Monday, April 18, 2011

The programme

A story of our programming and how we only recognise programmes when we come face-to-face with them. Until then we are blissfully unaware.

As I stood talking to the two canoeists, I felt my hands shaking.

“You look like you had a huge shock. What’s up?” One of them asked.

“I have just come out of a full-blown political meeting, in that school.” I pointed up to the rural South African school, perched atop a nearby hill.

I could taste the bitter adrenalin from my intense fear. My mouth was still dry even after drinking copious amounts water.

I felt strangely distant and removed from this magical scene. Down below us, the Umsundusi river wound, through the majestic Valley of a Thousand hills, on its way towards the Umgeni river. From the oft-mighty confluence, both rivers combine their powers and surge towards the Indian Ocean.

In less than a month’s time, 800 canoeists would climb into their canoes and race between the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg and the beautiful coastal city of Durban.

They would battle the mountains, the rivers and the rapids for 3 days over the 120km course. Barely 3 months later, South Africa would hold its first democratic election.

It was early 1994. We lived in scary times. People were free to move and yet were still separated by race and status. I was a societal oddity. There were comparatively few other white people who dared venture into rural South Africa on a social/ community liaison basis.

On one side of the river, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) exercised control, on the other the African National Congress (ANC). Some of the leaders and their people, were new to the concept of democracy and inter-party violence was the order of the day. Our media showed the violent scenes and pictures each day.

We had become accustomed to the terrible stories of these troubled times.

“Are you mad?”, asked the canoeist, as his partner nodded assent. “You certainly are braver than I am!” He laughed and shook his head in disbelief.

I was known as the “peacemaker” and had become what was then termed a “white Zulu”. Assimilated into their cultures and traditions and accepted amongst the Zulu people of Enkhambathini, I was beginning to believe that I was indeed at one with the amaZulu. Until now.

It had been over three hours, since I had left the meeting and a gnawing residual fear and emptiness reverberated in my chest. “What was it? I was safe now.” I began to re-live the events.

It was my responsibility to ensure the safety of the canoeists, through communication and initiating sponsorship of schools and clinics, in the poor riverside communities. Natal canoeing was the only sports body with a dedicated development fund for rural communities, and had been since 1982. I had been in the hot seat since1990.

Wherever there was a clash between canoeists and the locals - I would meet the leaders and their communities, to find ways forward. I had even become a member of the Ngcolosi clan - near Inanda dam. I wore the traditional gear at weddings, funerals and ceremonies and truly felt that I was a “Zulu”.

My travels had taken me to many communities. I had met multitudes of rural people, in schools, halls and churches and had slowly become accepted.

My body language, my inflection, my perception of communities and communication was becoming more and more African each day.

A number of white canoeists had recently called to complain of youngsters throwing stones at them. I met the perennially friendly and helpful Inkosi (Chief) Mlaba of KwaXimba and mentioned the problem. “No problem, Bhungane (my Zulu name),” he said, “come to our meeting on Sunday at 10am. All the people will be there.”

I felt comfortable with his invitation to talk to the local community. This was what I did so well.

So on that hot, humid January weekend I drove into the beautiful Valley of a Thousand Hills. I arrived at the school a little late, to compensate for rural time. I knew that people normally only leave their homes when they see the first cars arrive! And lo and behold, at 10.30 am I was still early!

A few formal looking people in suits, wandered around the deserted school. “Sanibonani,” I greeted. “Yebo! Sawubona.” they responded. “I have come to meet the Inkosi.” “Oh,” they said knowingly. “He will be here just now.”

I was ushered to a seat in a far corner of the schoolyard. The yard was closed in on three sides by lines of classrooms. It was a long way back to the only entrance. As the crowd slowly began to grow, I greeted people and was greeted in return.

An unusual spirit began to build.

This was no ordinary community meeting. Normally all of the older people would shuffle in first. Assisted, or with walking sticks. They would be joined by the Abazali (parents). The youngsters were seldom present. And yet the younger people were streaming in today. Dancing and hopping in the dance of unity and solidarity, they toyi-toyied into the area. (Toyi toyi is a form of political dancing - it eaises fear in those who do not understand it.)

A leader came past and said, “Inkosi Mlaba won’t be long now.” I respectfully responded “Ngiyabonga Baba.” (Thank you father.) And waited for long hours in the hot sun, whilst I thought of my speech.

Suddenly, and unexpectedly, buses began to arrive at the entrance. I could see ANC flags waving. Passengers chanted slogans. The buses rocked with humanity. People were hanging out of the windows and some even sat on top of the buses. “Oh no,” I thought in sudden terror, “I am in the middle of a major political meeting!”

People began to surge into the school. Their faces were shining with excitement. Jostling and sweating they toyi-toy'd their way in.

“Viva Mandela!” called out a leader. “Viva!”, responded thousands of voices.

People came skidding out of the crowd in dance. They began to giya (a war-like dance movement). They ululated and delighted in their moment. “Viva Samora Machel!” called the leader. “Viva!” roared the people.
“Viva Joe Slovo!” Bellowed the leader. “Viva!”
“Viva ANC!” ... “Viva!”
“Viva SACP!” ... “Viva!” came the powerful responses, one after the other.

And I was trapped. Between me and the exit were thousands of over-excited and politically-roused Zulus. Freedom and political power was a hop, a skip and a jump away for them. And we all knew it.

This was a new energy.It was exciting and yet it was scary! Gasps of terror rapidly kneaded my heart.

My oneness with the Zulu people seemed to have deserted me. I began to feel very lonely and very white. My mouth was very dry and my heart palpitated at high revs. Colonel Custer, at Little Big Horn, must have felt like I did. “But,” I thought, “at least he didn’t die alone.” I stood out like a lighthouse on a dark night.

And yet someone would come by, every so often, to let me know that the Inkosi would be here soon. And I respectfully greeted all who looked my way. I knew that a few weeks earlier and just a few hundred metres away, bullets had been fired in anger across the river. I knew that many of the people here had been divorced from mainstream society for decades, if not centuries. I knew that they all had many reasons to be angry with people who looked just like me.

I was in turmoil. My mind was screaming, “Go! Go!” But my intellectual resolve was telling me to complete what I had started. Deep fears came rushing up. They burst through my humanness, into my new-found Zulu-ness.

Fear attacked my reptilian brain. It was fight or flight. All reason deserted me, leaving me unmoving, in pure survival mode. And strangely the people around showed me the greatest respect.

A full 3½ terrifying hours after my arrival, the Inkosi appeared. I found out later that he was also the chairman of the Midlands ANC. A very high local political position.

The crowd erupted into an ear-splitting frenzy. All that had passed, paled into insignificance as the crowd surged, danced, viva’d and ululated.

He came to the front. After a lot of excited, passionate chanting, they sang “Inkosi sikelele Afrika.” God bless Africa. Their right fists clenched and held up in solidarity. I can still feel the thrill of their voices, raised in unison. It surged through my physical being. It was unforgettable. An experience to be relished and enjoyed. I stood and sang along, and for a moment I felt safe.

The Inkosi called the meeting to order and said, “There is someone here who is different to us.” The crowd made a sound that would have curdled a Jedi Knight’s blood... “Wooooh!” As silence eased its way back into three thousand throats, he said, “It is Mthimkhulu (my other local name) and he has a few things to say.”

A few people began to call out the praise names of the Mthimkhulu clan. “Mthimkhulu! Bhungane! Makhulukhulu...!”

He waved me forward to speak, and on boneless legs, I ghosted forward. A cold sweat raced across my skin. My face was pale and my rubbery cheeks did not recognise the touch of my fingers. I was a dead man walking.

People reached out in excitement and touched me as I passed. “Bhungane,” they joyfully called. I nodded, greeted and went to stand beside the Inkosi.

I can’t remember much of what I said that day. I know that I spoke Zulu and I know that I sang out the praises of the Inkosi. I asked the people to allow safe and free passage to the canoeists. My carefully planned speech was cut short by fear and I closed with, “The Inkosi knows all about it. He will tell you more. Thank you Ndabezita. Thank you everybody”.

Some delighted ladies ran out and danced a few steps around me. They giya’d! Jabbing at me with their walking sticks and umbrellas and laughed their way back into the crowd. Someone called out “Viva, Bhungane!” And the delighted crowd responded, “Viva”. That was my very own viva! “Long live me?” I doubted it and received the praise from a very scared place, and weakly acknowledged the crowd.

I headed for the hills. For freedom. It was less than 100 metres to my car. Yet it was a very,very long walk that day. As I passed though the crowd, I could feel all manner of imaginary daggers and spears piercing my flesh. Some people smiled, some queried my name and some just stared. All were respectful. I was safe but I was almost petrified with fear.

Much later as I drove away from the canoeists, I asked myself, “Why, when all the signs showed that I was safe, did I have all the physical and mental signs of an impending violent attack? What was it that made me scared when I was so well protected and looked after? Why? I am a respected member of this community. I am a “white Zulu”. I contribute to this community. I have attended a multitude of meetings. Why was I so scared today”

As I allowed the questions to filter into me, slowly the answers came.

For the greater part of my life, I had read newspapers, watched TV and listened to the radio. Much of what was represented was the “bad” side of various political groups. I had seen black people rampaging through streets and stadiums.

Much earlier, as a seventeen year old, I had been a conscript in the South African Citizen Force. We were told that we were there to protect our families against terrorism, communism, the "blacks" and the ANC. We were the saviours and "they" were the danger.

Suddenly, it came to me. “I had been programmed at a deep level.”

The programme was so powerful that it overrode all of the circumstances. I had been treated with care and respect. I was recognised and announced by the leader of the area and a huge political party. That leader was and is a peace-maker. The people had sung my praises. They had called out “Viva Bhungane!”

I was totally safe!

But the programme spoke differently. It took over my body and clouded my thoughts and actions. It made me shake with fear. It opened up my adrenaline gland and my unreasonable and illogical fear destroyed my opportunity to speak and enjoy the moment.

The greatest mind authorities bear witness to the fact that the brain merely needs to imagine something for it to appear real. The very graphic displays of violence on TV and the printed media were mentally real experiences.

It was real to me at the deepest level of my being. “When black people toyi-toyi, chant slogans or gather in masses, they are dangerous.” So no matter how well I was treated, my tainted spirit said, “You are going to die. Right here. Right now!” All of the logical signs were swept way by the “program.”

I began to re-evaluate all of my values and actions against this program. And I was shocked. I wasn’t a white Zulu - I was a big white boy from the city, who upon occasion wore skins and spoke Zulu. Many of my past decisions had been made on the basis of colour, race, religion.

On that day in 1994, I had taken my first steps towards true freedom.

Freedom from politics, religious dogma, racism and xenophobia. On the path to experiencing all people as human beings and respecting them for their uniqueness. It is a long road and a welcome one.

We are all programmed in some way. Anyone who was born in South Africa before 1984, is a victim of Apartheid. Until they recognise their particular programmes they will continue to be so.

Anyone born anywhere in the world where there is pro-us and anti-them propaganda is equally a victim. Until they recognise it.

They should be as lucky as I was to experience one of my programs, at first hand. And to step forward on the road to freedom and humanness.

Brian Moore © 10/12/2002 Durban, South Africa.
Diversity Training in South Africa.
Team Building in South Africa.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fazal’s Food.

Fazal stood before the delegates, at the end of the Celebrating Humanity© session.
The Celebrating Humanity© facilitator’s voice trembled with emotion as he spoke.

“I have been deeply touched, by your giving and humanness. The lengths to which you have gone, to ensure that we have been fed, goes beyond anything that I have ever experienced.” As he spoke, tears and smiles began to fill the room.

Our story begins in our offices, during November 2007, and takes us about about 120 miles to an industrial harbor city.

Our company had been contracted to run a 2 day Celebrating Humanity Foundation© session, over 2 consecutive weekends, for a Shipping Agency. In order to get the finer details correct, I got in my car and drove to a meeting with the branch manager - Clint Evans.

We sat down and chatted about his team’s needs, the venue and the make up of our teams. One of the immediate challenges was the fact that there were two people, who had specific dietary requirements - based on their religion.

One was Fazal, from our team and another, a member of the client’s team. (It is critical when facilitating transformational teambuilding that one gets the food right - and even more important, when running work functions.)

After I left, Clint  had his organiser check the various venues and settled on a hotel that promised halaal food.

A week or so later, Fazal and I arrived on site, to find that the hotel did not serve halaal food, as it served alcohol and pork, on the premises. The wonderfully humble, Fazal - told me not to worry. He would eat bread and fruit, and that his family had packed some food for him.

During the programme we covered food diversity - as a way to build relationships. And even though Fazal had urged me not to, I told the Clint about the lack of halaal food for him.

Clint later told me that the hotel team had promised to collect a halaal meal, if their offerings were not acceptable. I asked Fazal to arrange this with the hotel. And yet, at lunch-time he sat with some bread and fruit. I asked him what the challenge was. “No problem. The hotel did not have transport available. Don’t worry bhaya (brother), I have eaten my full.”

As we all know, food is one of the cornerstones of relationship building. And one of the easiest to mess up.

When I related the story to the team, against Fazal’s wishes, they were shocked. They had done everything they knew how, to get the right thing done. Again Fazal spoke, “Please don’t worry. I am quite used to it. I will bring some home food next week.

During the following week, Clint contacted me. “I have found a small Muslim restaurant in Richard’s bay. I have made contact with them and will bring a menu for Fazal to choose from. They have promised to deliver.”

On the next Saturday, Fazal was given the menu. He spoke to me, and said, “I don’t want to impose, bhaya. They mustn’t worry, we have brought some food from home. And we don’t need much.”

I said to him, “Fazal, this is not your choice. This is their journey. And you know the biggest gift, that you can offer right now, is to receive gracefully.”

“Ok bhaya, sorry”, he said with a gentle smile. He placed his order and we left it at that.

At lunch Fazal and his partner sat together and enjoyed a perfect halaal meal. They were obviously touched, by the actions of this amazing group.

Little did we know that Clint and his team had physically gone to check the local halaal food providers. They had found one perfect place, in a small far-away suburb, collected the menu and brought it to Fazal.

As we drove home, that evening, Fazal spoke at length, of how they had honoured his uniqueness, respected him, his upbringing and his religion. In all of his 46 years, this had never happened.

He has experienced the wonder of the human spirit. And the depth of caring, will stay with him forever.

In this story, we honour the people of the shipping agency, for the extent to which they have gone, to show their wonderful humanness and respect for humanity. They have brought a great lesson, to us all.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Worlds Luckiest man!

The World's most lucky man?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Resolving Team Conflict-Nine Steps to Constructive Resolution

These 9 traditional team conflict resolution steps, that follow, may have some real value within conflicted teams, particularly for the people directly involved. However team conflict is a team issue. Everybody is affected.

Thus everybody should participate in the healing process. This is well covered in our unique and exciting Team Conflict Resolution Strategies eBook.

Have a look at the article below, the process may just work for you.

Best wishes and good luck,

Brian V Moore

Team Conflict Resolution Book

It is extremely exciting that our new eBook on Team Conflict Resolution Strategies has now been launched in the UK.

This incredible conflict resolution book brings the works and experiences of Brian and Arthie Moore in resolving team conflict, over the past 20 years into the public domain.

Readers who use the conflict resolution skills and techniques contained therein will bring about great change within their teams.


Brian V Moore

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Client feedback

From Sue Hall - 9/3/2010.
"Brian and Arthie have worked with me on numerous occasions building teams through gaining greater understanding and acceptance of one another on a holistic level.

There were times when attitudes were so hard and fast that I thought it would be an impossible task to create teams within groups of people that we were working with but Brian and Arthie with incredible insight and genuine humanity was able to find the chink in the armour and break down barriers that had been built and protected for decades. From those tenuous and fragile beginnings, many teams soared to great heights achieving outstanding results.

I am forever indebted to their excellent work."
Service Category: Business Consultant
Year first hired: 1990 (hired more than once)
Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

7 Steps to Resolving Team Conflict

The 7 Steps to Resolving Team Conflict – in the Celebrating Humanity© Way

From the book “Team Conflict Resolution Strategies – Fast and Effective ways to Remove and Reduce Stress in Teams”, by Brian V Moore.

Brian and Arthie Moore, of Celebrating Humanity International, have over 15 years experience in diversity management, transformational team building and team conflict resolution. 1000s of people have benefited and transformed through the Celebrating Humanity programme©, in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and the USA.

1.   Step 1 - Know what you want to achieve, AND know where you and your team are, before you begin. “Begin with the end in mind” – Steven Covey. It is critical to know and record, what your challenges are at the outset of this amazing journey with your team/s. The team needs a joint vision of what they can achieve through unity, teamwork and harmony.

2.   Step 2 – Follow the 8 Principles of Team Conflict Resolution through the internationally proven Celebrating Humanity© methodology. Celebrating Humanity's unique, transformational team building and conflict resolution techniques are founded in these 8 amazingly simple and stunningly effective principles.

         1. “At the level of respect, all people are equal.” - Brian V Moore – 2001.
         2. “No man is an island” (English Proverb.) “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” (Nguni Proverb)
         3. We are perfect as we are.
         4. Life rewards action. Positive and negative.  
         5. It is simply impossible for any person to manage the behaviour of other people.
         6. People will manage their own behaviour, if they set the ground rules themselves.
         7. “People know and help those who speak up – not those who remain silent.” Oshiwambo proverb – Namibia.

3.   Step 3 - Build unified Teamwork across the entire team, company/ organisation. Apply a transformational team building process that will bring harmony, understanding, emotional and social maturity, communication skills, respect, ownership and accountability to your conflicted teams.

4.   Step 4 - Set the Peer-created, Peer-accepted and Peer-managed Team Code of Conduct. When your team makes these decisions, and all team members commit to follow an agreed and constituted process - you are well on your way to a conflict-free team, company/ organisation. This reduces stress on management and clients.

5.   Step 5 - Clear past interpersonal challenges - and open the way forward. Your team will no longer be dogged by its own conflicted history, the path will be clear for powerful and exciting results and successes.

6.   Step 6 - Place your team firmly in charge of their own behaviour. It is at this point that your team members commit to themselves, the company/ organization and immediately begin to operate in a new and safe working environment.

7.   Step 7 - Maintain - the new conflict-free status quo.
Properly constituted and maintained team agreements which will last for as long as you desire, and your and the team maintain the status quo.

8.   What we do NOT do.

         1. We never focus on the “problems”, or the “problem people”. If there is conflict in your team, there is far more going on than you will ever realise. And any direct focus on the particular individuals will empower them and ruin the process.
         2. We do not have mediation sessions with the “problem people” to clear the problems. This will isolate all of your team members, and the challenges will emerge again, in another form altogether.
         3. We do not judge, or work out of our own judgments.
         4. We do not send the “problem people” off for emotional, or diversity training, and ignore the rest of the team.

Click here to order a copy of the  Team Conflict Resolution Strategies eBook –   – or email: 
Contact Brian Moore directly on +27 82 554 2188.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Transformational Teambuilding

Transformational Team-building is a combination of Diversity Training and Workplace Diversity Management
Finding providers and programmes that meet your organisation’s needs.

By Brian Moore - Joint Executive Officer of Mthimkhulu International - South African-grown and based National and International providers of Transformational Team-building© through the Celebrating Humanity© series of programmes.
Mail: Web: Call : +27 825523352


South African companies are either under pressure to transform and include people from all backgrounds in a fair and equitable manner, or once transformed are often challenged by poor inter-diversity relationships and understanding of the need for transformation.

Companies and organisations who need this type of intervention are at a crossroads of danger and opportunity. The danger lies in the potentially divisive nature of such interventions and yet there are huge hidden opportunities to build individual, teams, organisation and to an extent the future of our country.

The first issue at hand is to establish what the challenges are, as seen by the greater team. It is critical to involve your team and/ or its representatives in a wide-spread interactive and inclusive survey to assess the challenges facing your team.

Teambuilding for Diverse Organisations

The biggest challenge facing companies, teams and organisations is the diverse nature of their team members. They have been raised differently, communicate differently and value different things is different ways. This can set the stage for some very difficult times in the workplace. Here follow 8 of 10 key steps to ensure that your teambuild is successful.

(Please go to for the full article.

Step 1
Transforming ourselves, our teams and our lives

In order to develop ourselves and our team at work we need to develop an understanding of our dependency, independency and inter-dependency. Once we understand that we need each other to survive and succeed we will observe that our actions, positive or negative, impact ourselves, our teams and our dependents.
The quality of life that we lead, the clothes that we wear, the humanity that we exude, the food on our table, the education of our family depends on the quality of our relationships within and outside of the workplace.
And the more diverse the backgrounds, skills and talents of the team, the more we win. The
challenge is that diverse teams will only win through respect, tolerance and understanding and that is our starting point.
Step 2
Knowing who we are...

An ongoing process of humanisation and communication builds the group at a human level. Communicating and developing understanding of the commonalities and uniquenesses that we all bring.
The next steps would be to develop an understanding of our intra-personal uniqueness and the ability to assess the uniqueness in other people in terms of their personality types and learning/ communication styles.
These simple skills will develop and enhance interpersonal understanding and communication.
Step 3
Accountability for who we are...
When we take responsibility for our attitudes, our communication and our behaviour we can create a safe environment for ourselves, our families and other people.

To further develop a nurturing environment we develop problem-solving and solution-finding skills and learn to handle reactions to external stimuli.

Often we act out of historical programming when a short time for thought will break the cycle of anger. When we use the feeling of anger as a signal for thought, "Why am I feeling this anger?" or "Is this person saying this to hurt me?", we have an opportunity to respond rather than react. This can saves lives, families, sales and relationships!

Step 4
Who adds to me and what do we contribute from our backgrounds, cultures, experience and traditions?

Through enjoyable, safe and non-threatening methodologies and processes we are able to learn - from each other - more about our lives, history, cultures and religions. In teams, selected by delegates on the basis of "who adds to me", we are able to compete in fun and respectful ways on issues of diversity. In this way a safe environment of communication and life-long learning is created.

As these processes unfold team members will begin to identify and break down old prejudicial paradigms and the foundations are laid for an ongoing respect based inter-personal team agreement.

Step 5
Accountability for how we behave

Most companies and organisation send down a list of management-decided values. Very few people know, remember and subscribe to the values, especially management. These values are only paraded at disciplinary hearings.

In order for individual change to be perpetuated within the team it is critical that the environment is kept safe and empowering by a team-decided and managed set of interpersonal values. These values are set to manage how team members interact and do not impact or negate corporate values.

This people-centred guidance system, if properly designed and implemented, will develop an ethic of praising and honouring the praiseworthy.

Those who have personal challenges will often need professional support and those who continuously break the rules must be disciplined.

Step 6
Ongoing meetings

Regular meeting time must be committed to allow the development of understanding and to offer guidance to those who break their self-chosen values. The greater team manages the ongoing process offering support, guidance and discipline in a properly constituted system.

In this way we will have developed accountability and responsibility for our actions, within our team and an ongoing values structures to maintain respect and teamwork at the level of human interaction. This will definitely and positively impact family and social interactions.

Step 7
Involve all Leadership

A good leadership team will be part of the development and ongoing implementation of the program and will be subject to the decisions of the structure.

Step 8
Assess, Adjust and Motivate!

A follow-up team-build, assessment and adjustment program should be facilitated approximately 12 months after the Values Circle process is formally constituted. With 1 year history of monthly meetings groups will have transformed substantially and be ready to cement the process into the future.

Through this Transformational Team-building© program, people will understand their amazing relevance as individuals, team members & members of their organisations.

Workplace Diversity Specialists - Brian and Arthie Moore & son