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should be fun. We should all follow what makes our hearts sing.'
- Interview with Marianne Knuth, Kufunda Learning Village
August 30, 2011
Inside/Out with Marianne Knuth
View audio file details
Knuth is the director the Kufunda
Learning Village. Kufunda is dedicated to creating locally rooted
solutions to the challenges of community self-reliance, through
the use of people's own imagination and creativity. Kufunda Village
runs residential programs for rural community organizers around
developing healthy and sustainable community. Marianne additionally
works as an independent facilitator and consultant in the areas
of individual and group learning processes, and leadership development.
In this arena she has organized several facilitation workshops (the
Art of Hosting), and offers team building and organization development
are you excited about?
It's not very tangible. I'm excited about this feeling I have of
things bubbling, just below the surface. Both for me personally
in terms of that sense of what's next, but also meeting all these
people at the TEDxHarare talk. I know people who are doing great
stuff, but it's still a small group. I'm excited because I'm beginning
to see that there are more of us out there, and probably many more
even than those who attended TEDxHarare. I resonated a lot with
what you said at the very end of the event about what had inspired
you to do this, which was wanting to have a space to have these
kinds of conversations about the future that weren't political.
I was also struck during the day, by the middle class-ness, and
the sense that the middle class had bailed out on what is going
on in this country. For me I'm getting a sense that I haven't had
before, of something being possible as we begin to connect the dots
of people who all want something better for Zimbabwe. Maybe I am
delusional about it, but I'm feeling really hopeful. It's not that
we don't have a lot of darkness to still pass through but lamenting
that isn't going to do anything useful.
have you been learning lately?
A big theme that has been coming up in work I have been involved
with recently is the issue of belonging. I have come to see that
it doesn-t matter which group it is, whether it-s the
white farmers or the military guys, they all feel the same way -
a kind of disenfranchisement, a lack of being acceptance, and ultimately
therefore a lack of belonging, alongside a very deep desire to belong.
And it makes sense right? Most of us are kind of afraid of the military
and their sense is 'I was a freedom fighter and now you hate
me.- The same from the politicians, 'you-re not
appreciating everything that we-re doing-. The Ndebele
obviously feel disenfranchised - but really so many of us do. Everyone
is expressing a deep need to be heard and embraced almost. I wonder
what might be possible if we could work with this more intentionally.
is your feeling about the future?
I think during the Inside/Out
interview I said not having hope is a bad place to be. But I
feel like I've had so many Zimbabwean experiences where we become
very hopeful, only to have that taken away or not realised. At the
risk of contradicting myself I wonder if what we need is to let
go of hope, and just get on with doing the stuff that actually needs
to be done, regardless of outcome. So it's not so that in ten years
we can be here or there, it's that every day we get up and do the
work that will build our communities and heal the scars. Then one
day something will shift, and today even something will shift, even
if it is not immediately apparent in our political structures .
. . who knows. My recent work with Zimbabwean leaders from a diversity
of backgrounds has made me realise that our situation is more complicated
than I had initially thought. I-ve lost my more naïve
optimism. I know that I love this country and I feel home here like
no other place. And I have that sense of so many Zimbabweans having
this deep commitment to their country; I have to believe that something
good has to come out of that. I don-t know and I think that-s
ok, because I have that feeling of possibility.
do you think you learnt from founding establishing and running Kufunda?
What will you take away from that experience and process that will
help you in what you want to do next?
I think the most important thing is probably just to begin. You
have the sense of an idea or an inspiration, and if you have to
have all the plans right and the money ready, it could take a long
time, and you could be tired before you even start. There's something
about Kufunda, from idea to action was almost overnight, and from
there it grew. We used to talk about starting small, but I don't
think that's necessary all the time.
We need each
other. I don't have all the answers and as I go, I can ask for help,
and there are other people who can help. That's a big one. Sometimes
people need help to believe that they themselves have part of the
puzzle. That's been the big part of what the Kufunda journey had
been about. Helping rural folk recognise that they hold part of
the solution themselves. I've learnt that life is quite magical.
I was speaking to a friend of mine recently and she said 'the Universe
will not support anything that comes from a smaller version of ourselves.-
When we make choices that are coming from this larger self, where
you follow your joy and your passion, it works out. That was my
experience with Kufunda.
important lesson is that work should be fun, and the distinction
between those two spheres should be fuzzy. I think we should all
follow what makes our heart sing. If there's one thing that I want
to teach my kids, it's for them to follow their heart and their
passion even when I tell them that they're being crazy, and to live
a life of joyful contribution.
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