Studying transformation in South Africa

Studying transformation in South Africa

When last have you heard from Johannesburg?


13 November 2017

When last have you heard from Johannesburg?

In short, we are right at the boundaries of our unfolding post-apartheid dream: acutely aware of how easily a vision can be corrupted, yet refusing to let go of the hope that our diversity and the inspiration from our long road to freedom may just pull us through.

Intellectually it’s easy to grasp that we are still faced with the result of our unresolved social trauma. That we are right in the middle of experiencing what social transformation really entails: long, hard work. That the messianic euphoria of a larger-than-life Mandela was just the beginning.

With our anti-apartheid heroes quietly receding into the backdrop of history books and street names, we are starkly confronted with the fact that it is our turn now. Will we dare taking up our responsibility? And if we do – how shall we sustain it?

We know that revolution runs the risk of merely revolving around the same axles that caused the original trauma. And we know that merely retreating into the daily regression of making a living will slowly support our gradual degeneration.

So there really is just one way: creating spaces that are safe enough to confront and work with the powerful forces that are consciously and unconsciously affecting the way in which we relate to ourselves, each other and the history we have been creating together.

Inspired by this belief, a group of mainly South African psychologists, consultants, academics, social workers, managers and artists formed a nonprofit initiative about a year ago. It is called TILT – The Institute for Leadership and Transformation. Our desire is to create spaces where people can think about and transform their roles, institutions and society.

Last year we presented our first Group Relations conference, together with the Tavistock Institute and the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), titled Leading our Transformation. The conference title emphasized the idea that we cannot wait on another Mandela-messiah to lead our transformation as a society, but that each of us, in our various respective roles, must lead the transformation of our own roles and institutions.  You can read the conference director’s report here.

This year our conference title is Transformation 2.0 – Leading at the boundaries of the unknown, highlighting the fact that transformation is hard and ongoing work that is not to be confused with the initial euphoria and promise of change. Join us in Johannesburg from 4 – 8 December 2017 to study, in an exceptionally suitable context, the dynamics of taking up authority, providing leadership and sustaining transformation when things are uncertain and constantly shifting. The conference consists of two sub-conferences, the Beginning sub-conference for people participating in their first residential Group Relations conference, and the Immersing sub-conference for people with experience of such conferences. I am the Conference Director. The Associate Director for the Immersing sub-conference is Eliat Aram and the Associate Director for Administration is Thembi Kgengwenyane.

All the information and the online booking form can be found here: http://www.tiltinternational.com/transformation2017

Jean Cooper
Conference Director: Transformation 2.0 – Leading at the boundaries of the unknown

Eliat Aram
Conference Associate Director and CEO, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, who are proud to sponsor this event.

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