Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group Partner Creates Experiential Social Outreach Project For Colleagues

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20 Nov 2015

Earlier this year, Khomotso Makapane, a new partner in Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group’s Sandton office attended the Nexus Leadership Programme through the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

According to Lee-Ann Greyling, the firm’s group learning manager, “The programme is designed to nurture young business trailblazers who are striving to be the kind of leaders that are needed in South Africa. It encourages leadership that is positive, deeply reflective and passionate about making a difference. Through experiential learning and dialogue, participants are challenged to find ways around obstacles that are holding themselves, others and their country back.”

After completing the programme, Khomotso designed and facilitated an experiential journey to the Home of Hope in Kensington and Leratong in Alexandria for other members of the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group.

The visits are designed to expose people to the challenges facing members of their surrounding communities.

Home of Hope for Girls is a shelter for the rehabilitation of exploited and abused girls from all religious and cultural backgrounds. Leratong in Alexandra is a home for children who are abandoned, orphans, HIV positive and/ or neglected by their families.

Khomotso says, “I believe that if we are exposed to the burdens that some members of society carry we will be more willing to become involved and lift those burdens. Often, we do not know about the daily challenges facing others in society and we can’t meet a need we didn’t know existed.

“I am determined to lead by example, to get stuck in, to act on my convictions and to ensure that what I have been exposed to through this programme does not end with the programme. Social outreach has always been close to my heart, but I do not believe I have done enough.  I am hoping to encourage my colleagues to buy into the idea of a life characterised by social relevance. In this busy legal profession, it is easy to be consumed with meeting our professional targets, leaving us with little time for social initiatives.”

Khomotso says that he was inspired to see how Mam’ Khanyi (from the Home of Hope), who had not been a philanthropist of any kind before, chose to dedicate her life (resources, time and love) to children who needed a renewed hope, love and strength.

“Walking into the Home and experiencing its warmth, and understanding the daily journey of the Home and specifically of the children, made me to realise how taking a little bit of time to give of oneself can change someone else’s life entirely,” he says.

“Meeting the children, seeing the life in their eyes and watching all of them interact as a family is one of the most beautiful things to witness and which will also touch you in ways you never thought possible. It was heartwarming to know that the Home has given them a sense of belonging, a sense of family and acceptance that their birthplaces could not provide – second chances truly do exist. In addition, to witness how the Home has given them a renewed identity associated with love, security and value; and has removed from them their identification with abuse and shame.

“The Home provides the girls with the liberty to dream again by providing them with an education and nurturing their natural talents in preparing them for the future ahead. The future… how wonderful it must be for these girls to finally be able to see a future for themselves, one that is not marred with being homeless and abused daily.

“Nothing can ever be more comforting than knowing that a few minutes of one’s time, true empathy and engagement can transform someone else’s despair into genuine hope,” he adds.

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)