Mindfulness Conference 2019: Mindfulness Approaches in an African Context


We had the privilege to attend the March 2019 IMISA Mindfulness Conference at The Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng, South Africa. This gathering offered itself as an opportunity to engage with an important unfolding conversation about how mindfulness and compassion relate to our African context in increasingly troubled times.

Themes of diversity, inequality, generational trauma and climate change wove powerful perspectives into rich, heartfelt discussions. The notion of Ubuntu – Zulu for “humanity consciousness” - emerged as a powerful rudder for transformation in South Africa, enabling us to move, in the words of Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, towards “an ethics of care” which re-belongs individuals to one another, despite our shared haunted history.

We are inspired to integrate this wisdom into our work, enriching the intellectual discoveries of TheoryU with an embodied, socially-engaged, ubuntu-mindfulness approach that encourages individuals to understand that the wellbeing and success of the self and the collective are interdependent.

For more on the conference, click here.

Author: Yanna Romano

UCT's Graduate School of Business: empowering managers


We are delighted to be working again with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, with participants in the Programme for Management Development (PMD).

The PMD is South Africa’s longest running management short course.  Its premise is that, to be effective and successful, managers must combine technical ability with emotional intelligence.  In the words of the PMD prospectus: 

Twenty-five years of organisational research points to self-awareness, an ability to connect and communicate with others, and solving problems creatively as the top three traits of effective managers. Grouped together as Emotional Intelligence (EQ), these skills are more important predictors of success than IQ or technical ability

When we worked with our first PMD class last year, we were struck by the empathy that participants showed in working outside what we call “the cage of words”.  The group brought all the complexity of their frontline management tasks into the room, from mining to financial services and across a broad swathe of sub-Saharan Africa.  They were then able to use process art to isolate key tensions, contradictions and opportunities.

For our PMD classes this year, we’ve deepened and refined our approach, as we’ve set out in our new White Paper.  As always, teaching is learning.  We are excited by the opportunity to engage with the 2019 PMD class next month, and to work with them in crystallising their futures.

Author: Martin Hall