Wednesday we had a full day of class where Kevin Chaplin, Leon Holtzhausen, and some of Leon’s students came to speak to us. Kevin is Stuart Hendry’s mentor that has always inspired him. I found that interesting since I feel that Stuart could be a mentor himself because of his great accomplishments in South Africa. Kevin talked to us about having a vision, keeping focus, and dreaming big. He shared this quote with us, which is also on the wall at the Philippi Children’s Centre that said, “Reach for the moon, and if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” It is a very encouraging saying that makes one think about what the worst that could happen is.
He next told us about the founder of Pick-n-Pay, Raymond Ackerman, who created the “Four Legs of the Table.” The “Four Legs” are the administration/finances, the branding/products, the people, and the corporate social responsibility. Ackerman believed that you do not have to follow the bottom line, but that if you do these other things, it will just follow. With the “Four Legs of the Table,” he then focused on leadership as it pertains to caring for other people. Being a South African during the time of Apartheid, he was really determined to change things for the better. He said to not ever become stuck in a comfort zone. Having worked at a bank, Kevin knew that many times he was only promoted because he was a white male. He knew this had to stop because he was no longer the only capable employee for the higher up position.
Our second speaker of the day was Leon Holtzhausen and his students who talked to us about the impact of violence on community development. Being a psychology minor, I really enjoyed listening to Leon because he discussed people’s motives for being violent and if that was somehow related to poverty. He gave us this quote by John Moir that said, “When we tug at a single thing in nature we find it attached to the rest of the world.” Leon proceeded to give us some statistics on HIV/AIDS, crime rates, children and orphans, and unemployment. In closing, he asked one of his female students to answer all of the tough questions we were wondering concerning South Africa. I really respected her because she said that she had studied at Ohio State and knew where we were coming from with our curiosity. In every question she answered, it all went back to if you understand the history of their country, then you will understand why they are the way they are.
Later that evening Kevin Chaplin came once again to talk to us. This time he really went in detail about the Amy Biehl Foundation by showing us a clip about the organization. Amy was a young American girl who came to South Africa to fight for the black people’s freedom during Apartheid. To her she saw no difference in color, which resulted in her being killed during a car raid. He continued his discussion with explaining to us what ubuntu was; valuing and respecting others. Concerning Amy Biehl, this goes to say that her parents should forgive the men who killed their daughter (which they did.) He closed by giving us the acronym WATCH meaning to watch our words, attitude, thoughts, company, and heart. Following the acronym is how we would fully live up to ubuntu.