Our Men Grow through The Mankind Project

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Recently 20 our our BBA2 men went to the mountains in Groot Winterhoek Mountains with 2 of our graduates and 19 men from the Mankind Project, many of whom are husbands and fathers and generously take a full weekend our of their busy lives to give our students a very special experience.
One of the facilitators commented, “The palpable readiness of the young men is a credit to their own journey, choices and to the enabling ethos that the TSiBA community fosters.”
41 men gathered in the cold-front rain of last Friday to head to the mountains in convoy. The flow of the weather matched the emotional arc of the week-end for these young men – from the dark, cold rain of Friday evening to the beautiful, snow-capped peaked sunshine of Sunday morning, so these young men wrestled within, and emerged into their power, both individually and as a group.
From the first check-in it was clear that this particular group have sat in circle many times before, which allowed the week-end to drop very quickly. The Walking the Line process beautifully revealed to each and every man in the room that “you are not alone” and the various check-in/out rounds and blessing and appreciation King’s chair process revealed the deepening of connections that this training allowed to happen. A very close group of young men became even closer and more connected to themselves and to each other.
This HEAD|HEART|SOUL training was the 4th since 2008, and it is an initiative that is developing in a beautiful way with a number of TSiBA young men having now been through an NWTA too, and entered a wider community. More will follow…..
The 20 Young Brothers (as they named themselves) are resilient, culturally proud, respectful, powerful, deeply open and honest. It was inspiring to see such a diverse group of young men so connected to each other.
The Saturday night talent show revealed a well of diverse talent – traditional Xhosa songs, Kaapse Klopse numbers, an Irishman singing a most-moving song about the loss of 250 000 Australian soldiers at Gallipoli, Kwaito-Whito Craigie C’s Xhosa-infused rap song, self-written poetry, and dancing to traditional songs around a fire under the cold of a full-mooned Cederberg night sky – as heart-warming, cross-cultural and connecting an experience as any South African could wish for.

The diverse and relatively inexperienced staff team showed up with immense personal leadership, huge hearts, focus, energy, commitment, preparation and facilitation skill.
Blessings and gratitude to all who chose to be there.
In gratitude,

TSiBA HHS Facilitation team

PS Circles integrating the training start next week at TSiBA, facilitated for 10 weeks by staff men.

“I experienced a really sacred, grounded and inspiring rites of passage process in the Grootwinterhoekberge with 21 adult men forming a firm, loving container for 20 young brothers from the TSiBA campus. The palpable readiness of the young men is a credit to their own journey, choices and to the enabling ethos that the TSiBA community fosters. I personally am grateful for the many blessings and lessons of the weekend, for the love and dedication of the staff men who served all in authentic leadership, of warm and holding eldership and leadership and enabling brotherhood, for the hope fostered by young men who stepped into their own power, for the opportunity to be in mission, for the joy of knowing that having been part of preparing the ground, the seeds will take care of themselves.  My Head, Heart and Soul and mission were deeply nourished.” Tony Naidoo

“The weather provided the perfect mirror and backdrop to the start of the weekend - dark, cold and gloomy uncertainty and ending with a warm, nourishing sunshine on Sunday. A large part of why this weekend was so successful due to the pre-weekend leadership, and on-site bold, clean, affectionate and solid leadership. The 20 Bruddas were very fertile to engage with this weekend work due to their individual and collective maturity which TSiBA has been facilitating. Many of the TSiBAlengs spoke of the significant role their mentors play in their growth and this probably contributed significantly to their readiness for the weekend. All the staff facilitated (both in the pit & kitchen) with a selfless / ego-less, affectionate, servant leadership which really made the TSiBAlengs feel safe enough to continue their work. It certainly made me feel comfortable to serve all of you (Ian, Tony, Howard & Dumi) as a leader team, as well as the men and TSiBAlengs. I suspect that the supportive, encouraging, future-oriented nature of HHS allows staff men to step into their facilitation and leadership with greater ease. I also suspect that the playful nature of these young men enables us as older men to engage our own playfulness, which is sometimes lacking in our adult world.” Marlon Botha

“This week-end’s headline for me was resilience….the consistent stories of constant negative reinforcement, who do you think you are trying to break out, you will never amount to anything, rejection especially from fathers and father-figures, pain, suffering and loss and yet the magnificence and beauty within every single one of these young men shown through like a powerful lighthouse beam – immense power, talent, self-belief, spirituality, sense of purpose, respect for each other and each other’s culture and connection to each other. The common expression from staff men was one of inspiration and hope for the future. One of the staff men who works with resilience and has researched it extensively, spoke of how there was one common pattern in resilience, and that is the effect of “being seen by one person” – on this week-end, these young men were deeply seen by their staff mentor, 20 staff men and 19 of their TSiBA brothers. It an inspiring and powerful experience for me as a leader, as I believe it was for the young men and every man who came.” Ian Solomon

“It was our privilege to participate in this life changing process. Though the TSiBA students gained enormously we have no doubt that the staff were equally blessed by the experience. The levels of demonstrated leadership were exemplary and we witnessed a pleasurable absence of ego throughout the weekend. The control of all process allowed staff to step into leadership roles without compromising the student’s safety in any way. The design of the weekend was practical, effective and emotionally balanced, taking the participants deeper into unexplored feelings without over-whelming them or becoming intellectual. We were impressed by the students self awareness, partially gained through their earlier participation in leadership training, a springboard that prepares them well for the dive into the mature masculine and deeper Self realization. Though the travel cost is relatively high it is more than offset by the venues spectacular setting - the mountains add a dimension of ‘wildness’ that pulls the students into their feelings. This has to be one of the most successful rites of passage we have ever witnessed. Well done to all who made it possible.”

Howard Dunbar and Dumisane Nqina (the Elders)
With much gratitude to all the staff men:
Dumisane Nqina (elder)
Howard Dunbar (elder)
Jon Duncan
Graeme Robinson
Fynn Corry
Hilaire Okollo
Archie van Biljon
Jeremy Hazell
Luvuyo Mcebe
Richard Boome
Andrew Jameson
Paul Mooney
Kholekile Dlakiya
Craig Charnock
Sarel Pretorious
Rob Broster
Elroy Dicks (ex TSiBA student)
Sanele Khulaphi (ex TSiBA student)
Marlon Botha (leader)
Ian Solomon (leader)
Tony Naidoo (leader)

Put into this blog by Benu Mukhopadhyay part of the Support Team

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