully greeted all who looked my way. I knew that a few weeks earlier and just a few hundred metres away, bullets had been fired in anger across the river. I knew that many of the people here had been divorced from mainstream society for decades, if not centuries. I knew that they all had many reasons to be angry with people who looked just like me.

I was in turmoil. My mind was screaming, “Go! Go!” But my intellectual resolve was telling me to complete what I had started. Deep fears came rushing up. They burst through my humanness, into my new-found Zulu-ness.

Fear attacked my reptilian brain. It was fight or flight. All reason deserted me, leaving me unmoving, in pure survival mode. And strangely the people around showed me the greatest respect.

A full 3½ terrifying hours after my arrival, the Inkosi appeared. I found out later that he was also the chairman of the Midlands ANC. A very high local political position.

The crowd erupted into an ear-splitting frenzy. All that had passed, paled into insignificance as the crowd surged, danced, viva’d and ululated.

He came to the front. After a lot of excited, passionate chanting, they sang “Inkosi sikelele Afrika.” God bless Africa. Their right fists clenched and held up in solidarity. I can still feel the thrill of their voices, raised in unison. It surged through my physical being. It was unforgettable. An experience to be relished and enjoyed. I stood and sang along, and for a moment I felt safe.

The Inkosi called the meeting to order and said, “There is someone here who is different to us.” The crowd made a sound that would have curdled a Jedi Knight’s blood… “Wooooh!” As silence eased its way back into three thousand throats, he said, “It is Mthimkhulu (my other local name) and he has a few things to say.”

A few people began to call out the praise names of the Mthimkhulu clan. “Mthimkhulu! Bhungane! Makhulukhulu…!”

He waved me forward to speak, and on boneless legs, I ghosted forward. A cold sweat raced across my skin. My face was pale and my rubbery cheeks did not recognise the touch of my fingers. I was a dead man walking.

People reached out in excitement and touched me as I passed. “Bhungane,” they joyfully called. I nodded, greeted and went to stand beside the Inkosi.

I can’t remember much of what I said that day. I know that I spoke Zulu and I know that I sang out the praises of the Inkosi. I asked the people to allow safe and free passage to the canoeists. My carefully planned speech was cut short by fear and I closed with, “The Inkosi knows all about it. He will tell you more. Thank you Ndabezita. Thank you everybody”.

Some delighted ladies ran out and danced a few steps around me. They giya’d! Jabbing at me with their walking sticks and umbrellas and laughed their way back into the crowd. Someone called out “Viva, Bhungane!” And the delighted crowd responded, “Viva”. That was my very own viva! “Long live me?” I doubted it and received the praise from a very scared place, and weakly acknowledged the crowd.

I headed for the hills. For freedom. It was less than 100 metres to my car. Yet it was a very, very long walk that day. As I passed though the crowd, I could feel all manner of imaginary daggers and spears piercing my flesh. Some people smiled, some queried my name and some just stared. All were respectful. I was safe but I was almost petrified with fear.

Much later as I drove away from the canoeists, I asked myself, “Why, when all the signs showed that I was safe, did I have all the physical and mental signs of an impending violent attack? What was it that made me scared when I was so well protected and looked after?

Why? I am a respected member of this community. I am a “white Zulu”. I contribute to this community. I have attended a multitude of meetings. Why was I so scared today”

As I allowed the questions to filter into me, slowly the answers came.

For the greater part of my life, I had read newspapers, watched TV and listened to the radio. Much of what was represented was the “bad” side of various political groups. I had seen black people rampaging through streets and stadiums.

Much earlier, as a seventeen year old, I had been a conscript in the South African Citizen Force. We were told that we were there to protect our families against terrorism, communism, the “blacks” and the ANC. We were the saviours and “they” were the danger.

Suddenly, it came to me. “I had been programmed at a deep level.”

The programme was so powerful that it overrode all of the circumstances. I had been treated with care and respect. I was recognised and announced by the leader of the area and a huge political party. That leader was and is a peace-maker. The people had sung my praises. They had called out “Viva Bhungane!”

I was totally safe!

But the programme spoke differently. It took over my body and clouded my thoughts and actions. It made me shake with fear. It opened up the flood-gates in my adrenaline gland and my unreasonable and illogical fear destroyed my opportunity to speak and enjoy the moment.

The greatest mind authorities bear witness to the fact that the brain merely needs to imagine something for it to appear real. The very graphic displays of violence on TV and the printed media were mentally real experiences.

It was real to me at the deepest level of my being. “When black people toyi-toyi, chant slogans or gather in masses, they are dangerous.” So no matter how well I was treated, my tainted spirit said, “You are going to die. Right here. Right now!” All of the logical signs were swept way by the “program.”

I began to re-evaluate all of my values and actions against this program. And I was shocked. I wasn’t a white Zulu – I was a big white boy from the city, who upon occasion wore skins and spoke Zulu. Many of my past decisions had been made on the basis of colour, race, religion.

On that day in 1994, I had taken my first steps towards true freedom.

Freedom from politics, religious dogma, racism and xenophobia. On the path to experiencing all people as human beings and respecting them for their uniqueness. It is a long road and a welcome one.

We are all programmed in some way. Anyone who was born in South Africa before 1994, is a victim of Apartheid. Until they recognise their particular programmes they will continue to be so.

Anyone born anywhere in the world where there is pro-us and anti-them propaganda is equally a victim. Until they recognise it.

They should be as lucky,Brian in Mission Rapid - Day 1 Dusi 1992 as I was, to experience one of my programs, at first hand. And to step forward on the road to freedom and humanness.

Brian Moore © 10/12/2002 Durban, South Africa. trainers@africa-dreams.com
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Diversity Training in South Africa.
Team Building in South Africa.
Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training
 

Fazal’s Food. An exercise in respect for culture and religion.

Fazal stood before the delegates, at the end of the Celebrating Humanity© session.
The Diversity Training facilitator’s voice trembled with emotion as he spoke.

“I have been deeply touched, by your giving and humanness. The lengths to which you have gone, to ensure that we have been fed, goes beyond anything that I have ever experienced.” As he spoke, tears and smiles began to fill the room.

Our story begins in our offices, during November 2007, and takes us about about 120 miles to an industrial harbor city.

Our company had been contracted to run a 2 day Celebrating Humanity Foundation© session, over 2 consecutive weekends, for a Shipping Agency. In order to get the finer details correct, I got in my car and drove to a meeting with the branch manager – Clint Evans.

We sat down and chatted about his team’s needs, the venue and the make up of our teams. One of the immediate challenges was the fact that there were two people, who had specific dietary requirements – based on their religion.

One was Fazal, from our team and another, a member of the client’s team. (It is critical when facilitating transformational team building that one gets the food right – and even more important, when running work functions.)

After I left, Clint  had his organiser check the various venues and settled on a hotel that promised halaal food.

A week or so later, Fazal and I arrived on site, to find that the hotel did not serve halaal food, as it served alcohol and pork, on the premises. The wonderfully humble, Fazal – told me not to worry. He would eat bread and fruit, and that his family had packed some food for him.

During the programme we covered food diversity – as a way to build relationships. And even though Fazal had urged me not to, I told the Clint about the lack of halaal food for him.

Clint later told me that the hotel team had promised to collect a halaal meal, if their offerings were not acceptable. I asked Fazal to arrange this with the hotel. And yet, at lunch-time he sat with some bread and fruit. I asked him what the challenge was. “No problem. The hotel did not have transport available. Don’t worry bhaya (brother), I have eaten my full.”

As we all know, food is one of the cornerstones of relationship building. And one of the easiest to mess up.

When I related the story to the team, against Fazal’s wishes, they were shocked. They had done everything they knew how, to get the right thing done. Again Fazal spoke, “Please don’t worry. I am quite used to it. I will bring some home food next week.

During the following week, Clint contacted me. “I have found a small Muslim restaurant in Richard’s bay. I have made contact with them and will bring a menu for Fazal to choose from. They have promised to deliver.”

On the next Saturday, Fazal was given the menu. He spoke to me, and said, “I don’t want to impose, bhaya. They mustn’t worry, we have brought some food from home. And we don’t need much.”

I said to him, “Fazal, this is not your choice. This is their journey. And you know the biggest gift, that you can offer right now, is to receive gracefully.”

“Ok bhaya, sorry”, he said with a gentle smile. He placed his order and we left it at that.

At lunch Fazal and his partner sat together and enjoyed a perfect halaal meal. They were obviously touched, by the actions of this amazing group.

Little did we know that Clint and his team had physically gone to check the local halaal food providers. They had found one perfect place, in a small far-away suburb, collected the menu and brought it to Fazal.

As we drove home, that evening, Fazal spoke at length, of how they had honoured his uniqueness, respected him, his upbringing and his religion. In all of his 46 years, this had never happened.

He has experienced the wonder of the human spirit. And the depth of caring, will stay with him forever.

In this story, we honour the people of the shipping agency, for the extent to which they have gone, to show their wonderful humanness and respect for humanity. They have brought a great lesson, to us all.

I am a lucky man!

I am a very lucky man!

After a very long time as a very self-sufficient bachelor, a beautiful lady came into my life and in a moment I was married to her. I was notoriously slow and fearful in matters of love. Arthie, bless her active spirit, arranged a birthday party for me on my 45th birthday, bought a ring and on bended knee proposed to me! She then waited for me to set the date for the wedding.

After a brief time she asked me for some time on Valentine’s day – her birthday. I was hoping to take her on a helicopter, a yacht and a train ride on the day. I knew Arthie did not particularly like being up early – so I jokingly said, “Ok. How about 2 hours, between 7 am and 9 am. On the 13th we both participated in a fire walk, once more proving the resilience of our relationship. 
That evening Arthie sent me to the local pub, for a business meeting. Lo and behold, all of my friends were there and I began to put 2 and 2 together! It was my stag party! I felt a an amazing rush of excitement – I was getting married the next day!
We arrived early the next morning, at the beautiful Botanic Gardens. I was guided down to the tranquil bird-filled, tree-lined lake to await my beautiful bride. About 30 members of the family and our friends had gathered to witness our wedding. Arthie had arranged for the ceremony to be officiated by a marriage officer. He in turn had gathered as many hymn books as possible and handed them out to our pre-dominantly Hindi guests. 

My heart skipped a beat as my beautifully smiling bride appeared, flanked by her family. She glided stunningly towards me in her beautiful white wedding gown. Her image was reflected on the walkway in the pools of rainwater, as she stepped into my life and into my spirit. 

The ceremony was incredible and many scenes stand out for me. My mother sang “The best things in life are free.” The marriage officer, as a lay pastor, decided to carry out a full Christian ceremony. He even had our Hindu families and friends singing Christian hymns! I later found out that he was unsure that I would agree to this “surprise” wedding! 

I remember the beautiful birds gliding across the lake and a tiny one-legged bird scrounging for insects as we took our vows. In terms of South African law we had to sign the registration forms under a roof and we all squeezed tightly into a tiny office at the garden’s restaurant to do so. 

4 yr old Lliam & Dad in London

I will always take with me the special love and beauty of my incredible friend, guide and wife – Arthie. She is so much to me and to our little boy Lliam. She is a nurturer and a leader. She is a doer and designer. She is humble, yet she is strong. She is firm and yet she is sensitive. She is loving and forgiving.

 

And on top of all this she is a great daughter and daughter-in-law, a marvellous business person, an excellent sister and friend, a teacher and a listener, a shining star and a forward-focused wunderkind who lives in the now, whilst building her legacy for the future! 

One of the greatest leadership lessons that I have learnt from Arthie is that of standing back. I am a very strong person and often I take over when something needs to be done. My way gets results but no-one learns from it. Arthie takes a different tack, she shares some wisdom and leaves others to do complete the task. In this way the work gets done and someone else grows. A prime example is our son Lliam. 

When he first began to totter around our home, I went onto Daddy standby. The moment he stumbled, I would rush to catch him. My cool and calm guide said, “ He learns by falling. Let him fall.” I struggled against my protecting nature. And now Lliam falls, dusts himself off and carries on at full tilt into his next adventure. When he really hurts himself Arthie is always there for him, but she knows the difference between falling and hurting. 

When Lliam picked up a sharp knife, I nearly had a heart attack and Arthie showed him how to use it. When he made a mess, Arthie bought him a small broom and a mop. “I am not going to raise a man so that I have to clean up after him.” He is now 2 years and 8 months old and is an accomplished sweeper and mopper and even makes his own peanut butter sandwiches! 

Making sandwiches at his age may sound like a great achievement but that is not the half of it. The peanut butter and syrup are on a shelf more than two metres above the ground. The butter is high up in the fridge. Lliam pushes a bar stool to the high places, takes what he needs and makes a perfect sandwich! To top it all he returns each item to it’s rightful place! 

And two weeks ago he suddenly began washing the dishes. He kneels on his bar stool at the sink and washes away quite merrily. He then stacks the clean items in the correct places. This all started by being allowed to experience life without being affected by a bigger person taking over the task or by the unreasonable fears of a parent. “Get down! You will hurt yourself.” or, “Don’t touch that knife! You will cut yourself.” 

Standing back takes a lot of courage and selflessness. It is often selfish to take over when helping people and it takes bravery to allow a child to walk down stairs for the first time! Arthie has taught me that managers create controlled and limited results and that leaders create leaders who create brilliant results.Our little boy is fast becoming a leader who comfortably speaks English and Zulu and greets in 12 languages.

Lliam climbed into his gran’s car recently, released the brake, took it out of gear and  “drove” it down our gently inclined driveway until it came to a stop. Arthie and I arrived at the car at the same time. Arthie gently asked, “What are you doing Lliam?” Our little boy firmly stated, “I drive my car!” And we smiled and kept quiet. 

 Later he told, all who would listen, how he had parked “his” car. Indeed he had! He then asked for the car keys so that he could reverse the car back to where it came from. We didn’t give him the keys. Sometimes a leader understands when his student is just too short to reach the pedals or to see over the dashboard! 

Lliam is also offered choices. If he is doing something that we are not comfortable with he is offered a choice of other activities. Instead of wresting a knife out of his hand he may be offered a ride on his pushbike, or a paintbrush and paper. No attention is drawn to the knife, which he hands over without fuss, as Arthie draws attention to a fun and safe activity. I was raised with a strong focus on what I did wrong. Arthie always focusses our son on good activities and praises him on what he does well. Within 1 week of moving out of the diaper stage, Lliam was getting out of bed saying, “Look mommy, I am dry! Yeah! Yeahhhh!” Within a few weeks he is a “dry” baby, who notifies us when he needs the toilet. Arthie’s praise had created pride and she was rewarded with good behaviour – another great lesson for leaders.

Yes! I am a lucky man. Not only has Arthie helped our child to grow, she does that for everyone, including myself. She has taught me that I can “unite or be right.” A great lesson for those of us who have “all the answers”, or who try to manage every situation. Often when we over control, we lose control and break relationships. She has taught me that very few situations require my input. That I have greater value by allowing people to be and to do.
She is a great speaker and a guiding light in our transformational team-building business, where our focus is on uniting diverse people through their uniquenesses and their actions. She always intuitively knows when to move on to a new process. And if the group needs something special or something different, she knows and makes the change in pace and direction. Arthie is in tune with herself and with people and has saved many failing relationships, with her ability to listen and  gently help people move from being victims to becoming leaders.
She has taught me the value of giving and the sheer freedom in personal forgiveness. She has taught me that humanness far out-weighs “winning”. She has taught me about the power of “us” and the value of family. She has taught me that the world rewards action and not thought.
And she is so incredibly beautiful in every possible way! Yes! I am indeed a very lucky man!
Brian V Moore©
Durban – South Africa. 3 November 2003
Update
I am still a lucky man
Sitting here this morning in September 2006 and reflecting upon where we were, when I wrote the first part of our story makes me smile. 
Our little business was struggling, we owed hundreds of thousands – to banks and suppliers.
In reality we were in deep trouble, financially and our fledgling business was on it knees. The luckiest man in the world was days away from losing his home. And yet I had never felt so lucky! Days after sending out the Lucky Man newsletter, work came pouring in. 
Within 8 months we had cleared our debt. Our business took its first leaps into surrounding countries. We spent time at the beautiful Lake Kariba, – bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.
And now we are firmly a strongly and international company. Our program – Celebrating Humanity© – changes lives and the world in wonderful and positive ways. Our life’s work will take us to Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana and Mocambique in the near future. And hopefully – the USA and the UK.
But more importantly – Arthie is still a wonderful loving wife and mother, a wonderful friend and an incredible agent for universal transformation.
Lliam is now a wonderful big brother! 
2 yr old Kailash, in Namibia

Young Kailash is 2 months old. He is cute, happy, bubbly and smiley. He is a reflection of his family’s love and contentment. He bubbles with joy when his 5 year old brother burps him, baths him or holds him.

We are now 4. And I am still the luckiest and happiest man in the world. What a wonderful journey life can be, if we simply choose to focus on our happiness.
Brian Moore – September 2006.Update

Kailash, Myself, Lliam & Arthie
On our smallholding – 2010

My beautiful gift Arthie, has delivered 2 beautiful, loving, intelligent and of course naughty boys into our lives. I would not trade any of them for anything!

Young, bright and fun Kailash, is now almost 5 years old and has started school. He bakes with me and cooks with his mother and he is an absolute delight!

Lliam has moved from home school to a public school. He is excelling and is showing his genius at every turn. He too is brilliant in the kitchen and technically. And has upgraded to a vacuum cleaner!

Arthie and I have been married to each other 7 different ways now! Including a Hindu weddng, a Shamanic wedding in the Drakensburg mountains, a Scottish wedding in Gretna Green – in Scotland, a Las Vegas wedding and we retook our vows in a hot air balloon over the Magaliesberg mountains of South Africa.
Our journey has taken us to Namibia, USA, UK, Europe, Zambia and Hong Kong where we have delivered talks, presentations, team building, team conflict resolution and diversity training. Without the wonderful impact of Arthie on my life none of this would have been possible.
I will always be lucky and always be in awe of her incredible care, brilliance, humanness and laughter.
April 2011
Brian MooreThe luckiest man in the World!
Durban – South Africa.
Request a Team Building, Diversity Training
or Team Conflict Resolution proposal –
on http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
or email: brian@africa-dreams.com
or call +27 79 643 4457

10 Tips for Good Cross-Cultural Communications in the USA

10 Tips for Good Cross-Cultural Communications in the USA

Remember the old adage ‘the best way to remember your story is to tell the truth?’ Well, it’s the same with Intercultural Communications. The best way to interact with others is to be keenly aware of yourself…but also hyper sensitive and receptive to the individuality and autonomous experience of others around you.

Good news? These tips apply whether you are traveling around the globe, interacting in a diverse work environment, or, my favorite this time of year, trying to better understand and appreciate the unique traits of key family members over the holidays!

1. Beware of making assumptions about people based on physical characteristics: race, ethnicity, age, ability, gender, etc. (That can’t be reiterated enough!)

2. Do good research in advance, but do not take ‘country guides’ as being the final word. Individual preferences vary and will trump any group customs, but might be helpful to know that the clock you about to give as a gift to your Chinese host might imply death. … More

Enjoy 
Brian Moore
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or Team Conflict Resolution proposal
on http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
or email: brian@africa-dreams.com
or call +27 79 643 4457

Can a white guy talk with authority on diversity?

Zulu Chief Bhengu, and I.

This is in answer to the above question – posted on LinkedIn.


Brian V MooreHuman diversity includes people like myself.I am what you would call white, a member of an African tribe, descendant of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English and South African forebears, born in Zambia to a Roman Catholic family, resident in South Africa, my wife is a Hindu South African of Indian descent, I speak a number of African languages, Afrikaans and English, greet in over 70 languages, have worked in the USA, UK, Hong Kong and in numerous parts of Africa.

My diversity experience comes from living amongst and experiencing people, traditions, cultures, religions and I have worked as a peacemaker in rural African communities.

There are two issues here:-
1) How dare I not share my growth and lessons with others who have not had my experiences.
2) How strange it is that we, as diversity specialists, can judge people by colour. A Zulu (African tribe in South Africa) say clearly in this proverb. “Uhlubu’ dlube ‘khasini” Literally – “A bean is revealed when you open the shell.”

We cannot know a person by their external appearance. We can only learn about them through either our own experiences of them – or that of others whom they have impacted.

Of course any focused and experienced person can speak with authority on diversity. My wife and I have touched 10s of thousands of lives through our work.

Let the catalysts of change do their work without judgement!

Best wishes
Brian V Moore – Email Brian V Moore
 
Request a Team Building, Diversity Training
or Team Conflict Resolution proposal –
on http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
or email: brian@africa-dreams.com
or call +27 79 643 4457