Friday, April 21, 2023

Family Trustbuilding Dialogue in Pretoria, South Africa 

The Family Trustbuilding Programme (TBP) dialogue is the second follow-up, following onto the Creators of Peace Circle (PC) where previous PC participants are encouraged to bring a family member. This is done in partnership with Ukulunga Foundation, Initiatives of Change and Olievenhoutbosch Development Association. This is now the third year.

This took place on the 14th April, with 14 participants. The aim of this particular TBP dialogue was to follow-up on the tasks from the previous session and to open up a space once again for honest conversation on personal inner healing, including family members and friends on the journey. Some participants brought their siblings and friends.

After introduction, participants shared their expectations and were reminded of the ground-rules. Some expectations were to know how to understand family dynamics, strengthen sibling/friend relationships and learn more about trust.

During a time of quiet, reflecting on ‘grateful changes’ one is aware of since the start of the inner healing journey, Sizani mentioned that she is most grateful for the self-awareness she is experiencing. She continued to share that she can now say she knows herself better and expresses herself better. She has decreased the amount of cigarettes she used to smoke. Another participant said that she is now able to communicate with her sister whom she used to hate. She can now work on forgiving her, she felt.

Participants gave feedback on a 'homework' activity they had been given at the previous follow-up. They were asked to think of what they would like to have achieved in 10 - 20 years and to write a 'book' with five chapters. Examples of the titles of the books shared at this first Family Trustbuilding Dialogue were: Overcoming anxiety, A confident me, Forgiving, The Last Black Unicorn. Some of the headings of the chapters were ‘Learning and unlearning; Forgiveness; Overcoming grief; Self-forgiveness; Peace; Loving again.

We took time to acknowledge the stories of being broken, looking at the brokenness generations have inherited without the opportunity to ask why. What transpired was that the younger generation have inherited the hate for LGBTQI community, gender roles in house chores, dating within the same culture or race, religion without asking why. While other generation is promoting indulgence of alcohol, religion and culture without consulting. One participant said: “My mother was never present in my life when I was growing up and her excuse was that her mother was absent as well when she was growing up. This has brought me so much pain. I am working hard not to do that to my daughter. What surprises me is that my mother is more present to my daughter than she ever was with me.” Another participant said, “We really need to work hard on ourselves so that we don’t repeat the brokenness of our upbringing with the next generation.”

The solution that the group found together was that change begins with them and they can do a lot when they work together with love.

We thank all donors who made this dialogue possible.

Report by Gladys Mabe and Cleo Mohlaodi