Exploring the origins, ethics and future of changemaking

Posts Tagged ‘Rwanda’

Why resistance is important

In Culture, Theories of Change on September 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Despite my being a supporter of marriage equality, it is vitally important in the long run for there to be resistance to it. I would say that for any social change issue, we need to rethink our tolerance for resistance, because it is in the resistance itself that real change happens.

A number of years ago I was living in Queensland when Pauline Hanson made her famous debut on the political stage. It was a remarkable time to be there. I remember how friends, almost overnight, started to express what was to me the most vile racism. I was shocked by not only what was said but the fact that people I knew, really good people, were all of a sudden speaking in such fearful and hurtful ways

What Pauline Hanson did was dredge up and fuel dormant racism. She exposed a part of Australia’s social consciousness and collective karmic psyche that was to me repulsive. Despite my judgements of it at the time, the fact of the matter is that it was there and it needed to be dealt with.

Of course along with bringing to the surface this previously unacknowledged fear within the society, it also brought to the surface those people and ideas that were pursuing the opposite. I remember 40,000 people showing up for a Reconciliation March in Brisbane, an attendance and purpose that would have been unimaginable only a couple of years earlier.  It was an exciting time in Australia actually, because there was such a surgence in civic activity, social consciousness and the dissolving of outdated views.

Social change requires both the dark and the light.

Despite the discomfort at the time, and the pain that was caused to people through her words and the communities actions, it was all necessary for the social change process. In the end Pauline Hanson lost nor did Read the rest of this entry »

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How forgiveness went viral in Rwanda

In Justice on May 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm

A few years back I had the privilege of traveling to Rwanda to spend time with a friend with whom I had been collaborating with on a business start up. I met Ndekezi originally in South Africa in 2006, after which he and I both spent some time together in each of our countries.

Through my time and friendship with Ndekezi I learnt a great deal about life in Rwanda, how to start a business there, his passion for peace and love, and the African approach to entrepreneurship. I have also come to observe this in other entrepreneurs I have met from different parts of Africa. While there is no ‘one’ Africa, nor indeed only one approach to entrepreneurship there, I have certainly come to appreciate and respect a very different way of approaching change and ‘doing good’ in other parts of the world.

One particular story that I think captures the essence of the “Rwandan Way” is the process the nation embarked upon post-Genocide. Without going into the full depths of the Genocide story, this event in 1994 was a pivotal point in the history of that country and the world in terms of what we expect of ourselves and our Governments. In 100 days, almost 1,000,000 people (1/8 of the country) were killed . This all happened in a physical space less than half the size of Tasmania.

In the wake of this extraordinary event, Rwanda had numerous challenges. In addition to the ongoing issues of health, food security and a struggling economy, Read the rest of this entry »