Dialogue with Professor Jonathan Jansen: Lessons from the Spear incident.

You are seldom disappointed when storyteller, Professor Jonathan Jansen takes the floor. Rapport comes naturally even on this typical winter's afternoon. Off we go with Jonathan to Namibia, meeting a few young people and community members whom he had engaged on his recent travels to our neighbour. We hear our neighbours are calmer, happier and more aligned although they too have a difficult past.

Selwyn Page, Devine Fisher, Jonathan Jansen and Jackie Loos
Before we know it, we are travelling south again, crossing the Orange River and land straight in Spear Land. We hear lessons drawn from the Spear incident interspersed with just an adequate dose of contextual information to aid understanding. The Spear outcry demonstrated that we are still a deeply wounded nation - so angry and volatile that we forego reason and debate. It highlighted the failings of our education system and the incident also made us more aware of the thinness of our democracy.  

Jonathan and Simon, the Organiser of the forum
These complexities of our realities are narrated with the simplicity mastered by an authentic, consummate storyteller like Jonathan Jansen. It is like watching a skilled craftsman constructing from raw wire and loose beads, a shimmering beaded fruit bowl with perfect symmetry. This is an art- a gift - to distill academic research, philosophical lingo and real life experience into a sense-making experience for any person no matter what your educational experience or background.  Powerful stuff!

Jonathan in conversation with the participants at the forum
The story does not end here. "Keep perspective", says Jonathan. There are far more good people who have hope and want to help create shifts. We need to amplify the good stories and we need to laugh more. We need to get people laughing - we are far too serious, he says. If you want to be an active citizen, find a space that fits your preference and your personality and then 'push back'.  This is the simplicity of creating shifts.  No wonder Eugene Daniels, a guest at the forum, says that "Jonathan is an active citizen par excellence".
Still in conversation
Isn't it comforting to know that we can always stand on the shoulders of our own giants when we need help to see past the dense fog? Shall we take up the challenge and find the ideal space for us to become contributors of the new narrative?  Are we ready to arm ourselves in preparation for more spears to come?

Devine looking on while Jonathan speaks to satisfied participants


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