This year’s second ACT course took place from the 18th-22nd of August, enjoying a wide and dynamic attendance. Reflections from course participant and ACTION’s new intern, Tshimologo Makgokgoa are shared below.
When the course started there was a sense of global citizenship because so many countries were represented in the room. It gave a sense of common purpose to be reminded that we do not work in isolation to transform conflict, but that we share the goal with many others. The collective aim of participants was to learn more about the way conflict plays itself out, what its function is and how we can apply the tools we have learnt.
As the course was in motion, we started learning that conflict starts with the individual. In order to transform conflict, it has to start from within. The tools of analysis were an eye-opener for all, they made the group realise how conflict cannot be taken simply. There are attitudes, behaviours, root causes and different levels involved in the analysis of conflict. Conflict is far too complex to be taken lightly and given one solution that applies to all conflict. Another realization was that conflict is not always bad and positive conflict brings about change within the self and in society.
As the days progressed and field trips were taken, people began to understand there is a way to forgive after a scarring conflict like in the South African case. People started to understand that forgiveness and reconciliation are needed in order to progress as a country. People were encouraged to keep reflecting on what was happening, which for some became a transformation from within.
Applied Conflict Transformation speakers came in and challenged our group to take action and engage with information in a critical way. This meant that every person within our group was tasked with transforming their own environments, using the tools given for the greater good; starting to see that information is structured in such a way that it benefits someone. Information is not as neutral as we were led to assume. The dominant narrative sometimes fails to tell the real version of a story.
By the end of the course people appreciated that we have a shared vision for Africa where Ubuntu informs our thought processes and actions; an Africa where there is development – economic, social and political. Many of the participants vowed to take the transformation to the ground and enable the ground to connect to policy makers.