A bit more about Werner
Werner Cloete is the Principal of Calling Academy and the CEO of Calling Education NPC. Calling Education NPC provides high-quality private Christian Education at a fee that’s affordable for learners who come from lower income communities. Werner has been in the education industry for 15 years, including teaching in England and at an all boy’s school in Stellenbosch.
The second skill is the ‘design mindset.’ When you look at the smartphone and all the devices surrounding us, it’s important to realise that all those things have been designed. Everything around us is creatively designed and we need to embrace that mindset. The most important skill, however, is the skill of ‘discernment.’ How do I pay attention to the times and know how I can lead as best I can, wherever I am.
Can you briefly name a few of the opportunities you had while growing up that made you the person you are today?
A big opportunity that Werner feels made him into the person he is today was the opportunity to attend high-quality schools, as well as to act in a position of leadership within those schools. Werner firmly believes that various sports opportunities helped him understand himself and others, through teamwork, goals, discipline and training, which translated into many other aspects of his life as well. Werner reflects, and tells us of another experience that he will always cherish – it was the opportunity to go on outreach to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. These outreaches had a massive impact on the way Werner sees the world around him and what he was called to do.
Can you briefly describe your experience at In Harmonie?
Werner describes his experience at in Harmonie as ‘uniquely refreshing.’ Werner explains that his time spent at in Harmonie felt well-balanced between business and times of solitude and reflections with oneself, all the while enabling stimulating discussions.
What do you think some of the challenges are in building a more harmonious South Africa?
Werner explains that harmony should not be confused with equality. The right heart attitude can lead to harmony despite inequality. Werner then explained that the right heart attitude can be cultivated by engaging issues of inequality. Werner then explained that ineuality is a stumbling block in finding that right heart attitude. Another stumbling block that Werner feels is a challenge in building a more harmonious South Africa is an unwillingness to reach out and walk in other’s shoes. “People don’t understand each other’s worlds,” says Werner, and there are still various misconceptions about each other’s way of living.
How do you think a person moves from a state of disharmony to harmony?
Werner spoke about how finding harmony, starts with understanding the sovereignty of God. “Standing with God is the starting point,” says Werner. He continues by saying how being in God’s presence takes away the sharp edge of disharmony. Practically, moving to a state of harmony should include moving beyond your comfort zone and making a conscious effort with your fellow people and with God. By doing this, Werner continued, you will move beyond borders, start to understand those around you and learn how to live in harmony.
How do you and your organisation engage in this process of change?
Werner and his organisation provide high-quality education to learners from low-income communities. This, however, doesn’t merely stop at education. Calling Education aims at encouraging learners to have the right heart attitudes and to dream big. They also urge at providing better opportunities and encouraging a mindset that creates leaders and leadership opportunities. The school that is run by their organisation, Calling Academy, also provides thought leadership in the low fee independent sector and will provide teacher development in the future.
Any words of advice or encouragement you would like to share with those who feel like they have lost hope?
Werner shared words of encouragement as he explained that hopelessness is fueled by what we see. Therefore, at times, it is necessary to shift your viewpoint. “We need to get out there and start discovering all the amazing programs that are making a wonderful difference.” says Werner. Werner concludes by explaining, to get out of a place of hopelessness, it’s necessary to fill your life with things that perpetuate hope and encourages change.