REAL TALK IS AN INITIATIVE TO BRING SOUTH AFRICANS
TOGETHER FOR POSITIVE CHANGE.
WE OFFER OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENGAGEMENT IN CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE AND FOR THOUGHTFUL PERSPECTIVES TO BE HEARD.
Our mission is to create safe spaces where people of all races and cultural backgrounds can listen, talk, understand, ask and learn from each other in constructive discussion. We aim to host these discussions in a positive environment born from the need for reconciliation and transformation in South Africa.
We aim to create a culture of open, meaningful and respectful dialogues.
We create a safe space for conversation that will promote healing, reconciliation and growth.
The expected outcome for Real Talk is to move South Africa closer to reconciliation.
We encourage participants to recognise each other’s common humanity.
The principle behind these attention-catching events is that a predominantly racially homogenous (usually either Black or White) audience listens to a panel of speakers from the other race. They share their respective experiences of being Black/White/Indian/Coloured. The audience is only allowed to ask questions and not make any statements while listening. The objective of such a meeting is to provide a space for listening and understanding where the audience is exposed to ideas that may be different to their current beliefs about South Africa, its history and present-day experience.
This centres on two friends of different races who engage each other in a debate on issues of race. The debate aims to encourage the audience’s understanding and appreciation of different racial groups. The debaters each address what they want their “own” group to hear, what they would like members of the “other” group to hear (including an apology for past and present wrongdoings), things they appreciate in the other and issues they may have with the other.
The conferences will attempt to bring together opposing views at a united event. Prominent speakers will address delegates on issues of race and how reconciliation can be approached to promote positive social progress in South Africa. The role of the speakers is to provide their perspectives, ask questions and challenge attendees to think more deeply about the issues discussed. They will also propose solutions that can help steer South Africans on a trajectory to positive change. The audience will be challenged to think about possible solutions and identify potential opportunities for meaningful collaboration, both within and beyond their own spheres of influence.
One of South Africa's main challenges is the co-existence of different races due to the spatial design of the apartheid state. One of the few places in which Black, White, Coloured and Indian South Africans come together in significant numbers for extended periods is the workplace. This presents a significant opportunity to understand the other and develop meaningful relationships. Real Talk engages with South African corporates to facilitate conversations that lead to improved working relationships in and outside the office, and the resolution of long-standing tensions that lead to conflict.
In a country in which the majority of people self-identify as Christians, we believe the church has a major role to play in fighting racism. We have approached numerous churches and encouraged them to dedicate their pulpits to address race relations, nation-building and reconciliation. We are currently partnered with more than 50 churches across South Africa to achieve this goal.
Discussion groups in home settings offer the opportunity to have deeper and more meaningful discussions on issues surrounding the difficult topic of race. This allows for more authentic and vulnerable expression and holds strong potential to facilitate healing, growth and reconciliation.
Itai was born and spent his early formative years in Harare. He has a B.Sc. (Biochemistry, Genetics, Psychology), a B.Sc.Hons.(Medicine), and a M.Sc. Structural Biology (with distinction). He is currently studying towards a Masters degree in Public Policy. Itai has spent several years working in strategy consulting, and has venture capital experience. He is currently Executive Assistant to the CEO of a multinational telecoms, media and technology business. Itai’s participation in TGIF, and (as co-founder) in Real Talk, is motivated by the conviction that the reformation of our relationships is central to the recovery of our sense of common humanity, and to the effective pursuit of personal dignity and social harmony.
Johan Erasmus has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and History. He completed his Honours degree in Philosophy and is currently busy with his Masters degree in Theology. He is a part of the Dialoog team that aims to promote philosophical and religious dialogue in public places. Dialoog also has a very exciting student development program in Tembisa, where they provide tutorials in the township. Johan is also the co-founder of Real Talk that aims to facilitate meaningful conversations about race across the country.
Thulani Madinginye is a co-founder, Chief Executive and Lead Researcher at Berakah, for which he has overall responsibility for day-to-day operations. Thulani graduated with a Bachelor of Business Science with Honours in Economics, and a major in Politics, as well as a Masters in Applied Economics. Prior to establishing Berakah Value investment, Thulani worked as a public sector consultant in the areas of water strategy development, infrastructure finance and public-private partnerships. His corporate experience was with Pegasys and Genesis Analytics. He was also a student leader, having held various positions in student governance, including President of the Students’ Representative Council at UCT. Thulami is a member of the Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA – Ref Number: 00304).
Thorsten Marbach is married to Vera and they have 3 children. Thorsten is of German origin but has lived in South Africa for most of his life. He has degrees in Engineering and Theology, two different fields seeking to explore and navigate the fabric of reality. For well over a decade, Thorsten worked in the corporate world spanning numerous disciplines including software design, project management, systems engineering and strategic management. While he still keeps half a foot in that space, Thorsten currently invests much of his energy in creating spaces for deeper learning and honest dialogue. He does so in various ways including JBC, TGIF, L'Abri SA and of course Real Talk.
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