What does it mean to be an African in South Africa?
This was the topic chosen by the participants during our April Diversity Dialogue.
The voices that emerged with a view on this topic were the voices of History, Emotions and Capitalism. History highlighted the continuing influence of Apartheid on this question. It was described as an echo that continues. This echo was a heaviness and discomfort we needed to step into. We explored possible ways of engaging with the echo, which included showing up, listening, looking, holding the space and serving in response. Capitalism recognised its relationship with the echo – the echo drives us to buy more to dull the echo and distract us from the discomfort.
Distrust turned up in the expression of different voices – distrust of capitalism, consumerism, marketing, manipulation, corrupt individuals and leaders.
There was a longing for hope and for a new dream that would unite us. This culminated in a conversation with an ideal African, where the characteristics we would like to see included love for the country, selflessness, not taking things personally, courage, wisdom, the ability to resist the temptation of money, humility, caring, generosity, understanding, resourcefulness, multi-lingualism and multi-culturalism, a commitment to growth, provision for others, just doing the job. We realised we could all become the ideal African – our description was valid across gender and race…