Self-awareness and being aware of how we influence our surroundings is part of human growth. It is something to aspire to, yet requires some commitment and action on our part.
At least two things are necessary to set this process in motion. One is spending time with ourselves and thinking through ideas on our own. The other is spending time with others, talking and thinking through ideas together.
The added benefit of communal thinking is that we receive insights on how we affect the people around us and our environment. This gives us more food for thought, which will hopefully change the way we interact, for the better…as well as change the feedback we receive from others.
For each of us the starting point is different and is largely dependent on our personalities and our backgrounds. ThinkThru-TalkThru aims to provide both resources and opportunities for considered thinking and talking to happen.
On 13 July, ten people gathered at Johannesburg Bible College in Soweto to dialogue around the topic of “Killing in schools”. Other themes included violence in home and society, rights and freedom vs. responsibility, and government’s failure – mainly in the education system, the unintended societal results of changes and laws, and the unintended results […]
On 18 May in Auckland Park, the topic chosen was “Family”. The dominant theme was the continuing influence of inequality on our relationships within families. The underlying power struggle between inequality due to race (with different shades represented within a family) and inequality due to gender (with a strong patriarchal dominance) was evident, with strong […]
Dialogue inspires self-awareness.
Dialogue tests authenticity.
Dialogue develops compassion.
Dialogue builds bridges.
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.
Dialogue inspired by Poetry (DIP)
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.
I followed the advice I had been given as a white person in inter-racial spaces, to listen more and talk less, by writing poems. Poetry helps me process my life and the things that I see happening around me daily. Before I knew it, I had written a collection of poems – enough to fill a book. dwelling in dissonance is the result.
Putting my words out into the world is a vulnerable place to be, but how can I expect others to be vulnerable and exposed, if I am not prepared to do so myself?
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
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
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
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 was born in Germany, but grew up in South Africa. As a German South African she has learnt to live and work in cultural environments different to her primary culture. She speaks fluent German, English and Afrikaans and is learning Sepedi. She lives in Gauteng with her husband and three children.
Vera studied Occupational Therapy at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has worked as an Occupational Therapist in England and in South Africa in a variety of fields, including in mental health and in childhood development. She has co-ordinated and facilitated monthly discussion events, occasional conferences and weekend breakaways. She is also a regular guest speaker at various churches and events on a variety of subjects such as self-esteem, family relationships, ethical consumerism and so forth.
think before I talk
or talk before I think
talking helps me truly think
or thinking helps me talk truth
Let’s not over-think
Live in tension.