Stories are essential to us humans. They make up our realities, and has the power to shape the way we understand our surroundings, and our lives. At KAOSPILOT we have the great privilege of knowing a master “story-shaper”, who has become a dear friend of the school. Chene Swart, a resident of South Africa, has welcomed our “Outpost” warmly in Cape Town but also often takes the long trip north to grace us with her wisdom. Meet the author, speaker and consultant at Transformations; Chené Swart.

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Who are you?

I am a mother, wife, conversationholic, teacher, musician, traveller and lover of good wine and the ocean, to name a few of the identities that have important meaning to me at this moment of human becoming.

 

Where are you from?

I am a citizen of South Africa, my homeland where the joy and grief are close companions. I was born in Port Elizabeth where my love for the ocean has its origins and now I live in Pretoria, close to Johannesburg.

 

What do you do in your professional life?

I am an author, speaker, teacher, coach and consultant who invite participants into the Narrative lens and practices and into the re-authoring of the world. I love co-creating transformational learning contexts and journeys that invite and enable participants to re-write and re-author the stories of their lives as individuals, communities and organizations where they feel stuck or trapped or where the stories they continuously tell are thin conclusions that do not honour the gifts, values, knowledges of these groups or individuals. When these individual, communal and organizational alternative narratives are created and co-created they open the possibility to write and live into a new preferred future. These participative journeys often invite personal and communal agency, new ways of doing and being, and transformed lives.

 

How have you collaborated with Kaospilot?

I have been privileged to journey with Kaospilot students for the last 2 years in re-authoring journeys on the outpost in South Africa and for the last 2 years have been privileged to teach Narrative leadership and process ideas to different year groups in Aarhus.

 

How have you experienced your time at Kaospilot?

I am always very excited to share the Narrative ideas with the Kaospilot students as we learn so much together. These students help me with brilliant questions to thicken the ideas and bring it in a clearer and more accessible way. Every time I am inspired by their willingness to learn, to explore and to create and most of all I am inspired by their curiosity.

 

What questions would you ask, as the most important for your self and your work?

The most important questions I ask for myself are: Who is the community that journeys with me in this season of my life? What do I want to celebrate with whom? Is there a ritual that is important to me right now? What are the gifts I am receiving from others? What does the ideas look like in my life and relationships? What is the re-authoring of our world calling me to do?

 

The most important questions I ask of my work: How can the ideas become clearer? What are the taken-for-granted practices, beliefs and ideas that I find in different contexts that informs how people live, what they value and how they learn? What are these practices creating and where are they taking us? What are the counter narratives that challenge these taken-for-granted practices and how are they informing what is possible? Where are the counter narratives happening in our world?

 

What inspires you in your work?

I am inspired by so-called ordinary people living exotic lives beyond the known and accepted way of doing. I am also inspired by diversity and the fresh eyes of difference that help us to see what no one group or community alone can see. I am especially inspired by conversations with younger people that help us to see the world that we might take for granted, their way of seeing and questioning always inspires and informs my work. I am also inspired when I hear counter stories happening all across the world, stories that will not bow before the altar of the way things are and for ever will be, stories that dare to create and actualise from possibilities that some would say is impossible.

 

What inspiration would you offer to young, aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs that want to make a positive change in the world?

To bring positive change in the world invites you into community and into the co-creation of stories that has meaning to you. The dilemma in our Western world is that we have been told so many times about the single individual successful lone ranger hero. To even start contemplating bringing positive change in this understanding can be overwhelming to some, even a heavy burden. In addition our Western world is obsessed with the self and with working on ourselves. In this life long project of being a work in progress, people often lose hope and sometimes think that they can only bring change once they have moved beyond the work-in-progress-phase and project. The invitation is to intentionally invite a group of people into your life, or maybe they are already there but don’t know yet what is important to you when it comes to your participation in the world. Tell them what you are passionate about, what matters to you or what in the world is not going well and is speaking to you. Explore together with this community why this matters to you and ask them to come alongside you, dream with you, work with you and support you, cry with you and celebrate with you. Ask this community to explore with you what the story of change that you are passionate about is challenging in our wold, what are the practices, beliefs and ideas that you will be bumping up against as you dare to begin to share with others. The work of positive change in the world is not seated in the lone ranger individual; it grows from being seen in a community of those that step out into the world with you, to participate with you and to dare to move beyond the privitization of the self and into re-authoring our world, one narrative at a time!

 

 

 

http://www.transformations.co.za/about.html