It is has been an eye-opening experience to interact with Bob over the years in his short trips to Southern Africa.
Bob has been around the work we do at the eThekwini Municipality’s INK Area-based Management and Urban Renewal Programme as a friend, a co-learner, a coach and consultant. Through his multifaceted roles and relationships, he has helped us to navigate our landscape and made us feel that is in fact okay to have questions and not have all the answers.
Our practice is deeply embedded in co-creating with communities be they not-for profit community organisations, local business, Councillors and other government departments. Bob has been precise in identifying the need for internal practices and rhythms which provide a foundation to take our work to the next level. He has made these suggestions without prescribing, but rather encouraging us to find our own answers.
We have been honoured by his sharing of the Berkana experiences through insightful presentations and the depth of Bob’s view as a community development worker. The community of Inanda Ntuzuma and Kwa Mashu is now richer through his thoughtful, dynamic and easy manner in which he made the development practice easily understood by both ordinary people and professionals.
As a programme, we salute his tireless and continuous efforts to enable community to collectively create and hold a vision. Through Bob’s commitment to learning we are now able to appreciate the thread that connects various community learning centres in South East Asia, America, Africa and elsewhere.
Bob’s work has been overwhelmingly positive in the lives of many people he has met, and I hope he never stops giving in to what he has called `the energy of yes’.
Bob was tasked to do something quite difficult: to defuse long-held tensions and perceptions, to supplant old habits and to establish new ways of seeing, thinking and doing for a diverse roomful of 200 know-it-all strangers. And he had to do it in the space of seven hours. As the organizers and reputation-holders for this particular event, we found ourselves anxious but hopeful as the day began, and astounded and energized by the time it was over.
The secret to our success: The attendees, Bob, and two ten-foot sections of rope. You’ll have to ask Bob to explain how the rope helped to untie knots rather than create them.
According to the Tao Te Ching “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: ‘we did it ourselves.’” That’s Bob’s approach in a nutshell.