So almost 4 months ago now, my two weeks staying at the world changers academy in Durban came to an end. It was an experience I will never forget and I can’t thank all the people that made it possible enough. I just wanted to provide a reflection of my experience.
South Africa is a beautiful country from its beaches through to its rolling hills.
The community that we spent most time with was the Zulu community. A community that is still affected by the fall out from apartheid as well as a HIV epidemic. The unemployment rate is predicted to be around 40%+ in this community but truthfully they are still unsure as to the exact numbers of people living there never mind the unemployment rates. During our visit we were fortunate enough to live with a family in a township for one evening, admittedly the house was nice probably nicer than world changers in some respects (sorry Craig). The family shared with us what it was like to live within the community: the high crime rates, lack of work and risk of sexual abuse. Along with other things we saw in Durban it was very difficult to listen to and take in…
But this is not my memory of South Africa and it is an unfair representation of the community as a whole. The fact is that every country has significant issues, whether it be unemployment, poverty or terrorism but one thing that stood out more than anything was their love of life. Everyone we met within the communities was so passionate about South Africa and although they may have been financially poor were so willing to give and so friendly.
It has forever changed my own personal definition of the word rich. As a part of the challenge the team were all involved in a personal leadership programme that tried to break down our preconceptions and leadership issues, this process reinforced to me the importance of not pre judging people. After all the truth is everyone has things in their lives that cause them to act the way they do, the process of being willing to understand and work with that gives you real enlightenment.
As I move forward I want to make a real pledge to myself and to everyone else that I can’t forget the lessons that I have learnt not only in my short time in Durban but also in my prior experiences. After all, this process of learning and development is what sets us apart as mankind.