"Our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our nation"- Nelson Mandela
Sasfin Wealth's Employment Equity and Training Committee embarked on a journey into history. Discovering the true meaning behind our country's strive for reconciliation and building a more inclusive society for all. This echoes the purpose and vision that our EE team pledges to uphold and implement.
The purpose and vision of the Wealth Employment Equity Committee revolve around promoting fairness, diversity, and inclusion within Wealth. We look at the principles of providing equal opportunities for employment, advancement, and treatment to all individuals, regardless of their background, in order to address historical disadvantages and create a more diverse and representative Wealth workforce.
The group visited sites such as the Apartheid Museum, Hector Peterson Museum and Constitutional hill. They also explored the colourful and historically significant Vilakazi street in Soweto.
The trip to these cultural and historical sites has inspired the EE committee's dedication to directing efforts towards transforming our work environment into a more, equitable, sustainable, and culturally aware space.
“We were inspired to direct our focus on developing projects and reviewing policy with the goal of inclusivity in mind. Redress of past inequalities can only be achieved by leveraging on unity, understanding and a spirit of ubuntu in both our professional and personal lives. Each committee member found this excursion enlightening and of excellent value. We bring our learnings back to the workplace and use it to inform our strategy moving forward,” Viksha Rajcoomar; Head: Human Capital - Wealth
With this, the committee members can become advocates for diversity and inclusion initiatives and for Employee Interests that create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all employees as well as function as a voice for employees, advocating for their interests, concerns, and ideas in discussions with management and decision-makers.
Each member needs to lead by example as members of the EE Committee should embody the values of employee engagement by actively participating in company events, maintaining open communication, and demonstrating a cheerful outlook toward their own work. At some stage we are hoping to organize events and activities that foster team bonding, skill development, and a sense of community among employees.
So how was the trip? We hear from the team;
David Tabane – Visiting Soweto on this day did not only provide me with a deeper understanding of South Africa's history and the struggle against apartheid but also allow me to witness the resilience and strength of its people in their quest for freedom and equality. It was a time to reflect, respect, and commemorate, and it is important to approach the events with sensitivity and empathy for the significance it holds for the local community.
It shows that South Africa has come from a long way, from where it was before to where it is now, the meaning behind how the constitutional court was built and what it represents.
The struggles that people had to go through to get it to the rainbow nation that it is now. It is important to know where you are from in order to get a clearer picture with regards to where you are going. The trip to Soweto was exceptionally eye opening and would recommend it to anyone.
Muhammed Wagley- We started the day off by visiting Constitution Hill, a place I had visited with school when I was in Primary School, and I must say that this time around it was a far more impactful experience. In essence, Con Hill served as one of the most notorious prisons during the Apartheid era. To be confronted with the injustices and excessively harsh conditions that the prisoners faced was an eye-opening experience and I have to say that despite knowing the reality of the situation beforehand, seeing it in person made me feel the veterans’ pain a lot more acutely. It was not easy to experience that, but it was really powerful and definitely something I would recommend to anyone who has not made a visit to Con Hill.
I think there’s definitely a lesson to be had here in terms of resilience and change, who you are now is not who you’ll always be and there’s always cause to change for the better- the bad does not wash out the good and often enough it’s that bad that we do that leads us to the path of improvement and change.
Metaphorically speaking though, I could not help but feel that there was something so beautiful about how what was once a place that represented injustice, captivity, and oppression now stands as a symbol of hope and progress despite its past.
We then moved onto the Apartheid Museum at Gold reef City, and I was really impressed with the venue.
Unlike Con Hill, this was my first time visiting this place and I thought that it was a really immersive experience, something vastly different to what I was used to. The visit begins by assigning visitors a racially classified entry ticket, immediately highlighting the discriminatory nature of apartheid. Inside, the museum cleverly highlights the stark contrast between the privileged life of white South Africans and the hardships endured by people of colour. As we progressed through the museum, we witnessed the systematic implementation of apartheid policies, the brutal enforcement by the government, and the profound effects on families and communities.
We then went to Vilakazi Street in Soweto and enjoyed a fantastic lunch where I got to try a few different foods that I had not before (always a wonderful experience when I broaden my super uneducated palate).
We then went to the Hector Pietersen Memorial which was further down the road on Vilakazi Street and here we had the good fortune of having one of the best tour guides I have ever seen. He had such passion, knowledge, and wit when it came to the Hector Pietersen and really the apartheid struggle, in general.
Overall, this was such a phenomenal experience that I would recommend to anyone who has not been to any of these places. I had a lovely time out with my colleagues, and I feel like I understand better what it means to be a South African and how important it is to be proud of what we have achieved as a nation (look at how far we have come, look at how far I have come! I would never have had this opportunity had I been born 30 years earlier and I am so grateful to all those who fought to allow these privileges to happen for me ☹) despite the malaise we are currently seeing here.
Jenny Selolo - Although the motive behind the trip was not clearly set out in stone we were excited to see what the planning team had put together, the exploring and learning began almost instantly as we came to learn that as much as history is in the past it is just as important for people to keep in touch with its reality and the impact it had and continuous to have in shaping our current realities
The Constitutional Hill site stop was a harsh reminder of segregation and inequality but also packed with sentiments of forgiveness and seeing just how far we have come as a county and its people; we are now a vibrant mix of cultures and skin tones where no one is above thee other and I think I speak for most when I say that represents true Sasfin value.
In visiting the historical sites, we were welcomed in the spirit of Ubuntu and unity, the residence of Soweto is a true reflection of how change can bring about positivity and economic value if done right.
I've come to learn that as much as parts of history are put on display and spoken about as a story of wonder and question, it is up to us to learn and better equip ourselves with tools that will help us mold it into what we want our future as a country to look like.
To the committee, well done and keep it up, we see the effort and appreciate the change you will soon bring about in this company.