In South Africa’s current politically and racially charged environment, it is easy for situations at workplaces, schools, universities and other communities to be influenced by this. Direct perceptions about current events, disagreements about daily tasks or long-standing tensions can quickly become full blown incidents that can be potentially damaging for relationships and tasks. Line managers or leaders may be perceived as not being impartial and may thus not be well-placed to respond, despite having good will and skill to be able to do so. An outside facilitator can be very helpful in defusing the situation.


Debriefing this kind of  situation or specific incident recognises that the conversations that happen at times like this are really made up of 3 components, and helps participants engage in all of them constructively:

  • The what happened conversation. This involves disagreements about what really happened, who said what when, what it meant. Working through this constructively helps people move from assumptions to facts and from personal stereotypes to understanding the perspectives of others
  • The feelings conversation. Naturally, feelings run at high during times of stress, but they are often downplayed. Recognising them, helping people to own them and address them directly helps clear the air
  • The identity conversation. This is the conversation we each have with ourselves, reflecting on what the situation meant to us, how we responded and why, how it affects our sense of self esteem and view of the future.

These tensions and incidents can be opportunities for change: we are usually more open to recognising things in ourselves and our structures that need to be changed. Once the personal dimensions of the situation have been processed following the above structure, time can be spent reflecting on the changes people would like to see.

The time required for a workshop of this nature varies, depending on the scale and intensity of the incident(s) in question and will be customised in collaboration with participants.