Racism, or Personal Freedom – a Perspective

During that late nineties, I was participating in the Dusi Canoe Marathon, between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, South Africa. The annual race goes from city to city and through the rivers and mountains, of deep-rural KwaZulu-Natal.

The thieves

The river was low and I was unfit. This placed me right at the back of the pack, on the second day. I was followed only by the sweeps.

Soon after I had paddled, scraped and dragged my kayak past a school – which the canoeists had sponsored – I was surrounded by about 6 knife-wielding youngsters. “Give me your watch!” they demanded.

I quickly climbed out of my canoe, and defensively raised my paddle, as I moved onto firm land. I could see two canoeists standing there and sought the safety of their company.

“Vimba! Vimba” (Stop him! Stop him!) They cried out in isiZulu.

I kept moving towards these Johannnesburg canoeists, as I swung my paddle at the boys. From behind me I heard a plaintive voice, “Give them everything that they want. It is not worth it!” I realized that I was not going to get much support from the two paddlers, and reluctantly handed over my watch.

I was then, the chairman of Stella Canoe club, and the chairperson of the Valley Assistance Fund – which had been founded by the Natal Canoe Union to fund schools along the course of the 120km marathon. And I had facilitated the funding of a local school, in that area. In fact, I could actually see the school, from where I was being robbed!

I was so outraged, that regretfully I decided to pull out of the race. I was emotionally burnt. As I walked along the banks of the river, carrying my kayak, I began to think. “How could these BLACK people rob ME? After all that I have done in these valleys, for THESE people?”

As my feet ate up the kilometers, I started to picture all of the people who had helped me in my quest to bring safety, peace and development to canoeing – and into the valleys. Up popped images of the local Chiefs Mlaba, Bhengu, Maphumulo, Shangase and more. Then came their Indunas, community leaders, canoeists, funders and local youngsters. Most of them happened to be black people.

It was at that point that I switched my thinking from “black people” to thieves. And my anger began to fade. Irrespective of their colour – I had been robbed by thieves! And this is what I told the sympathetic canoeists at the overnight campsite.

An interesting aside, which places the courage of our three canoeists into perspective… (Yes, you can laugh!) A few hours before we were set upon, a 14 year old girl was accosted by the same group of thieves. Young Lorna took her paddle and chased the thieves away! So much for the courage of the “Give them what they want,” brigade!”

A Hijacker

James, a friend of mine, was driving his van through the Free State province, when he saw a WHITE hitchhiker. So he stopped, found out where he was headed, and told the guy to get on the back of the van.

As the miles unfolded, the hiker signaled that he was cold. James, in his kindness, stopped and let him into the front. As they drove, James was on the phone to people in the Prison’s department. The hiker sat silently beside him.

Suddenly, on a deserted highway, the passenger pulled out a gun, and told James to pull over. “I have just come out of prison. You are very lucky, my friend, that you are helping people, in prisons. Otherwise I would have shot you and taken your van.” He said in a thick, Afrikaans accent.“ He too, had changed his view of James.

So was this a WHITE AFRIKAANS person, who came close to killing James, and stealing his vehicle – or was it simply a hijacker? Again, I know many white people, and Afrikaans – speaking people. Good folk. As good, as the people, in the valleys. So, I prefer to say “hijacker.”

There is a lot of freedom, in seeing thieves – as thieves. And not as a race, colour, or culture. Sadly when we view people through our prejudice, it is far too easy to hate en-masse. And that is not a mind-set that I want to have.

Racism brings with it fear, suspicion and hate. It also brings separation and isolation. Each of these are emotionally-debilitating. My feeling is, that it is a way of being, that has been around for far too long.

Set yourself free, if not for your sake, then do it for your children.

Brian V Moore – 7 March, 2014
Celebrating Humanity International

Brian - Day 2 Dusi 1992

Video Testimonial. How a workplace conflict program helped me to build my family relationships

Celebrating Humanity International has run two Team Unity programs (Workplace Conflict Resolution) with a Swaziland City Council, over the past 14 months..

In this video testimonial, Benito Jones describes where he was as a family man, and the changes that he has made in his life as a direct result of the Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict Resolution programme.

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My personal change – since the Celebrating Humanity Team Unity program by Benito Jones

29 April, 2013. Ghost Mountain Inn – Mkuze, South Africa.

Transcript of video testimonial by Benito Jones

An un-rehearsed interview with Benito Jones, a City Councillor in Mbabane Swaziland. We had the fortune to facilitate two Celebrating Humanity Team Unity (Conflict Resolution) sessions, with the council. One in March 2013 and another – with the newly elected Council – in April 2013. Benito was at both.

Halfway through the second program, Benito shared the life changes – that he put into effect because of lessons he took from the initial program.

Here is a transcript of this video, which is one of three- by Benito.

Interviewer: Brian Moore.
Great. Benny, you shared with us during the Mbabane City Council Team Unity program, how the program helped you to change your relationship with your family. And you were telling me what happened when you got home, to your family, prior to the (initial) program.

Benito:
Prior to the program, I can honestly say that I wasn’t a capable father, in executing my duties as a parent – but … I used to shout at my children. I never understood my children better… before the program.

But after the program, I actually got to understand that there are no limits to being a parent. You need to give your children what is “worth” to them, as a parent.

But before, it was totally different. I had no time.

There were times when I came back from work. When they heard my car, coming into the yard, they run into their rooms, that the “monster” had come home.

But since, after, the program, everything has changed. Now we are more of a family, or more of friends, than we were before.

After the program – for once – after almost 10 years of marriage, I had a vacation with my family. Because they were able to trust me, that I won’t get upset and leave them wherever I had taken them on that particular day – something the children never did before.  Because they knew that we would go out to a particular restaurant, one teeny-weeny thing would upset me and I would leave them there. They would have to find their own way home.

So we had no bond. We had no trust with them. Up and ‘till I got into this progam which helped me a great deal. And when my wife heard that I am attending the same course, again – and for the second time – she was so elated that she asked me:-  What are you people feeding me, that is keeping me so calm? Which I never was before!

The objective that I was, was that it was always my way, or nothing else. But now I am able to listen to her, as well. For once, I am able to do as she wants me to do. We are able to coordinate issues as a family, as opposed to being “ordered.”

Now I am able to take orders, ‘though I don’t perceive them as orders, because we now live as a family.

So it had such a dramatic effect on my personal life and my family life…

Break

I want to thank you for such an opportunity and such an exposure. And I hope it can go a long way in helping other people, not only personally, I mean, not only professionally – but even personally, as well. And that they can take this into their homes and into their relationships. And into their working environments.

Because  you find that if you are upset at work, then you take this thing, into your home. If you are upset at home, you cannot perform properly at work, because you are still fighting with your wife. That she didn’t iron your shirt properly, or that she was late for work. Therefore you were late for work, and so you had to take her with you..

So, it is quite and eye-opener of a program which I hope that God will bestow the power to you and help other people, as well, that have the opportunity and the courage to face problems. – as well as the will to succeed. Because if you have the will to succeed – these are such programs that you should attend.

Because they give you the character and strength to face another day. Because sometimes you sleep and you have no reason to live, but if you attend such programs they give you the will and vigour to wake up another morning – with a smile on your face, to face another day with hope and faith that this is the day!

Brian Moore

Thanks my friend. Awesome.

Can diversity be effectively learnt in isolation?

Often we hear people say, “I feel your pain.” This empathetic and well-meaning statement is generally untrue. It is like a man saying that he understands, or can feel, the pain of childbirth. The closest he will ever get is to actively listen to women talk of the pain, and to watch a child being born.

Similarly it is almost impossible for a person to effectively understand diversity whilst learning about “others” in isolation.

Often management groups ask us to teach “us” more about “them.” This is a way of keeping themselves aloof and safe from their diverse staff. Or, we are asked to teach “them” about “our way.” This is a group form of isolation, which substantially reduces the positive impact of diversity awareness training.

It has been our experience that diversity is best learnt, practically, in groups of diverse people. The diversities need to include, as far as possible: Gender, age, race, language, sexual preference, levels, departments, cultures and religions.

When combined in this way the benefits are tremendous. It is firstly possible to upscale the methodologies to a level of fun and competition. Secondly, the resultant interaction ensures long-term learning through the relationships that are built across diversities. Thirdly, there is a huge element of cross diversity team building and respect-building and finally, the lessons gained are either first or second-hand experiential skills.

Diversity awareness, learnt in isolation, will build the intellectual understanding of diversity, the fairness and injustice of diversity. Strong understanding will be gained of diversity and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.

Sadly very little will be understood – at an emotional and experiential level. This can only be gained through interaction with people of different backgrounds.

Please comment below, or visit our site for more information on Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training programs.

Living and Teaching Unity – Arthie and Brian Moore

Da Moores 2012 Arthie, Brian and Family‘Living and Teaching Unity’

An excerpt from: Golden Room.

Many cross cultural couples will readily include in their list of the benefits of being in a cross cultural relationship, the delight in being able to have two weddings that reflect their dual cultural heritage.But for Arthie and Brian Moore of South Africa, two weddings wasn’t quite enough to reflect, represent and celebrate this couple’s inspiring journey. They have in fact married each other seven times, and the second wedding was a surprise wedding!

Their story begins with a dream. The amazing and almost unbelievably accurate dream of a young girl in year seven at school, about the kind of man she wanted to marry. And the dream of a nation that it would one day be free from apartheid.Arthie grew up as a fourth generation Asian South African in a Hindu family classed as ‘Indian’..

Unusually her family came from divergent socio- economic backgrounds, with entrepreneurs on one side and fishermen and carpenters on the other side, her roots stemmed from indentured labourers from the Indian subcontinent.

From an early age Arthie’s family understood she was somewhat rebellious and determined, a person who knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. For a school project Arthie wrote out her dreams where she described exactly who she would marry and what they would do with their lives together; her future husband would also be tall with blue eyes and blonde hair.

Perhaps her family only gave cursory attention to this detail. After all in the South Africa of this time White people and Asian, ‘Coloured’ and Black people had very little interaction. There were separate neighbourhoods, separate schools, separate churches, and separate sports leagues. In effect, just as the policy intended, -apartheid meaning separateness- the people of South Africa were separated in every conceivable way.

The ‘races’ of South Africa certainly did not intermarry. (more) via www.goldenroom.co.uk.

How to team build in a racially-culturally-and-personality-conflicted team – HR Pulse

Published on 15 Jan 2013 in HR PulseFor more articles relevant to the HR Community

Brian V Moore

In 2002, we were called in to Eskom by Bruce Moody, a high-level HR officer at Eskom. He said: “We have some heavy cultural clashes in a technical service centre in the Northern Province [now Limpopo].

Do you think that you can you do something to change the situation?”

“I am sure we can.” I responded. “What are the challenges?”

Bruce pondered for a while and said: “There are some heavy racial attitudes from all sides. In fact, I don’t really know why I am asking you! What are you, a white man and your Indian wife, going to do to make a difference? This is a bunch of tough hardliners. They have a long history of conflict and nothing that we have done has worked.

“Let’s get this clear: These are heavy workplace disputes!” said Bruce. “There is continuous backstabbing and gossiping. They complain that everything is wrong and nobody is to blame! They are totally unmotivated and their productivity is very low, which is resulting in poor customer service.”

Arthie, my wife and business partner, asked: “What do you think is causing this?”

Bruce gave Arthie a knowing look: “Well obviously there is very low morale among them because of the constant bickering. There is racism, prejudice, laziness, no ownership, no accountability and poor communication – and I mean REALLY poor!” He took a deep breath, shook his head, and continued: “This is a hugely conservative area where old attitudes die very hard. It could be the worst case that you could ever take on.”

I felt confident we could take on the challenge

We were almost overpowered by his statements, but I had no doubts. If I could work in areas, as a peacemaker, where bullets were flying, we could duck a few words.

“We can do this. When do you want us to start?” We were given two weeks to prepare.

We hit the ground running

We had to find ways to build relationships swiftly with groups of people who we had never before encountered in an area of the country where we had NO experience. We spent the time studying the history of the area, and the cultures and languages of the people in the team.

Arthie and I then put together the Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict Resolution programme for diverse teams. This fun, exciting, inclusive and enjoyable programme included celebrating diversity, diversity management, team building and a sustainable long-term team-managed code of conduct.

And so we set off to the town where the centre was located

As we drew closer to the centre, we passed a huge flock of vultures feeding on the carcass of a wild animal. I silently prayed that it was not an ominous sign!

When we arrived, Jan – the depot supervisor – greeted us. He then took us aside and pleaded: “You must just motivate them. They need it.” I looked at his stressed face and saw a man in pain. He was ready to explode. Another senior member of the team said: “If you guys mention racism, just once, we WILL walk out.”

We had to change the mood from the outset. We spent that night in the training room transforming the venue into one of celebration: Balloons, happy colours, hand-drawn posters and a very unique seating arrangement…

The next morning we found separated groups sitting together. They were grouped by colour, language and level. All in their own comfort zones. All spiritually, emotionally and physically apart. Some were obviously angry and others totally disinterested.

Then we began to help them to celebrate their humanity

Three days and 21 working hours later, the same people were sitting side by side at a family barbecue. Children played with children. Wives chatted to each other while the men cooked meat, spoke about cars, sport and laughed as they shared jokes.

They had experienced each other in a fun environment, shared wisdom, seen value in each other, worked as teams, cleared all of their past interpersonal baggage, committed to a code of positive behaviours and removing their negative actions from their lives.

15 months after the first intervention, Jan sent this feedback

“I had a group of 30 people from diverse cultures. They could not get on with each other:

There was continuous friction between the different race groups, and between people from the same race and cultural group. The people were negative and not satisfied with anything.

Complaints were the order of the day. This also placed our depot in a bad light with management.

We decided on Brian and Arthie’s training. The people were very negative about the programme initially.

As the course progressed, peoples’ attitudes changed from negative to positive.

Communication, respect and ownership improved from all sides by 100%. The respect between different race groups has been restored.

Some of the people who were negative have changed so much that they have been promoted to higher positions with greater responsibility.

The foundation of the entire course was so successful that the group is now going ahead with a leadership course.”

Now that was the change that we had been looking for!

via How to team build in a racially-culturally-and-personality-conflicted team – HR Pulse.

Diversity is a good thing – not something to be feared!

A story on the power that leaders, team members and their organisations gain, when they understand the true value of diversity in teams.

And we are ALL leaders!

Arthie and I had just kicked off the Celebrating Humanity programme, in 2001 – which covered Diversity training, Team conflict resolution and Transformational team building. We had been struggling with our basic team building aspects of diversity training. We simply had to move away from the chalk-and-talk, death-by-powerpoint methods of training.

A decision was taken to run our training, as a celebration of who we and our delegates were, and focused into team competitions – as a way to change the spirit of the people and the training environment.

But we were still struggling with the make-up of the teams. So many of our delegates, in the early days, were literally forced into the room. A great number were former combatants or had been isolated by propaganda – each one choosing to be “with their own people.” This limited the interaction and caused inter-team conflict.

As we worked at developing the team building methodologies – we had many realisations. A huge principal grew for us:- “In order to be true leaders, we have to accept that other people add to us.”

And we needed to ensure that our delegates experienced the fact that their unique skills, knowledge and wisdom must be shared and nurtured in order for them to be integral parts of of powerful and professional teams. In Zulu it is said “Inkosi yinkosi ngabantu” – a leader is only a leader by virtue of her/ or his people – the meaning was becoming clearer by the minute. People in their diversities make us who we are.

I have always understood that my sons and my wife bring unbelievable value and add to me. Now I knew that people who disagree with me, also add to me. People who are different, or who have different views and opinions, bring great value to me.

And perhaps they add to me far more than those who always concur with me. And 19th Century Poet Laureate, Lord Alfred Tennyson knew it, when he said, “I am a part of all that I have met.”

As our thoughts expanded, we realized that we also add to other people. That we too have value.

If only I had learned this as a child, as a teenager, or even 10 years ago. It would have stopped my “rightness” and my need to defend my opinions. I would no longer have had to “win arguments.” And as a consequence lose my friends and break relationships.

It was so simple. All people in their varied histories, religions, education, cultures, skills, experiences, pains and joys make us more human. And can, if we are open to their uniqueness, help us to build our lives, families, teams and organisations.

So diversity is a good thing. Not something to be feared but something to be sought out. Not something to be judged but something to learn from. Not something to be contradicted but something to be built upon!

We then realized that the more inclusive and diverse our teams are, the more we win! And, conversely, the more we follow the old proverb of “birds of a feather flock together”, the more we separate and stagnate. And the more we confirm our stereotypes and prejudices.

The birth of Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training Methodologies-

During our Celebrating Humanity©, our international transformational team-building and diversity sensitivity training programme, we needed to find a way to get people into diverse teams, without marginalising them.

Obviously to send people to their teams, as we perceived their skills, talents, genders and cultures to be, was manipulative. When people come to the programme they are often angry, in pain and very divided. And we have been told, on numerous occasions… “Mention race, or racism, just once and we will leave the room, and never come back.”

In our first 2 sessions, we tried placing the delegates’ manuals at the various tables, and asked the delegates to sit wherever they found their manuals.

We would guess by their names and surnames, where they “should” be. It was a time-wasting exercise and one that only partly had the effect that we wanted. People still felt as if they had been pre-judged. And it was true.

Once we had defined the teams, in this way, we would then get each person to introduce another, on a human level. Many of them knew little or nothing about their fellow team members. This was a good part of the exercise and there was good benefit. But the pre-selected teams did not truly gel.

Arthie and I took a step back and looked at the opening of the programme and we realized that the delegates had to select their own teams.

We know that people normally choose the people they are most like, or with whom they are most comfortable. If this were to be the case, they would not fully experience each other as human beings. Nor would they understand the value of diversity and the value of “different” people.

We then developed the team selection principle of “who adds to me.” In order for this to work, we honed the interview questions to be more in line with the programme outcomes, the competitions and the team points system.

Before the introductions, we advised the teams that they would be selecting their teams based upon competitions and we told them of the bases of the competitions.

In South Africa, this included eating habits of various groups, proverbs, cultural knowledge, language, traditions, religion, drawing skills, dance skills and hula-hooping skills. We also advise teams to get their gender split right, as there is much wisdom to be found in all people.

Internationally, we work with the artistic/ dance, hula-hoop, talents, experiences, local knowledge and the qualifications of the teams. For example, with the Bank of Zambia, one aspect of the team competitions, drew upon individuals’ knowledge of international financial markets.

In South Africa, once conflicted groups selected teams that went across, level, position,  ability, culture, age, gender, race, language and religion. And the team knowledge was incredible – thus their opportunities to learn were equally massive!

In Zambia the selections went across level, position, gender, age and experience.

Some feedback

Senior management delegates at Lake Kariba, said:- “Very well received, a unique delivery technique.”, ” Delivery standard – World Class.”, “The course has broken interpersonal barriers.”

One of our Ethekwini Municipality (Durban and surrounds) delegates had this to say… “Change goes deeper than a cross on an election ballot, or learning a “black” language, or being able to live wherever you choose, or even affirmative action… From President to petty thief, and city manager to general worker, we are all unique and yet all the same. We are all humankind – the South African way.”

Another delegate closes off his feedback, on his personal transformation, with… “We have a country rich in people who are unique in their variety. Our uniqueness is special. If we open our hearts to it we will all grow and become more special. Let us all embrace the uniqueness and utilize it to shine brighter for us all.”

Our change in Celebrating Humanity© team selection methodologies had multiple effects. Here are four…

Firstly, delegates now listen very carefully to the introductions. They begin to know each other better, from the earliest possible moment. A delegate from SA Container Depots… “Now I know my team members. For past 10 years I have walked right past them without greeting. Now I have friends who I know. I will greet them all in the future.”

Secondly, they chose their own team members, in a totally new and aware way. Because they add to each other, they almost always get the diversity right. When they do not, it shows up in their team’s lack of points. Delegate Luanne Schmidt, says.. “The experience has left me with a sense of joy that if each one of us in our wonderful “Rainbow nation” takes the time to really get to know and understand the traditions and cultures that make this such an exciting country to live in, we truly will become a nation to be envied.”

Thirdly, they began to experience the power of sharing wisdom and working together in diverse teams. This is extending outside of the training room. Another Ethekwini delegate had this to say… “I have accommodated all these people and other cultures in my heart, in a similar way. All of them are so important in my life. There is a lot that I can learn from them about my personality, their personalities as well as my country.”

And point number four, they begin to understand their own multi-faceted value and their marvellous uniquenesses! A once fearful, and now newly-trained, Celebrating Humanity facilitator in the Ethekwini Municipality Diversity Training programme… “Truly we are catalysts of change. We have the power, the ability, the training, the desire and the courage!”

They had taken the first step towards realizing that diversity and uniqueness in team members creates greater opportunities for learning, growth and success.

They also took the first steps towards becoming the leaders of tomorrow. Leading with each other, for each other – together.

And through them, we begin to lead and leave our legacy for the future!

Brian V Moore© 13/4/2005
“At the level of respect all people are equal”

There are many such simple yet innovating aspects to the numerous Celebrating Humanity© programmes. “The Celebrating Humanity© programme is not simply a “programme”, it is not just a “course”. It is a “cause.” – Celebrating Humanity Facilitator – Ethekwini Municipality.

And now something valuable at no cost to you!

Articles and Stories, PLUS information on the Celebrating Humanity© programmes, can be found on:- http://www.africa-dreams.com/

“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

Brian V Moore Website

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Racist name calling in South Africa.

Name calling never helps.
In South Africa it is deemed hate speech to use the “k” word, particularly if the person saying it is not black. However, as previously stated I have heard on very rare occasions black people using it on each other. The word (kaffir), whatever its origins, is simply hurtful and hateful and not acceptable.
However many black people find it acceptable to call a white person Umlungu (Zulu), Ngamla (Sotho); and Afrikaaner is called “iBhunu” (Boer or farmer); a Muslim would be called a “iSulumani”; and person of Indian descent a “iKhula”. The latter comes from the term Coolie. Any of these names group people in a manner which makes it easier to “define”, or “hate” them. This is simply prejudice at work.
Our politicians – some of whom fought the “struggle” for peace against the Apartheid regime sing old struggle songs – such as “Kill the farmer.” This targets the white group in South Africa, in particular people of Afrikaans descent.
The challenge here is that everything else except the use of the “K” word are not seen as hate speech – by the perpetrators. They believe that they have the right to say and sing divisive and hateful things. Until we can build a nation where we can clearly state One South Africa, One Nation and “At the level of respect, all people are equal” we will still live in a land of “them and us.”
To add a few other dimensions even within, so-called similar races, there exist names for each other. English speaking South Africans are some-times called “Rooineks and Soutpiele” the first meaning rednecks – from the sunburnt appearance of the British soldiers fighting in the Anglo-Boer war. The second is a bit rough and I will not translate it here. Some English speakers call Afrikaners “Dutchmen.” None of which are acceptable.
Amongst Indian-speaking South Africans the word “Coolie” and it’s African language equivalents are not acceptable. Many of this group will call themselves “Charous” – very few however allow others to do so. There are further divisions amongst those who originate from North and South India, with the Hindi-speaking northerners being known as Roti-ous and the Tamil speaking as Porridge-ous. This is derived from the flat bread cooking of the Hindi speakers and the porridge used in prayer ceremonies by the Tamil speaking people. This has become a more fun way to describe each other.
The descriptions of other groups by South Africans of Indian descent – such as vet-ous (White people), Slam-ous (Muslim people) and Bruin-ous are some of the many colourful ways to single out members of other race and religious groups. (The word “ous” is Afrikaans slang for people.)
And then in Africa, tribalism enters into the equation. This is becoming more and more prevalent. We are occasionally called in to resolve team conflict where there are no white people. One of the main challenges listed is racism. Because the cultural beliefs and traditions are so different one group may describe the other as, “animals.”
We do not need to separate by group, this prevents us from knowing people as humans. The time has long come that we should respect each other and venture into other diverse circles to find out what makes us tick. Are we so different? Or are we a bunch of human beings from wonderfully different diversities that have been tainted by our histories. Sadly we are being poisoned by the new wave of political utterings, too.
Let us not make the mistakes of the past. Let us build the future together – based in respect.
Brian V Moore 14 June 2012

Feedback from a successful team conflict resolution program

 Celebrating Humanity Team conflict resolution programs remove conflict from teams, through celebration, agreements, clearing and individual accountability.
Here is some feedback from a recent client:-
From a Sales Managers point of view on the training program Celebrating Humanity I found that as a head of department in the Sales division it was certainly beneficial to my whole team. 
I have noticed that their attitude towards one another and to their work has improved remarkably. There is a sense of urgency, motivation and commitment to evaluate a situation before making a decision on certain aspects of their job functions.
The Teambuilding: This was interesting and informative and gave me a different view on my staff I thought that I knew them all regarding their habits and what they did in their everyday activities both at work and on the home front “was I surprised” each individual had similar concerns which was not too much of a issue but had not been voiced in as much detail .This is where the trust and transparency filtered through even more that ever. 
I am perceived as an honest and trustworthy member in my department and this was nice to know that we collectively were brought closer together in sharing our views as a Team rather than individuals.
Methodologies: The methodologies that were applied in achieving the interaction between on another were how I shall say “INTERESTING”. It reminds me of the old saying Back To Basics how true this is, a simple good morning how are you, and how your weekend was is a great opener in any conversation followed with a Smile. 
For one to have the courage and trust in revealing ones personal problems, concerns, and even thoughts on a particular issue is normally a tedious extracting process, not the case when face to face as the exercise revealed where we say opposite one another and reveled our thought and concerns one felt almost obliged to spill all.
The perception that I had of some of the staff “in other departments “was misconstrued. I found them to be transparent and almost enthusiastic to tell me everything they possibly could in the short space of time that we had.
Ability to work with different cultures: This is an area that needs lots of work; it’s too easy to assume that people must answer you back in your home language. I need to take the time to learn the ways and cultures of those we interact with on a day to day basis.Just the basics will be a huge stepping stone forward, too often one feels not so much as embarrassed but more “not informed “well enough to attempt a simple SAWUBONA as an example to someone that we see on a day to day basis .We slip into our comfort zone and use our own native language. 
The body language I found interesting and different in each culture that I encountered as well.
Conclusion: Anyone that is willing to change for the better, the company and in the way they approach life in general will be pleasantly surprised of the outcome of this program. It has given me a different prospective on my staff and a better understanding of how they feel. 
The “buy in” from all has been fantastic and in particular an approach on how to “fix “issues is a joint venture between ourselves as “A Team”. The interaction with other department is much more “transparent”. A huge stepping stone in the right direction.
From: Dave Finch                                        Date: 3rd February 2012

Posted by Brian V Moore


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How important is it to you to build relationships, with people who are different to you?

People are different.
Our biggest challenge to building our businesses, lives, opportunities and experiences is the human need for conformity.
And most of us want everyone else to conform to our norms, experience and upbringing.
So how important is it to you to build relationships, with people who are different to you? Are you prepared to learn more about yourself and others?

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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