By ‘Odidi Matai-Sigudla
Almost ten years later, with the last Ted X talk in Makhanda in 2012, Nombulelo Gongqa and Vuyokazi Shezi TedxMakhanda organisers decided it was time for a comeback. On Saturday, 4 November, the Ted X was held at Amazwi South African Museum of Literature auditorium, with a variety of speakers such as Monica Newton, National Arts Festival CEO, Cindy Fumbata, the Director for pupil development at Diocesan School for Girls, and Rhodes University’s Nomphumelelo Babeli.
The speakers were invited to speak on radical love and softness as tools for community building from their perspective and how to implement it within their community. “[We] were looking for the connectors that people choose when and the paths that people use when they really try to reach out to their communities and are helping their communities,” said Gongqa.
“What is it that’s in their heart that they’re trying to do and they trying to to to what place are they trying to move on and what passion do they have? Often it is the love for the community because often the people who do and shift the community towards better, just do it out of the goodness of their hearts before it is something that they push to doing and often some of them don’t even get the glory.”
While Newton spoke at length about the heart and the mindset that it takes to be a community builder and contribute to the building of the community, in particular, the project that the National Arts Festival has started in Makhanda with employing people in our community to fix potholes, Fumbata spoke more about work that has to deal with emotional connection and how to build emotional relationships and do emotional work. She told the audience about the difficult conversations that needed to be had about sitting down with kids and developing a part of them that can become decent citizens of the country, decent citizens of the world, just decent human beings.
When speaking about what love means, especially when it comes to sacrificing and doing work that is intended to teach other human beings, and that is meant to instill confidence that people are loved even through difficulty, Babeli mentioned a quote by South African freedom fighter, Solomon Mahlangu: “Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue to fight. My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.”
Agreeing with this statement, Gongqa added, “Often it is the things that we do that are difficult, that a sacrifice that comes from a place of love and a place of a good heart that drives people from pillar to post, trying to change their communities, trying to change things.”