Monday, July 21, 2008

The Real Indaba

July 21st, 2008
Cherie Wetzel

Today the Bishops will begin Indaba groups. What is Indaba?

Indaba was described for us at the press conference today as a process that South African villages use as a method of engagement for problems that face a set group of people. The word is from the Zulu, and means “business.” Traditionally, the elder men of the community meet and deal especially with an issue that affects the entire community. The discussion begins on a quite superficial level and then goes deeper and deeper into the gist of the problem, with the sharing ideas and information.

Indaba is not a debate format. There are not opposing sides, a pro- and a con- set of arguments. It is a series of discussions. Originally in the Zulu context, this would include any issue that affects the whole village. In African society, tribal leaders will converse until they come to a type of consensus. They meet regularly and some topics will come up again and again, like theft. Months of discussion can produce creative ways to deal with common problems. In this way, Indaba creates a type of solution that is particular and unique to that village and their situation. the rest


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