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

Diversity Training in South Africa

Africa Dreams Website – Celebrating Humanity International

Celebrating Humanity Projects

Team Building in South Africa

Celebrating Humanity Blog

Celebrating Humanity on Facebook

Contact

Mobile: +27 (0)79 643 4457

Fax: +27 866 746 310

Team Conflict Resolution Options

The well-known Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict Resolution program has been designed to accommodate teams that are pressed for time and large organisations.
The Harvest program, with an initial 2.5 to 3 days session,  gives participants extra time to develop leadership, solutions to challenges and advanced communications skills.
The Mini Harvest program, with an initial 1.5 to 2 day session, is tightly adjusted to build the team in as short a time possible.
Both programs have the Values Circle Process to clear the past, get commitment and a peer-developed code of conduct – to guide the team into the future.
The follow-up processes and programs ensure long lasting and powerfully inclusive change.
Check out our website for more information. Or 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

Celebrating Humanity – Team Conflict Resolution©

Celebrating Humanity – Team Conflict Resolution©
24 May 2011 – Brian V Moore

Celebrating Humanity International has over 20 years experience in diversity training, team building and team conflict resolution.

“Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.”
- Richard Branson, in his book, Business Stripped Bare

The focus of this enjoyable, inclusive, participative, non-threatening and effective team unity building© programme is to develop professionalism, trust, motivation, understanding, communication, relationships, unity, accountability and respect within your client’s team.

From challenges – to unified and professional teams

The programme is a combination of diversity management, team building, leadership development, relationship building, communication skills development – ending with a solid long-term team agreement which guides the team to work together into the future. After the intervention all team members start afresh – with a clean slate – clear of all past challenges.

This is not a talk, a negotiation – or a traditional team building – this fun and exciting programme is an interactive, transformational and sustainable experience with wonderful lessons learnt and skills developed!

The Celebrating Humanity Mini Harvest© programme has 3 separate stages, with support and follow-up, to ensure long term success.
Team Conflict Resolution Process


Stage 1 – Initial 2 day programme.

EYE Opener Day 1

Designed to Celebrate the Humanity within your team and develop skills in an Exhilarating Learning© environment and thereby:
Create an environment of respect in the team.
Develop an understanding of communication styles and personalities and how to communicate with respect and effectiveness.
Develop an understanding of team members.
Develop interpersonal communication and respect
Create an environment of communication, solution-finding and praise.
Develop understanding of attitudes and their effect on relationships
Bring the team closer together as colleagues.

Values Circle – Day 2
 
Develops understanding of how the team should and should not behave and puts the team in charge of its own actions and behaviours.
1.The team creates and commits to a formalised peer-managed Code of Conduct, thereafter all team members clear past interpersonal challenges and commit to the team, and to manage their own actions.
The code of conduct ensures that all team members are committed to work together in a respectful way and commits the team to very brief monthly meetings to:
a.Praise and Honour those who deserve it.
b.Develop understanding
c.Give guidance to values breakers
d.Offer support to those with challenges and send those who will not be guided by the team and who break the agreed rules, for the normal company discipline processes.

Monthly meetings and follow-up +- 1 month after the initial programme.

Sets up the team to maintain the programme, through 1 hour 6 weekly meetings. The first meeting, 2 – 4 hours, is facilitated by a CHI lead facilitator, on site.

The team will receive:-
1.A fully explanatory copy of the Code of Conduct.
2.A copy of their signed commitment to the team.
3.An agenda for the management of the ongoing monthly meetings.
4.Photographs on CD or DVD.
5.Free access to telephonic or e-mail support.

Exhilarating Learning Methodologies


Exhilarating Learning© is non-threatening, effective, fun, lasting and unifying.
Exhilarating Learning© activates all of the human learning senses through group & team-focussed processes and exercises.
Learning is ensured through Inclusivity and the use of Intellectual, Visual, Audio & Kinesthetic sensors.
Inclusivity and Teamwork is ensured through Team reliance on each individuals’ Unique Talents, Skills and  Knowledge.
Knowledge and Understanding is developed though the Inclusivity processes.
Teamwork is developed through Group Achievement and the need for Total Participation of all delegates.
Mutual Respect is ensured through the Competition Points System.
Communication Awareness and Skills are developed practically.
Open Minds and Total Participation are ensured through the unique environment and processes.
Long-term Understanding is developed through introspection and the questioning environment.
Tools include the use of various languages, story-telling, music, video & competition.

Testimonials

“On behalf of Team US, from the U.S. Consulate General in Durban, I write to extend our appreciation for and unparalleled experience in cultural sensitisation and team-building!
The 2 day session made our diverse team stronger and more supportive of one another.  This (team building) was by far the most meaningful and effective in fostering good communication, mutual respect and a strong spirit of co operation amongst our multi-cultural staff. “
Jill Derderian – United States Consul General – Durban

“There were times when attitudes were so hard and fast that I thought it would be an impossible task to create teams within groups of people that we were working with but Brian and Arthie with incredible insight and genuine humanity were able to find the chink in the armour and break down barriers that had been built and protected for decades.
From those tenuous and fragile beginnings, many teams soared to great heights achieving outstanding results. I am forever indebted to their excellent work.”
- Sue Hall & Associates

 
Celebrating Humanity International
Diversity Management, Team Building and Team Conflict Resolution Specialists

079 643 4457/ 072 439 4220/ brian@africa-dreams.com

http://www.africa-dreams.com
http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
http://transformdiverseteams.blogspot.com

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

Mphephetha’s Wedding – Great lessons cushioned in a culture shock!

Joko laughed at my patent nervousness as he lead me into the traditional Zulu gear stalls at Dalton Hostel – in Durban, South Africa.
Animal skins lay around willy-nilly as did drums, umbadada (car tyre sandals) and empty Juba cartons. There was a lot of movement of people entering and leaving the hostel. A number of drunken men lazed in the sun and indolently observed as this big white man entered their own almost tribal  domain.

One of them staggered to his feet and aggressively expelling his boozy breath, he demanded to know, “Ufunani umlungu!? (What do you want, white man?). I responded with equal power, “Ufunani umuntu!?” (What do you want Zulu person!?). The inactive audience suddenly burst into surprised and delighted fits of laughter. My interrogator laughed meekly and stumbled towards his friends.

As we entered the dark shops the crafters’ art became apparent. Magnificent Zulu shields, beads, headgear and other finely detailed items of traditional imivunulo (warriors attire) were on display.

Joko greeted everyone, “Sawubona lekhaya! Ngiyahamba no uMthimkhulu!”, and thus was I introduced by my Zulu name, to a chorus of disbelief from the shop owners.

It was mid-year 1993 – a year before South Africa’s independence from the Apartheid government. Prejudice was deep and attitudes ranged from hate to fear in many previously isolated race groups.

Joko – a jovial Zulu man – and I had met a few days earlier at the Pick and Shovel restaurant. I told him of my desire to purchase a traditional Zulu outfit. “No problem.” he said. “We just need to go to Dalton.” “Do you mean the hostel, where there is so much violence.” I asked. He said, “Don’t worry you will be safe, I am taking you.” And here we were.

There was much laughter at my size as we moved from shop to shop. Each one selling a different component. Here shields and there amabeshu (hides shaped to cover behinds). Each craftsperson was skilled in the manufacture of a certain part of the imivunulo. There were fighting sticks, walking sticks, spears and knock down sticks. Head, chest, elbow, leg and waist gear hung from the walls and ceilings.

A few men lay about the place, sleeping off hangovers. Their neighbours sold on their behalf. Every now and again a sleeper’s eye would open. He would grunt his satisfaction and drift back into dreamland.

Slowly compatible pieces were gathered to form my very own outfit. A black and white cowskin shield contrasted well with the light tan impala skin ibeshu that hung over my behind. The beautiful sewn and twisted izinjobo covered the sides of my legs up to the isinene, which covered the front.

There was much laughter when the enthralled shopkeepers showed me a straw thimble, known as iqoyi. This they giggled, would save any man from embarrassment….

Inkosi (Chief) Bhekisisa Bhengu, had become a friend in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, through my peace making and rural development work with the Natal Canoe Union. He was young and very wise, an interesting mixture of modern and traditional. He has travelled to Washington DC – USA and Zimbabwe and is well educated in development and local government issues. He longed for development in his area and was very involved in the traditional respect system.

I drove out to see him, with my new imivunulo in my car. He was as impressed as I was delighted and said, “You must wear this on Saturday at Inkosi Gwala’s wedding.” A thrill of fear and excitement ran through me. It was a year before the first free elections and KwaZulu Natal was racked with political violence. Putting aside my natural trepidation, I agreed to meet him at 10 am on the day of the wedding.

My niece Jean, and I drove down into the valley and arrived at his Emshazi home, across the road from the tribal court. He seemed surprised to see me so early and we hung around and chatted. Every so often he would look at his watch and shake his head and say, “Hayi Bhungane – I don’t know where these people are”. I think he was just trying to settle my western rush to do things, so I relaxed into the day and whatever it was to bring.

After a while Mrs Bhengu fed us. Then we waited and watched the goats and chickens wander around his yard. An old man drove his old van into the yard and opened up the bonnet. We then had a conversation on all things mechanical. Around about 1.30pm Inkosi Bhengu decided it was time. “When is the wedding?” I asked. “It is on now,” he said, “in fact it has been going on all day. Let us get dressed.”,  he said.

He called his young son in to help. We, two men from two different worlds, prepared to culturally meet. I am sure my ancestors in Ireland and Scotland were rolling in their graves, as I learnt how to put on my skins. I learnt how to hold my shield and how a warrior should walk and stand. Little bits of string held each component to my body and I felt very exposed in my underpants.

Inkosi Bhengu looked splendid in his imitation leopard skins and I stood proud on my car-tyre sandals, as my unclad parts shone brightly in the African sun. The journey was about to begin. We drove down the hill to Shabalala’s store and he then began to dress. When he was ready, we moved onto Mathowuli’s place. His name comes from the fact that he always has a towel wrapped around his head, like a turban.

Up the hill, on steeply angled red clay roads, to another Bhengu. There was much shouting across the lands from homestead to homestead. The Inkosi was going to the wedding and he was with an umlungu in skins! An incredible excitement seem to hold the valley in its grip.

Baba Bhengu complained of how his imivunulo no longer covered the fullness of his body. He called his young son and asked him to shine his legs with vaseline. “Would you like some?”, he asked as he offered me the jar. “Thank you,” I laughingly answered, “but I already shine far too much!”

The procession gathered people and cars and we met up with Induna Cele who had an impressive python’s skin for his ‘beshu.

The young maidens were now gathering and bounced down the hills towards us. They blew dance whistles, beat on drums and ululated as they jumped into the cars. “Wozani,” the Inkosi called inviting them into his car. “Thank you Inkosi,” they said. “We will go with him.” Girls piled into my car and somehow the Inkosi ended up with me, as well.

The Inkosi and I led his people down the dusty roads, alongside the beautiful dam, to eMaphephethweni. The young maidens still shouted, whistled and ululated with delight to all who would listen!

“Slow down, Bhungane.” said the Inkosi as I hit 40kms per hour. “There is no rush”. At 2.30 pm we cruised into the area. The bride and groom were in traditional Christian outfits as they had just completed the church wedding. Little people in beautiful suits and dresses wandered around the church. Car alarms had been re-wired to run continuously to let the people know that their Inkosi was getting married!

Our own group wound on past the church to the tribal court. At which point my confidence took a temporary and almost traumatic beating. As I stepped from the car, the excited people began to ululate and shout. Many ran toward me. Even little old ladies raised their umbrellas and advanced upon me in a threatening and laughingly aggressive way. I later found out that it was an expression of joy and fun.

The Inkosi walked coolly amongst the people with a tiny smile upon his face. I just smiled, greeted everybody and ducked the “attacking” matriarchs.  And stuck like glue to the Inkosi. My petrified niece was as close to me!

“Who is it” A man asked. “Juluka (a famous white Zulu singer/ dancer)? “Maybe,” said another.  “but if it is him, he has got very fat!” Later an old man asked me when I was going to sing. I looked at him quizzically, and he said to anyone who would listen,”He doesn’t understand me. He can’t speak Zulu.”

We were lead up the hill towards the homestead. Inkosi Bhengu’s traditionally-clad followers gathered and walked at our sides in a protective and energised squad. We were taken to the VIP hut where we were treated to Zulu hospitality. Jean was led away to be with the women, and I to the amabhuto (the Inkosi’s regiment.). The AmaNgcolosi gathered around their Chief and began to beat their sticks against their shields. A powerful rhythmic noise filled the rolling hills.

Young men would suddenly leap out, dance and spin away, beating their shields and presenting a fearful face to the gathering crowds. Ladies, young and old, began to dance and ululate near the group. Dance whistles blew, drums were beaten and horns were sounded. As the warriors’s passion grew d they continued to “‘giya” with more energy, to the obvious delight of the wedding guests.

We marched down the hill towards the kraal. Singing songs and beating our shields. I was still a little fearful but was becoming more a warrior than a man from the city. The  Inkosi showed me how to hold my shield again. I was at one with Africa for perhaps the first time in my life.

The wedding processes went by in a blur. A delighted Inkosi Gwala danced for his bride. She was now dressed in her traditional gear and he in his imivunulo. Gifts were traded back and forth and families were united through the bride and groom.

The young groom “ ‘giya’d” for his people. He danced and showed his masculinity for the appreciative guests to see. He marched with his amabhuto and I ended up in the cattle kraal with them. The names of his ancestors were called by his praise singer and respect for his line was shown.

Later we ate and shared Zulu beer. It is milky in colour and far less alcoholic than western beers. We sat in a huge crowded hut, as the amabhuto sang and danced. The place vibrated and reverberated with energy. Huge cracks opened in the concrete floor from their stamping feet. Globes of sweat ran down their glistening and muscular bodies. The songs were unlike anything that I had ever heard. It was an amazing place to be, in an amazing country, amongst an incredible people.

The sun had set long before we left. Our car lights pierced the darkness of an electricity free Umgeni valley. We reached home after 9 that night. A roadside newspaper seller was shocked to see this “white” Zulu reach out to buy the early edition of the Sunday paper.

With me forever will be other special moments. The image of the amabhutos running, as one, from the surrounding homesteads.  The view into the valley of a thousand hills. The smells of the skins. The man who said I should not wear anything beneath my Zulu “kilt”. The maidens running down the hill and Bhengu and his vaseline. The Induna in his python suit. The energy, fear and the acceptance.

And most of all my assimilation into a tribe of Zulu warriors. Into the Bhengus, the AmaNgcolosi of Ndwedwe. My life was forever changed. (I later was part of the clan that met Princess Anne of England.)

Brian V Moore © 24 11 2002. 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

Team Conflict Resolution Book

It is extremely exciting that our new eBook on Team Conflict Resolution Strategies has now been launched in the UK.
This incredible conflict resolution book brings the works and experiences of Brian and Arthie Moore in resolving team conflict, over the past 20 years into the public domain.
Readers who use the conflict resolution skills and techniques contained therein will bring about great change within their teams.
Enjoy,
Brian V Moore
brian@africa-dreams.com

Latest feedback

From Sue Hall – 9/3/2010.
Brian and Arthie have worked with me on numerous occasions building teams through gaining greater understanding and acceptance of one another on a holistic level.

There were times when attitudes were so hard and fast that I thought it would be an impossible task to create teams within groups of people that we were working with but Brian and Arthie with incredible insight and genuine humanity was able to find the chink in the armour and break down barriers that had been built and protected for decades. From those tenuous and fragile beginnings, many teams soared to great heights achieving outstanding results.

I am forever indebted to their excellent work.”
Service Category: Business Consultant
Year first hired: 1990 (hired more than once)
Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

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

Making the World a little better – through Giving.


Give a little bit!

One of the most important principles of our Celebrating Humanity International team, is to give more than we receive.

This essentially means that we do, what we do best, for free for deserving organizations – or organizations that impact the lives of others.

On 2 October 2009, we will honor the giving of the Johannesburg Hospice by running a free team building program, for their staff.

If we all took some time to support the givers, and those who do not have, the World will be a much better place.

There are so many of us who sell our time for money – and passionately talk of “making a difference” in the World. Yet when there is free, unbooked and unpaid for time – do we all loook for ways to make a difference, at our own cost?

We do. And we will keep on doing so!

Here is a little about Hospice…

Enjoy,

Brian V Moore

The Hospice Concept:

Hospice is a concept of caring derived from medieval times, symbolizing a place where travelers, pilgrims and the sick, wounded or dying could find rest and comfort. The contemporary hospice offers a comprehensive program of care to patients and families facing a life threatening illness. Hospice is primarily a concept of care, not a specific place of care.

Hospice emphasizes palliative rather than curative treatment; quality rather than quantity of life.”

I want that medal! Achieving against all odds!

The full Umgeni river thundered and surged around and over the mighty rocks in Graveyard rapid, as we paddled hard for the finish of 1986 Dusi Canoe Marathon. The rear cockpit of our blue racing K2 kayak was cracked from an earlier spill in the tricky uMzinyathi rapid. Suddenly the brown water threw our craft towards the Graveyard’s final obstacle a huge, partially submerged rock.

We pulled hard, Mother Nature laughed at our puny efforts and within an instant we were facing each other. Our weakened canoe was wrapped around the rock. As I fought to push off the rock, Terry elected to roll out into the current. As he did the old blue Foxbat lifted up its tail and sank into the pool below the rapid.

As we pulled the kayak to the bank Terry said in a matter-of-fact way, “Oh well Moore, that’s it.”I looked up from the boat, and said, “I haven’t come this far not to finish this race. I want that medal!.” He looked thoughtfully at me and, in his tough way, said “Ja, you’re right! Let’s fix this … thing!”

As he spoke, my old VW Kombi came winding around the corner loaded with our seconders and patching materials. It was a miracle that we met at this critical time on the 120km race. This merely proved to me that when we total commit to a goal, the necessary resources will miraculously be there for us. The kayak was broken in half, held together by a token strip of fibreglass and resin.

Dusi Canoe Marathon

Achieving against all odds. Brian and Terry Moore

 

As we began patching it with tree branches, duct tape and fibreglass, I reflected on the events of the past three days. This was my third attempt at the Dusi canoe marathon – an epic journey from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. I was ill-prepared on the first attempt and narrowly missed cut-off on a very dry river on the 2nd day of the following attempt.
Terry and I were known as the “Heavyweight Champions” of the Dusi – based only on our weight and little else! We weighed a combined 210kgs which we packed, tightly into a 45kg canoe. This excluded drinking water, wet life-jackets and paddles! We had already covered about 100kms in the intensely oppressive January heat in sub-tropical Natal (KwaZulu Natal) and had according to our growing tradition and a lack of training, just made cut-off on each of the previous days.

We had the strength and skills to negotiate rapids and the mental fortitude to handle long paddling sessions but distinctly disliked the many steep portage sections. In a full river portaging was the safest option, but we ignored the easy way – in pursuit of exciting paddling experiences.Now 20kms of paddle and portage lay ahead of us. There was plenty time left if the canoe was in good condition, but the need to carry the craft would make it difficult to get to the finish before the cut-off.

As soon as we had finished applying the wet resin, fibreglass and branches we picked up the misshapen craft and set-off. Good wishes of our crew and some local residents rang in our ears as we set off on our mission improbable. W

e laughed at the fact that we, of all people, were carrying a canoe next to a perfectly flowing river. We occasionally forded the river, climbed hills and forced our way through “wag ‘n bietjie” (wait-a-bit) thorn bushes. I carried the front of the boat. Behind me Terry was beginning to stumble. Suddenly he and the Foxbat hit the deck. The canoe took on a definite and permanent banana shape! “Are you ok?”, I asked. “Ja.” came the response, “Just a little bit goofed!” Unbeknown to me the resin and catalyst were beginning to gel and the Terry was breathing in the hot fumes. He had never been that high in his life!

After breathing in un-polluted oxygen for awhile we once more headed for the finish. Terry must have become accustomed to the fumes, or begun to enjoy the effects, as he never complained again.Eventually the repairs to our “banana boat” had set and we took to the water below the last rapids and paddled and emptied, paddled and emptied our way towards Durban.

We ran out of drinking water and at times a severely dehydrated Terry seemed a little delirious. We met a group who gave us ice-cold drinking water, just when we needed it most.The news of the pending arrival of the “Heavyweight champions” had preceded us.

Many hours later, with just 14 minutes to spare, we paddled our sinking canoe past hundreds of cheering spectators. We were stone last. As we crossed the line I silently began to cry tears of tiredness, elation and relief. This was my first Dusi finish. We had done it!

Terry still talks today of the steely look in my eyes when I refused to give up, saying, “I want that medal.” He says that knew then that we would definitely finish the race. Often in our lives we make choices. We go with the flow and the naysayers, or we say, “I have come this far… there is NO way that I will give up!”
It is at these points in our lives that our destiny is determined. And it is then, when the Universe celebrates our commitment, and brings to us all the necessary resources to attain our goals. In the power of a decision lies huge opportunity. It is at times like this that we need to honour not only the people who receive the awards, but those who made it possible. To our supporters – the unsung heroes – thanks it is your giving and caring that makes all of life’s successes possible.

Brian V Moore©brian@africa-dreams.com

PS… My Lessons

Whatever stress you are under now – there is a still another “medal” to be won.Live in gratitude for the people who love you, believe in you and support you! Set your goal, patch up your “canoe”, and head for your next critical stage in your life. Together, you can do it!

PPS.

The annual South Africa Dusi Canoe marathon covers approximately 120kms of mountainous terrain and the courses of the Umsundusi and Umgeni rivers. The Kwa-Zulu Natal based race starts in Pietermaritzburg, and ends in Durban – 3 days later.

Request a Team Building quotation, Diversity Training quotation
or Team Conflict Resolution proposal

“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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Contact

Mobile: +27 (0)79 643 4457

Fax: +27 866 746 310

Diversity Training Video (Transformational Team Building Video)

This is one of the many inclusive, non threatening wasy that we open up communication and understanding in our Celebrating Humanity workshops.

The drawings are changed for the different groups, diversities and countries that we find ourselves in.

Enjoy!

Brian Moore