Evidence suggests that all life began in Africa, so whether you are reading this at your desk in Sioux City, Iowa or on your laptop at Heathrow Airport, you can trace your roots back to this beautiful continent (although some of you might have to go back about 150,000 years). In fact, our Johannesburg training site is a short drive to the Cradle of Humankind where fossils of some of the earliest known life forms on Earth have been found. Every human being on the planet shares an African heritage. We are one, diverse species spread out across the globe, with our roots in Africa.
The South African MKP community began in 1998 when a handful of men from South Africa were given some funding from US men to attend a training in England. They came back and formed an Integration Group (I-Group) that met regularly and managed to put on similar trainings in 1999. In 2000, another group of men journeyed to Sioux City to do their first training. This group of pioneers ran South Africa’s first New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) in early September of 2001…
We have been repeatedly blessed by inspirational foreign experienced facilitators have visited South Africa to share their experience. In our early, financially wobbly years, some of these men did these trainings with no cost to our community..
2009 was a milestone for the South African community in many ways.
Some of our local men have built up enough training experience over time to enable us to run trainings without flying in overseas facilitators..
We also hit our quarter century mark in May with Johannesburg’s NWTA25. 25 fully booked NWTAs in a row and the pace isn’t slowing down! If we continue at this pace we will have held 35 NWTAs before we are 10 years old.
Another highlight of the year was having Mankind Project founder Rich Tosi lead our 26th and 27th NWTA. It was his first trip to our African community and he was welcomed with open arms. As one local man put it, for the initiates on those trainings it was “like having one of the three wise men lurking around your manger, Einstein helping you with your science homework or Bono playing your Bar Mitzvah. Rich Tosi was involved when the 1000th man in SA completed his training..
And that for me was the biggest highlight. One should be careful of the measure used to judge success in any endeavour, especially for an organisation like ours. One might ask: how many I Groups are meeting regularly. One might ask how many experienced facilitators we have, how many people attend our community gatherings or how much money we have in the bank. But by anyone’s metric or calculation, for a 1,000 men to have completed their training on African soil is an accomplishment worth celebrating.
Oxford anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggests that each person has on average 150 friends (real friends, not the people who poke you on Facebook). I like to imagine the impact these 1,000 MKP men have had on the 150,000 people in their lives and the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people they will meet in their lifetime.
We come to the end of the first decade of the new millennium as a strong, sustainable, honest, and accountable organisation. It has been an outstanding year for this community, and we are growing from strength to strength.
Centre Director, MKP South Africa