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Working with the Chiefs

Working with communities and especially the work with our partner communities that have been travelling with us through up’s and down’s over the past decade is an area very close to the heart of Kufunda.

A team of Kufundees went on a series of vistis to all our partner communities some weeks ago. The journey to Seke and Chief Seke was deeply inspiring to me.

Chief Seke was part of Kufunda’s Chief Gathering last year. He returned home from Kufunda inspired by the way we use the circle and the way we engaged with everyone in an open dialogue. Elements of this were obviously already core to him as chief, and so what he learnt here was simply a way to work more consciously with that. He invited us to attend one of their weekly meetings with the words: „Come and see and maybe you find something here that you can take back to Kufunda as learning.”

He seems to live and truly believe that the wisdom is amongst everyone and not only found in the leader who stands in front. Despite this, his Dare (place of council) used to be structured in a very hierarchical way - with a big Chief's chair in front and the people before him. After his experience at Kufunda, he removed the Chief's chair and arranged his Dare as a Circle. It is as though the circle showed up as a structure that could more fully express his beliefs.

When we were there, during his meeting with his core leadership members and the people in his community, we witnessed how he would listen to everyone without interruption or corrections and gradually build his own statements upon the others thoughts and views, trying to find the balance for critical issues around land and ownership.

We were impressed in what simple but strong sense he did this. My sense is that Chief Seke allows things to come from the people. I was struck by how deeply he listened, how patiently he let everyone speak, and how he then built on it, drawing out an emerging clarity.

We learnt a lot but the one thing I am taking back to Kufunda is the regular reporting and feed backing to the circle - a community coming together around important issues - with a space for expression, listening and resolution.

Other Chiefs that we encountered on the tour have also experienced a shift from their being at Kufunda. They have seen new possibilities. For some of them, it means they want to make things happen, and because the hierarchy is still deeply ingrained they gather their people and inform them of the new ideas. With Chief Seke we witnessed a Chief who is willing to involve the people to make the new happen.

Thank you Chief Seke for a truly inspiring meeting!

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