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Our International and South African Workplace Diversity & Teambuilding Programs
1 Day Diversity Teambuild For those teams that are not in serious conflict, but really need to develop respect, understanding, communication skills, teamwork and accountability.
2 Day Diversity Teambuild For teams that are simply not understanding and respecting their team members, and are in great need of building better attitudes, diversity understanding, communication skills, ownership, accountability, teamwork and respect for self and others.
2.5 Day Transformational Teambuild For conflicted and diverse teams who are in great need of building better attitudes, diversity understanding, communication skills, ownership, accountability, tewmwork and respect for self and others.
This teambuild introduces the peer built code of conduct and clearing and puts in place team agreements to remove conflict.
12 Month Transformation Teambuild For conflicted and diverse teams who are in great need of building better attitudes, diversity understanding, communication skills, ownership, accountability, teamworkand respect for self and others.
This teambuild introduces the peer-built code of conduct and clearing and puts in place team agreements to remove conflict.
This sustainability is further maintained with 12 monthly follow-up teambuilds.
I would recommend Mthimkhulu International to any organization that has a diverse group and you would want to get the best benefit from the group.
Communication, respect and ownership improved from all sides by 100%.
Jan Vermeulen, Eskom, Ellisras, South Africa
The respect between different race groups has been restored and some of the people who were negative have changed so much that they have been promoted to higher positions with greater responsibility.
Jan Vermeulen, Eskom, Ellisras, South Africa
Suncoast Casino has already sent over 750 people Eye-Opener programme.
"I have no doubt in my mind that this intervention will go a long way towards creating an environment in which equity in the workplace is not seen as a threat but as an opportunity to diversify our workforce and improve skills."
Million Mbatha – HR Manager - Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World
“How can any human being not
embrace the spirit of humanity? Sonja Wright - Durban, South Africa.
Political freedom has come and will be here
for many years to come. Or has it really?
Can there be political freedom where the colour of a person’s
skin or their gender, race, religion and language is so critical to
each decision, conscious or otherwise?
Horror stories of race-based decisions, true or false, abound in
corporate and government circles. Laws, made necessary by the past and
the tardiness of companies in their programmes of inclusivity, have
ensured that we are once more separated by race.
At a recent training session a corporate client made their team members
complete apartheid styled forms. “Are you Black, Coloured,
or White,” the form demanded to know.
And recently, when my wife went next door to deliver Diwali gifts of
sweetmeats, our neighbour called out, “There is a coolie at
door. See what she wants!”
At aout the same time our neighbour on the other side came rushing to
our fence with his family in tow. “As salaamu
greeted from his religion, “Here is a Diwali gift for
At the end of the fast of Ramadaan we wished them “Eid
Mubarak” and shared some suitable gifts on this holy day.
At the back of our house our past neighbours would pop their heads over
the wall to see who dared to speak Zulu so loudly. Of course it was me
with my friends. As I did not look as Zulu as they expected, they soon
In a country like ours, where respect and an opening of our country to
all is expected to be held firm through laws, “apart
has replaced the laws of Apartheid. And it will continue to do so until
we all realise that different human beings do not diminish us.
No! They actually add to us.They add to us with their different skills,
their different views and their different opinions! The manner in which
have grown up, our cultures, religions and experiences all bring so
much more than any one person can.
Yes. Laws that attempt to force change through colour came from the
leaders of Apartheid. These leaders are no longer with us however, the
general South African thinking and methods of correcting the past lie
firmly in their ideologies.
Political freedom lies somewhere deeper. It lies in our ability as
people to be human first. There can be no racism if we all belong to
the same race - the “Human Race.”
Within a short time, and with the emphasis on team competition, these
same people have selected multi-diverse teams. Based simply on the
premises that “people who are not like me add to
When the teams combine their wisdoms, skills and talents they are able
to answer multiple questions and perform a wide range of tasks.
Which would simply not be possible if they all came from one culture,
gender or religion.Through the process delegates bring value, are
valued by their teams and experience how valuable they truly are.
A recent course deep in, what was once, AWB (Afrikaner Weerstands
Beweging) country delivered this feedback...
“We are all just people. no matter race and
gender.” G Chapman - Klerksdorp
"Ek dink elke liewe persoon in Suid Afrika kan baat by hierdie workshop
- want mense moet ophou om in ‘n velkeur vas te kyk en eerder
verskillende kulture en persoonlikhede van mense leer!"
Translation: “I think
that every person
in South Africa can gain through this workshop - because people must
stop being stuck in a skin colour and rather learn about the different
cultures and personalities of people. - Gerda Crous -
A month later Michael Khumalo, when asked how relationships had
changed, had this to say:-
“I am free to be with everyone. The supervisor is my brother.
are all brothers and sisters, together. Irrespective of, and including,
all levels. We are laying the foundations for the future. We need to
take this home and plant the seeds of the future for our children and
the country. In this way we will grow as a nation.”
In another very conservative area in the Limpopo province the
supervisor responded to a call for feedback 15 months after the
programme was initially run:-
“Communication, respect and ownership improved from all sides
100%. The respect between different race groups has been restored and
some of the people who were negative have changed so much that they
have been promoted to higher positions with greater
During the recent Celebrating Humanity pilot programme for Ethekwini
Municipality, Sonja Wright, a trainee facilitator said:-
“How can any human being not embrace the spirit of
She went on to say... “Apartheid officially died in 1994 but
it dies in our mind sets begins with us and it’s never too
We have a duty as South Africans to ensure that our descendants do not
judge us harshly on our words and our actions. I have a duty to my son
Lliam, not yet four, to ensure that he grows up in a world where he is
valued as a human being. How will he look back on my exploits and
antics if I do not create a safe place for humanity?
I wish that my ancestors had thought of the havoc that they were
wreaking on this fine world.
Not only in South Africa but world wide.
Do the leaders of Israel, Palestine, South Africa, USA, Britain and
Russia - amongst others - know what mess they are building for their
childrens’ children to mop up?
If they did they would take step back from the precipice and teach that
“at the level of respect all humans are equal.” And
all do not take the step, we too will be in the history books.
As dividers of the human race. As Leaders of Separation, Injustice and
Disrespect. As the new perpetuators of apart hate.
Political freedom starts in a Constitution. But true freedom only
exists in reality when it is indelibly imprinted in the minds, hearts,
souls and actions of all the people that it protects.
Simply we need to stop our definitions. When asked to describe
ourselves, no longer do we need to say Male, Female, Black, White,
Indian or Coloured - we should simply say,
"I am a human being." It is NOW our time to be FREE and become members
of one race. This is the moment - let us not miss it.
A bean is revealed when you open
it’s shell. - Zulu proverb.
live in such a wonderful country.
We have had an incredible past and that strange history has been used
by many of us as a catalyst for personal change and growth. And sadly
others still hark after the past, or operate as if nothing has changed!
And change it has! South Africa has gone from skunk nation status to a
place of beauty and wonder. A place where all people can live their
lives with self-respect and respect for others.
I can remember when it was difficult to move around the world with a
South African passport. When people in love could not be married - by
virtue of their colour or race. Where we were separated into groups,
denied or benefited by virtue of our birth. When cars were driven
across the beautiful highways of our nation at 70kms an hour because of
fuel sanctions. (A trip from Johannesburg to the coast took up to 12
hours in holiday season!)
It was a time when we were so divided that we did not know how others
lived. And we did not know or understand the realities of life for
people who were not white.I am delighted that Apartheid has all passed
behind us. I am excited to be a part of this new country where we are
an example to the world.
I am happy to be a pioneer laying the groundwork, through affirmative
action and employment equity, for the children of the new generations.
Sometimes it is hard to be white and male in South Africa. But nowhere
as hard as it was to be "non-white" in Apartheid South Africa!
Yes, we are the new “voortrekkers”, we are the
fleet” boldly opening up new frontiers and horizons. And we
opening up our country to all of it’s peoples. What a legacy
build for future generations!
Arthie and I are delightfully and ecstatically married. In the old
South Africa this would have been impossible! We would have been hunted
down & exposed. Here is a piece from
http://www.fact-index.com/i/im/immorality_act.html that shows just how
far we have come.
"The Immorality Act was one of the most controversial legislative acts
of South African Apartheid. It attempted to forbid intermixing of
couples of different race both in the area of marriage as well as
Mixed marriages and the immorality act became the first major pieces of
apartheid legislation. In 1949 mixed marriages were banned in South
In 1950 the act was followed up with a ban on sexual relations between
blacks and whites. One of the first people convicted of the immorality
act was a Cape Dutch Reformed minister; he was caught having sex with a
domestic worker in his garage. He was given a suspended sentence and
the parishioners bulldozed the garage to the ground.
On the grounds of the Immorality Act, the police tracked down mixed
couples suspected of being in relationships. Homes were invaded and
doors were smashed down in the process. Mixed couples caught in bed
Underwear was used as forensic evidence in court. Most couples found
guilty were sent to jail. Blacks were often given harsher sentences
In 1985 the Immorality Act and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act were
The full extent of forgiveness in our country from 1990 until now will
never be quantified. It has been hugely miraculous that we are where we
Imagine my surprise when attending a recent birthday party for a 3 year
old, when the other young parents banded together. And allowed a few of
their group to make loud comments on Arthie and my relationship. "These
mixed marriages are not on," said one. After a few more similar
comments another stated. "At least the child came out o.k." Referring
to our son Lliam who has a light Italian complexion.
Arthie has always maintained that we are indeed a mixed couple. "One
boy and one girl. That is a good mix!", she says.
And of course any couple comes from mixed backgrounds. They were raised
differently by their respective parents, with different morals, in
different homes and in different circumstances. And some times even
when your complexion is similar it is hard to mix. Have you ever heard
the one about "My mother-in-law...?"
Back to the kiddies party. We did not feel aggrieved. And we felt no
hurt from the "injustice" of their words, we only felt the pain in
their souls. These poor & misguided people were still living in
mind-view set by a law repealed nearly 20 years ago.
Most of them were only 5 or 6 years old at that time! I wondered what
their parents taught them & how they programme their own
children.Yes, we wish that one day they will find love and peace. And
that they too can be human beings first and not live in judgement of
the first thing that their eyes see.
Which leads me to a Zulu proverb. "Uhlubu’ dlube
Literally - "A bean is revealed when you open the shell." It is used
when one is surprised by the wisdom, skills or talents of another, or
when a person does something amazing that you do not expect. This is
similar to the English proverb, "you can’t judge a book by
Somehow we were being judged by our ‘colours" and a muddled
perception of a "perfect relationship". Just as others are daily
judged, by people from all backgrounds, by their religion, race,
language, favourite sport or soccer side, hair colour, heritage and
education. And anything else that makes them different to the judges.
Arthie and I have the most beautiful relationship. With our marvellous
uniquenesses we add to each other. We grow each other and complement
each other. We are soul-mates. Ours is a match made in Heaven! Our
multi-lingual 4 year old son Lliam is a stunning, loving, warm and
So before you judge us - take time to get past the shell. We may be
three very beautiful beans! When our true selves are revealed you may
find something special within.
The multi-diverse people of South Africa are all incredibly unique
beans in diverse shells. They are the reasons that we have such a
marvellous country. They are what makes this such an exciting place to
My greatest understanding is that people, who are different to you and
I, add to us. They bring wonderful knowledge, wisdom, traditions and
cultures. They bring new ideas and new views.
And they only add to us when we open the shell, question, experience
and delight in their uniqueness.
Let us step away from our simplistic programmed assessments and move
into today. Right here, right now, with the human beans (beings) who
make you and I human.
As Arthie and I have discovered, there is so much freedom in being
human first and anything else much later.
He had worked for a major multi-national vehicle manufacturer for 17
This was one of many such stories. Our country has many people with
different eating requirements and preferences. Interestingly food is
incredibly important to relationship-building in all cultures.
An old English proverb states that, "the way to a man’s heart
is through his stomach."
A saying in Setswana, "Moeng goroga re je ka wena," literally means "a
visitor comes so that we may eat." To give greater meaning - "When we
give we receive. We are happy when we have visitors because we prepare
lot of different food for them and every member of our family gets to
share with them."
And yet corporates often neglect to cater for the dietary needs of
their team members. Their focus is on building skills and not
One of our past clients decided to focus on budget and stopped all
refreshments and meals for delegates on training. "We have more money
for training now! They will have to bring their own food."
A delegate commented after the programme, "I loved the training but
couldn’t hear anything after lunch time. How am I expected to
concentrate on an empty stomach." Another angrily complained, "We are
just things to them. Just work units."
We now ensure that delegates are fed and more importantly that everyone
receives food that is in accordance with their religion, tradition,
culture or dietary need.
Often the challenge lies with the less aware conference venue or
organisers. They eat everything and they are surprised that others
Amongst those who do care and actively prepare or purchase food that
suits their delegates are Pineside Hotel in Pinetown and Ushaka Island.
Ushaka goes to the extent of setting up separate Halaal and Kosher
stations for guests.
The less aware organisers mix pork sandwiches with vegetarian and
supply beef to Hindu devotees. They are joined by unaware delegates who
mix the spoons from vegetarian meals with those from meat-based meals.
We recently observed a top-level business leader move from one snack
tray to the next, biting into the snacks and returning the remains to
At a wedding a ravenous man grabbed at the snacks and shoved them in
his mouth. He used the same hand over and again. His spittle went from
mouth to snacks. Thus, through two selfish individuals, entire plates
of snacks were tainted and could not be eaten by groups of people.
At a large Gauteng Casino resort a group of Eastern South Africans
asked for roast chicken. Unfortunately the roast chicken shared a
serving tray with a leg of pork. They asked if there were any untainted
The chef excitedly brought a new chicken on a separate serving tray,
and picked up the pork knife and began to cut into the chicken.
Needless to say the new chicken was tainted and the guests could not
Often supplying the correct meal is a simple one. Halaal meals can be
bought from a mosque. Kosher food from a temple. Kitchens can be
separated into vegetarian and meat preparation areas. Separate utensils
and pots are required.
At a braai (barbecue)) use different fires and specific dedicated
grills. Know your people and their preferences.
As a very simple example if your team was Hindu, Western, African and
Muslim have one braai (barbecue)) for beef, another for chicken and
lamb and another for vegetarian.
Separate the alcohol drinking and serving area from the eating area.
Check with your team if it is alright to buy Halaal meat and if so you
have a braai (barbecue)) that all people can attend. If not, more fires
and grills will be needed!
If it seems like too much work, think about the extraordinary amount of
work that members of your team do each day to ensure corporate success!
It really is such a little matter to cater for your team or customers
and you can always source a culturally aware caterer and leave the
details up to them! And whilst you are about it check your team members
for the food they can or cannot eat for health reasons...
you ever offered a compliment to someone and they negated your gift?
Perhaps you said, “That is such a lovely outfit! And they
answered, “This stupid old thing, I bought it for R10.00 at
flea-market.” Or “I love the way you handled that
customer.” and the response was something like, “I
I get paid to be nice.”
When that happened how did you feel? Did you want to share another
compliment with that person, or do you now steer away from saying
anything good to them? Most people will stop complimenting, or offering
assistance, or inviting someone for dinner if the responses are often
In fact people from many groups and cultures would feel that their
offer of friendship is being denied, and that hurts!
Community-based groups which could include Hindu, Muslim, Oriental and
a multitude of African cultures normally offer food to a visitor.
Generally they would be saddened, or even offended if their giving was
Some will even become persistent, “Just one small
would be their response to a refusal.Your greatest opportunity to build
a relationship would be to accept the offer and sit down to a meal, or
Your greatest gift is to receive the food and in so doing their greater
offer of friendship.
Interestingly the more Western cultures are not used to receiving and
their way of showing friendship is not to
“impose”.“No please, you really
don’t have to
do that for me.” is a common response. Sadly this kind
could alienate your host.
A simple “Yes, please”, with gentle guidance to the
quantity and what your beliefs allow you to eat, will ease the way. If
you don’t eat curry or meat, say so. If your food has to be
Halaal or Kosher, let your host know. If you do not drink alcohol, ask
for water or cool-drink.If you cannot eat or receive for any reason -
in many of the community based groups - merely say “Thank
This gratefulness for the offer allows the gift of giving to be
received, without the need to eat. Food for the body builds people and
friendships, as does sustenance for the soul.
Compliments, praise and sharing are high on the main menu for the soul.
The praise should be received with a humble, “Thank
In allowing someone to give praise we create a world and environment
where caring becomes the norm. We allow a giver to give, simply by
receiving. We honour their giving with gratitude.
By humbly receiving, we give the greatest gift of all.
Always ask the people you are with about the
best way to be respectful in their circles.
They generally would love to share that with you!
Art of Giving
could see twists of smoke rising high above the trees as we drove
towards Bobby mamah’s house.
Our mood was pensive as we wondered what we would find. We had just
received a message that Arthie’s mamah’s
home had burnt to the ground. It had been in the family for more than a
We drove up a small dirt road and arrived at the still smoking remnants
of the home. It was now just an open plot with the concrete floor lying
open to the heavens and the afternoon shadows of the giant wattle
Bobby mamah stumbled over. He was totally distraught and clung to me
crying, “We have lost everything. It’s all gone.
gone.” I held him until he was a little calmer.
His wife and children wandered around looking for any items that may
have been spared. They were in shock and tearful. They had lost their
life-long belongings and all the recent purchases of gold jewellery and
clothing for their daughter’s up-coming wedding.
A Hindi wedding is an expensive affair and they had committed their
life’s savings to the purchases. All they now owned were the
clothes that they wore. It was a huge tragedy as nothing had been
As onlookers and helpers milled around the dusty smoking site, I
wondered what would happen to the family. I had forgotten the nature of
Hindu people. A nearby neighbour had already opened up their home and
space had been made for the whole family and huge support was already
I turned to Arthie, in private and said, “We have to help
have a lot of clothes at home that I can give to Bobby
She nodded and I knew that my words were not necessary. That decision
had already been made.
We went home and I began to look through the clothes that I no longer
used, or for items that did not fit me any longer.
When I turned to Arthie, I saw that she had begun packing brand-new
clothes for the girls. “Arts,” I asked,
“why are you
giving away your new clothes? We just bought them a few days
She then said something that will stay with me forever, “How
would you feel if you had just lost your home and you had to wear
second hand clothes. New, fashionable clothes will make them feel
special.” She gently added, “If you give away
has far more value if it is something you really wanted to
Into the suitcase went all of her new clothes, new toothbrushes,
toothpaste, a cuddly cat and new deodorant.
I looked at my pile and realised that my gift would not make anyone
feel special on such a tragic day. I then began to find items that
would raise my spirit if I were in mamah’s place.
My mind wrestled with my resolve as some of my favourite items went in
to the suitcase. And as I worked I thought how different this was to my
own upbringing and my mind went back to the scene. It seemed as if the
news had been painted on the sky for all to see.
A continuous stream of family and friends had arrived bringing love,
care, support and assistance. And just as we were leaving for home,
another family member had arrived with two plastic-wrapped beds atop a
delivery van. Brand new gifts - just for the family.Months after the
fire we visited the family.
They were now fairly well settled. One of the girls said to Arthie.
“You really made us feel really special. You thought of
everything. Clothes, toothbrushes, deodorant and most of all that
cuddly cat was exactly like the one I had lost in the fire. It was if
you had read our minds!”
It is moments like this that I again realise that my wife is truly
special and that there are many lessons to be learnt from her and from
From the moment we met our path has been one of growth and learning. We
jointly bring something truly special to our relationships and through
our work we will leave a powerful and positive legacy of humanness in