The following write-up is a contribution of Mme Tshepang D. Mojalefa, after her and Mme Philiswa Lila’s experience of a gathering centered on Ubuntu, the concept of humanity and self-love. It is hoped that this contribution to HORIZON7621 will leave the reader to re-consider self conduct. This entry asserts the bleak nature of our future with a lack of Ubuntu. It then sets the tone towards re-inserting Ubuntu in our conduct. The last part of the report highlights the structures of the workshops/sessions that were taken by the candidates who attended the Conference as an effort to reach an outcome.
A Short report
On a Tuesday, the 31st of August 2010, Philiswa lila, a member of the Creative Industries Consortium and my self had the privilege to attend a National Conference on Ubuntu organized by the National Heritage Council held at Gallagher Estate’s Convention Center in Midrand, Gauteng. The all day event which concluded with a gala dinner, as they call it, aimed to discuss issues of Ubuntu in the society or rather the lack thereof of Ubuntu in our society.
Ubuntu is a pleasant, very meaningful word we use everyday, but the problem is one, we don’t practice what we preach, wise words say: ‘easier said than done’, but is it impossible? A smile very once in a while, picking something up for the next person, helping a blind person cross the street etc., those are some of the simplest, yet most crucial things one can and should do everyday in the name of Ubuntu. Nowadays though, it has become difficult to greet the person next o you, afraid that they might not even take a glance at you, never mind respond. So it’s a lack of simple things like this that call for our urgent attention to our ‘falling-apart’ society every day, but we never respond because we are always worried, ‘what will people say?’
So the National Heritage Council of South Africa saw that there was no-one who had the guts to stand up and fight for the right thing. They responded to the urgent call by gathering our nation together in a conference setting, so as to ring the alarm in each South African and non South African alike about this nation’s pitfall. There is an urgent need to turn around, look and go back and reclaim and then live with the values of a just and a caring society. If things continue as they are, imagine our world in a decade or two or a century from now. It will be beyond disastrous. There’s still a chance now to make a change or to make a difference, but change has to start with me, as well as with every individual right now.
The Structure of the Conference
This three session conference was blessed by the presence of Prof. David Mosoma, who was the programme director of the first session. It was opened by Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO of National Heritage Council, alongside Mr. Mike Mlengena, Chairperson of National Heritage Council, the key-note address was delivered by hon. Ms. Edna Molewa the minister of Social Development.
The second session, after our first tea/coffee break, was then held by Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa as programme director. The speakers for this session were Adv. Enver Surty, the Deputy Minister for Education, who addressed Values in Education.
The next speaker, addressing Evolution and Application of Ubuntu Philosophy in a Democratic South Africa, was Dr. Mathole Motshekga, the chairperson of Commission on Religion and Traditional Affair. Then Pundit Ashwin Trikamjee, the General Secretary for National Religious Leaders Forum, rose to the occasion addressing Code of Conduct fo Persons in Position of Responsibility. This session is concluded by Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, who joked that he was the only thing standing between us and our lunch while talking about The Bill of Responsibilities.
After the delicious, top of the range lunch, we went to the third session of the conference led by a fellow called Mr. Sipho Sithole, briefing everyone on the workshops that were about to follow. These workshops were divided into four categories.
- Revival of the Values of a Just and Caring Society (Group I)
- Promotion and Collective Ownership of Values of Just and Caring Society (Group II)
- Towards Integration of Ubuntu Values into Public and Private Programs (Group III)
- Sustainable Measures for Safeguarding Values of Ubuntu in Society with tangible Outcomes and Benefits (Group IV)
Above, these were the topics given as a task to four groups, a topic per group, which were then led by:
- Dr. Wally Serote (Freedom Park) as the facilitator and Ms. Anna-Mari Pieterse ( Humanities Team SA and Ubuntu Day Action Group), as his Rapporteur. ( Group I)
- Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa (Moral Regeneration Movement) as facilitator and Mr. Sipho Sithole (CRATA0, AS THE Rapporteur. (Group II)
- Hon. Mr. Richard Baloyi (Minister of public Service and Administration) as a facilitator, alongside Mr. James Gadinabokao (CRATA), AS HIS Rapporteur. (Group III)
- Prof. David Mosoma (NILC) as facilitator, assisted by Mr. Phakamani Mthembu (DAC), AS Rapporteur. (Group IV)
After having discussed and prepared the presentations, where Ms. Lila and I were in the last group, the respective groups were requested to go back into the conference hall, where our rapporteurs then presented the group’s discussion to everyone else and allowed time for some questions and comments from the audience. After the presentations,Ms. Pumla Madiba, a member of the National Heritage Council, had the honor of concluding the conference, bringing it to the most pleasant moment of the day, the Gala Dinner: time to eat!!!
Which of course, due to time not being on our side those of us who were transported by the private hire bus of the City of Tshwane had to leave for home. This hasty departure caused a conflict but nothing too serious.
© Tshepang D. Mojalefa 2010