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Marthe Muller

Futurist Profile

 

Marthe Muller

Women Historian and Knowledge Management Practitioner

Chief Operations Officer: South African Women In Dialogue (SAWID)

Education:
BA Philosophy and Political Philosophy
BA (Hons) Philosophy
Masters in Women’s History - Sarah Lawrence College in New York (incomplete)


Marthe answered a few questions about her perspective and on being a futures thinker.

ABOUT YOU AS A FUTURES THINKER / PRACTITIONER

You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I feel deeply compelled to participate in the visioning of the future of Africa as a planetary leader in guiding the world towards the values underlying the spirit of ubuntu, the “we are all one-ness” of human endeavour, which would include advocacy towards a new compassionate economic model and empowering individuals and families to become agents of their own development. It also includes severe critique of all development that does not unleash individual potential and translate into development as choice and freedom.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Seven years. I spontaneously “converted” to futures thinking in September 2006, while participating in the Chile Tunisia Study Tour, and with the example of the thought leadership, futures vision and humility of SAWID Patron and Founder Zanele Mbeki. It became clear to me that women can change the future of South Africa and Africa by carefully planning for every desired state of affairs, a desired Women’s Ministry, an integrated poverty strategy, a much needed Planning Ministry. This awareness of the mechanics of desired, meaningful and sustainable change, supported by deep humility, servant leadership and spiritual authority, nourished by the gathering, recording and amplifying of the voices of grassroots women, remains my model of futures thinking.

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

South Africa

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

English

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

My awareness of the future that humans are capable of creating collaboratively when we realise that we are all one undivided, living, throbbing organism. Having had my first and only child at the age of 47 prompts me to be concerned about how current decisions will affect the future of humans 100 years hence.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

To inspire Africans to become aware of our incredible potential to lead the world towards a new planetary destiny informed by the values of kindness, compassion, generosity and nurturance that women bring to the development agenda.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

Helena Blavatsky’s notion of Spiritual Evolution, and the “aristocracy of the soul” and servant leadership example of SAWID patron Mrs. Zanele Mbeki, whose integrity and personal vision, global exposure, activist nature and ability to see the bigger picture while working at the most basic grassroots level, has inspired SAWID with a futures vision of a country and a continent characterised by equality, fairness, productive self-reliance and resilience.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

BA Philosophy and Political Philosophy and BA (Hons) Philosophy, I also completed the 2 year coursework for a Masters in Women’s History, (3rd version of thesis outstanding) at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

Working first as a report writer between 2003 and 2006, and then as Information and Documentation Manager for South African Women in Dialogue between 2006 and 2011 trained me to listen to the wisdom and grassroots solutions of African Women.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

One of my colleagues described me as follows:

Marthe is one of the most inspired and inspiring people I have met. She is able to work relentlessly towards SAWID’s goal of improving the quality of life for women and people in South Africa and abroad. Marthe is always open to alternative ideas and is able to keep groups of people connected and driven.

Many of my colleagues have humorously, and sometime with exasperation, noted that I do not seem to see problems.


I describe myself as… a Spirit-led and God-conscious individual, aware of the indwelling presence of Spirit and the unfolding of a Divine Agenda designed to foster the development and growth of the human soul.

 

YOUR PERSPECTIVE

What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“Africa will become the pupil of the eye of humanity” - Bahu Allah, leader of the Bahai

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

Very promising.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

“In the absence of good structures, even good people behave badly.” This quote by futures-oriented CEO of GAIASOFT, Morel Fourman, best describes my view.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Become aware of the existence of the human soul and the role of Spiritual Evolution in the development of scenarios about the future of humans, and explore the possibility that our planet is but one of trillions of inhabited planets where beings are evolving towards more meaningful and sustainable futures.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831 –1891) a scholar of ancient wisdom literature who, along with others, was instrumental in the Western transmission and revival of Theravada Buddhism. Blavatsky’s magnus opus, The Secret Doctrine, brought the idea of the Spiritual Evolution of the planet into public consciousness in the 1870’s, just when Darwin and others were making the theory of evolution popular.

Susan E Mehrtens, The Leap Frog Option and Wake Up South Africa.

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

 

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