MONDAY 2 MARCH 2020
CYCLE IN SOWETO
09h30 - 12h00
Our first stop in this sensing journey is Soweto. Together with our passionate guide we discovered the different facets of this township.
"Cycle in Soweto" offers private bike tours. By riding with them we escaped a bus tour and we had the feeling we experienced so much more by having real interactions with locals.
Our first stop here was the enormous unused gras field where people sometimes gather to do sports. Due to the bad maintained facilities, less and less people are coming over to do sports.
From this field you have a nice view over the west side of Soweto. From the Orlando football stadium, home of the Orlando Pirates Football Club to the slums right next to it. South West you will find the Soweto Towers, a true landmark for the suburb well known for bungee-jumping. In the south you can see the 'famous street', the street where you can find the houses of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Our guide shows us the typical matchbox houses, well known in Soweto. They call them matchbox houses because of their typical rectal form. Mostly in these house up to 20 people live together. A friend of our guide explains us how he was raised in one of these houses by sleeping in the kitchen together with his brother, being awaken by the cockroaches in the morning.
What struck us the most here are the big differences between the different communities, from people without a lot of resources to the very wealthy ones just a few hundred meters away.
Our journey through Soweto goes on when we stop next to the local Hospital, a small building specialised in helping people with HIV. When we enter the main street of Soweto, we stop in front of what was the house of Desmond Tutu, well known for his work for the anti-apartheid. Next to his house we can talk with a lady who is selling plates to raise money for people having HIV, she feels blessed to tell us the her story regarding her contact with people suffering from HIV & AIDS and how she is dedicated to keep on raising money with creating small plates herself so one day there will be a cure. In South Africa 19% of the population between 15 to 49 years old is diagnosed with HIV, a disease that still breaks thousands of families apart.
We move on to the house of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela. Our guide tells us the amazing story of these two people and how they had an impact on their community. How they fought for the anti-apartheid, and how Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Our final stop is the memorial statue for the students who marched in 1976 against Afrikaans as a medium of Bantu Education. During this march a young boy was killed by a police officer, something that left a big mark on the community of Soweto.
When we look at all the stories that we got during this 3 hour visit we notice that this place is full of history. For this, the word that comes up in our group when we have our lunch in Soweto is Authenticity. This place has a huge history where the people of Soweto are immensely proud of. We feel that this history and this authenticity needs to be respected to the fullest when we translate this into a Vision for the company.
If you are interested in a tour guided by Cycle in Soweto, please visit their website
13h00 - 18h00
In the afternoon our external facilitator guided us with several exercices to make sure we could formalise what we experienced in the morning on our Vision Platform.
During the exercices we as a group felt that we were going to a next level. We really felt that with the information we got and feelings we've lived we got the energy to start doing things ourselves for our own communities. We saw that with the passion, the smile and the talents people have, you can go very far.
Keywords that came up to our minds during this workshop were #connection #deconnection #impact #authenticity.
During the excercise and sharing our thoughts some interesting questions came up to our mind such as :
- What is life asking from me right now?
- How do you measure significance?
- How do we detach from material atachment for a more equal world?
- What needs to connect with me so I can make change happen?
- Why did you let the world distract you from who you are and what you realy need?
- In 2030 how will we stay human?
Questions that got an impact on us personally as well as the group. They gave a lot of energy to us to make that change in the future with the big focus on authenticity. We take these questions home with us and will keep them in mind when we want to do local actions in the (near) futures.
We closed the workshop with a tour de table to express what we felt. One of these expressions that gave a lot of energy was this one:
LET YOUR ENERGY EXPLODE
INFECT OTHERS WITH IT
KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T LIKE CHANGE UNTIL CHANGE IS MADE!
WE BRING THE CHANGE!
WE ARE THE CHANGE!
Our main answer after day one regarding, "how can I live in harmony with myself and others for a better future" would be to respect the authenticity of each individual and community so they have the full availability to write their future based on what they really need and that each individual has an enormous power to have a positive impact on it's community when a smile, passion and talent are involved.
Before respecting ourself and the others, perhaps we need to get the opportunity to know ourself better. How many people get the chance to take the time and ask themselves «Who am I? What is my role in this world? How can I participate to a better world? How can I create value for myself and for my community?»