At a gala event on Saturday 7 October, Woolworths and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation announced a partnership to convene a national conversation about our identities and ways in which we can reimagine how we belong together as a society. This collaboration aims to ignite a nationwide dialogue around belonging, focus attention on the rich tapestry of identities within our society, and foster meaningful, inclusive conversations that strengthen our shared humanity.
Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths Executive for Corporate Affairs, noted that the partnership forms part of a broader Inclusive Justice Initiative within Woolworths. She said, “As a business, we have committed to contributing to shaping a world in which everyone feels they belong, regardless of how different they are to the other. We commit to embrace and celebrate diversity, promote meaningful inclusivity, and strive for belonging for everyone, in all spheres of our influence as a business. Our Inclusive Justice Initiative sets out to acknowledge that certain groups in our society are marginalised, and we couldn’t wish for a better partner organisation to help build bridges between our nation’s people in the spirit of the Arch’s credo of ubuntu.”
Central to the campaign is the conviction that truly ‘seeing’ one another has the transformative potential to reshape our society. By encouraging courageous conversations and promoting dialogue across boundaries, we aspire to ensure that all aspects of our identities are not only recognised but also respected, accepted and protected. Through sharing stories, cultivating dialogue, and engaging in broadening public discourse, the partnership aims to reinforce our shared humanity and contribute to the social cohesion of all people living in South Africa.
Janet Jobson, CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, noted, “Archbishop Tutu was perhaps the world’s most famous proponent of ubuntu – that our humanity is fundamentally bound up in one another. In this exciting partnership we are seeking to take the spirit of humanity that he embodied, into the complex arena of how we navigate our identities together as South Africans. As a country with many wounds, this work is crucial and urgent.”
The initiative will launch with a panel discussion on identity and belonging in South Africa on 25 October. This event will bring together experts such as Lwando Xaso, Dr Buhle Zuma, and others working in the field to delve into a courageous conversation addressing the process of reimagining who we can be together as a society.
The panel will be followed by a multimedia storytelling campaign, which will launch early in the new year, that will explore some aspects of discrimination that manifest in South Africa. Through this campaign we aim to reach all South Africans in a national conversation, build our capabilities for frank and empathetic engagement, and shift perspectives and forms of discrimination and marginalisation.
To create a South Africa where everyone feels they truly belong, it is essential that we reinforce our commitment to building a more inclusive and compassionate society. We invite all South Africans to be part of this conversation.
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