Authentic Conversations and Cities with Deep Human Connection

Rehana Moosajee is the founder at The Barefoot Facilitator and a past Member of the Mayoral Committee of the City of Johannesburg. We chat about her background and work at The Barefoot Facilitator, her work with SA Cities Network and National Treasury, NLTA of 2009, having authentic conversations, stakeholder collaboration, Covid-19 and future cities with deeper human connection.

Key Takeaways

Rehana’s background and the Barefoot Facilitator

  • Her community activism led her to local government.
  • Since 2013 run Barefoot Facilitator focused on opening authentic conversations in the public and private sectors and between the public sector and the community.
  • Shifts the way people interact and engage in the big issues of ‘’city making’’.

Stakeholder collaboration challenges

  • The structure of collaboration seems to be ‘’tick box’’ driven and not by authentic conversations.
  • Interventions sometimes miss the mark because those making decisions are not on the ground facing the challenges through lived experiences.
  • Mobility issue is a lifecycle issue, from birth to death.
  • Life is either enabled or disabled through access to mobility.
  • There is no magic wand to solve collaboration challenges. There are no quick fixes to conversations.
  • Rehana explains the current conversation and how we can keep the user experience in mind when making decisions.

Did the NLTA 2009 meet its objectives?

  • Rehana expands on her thoughts on the National Land Transport Act 2009.
  • Covid-19 shows that we need a whole of government approach to everything we do.
  • Move from Ego-system to Eco-system. We need an internal shift in people.
  • The system measures and rewards a lot of the wrong behavior e.g. departmental approaches and siloed thinking.

Rehana’s work with the SA Cities Network

  • Rehana explains built environment work at the SA Cities Network (Citopoly game, etc.)
  • Smart cities are not necessarily about the smart technologies, smart is the inbuilt intelligence that we have if we stop, pause and note what we are called to do in a moment in time.

Rehana’s work with National Treasury, Partnering for Inclusive Growth

  • Rehana explains the program and its objectives.
  • We don’t have to agree on everything for us to collaborate.
  • Nobody wants more of what we currently have collectively created.

Her vision for Future Cities

  • Covid-19 is laying bare everything that is worn g with our cities.
  • Covid-19 Amplifying inequality, poverty, lack of secure food supply, what we’ve done to the environment.
  • We now Stop, Pause, and Reflect. It would be sad if we carry on as before after Covid-19.
  • We must come out of this experience willing to do many things better and differently.

Challenges for cities to be ‘moveable’

  • Mobility is either an enabler or disabler for people to fulfill their life potential.
  • Mobility is not about mode or competition, we need to understand the opportunities it opens or denies for people.
  • How do we begin to interact with city-making with all of our senses and natural laws?
  • Rehana explains how are both local and global simultaneously.
  • Shift how we share and allocate space in our cities.

What will cities look like in 2040?

  • Hope that we have more human cities with a deeper human connection.
  • The technology was supposed to free up our time but we’ve been like hamsters on a treadmill just running.
  • Available and affordable mobility for all to enable people to access each other and opportunities.
  • Slow down and no rushing around. Actually see each other. “I see you”.
  • It’s not about transport systems, it’s about how we choose to meet each other in city spaces.

About Rehana
Rehana is passionate about people, places, potential, and the planet. She is committed to creativity, collaboration, and connection. She has been invited to various local and international platforms to share from the heart. Her assignments have included amongst others: wellbeing economies, food systems, eco-mobility, place-making, and staying connected to nature in rapidly urbanising contexts.

Rehana’s style is characterised by bringing the richness of her life experiences authentically into her work – from retreats in Rajasthan, to business principles from Bhutan, to inter-faith/ inter-cultural tour of Turkey. She combines her professional training in education, with her years of community activism and a 13-year stint in local government with the deep learning she has gained from the opportunities that life has brought to her.

About The Barefoot Facilitator

We have a deep understanding of the multifaceted nature of challenges that confront our planet, organisations and individuals.

At The Barefoot Facilitator, we understand that the frenetic pace of modern-day living leaves many people disconnected from themselves, the natural environment, and each other.

Our work spans a vast range of issues – including but not limited to: eco-mobility, place-making, well-being economy, wellness, and authenticity in human relationships.

We work closely with our clients to understand the root causes of the challenges an organisation/community is dealing with. We assist them to design a variety of initiatives that are creative and experiential – that help to create clarity on complex issues and encourage people to work from the inside out.


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