2 min read
04 Jul


Welcome to the start of the Conflict Indaba series, where twice a month we will take an in-depth look at a public and current conflict event, one that is playing out in the media, and dissect that to understand conflict better and to become more skilled at handling such conflict in our own lives. 

The series will use the facts or allegations of such conflicts as are in the public domain, and will, as far as possible not take sides in such disputes, other than to point out, where relevant, the conflict principles involved in that public incident. Given the public nature of these events we will not rehash the facts and allegations, and readers will be assumed to have a working knowledge of such conflicts. Such conflicts in the public eye will then be used as case studies where we can use commonly available material to highlight and debate the underlying conflict principles and techniques. Using these conflict as illustrative examples will also of necessity require some generalization. In discussing these conflict events and pointing out possible improved ways of dealing with such situations we also do not intend to take sides, or intend any undue criticism of the organizations and individuals involved. 

Conflict can be very complex, emotionally disturbing and often needs snap decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate information. We may also of course, from our vantage point, not have all the information and considerations that played a role in the decisions we are see before us. The main purpose of the series is for us to learn from such events. The series is therefore not primarily about these events themselves, but the broader conflict principles that we as South Africans exposed to these events,  can gain from them. 

In assessing these conflicts we will work with a wide definition and understanding of conflict. Any event or process that actually or potentially prejudices our best interests is something, or someone, that we are in conflict with. This is so regardless of the motivation and intentions behind that event or process, or whether such conflict is directed at us as a group or as individuals. 

I will rather randomly pick these two conflict events every month, but readers are welcome to send me suggestions on events that they wish to see covered in the series. The series will be run from the blog, linked to my social media sites, and for those who prefer more private discussions, via my email address as below. They will be very much subject to my own work schedule, so at this stage there will be no set dates. 

If we accept that these public conflict events are inevitable, this specialized focus on them can at least turn them into teachable moments from which we can benefit and salvage something. Who knows, maybe we can even learn from the mistakes of others. So join me for these discussions, I hope to have the first one out this week.

 (Andre Vlok can be contacted on andre@conflictresolutioncentre.co.za for any further information

(c) Andre Vlok 

July 2023

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