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Inside the Programme

A fractal finds its home: becoming part of the solution

Published 2 August 2021

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“I have always felt homesick, wandering and searching for the perfect place for me. My year in residence marks the beginning of a journey of introspection, deep reflection and learning.

My first lesson came from the book Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown. There I found an invitation to be a “fractal,” silently, slowly, ever-changing the world in my corner - being part of the solution. “In the framework of emergence, the whole is a mirror of the parts. Existence is fractal—the health of the cell is the health of the species and the planet,” writes Brown.

Next was learning to grapple with my fear of confrontation. I am always quick to shove uncomfortable feelings under the carpet and detach my mind from powerful emotions. We read Yaa Gyasi’s novel Homegoing as part of the reconciliation workshop. It invited us to explore our hidden memories. This time, I sat through my emotions. I was able to analyse them, and one after the other I put a name to everything. My journey of reconciliation had begun. Every memory that has been locked away in a compartment of my mind was brought back. I explored the fear of not living up to my purpose, silently inhibited by the subtleties demanded of me by societal norms. I reassessed my journey as a black Igbo Nigerian woman, realising that I had to choose to truly live. I pledged to myself to never underestimate the capability of my thought, especially when it is stirred towards advocacy and action.

The final and most significant lesson I learned was from the MRF leadership and my cohort. It came from the camaraderie of inclusivity and shared wisdom, and the opportunity to learn from others, their lived experiences, heritages and choices. Through the eyes of this body, I’ve been able to see myself for who I am. I’ve been able to be more trusting of my capabilities and see the power and influence I have in changing my world.

My quest is for good governance and good public service in my home country Nigeria. By doing an Honours in Public Administration at Stellenbosch University on the scholarship, the edges of my persona and life path have been sharpened by my engagement with the entire Mandela Rhodes family. My path is clearer. I do not feel homesick anymore because I am sure of where I am going. Just as I hoped, the MRF became a stepping-stone, elevating my consciousness to a place of creativity where I can find advanced solutions to the crisis that affects my society. Indeed, here lies my beginning.”

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Fanidh Sanogo: Going sideways to see differently

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Choosing how we show up: from receiving learning to co-creating it

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