In our normal daily conversations we seldom speak about challenges that affect us deeply. A face-to-face dialogue is a rich experience that offers a safe space to explore perspectives unfamiliar to us, be heard and continue our journey together with a greater understanding of each other.
Diversity Dialogue is a monthly inter-racial dialogue, open to the public and facilitated by Christians using No-Name-Initiative methodology. We believe that the Gospel is relevant to all of life, including the racial tensions we encounter around us and often have to deal with within us.
We are also available to facilitate private dialogues on request.
No-Name-Initiative or NNI
The No-Name-Initiative dialogue is a transformational group process that supports personal responsibility and accountability towards active citizenship. The group process was developed by Jonelle Naude in South Africa and started with a research questionnaire in 2010 exploring the question “What does South Africa need?” More details can be found at www.no-name-initiative.com .
There is a set order to a NNI dialogue which includes guidelines on how to make the most of the opportunity to dialogue, a time of dreaming about what a better world could look like, the dialogue itself, reflection on the experience we have shared and a look at where to go from here… Although this is a four hour process, coming late or leaving early is not recommended!
Dialogue inspired by Poetry (DIP)
DIP: Dwelling in Dissonance
In music, dissonance refers to an unresolved, discordant chord. It can also be defined as an inconsistency between the beliefs one holds, or conflict between one’s beliefs and one’s actions. Our natural tendency is to move away from this experiential discomfort as quickly as possible. And yet, it is in this uncomfortable place of incongruence, that growth happens.
A dialogue inspired by poetry is a process of self-reflection and sense-making as we connect with each other across some of the issues that divide us as South Africans. Vera Marbach presents some poetry from her recently published book dwelling in dissonance to generate discussion. Expect a heart-to-heart session on where we presently find ourselves and how to move forward meaningfully.
From potential to practice (workshop / brainstorming)
It is usually easy for us to describe what we dislike, what we are fed up with, which problems overwhelm us and what we want removed from society. Frequently, our next step is to look around us for someone to blame. We often find it more difficult to move beyond this reality towards something new that we would like to see in its place.
In this workshop, we identify the bad, the ugly, the rubbish, the things that need to stop. We also come up with a picture of the positive and what these new possibilities could actually look like. And how we can contribute to achieving the potential we have identified in practical ways.
In a time where blame-shifting is extremely fashionable, Vera’s introspective poetry comes as a refreshing alternative. South Africa will be a much better place if everyone who calls it home follows Vera’s example by examining how we are often part of the problem.
Rev Johan Erasmus, co-founder of Dialoog and Real Talk
Vera Marbach has taken the time to dwell deeply on the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means for those living out the fractured South African story. In this little anthology she has gone into the forbidden places, leaned into the whispered conversations, and surfaced some of our darkest secrets. She has entered into the pain of being South African. She has done all that, but she has not left us without hope. I commend her work to you.
Roydon Frost, Curate, Christ Church Midrand
These poems come at a time when a lot of young black South Africans are asking if “future South Africa” really needs another older white voice to help in its construction. Through these poems, Vera shows that she is not just that, an older white voice. Instead, like most of us, she is a flawed, broken human being with a very complex heritage. Willing to get dirty and muddy, willing to get punched in the face (metaphorically), willing to be corrected, willing to be silent when required and willing to stand up and fight for the country that homed her.
This work invites all of us who call South Africa home, to roll up our sleeves and get messy for the sake of preserving our soil.
Blaque Nubon, Rapper at City Gate Recordings and Youth Worker at Christ Church Midrand
I see a new generation of creative artists and artistes, such as Vera Marbach, who are rising to the challenge of redefining, not only the dialogue we have with each other across the many issues that divide us as South Africans, but also even the space in which we have that dialogue, as we take our faltering steps along the challenging road that lies ahead of us towards the key milestones of genuine restitution and heartfelt forgiveness, before we ultimately enter into the fellowship of true reconciliation.
Themba Gamedze, author of The ATOGA Kingdom series