The South African Crucible revisited CHE-Salon October 24th 2023

Spiral Dynamics in Action: What can we learn from the great work Don Beck did in South Africa, for current conflict situations in the world?

Numerous times during the late 1980s and early 1990s Don Beck visited South Africa. In total he worked here 63 times, in the corporate and political space. Don was sent to South Africa by Clare Graves in 1986 to test their theoretical assumptions about what is now known as Spiral Dynamics. Apartheid and the impact thereof was at an all-time high, social uprising were daily occurrences, and heavy American sanctions were strangling the local economy. Internationally it was feared that South Africa was on the edge of a civil war. Together with Loraine Laubscher conversations with leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and other political leaders were facilitated.

Our guest Dr Rica Viljoen was the founder member of Mandala Consulting, a respected organization dedicated to organizational development and research. She worked closely with the late Dr Don Beck and Dr Loraine Laubscher on geo-political trends and their impact on individuals and the organizations they belong too. She established the Center of Human Emergence Africa and has become an internationally recognized thought leader in spiral dynamics and integral research. Her research on inclusivity gained widespread recognition for its potential impact in the field of Management, Spirituality and Religion. The approach she developed, which emphasizes listening to the voices of the entire social system, has been successfully implemented in 42 countries, engaging more than 100000 participants. Rica got many important rewards for her academic endeavors. She published 9 books of which the book Spiral Dynamics In Action is translated into 9 languages. Her purpose in life is to listen to untold stories and facilitate healing.

During the conversation in this salon, Rica Viljoen will share stories and insights; not only on how Spiral Dynamics contributed to the prevention of a Civil War in South Africa; but also on the memories of Don shared in the 8 years of close cooperation with him. She will also incorporate the auto-ethnographic reflections of Loraine with which she spent 12 years.

Towards the end the group will collectively reflect on how the spiral can be useful in dealing with a cauldron of various social conflicts, with an attempt at weaving together an integral tapestry of humanity from which we all might learn.

The lounge is online via ZOOM and will last approx. 2,5 hours. Rica will join us for the whole session, the language is English. We ask for a contribution between 5 – 25 euros to participate in the salon to collect some money to organize these meetings. If you cannot pay anything, please send a mail to and we will send you the zoom link to join the salon.

You can read more about this South Africa Experience in the book The Crucible. Forging South Africa's Future. In search of a Template for the World. Written by Dr Don Beck and Graham Linscott (still available on

We hope to meet you!!

Auke van Nimwegen, Hans Ruijs, Lars Lutje Schipholt and Leida Schuringa

PS1: The Photo of Don Beck and de Klerk has been taken by Haakon Tveita at the Oslo Peace Center Conference.

PS2: In November we will start a series of 4 sessions about how to cope with current Russia.


You are invited to join us in this CHE-Salon on October 24th. Sign up by clicking on the red EventBrite link. You will receive a confirmation. Monday October 23th you will get a ZOOM link to join this salon.

For more information about the Center for Human Emergence (CHE) in The Netherlands, see our website You also can sign up for our mailing list there.

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