Dr Mamphela Ramphele headlines FTG’s Conference with a conversation on “Mindset: the missing link to transformation”


Free To Grow 2019 Conference presents Dr Mamphela Ramphele

“Africa is a place of stories, and storytelling is a gift from the cradle of humanity. I would like to start our conversation today with a story,” began Dr Mamphela Ramphele as she set the scene as keynote speaker at Free To Grow’s annual conference in Elgin, Grabow.

An activist, medical doctor, academic, businesswoman, political thinker and Co-founder and Global Ambassador at ReimagineSA, Dr Ramphele’s vivid story-telling held significant teachings that enthralled the audience throughout her presentation on the pressing topic “Mindset: the missing link to transformation”.

Importantly, Dr Ramphele reflected on the remarkable impact changing mindsets had on dismantling apartheid. However, 25 years into our democracy, the agency of South Africa’s citizens, who once collectively fought for freedom, has regressed:

“Yet to embrace the importance of healing conversations in our homes and communities, we have not inoculated ourselves from the negative impact of failures at a national level. The unprocessed, multi-generational traumas of the legacy of our past are expressing themselves in anger, violence, and discord within our homes and communities.”

In light of this significant social challenge, Dr Ramphele posed an important question: how do we enlarge the circles of healing from the personal, home- or community-based to national levels?

“Our country is blessed with many innovative interventions. The challenge is how do we multiply and coalesce what we are doing to become like a mighty river that nourishes our nation into new values-based life of abundance for all citizens?” challenged Dr Ramphele.

For her, the solution lies in changing our mindsets about the way we work – rather focusing on collaboration and working together.

“Ilima or Letsema is what our ancestors adopted to tackle tough tasks. They were able to cultivate large tracks of land without modern implements by teaming together. Tau tsa hloka seboka, di shitwa ke nare e hlotse – lions without collaboration can be defeated by a limping buffalo.”

Dr Ramphele emphasised that mindset change is a product of raising personal consciousness about who we are and how comfortable we are in our skins. It is also about self-confidence and the ability to make the right choices that build resilience.

This is at the heart of what we do at Free To Grow – an ambition meaningfully recognised by Dr Ramphele:

“You have changed the lives of so many. You are healers of broken souls. These souls are enabled to rediscover their unique capabilities. Those healed become wounded healers, continuing a virtuous cycle of dignity and well-being. They move from victims to leaders who are able to make choices about their futures and those of their loved ones.”

This change cannot be realised solely by an individual or organisation. Rather it requires finding opportunities to leverage complementary strengths that enable us to do more than each of us can do alone. In her capacity as a Global Ambassador of ReimagineSA, a Non-Profit Company committed to making the gains of democracy real for all living is South Africa, Dr Ramphele recognises Free To Grow “as a natural partner in the quest for a future in which citizens are seeking to raise their levels of consciousness to shape the future they desire.”

“The work ahead of us of building our nation is huge,” continues Dr Ramphele. “Yet we must never underestimate the difference we can make as a small group of like-minded change agents. History teaches us that it is the only way major transformations happen. We are well on the way. Let’s walk together to reach the highest peaks of our ambitious dreams.”

Free To Grow would like to thank Dr Ramphele for a truly inspiring and mind shifting experience, it was an honour to listen to her.

Free To Grow Director, Mmatjatji Edelstein (left), and founder and CEO, Alinda Nortje (Middle), share their heartfelt thanks with Dr Ramphele for setting the scene for the ensuing workshop on Unconscious Bias @ Work.

Critical conversations around transformation and conscious inclusion continue over lunch as delegates share their thinking on topic.