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A FORTUITOUS GIFT

A good friend thanked me shortly before Christmas for a gift I didn’t even know I’d given him. We were in a Zoom meeting of a CEO peer group organization we both belong to, and were answering the question: What are you thankful for in 2020?  (It was actually good to hear so many positive responses, given what kind of year it was!)

“I want to thank Hugh,” he said, “for the gift of the Indaba.”  Greeted by blank stares and silence, he explained what I had shared with him about the Indaba in Southern African culture.

The Indaba is a council of senior leaders of a clan to discuss important issues facing the community. Traditionally, it is a gathering in which people respectfully listen to the views of others and share their own. 

I had told him that, on our Tasimba safaris, we follow the local custom by holding an Indaba each day we are in camp. At the end of our morning safari, our guides find a big tree with plenty of shade from the hot sun, under which they set out camp stools in a large circle.

Peace and serenity

Surrounded by the open savannah, miles from camp, there is nothing to disturb the profound peace and serenity of this vast wilderness. There’s no WiFi or cell signal here – just the birds and the breeze. What we love is what happens next. At first, our guests just sit in awe and soak up the privilege of being in this amazing cathedral of nature.

For the next hour or more, we hold our Indaba. Often, we have an expert guest to lead the conversation. At other times we put to the group a challenging question of conservation, human/animal conflict or keystone leadership. Always, we hear shared insights that inspire the thinking of others. Lives are changed through experiences like this.

For our guests, the daily Indaba soon becomes an integral part of a deeper journey, a heightened awareness of the precious and fragile nature that surrounds us and of our own individual roles in sustaining it.

For my friend who thanked me for the gift, the Indaba has become a model for him too. He may not be in the African wilderness, but he has formed his own council of respected senior colleagues to discuss the important issues of our time and place.

One day maybe he’ll hold his Indaba ‘at home’ in Africa where it all started!

Indaba for me is a powerful gathering of thoughtful people who reflect a range of experience in matters of life, and who have valuable perspective in the personal and professional engagements that are part of the fabric of our lives. It allows all involved to broaden our insight in the situations we explore, to see things that we miss but are noticeable to others, and to give added color and texture to the world that is in our path.

Russ Harrison
Founding Principal, The Leadership Group

Tasimba. Be Inspired. Naturally.

Contact us about our next safari. We’d love to have you join us!

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