In the second of our Tutu Talks series, 2018 Tutu Fellow Nozipho Tshabalala says that in her role as a facilitator of conversations, she has drawn, and continues to draw, inspiration and guidance from the teachings of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She says she continues to carry these as tools of her trade as she moderates confrontational conversations.
If you're wondering why she uses the term 'confrontational conversations', she says that in a well-designed confrontational conversation, 'something has to yield', making space for change. A confrontational conversation is not the same as violence, she says, nor is the fruit that it bears the same. Rather, she says, questions can be used to reframe the understanding of issues.
In the Tutu Talks series, the African Leadership Institute is partnering with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation to produce videos of Tutu Fellows that speak to the vision and principles intrinsic to 'servant leadership'.
Real social change, Nozipho says, comes from having the courage to take part in conversations that confront challenges head on. It was personal trauma that led her to make a career out of moderating courageous conversations. Nozipho says that Archbishop Tutu has been consistently courageous about speaking out about difficult issues that include gay rights; the similarities between Apartheid and Israeli oppression of Palestinians; or calling out corruption within the ANC, which helped liberate South Africa. She says she has learned from his example and has taken it with her in her professional role.
The TutuTalks series seeks to look in a new way at unresolved issues within civil society and uncover what moral and ethical leadership entails. The intention is not only to spread ideas, but also to empower young African leaders. It was launched earlier this year in the belief that giving dynamic and inspirational young African leaders an international platform will play a critical role in inspiring other young Africans to become confident, ethical leaders in their schools, communities and societies. The Foundation notes that Nozipho is inspirational in her ability to lean into conversations that others shy away from, and in her ability to help others do the same. You can read more about their interview of her at the foundation website or watch it in full below.