Employees working as a Team

What is DE&I?

 

DE&I is any policy or practice implemented in the workplace to ensure that people from various backgrounds feel welcomed, supported, and able to reach their fullest potential in their respective area of work.

Diversity is the presence, acknowledgement, and celebration of differences within a given setting. Diversity in the workplace can look like having a staff that is diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic class.

Equity is the practice of ensuring that policies, culture, and programs are fair and impartial. The implementation of Equity in the workplace enables all employees to have equal possible outcomes, without discrimination or favouritism.

Inclusion in the workplace allows people to feel a sense of belonging. Having a work environment in which inclusivity is implemented means that every employee feels comfortable, supported, and accepted by the organisation to be their authentic selves.

DE&I is a principle that acknowledges the significance of a diverse and dynamic team and emphasizes inclusivity and employee well-being as central facets of success. To bring those values to life, companies must implement programs and initiatives that actively make their offices more diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces.

 

Relocation Africa’s DE &I Journey in Recent Years

 

South Africa, as beautiful as it is, is a country still troubled by the legacy of exclusion and discrimination. The country has progressed and established laws and regulations that assists previously disadvantaged populations and promotes equality in all areas of life. As a proudly South African company, Relocation Africa recognises our responsibility to implement these important practices in our workplace.

Our approach to DE&I is holistic and all encompassing as we recognise the intersectionality of our staff’s identities. We view DE&I not just as compliance focused where we simply tick the necessary boxes and call it a day.  Rather, we understand DE&I on a much deeper level and recognise that is a requirement upon businesses that will ultimately impact the society in which we all live and love.

The Covid-19 pandemic left a lasting mark on societies across the world. Affecting people and populations in different ways, businesses too, were left with no choice but to re-assess and become adaptive.

In response to the pandemic, Relocation Africa stayed true to our mission and promise of embracing the unknown. In our Head office in particular, we implemented a monthly wellness check-in, wherein we created a safe space to facilitate some uncomfortable conversations. These monthly wellness check-ins laid the foundations of our DE&I responsibility and allowed for our employees to feel comfortable. It provided them with a sense of belonging and community and gave them the necessary room to be their authentic selves.

At Relocation Africa we recognise that DE&I is a cultural change which takes time, education, and substantial leadership to achieve. We train our internal staff and external consultants on topics such as Unconscious Bias with the objective to unlearn any prejudices we unknowingly held. These workshops provide safe spaces to get comfortable and be honest, without the feeling or fear of judgement.  These have led to a deeper cultural sensitivity in the workplace and helps when dealing with our clients from differing cultures.

With D E&I as a priority, our head office also adopted a more flexible working environment and culture for our team. Although covid is now, in 2024,  a thought that passes unentertained for many of us, we still maintain this same flexibility. We recognise the differing backgrounds of our staff, many of whom are mothers to young children or live far from the office. To ensure the workplace is pleasant and comfortable for all, we have implemented different working hours and even a hybrid working environment. This way, we ensure that our business practices are not only DE&I adhesive, but also accommodates for all members of our team in a manner that is convenient and comfortable.

 

Why Should DE&I be Implemented in the Workplace?

 

The DE&I initiative is crucial to creating a wholesome work culture in which every member feels valued. Diversity in the workplace brings about fresh perspectives, equity allows for all groups of people to equally participate in the workplace, while inclusion is important for retention as it allows employees to feel valued and appreciated. Overall, DE&I helps to improve employee morale, promotes business ethics, and perpetuates creative problem-solving and innovation.

A company’s identity is derived from its culture. A company’s culture affects everything from employee performance to employee retention rates and loyalty.

DE&I is a principle that, if not implemented at every level of the company and every department, is not being properly practiced, and this will inevitably reflect in the company’s culture. When implemented correctly, DE&I induces cohesiveness among employees and a healthy work environment. With a diverse, equal, and valued workforce, it is undeniable that a business increases its chances of success.

 

Benefits of DE&I in the workplace

  • Diverse workplaces are more innovative.
  • DE&I enhances and preserves company culture.
  • Higher employee retention and lower turnover.
  • Equity and Inclusion combats workplace burnout.
  • DEI creates a sense of belonging for all employees.
  • Inclusion improves business decision-making processes.
  • Companies are able to reach a more extensive talent pool.
  • Diverse workplace teams are much more likely to perform better financially.

  

Relocation Africa takes pride in our efforts that we’ve exerted over the past years to implement DE&I in all areas of business. We acknowledge it not merely as a concept, but recognise it as something for which we must take responsibility. Our journey with D,E&I is one that requires the involvement of all stakeholders, as we continue to learn and grow in this field.

 

Read more on the humane aspects of how we conduct business in our cornerstone article, What Makes Relocation Africa Different? 

 

For a different perspective, read more on the key takeaways noted by our intern on how we go about Achieving Wellness in the Workplace. 

 

Facts to assist you while travelling to Zambia.

 

Zambian population

  • 5 million.

Capital and Largest City

  • Lusaka.

Official Language(s)

  • English.

Currency

  • Zambian kwacha.

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 17:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC +2.

Calling Code

  • +260.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Hakainde Hichilema is a Zambian businessman, farmer, and politician who is the seventh and current president of Zambia.

Climate

  • The climate of Zambia in Central and Southern Africa is tropical but modified by altitude (elevation). In the Köppen climate classification, most of the country is classified as humid-subtropical or tropical wet and dry, with small patches of semi-arid climate in the south-west. There are two main seasons, the rainy season lasts from November until April and occurs during summer, while the dry season lasts from May until October and occurs during winter.

Transport

  • The main airport in Zambia is the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, located in Lusaka. Zambia has rail links with the DRC, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. Zambia also has many navigable rivers, lakes, and channels through swamps, which together reach a large proportion of the rural population. The country has 88 airports, eight of which have paved runways.

Economy

  • The main industries in Zambia that contributes to its GDP include agriculture, copper mining, manufacturing, fisheries and livestock, energy, electricity, tourism, media, and finance and banking.

Hospitality

  • Zambian’s traditionally serve a local dish called nshima at gatherings and have a standard set of etiquettes revolving around how nshima should be eaten. Nshima with ndiwo is the most important meal in Zambian culture. It holds significance in the traditional culture of the people as it is often shared alongside expressions, tales of hospitality and wisdom and folk tales. It is considered a sign of disrespect to serve left over nshima to an adult, as elders are typically shown more respect in the culture. Be careful not to over-indulge as Zambians believe that leaving some food behind on your plate indicates that you have been satisfied.

Greetings

  • Greetings always start with a handshake and a polite, “How are you?”. This is frequently followed by questions about the wellbeing of your family, or the conditions of your journey.

Money

  • The Kwacha (code: ZMW) is the currency of Zambia. The name kwacha is derived from the Nyanja, Bemba, and Tonga word for “dawn”. Its meaning alludes to the Zambian nationalist slogan of a “new dawn of freedom”. The name ngwee translates as “bright” in the Nyanja language.

Transportation

  • Zambia has over 91 000km of roads divided into trunk roads, main roads, and district roads, which connects rural areas to other trunk and main roads. Most trunk and main roads are paved while district roads can sometimes be partially paved or may even be gravel and dirt. The condition of these roads get worse during the rainy season. All trunk roads are tolled with toll gates being administered by the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) and Road Development Agency (RDA). When travelling to Zambia, it is important that you remember to take this into consideration as you plan your budget.

Safety

  • Although Zambia is one of the safer countries in Africa, visitors are still advised to take whichever precautions they feel necessary. Mostly petty crimes occur, such as bag snatching and theft from parked cars. It is best to always keep your bags and other valuables secure and close to you. When traveling by car, keep the doors locked and the windows up at all times. Valuables should be kept out of sight as thieves may target travelers at transport hubs, crowded market areas and shopping precincts.

Culture

  • Zambian culture traditionally separated the roles of men and women. However, this practice is much less common in recent years, especially in the urban areas. In rural areas, women in are generally assigned the household tasks, children care, and work in the fields. Men are expected to do the fishing, hunting, and livestock management, as well as the family’s financial planning. Christianity is the religion of the majority of Zambians, and this is reflected in the contemporary culture of the citizens. Weddings and other important events are mostly in the traditional Christian style but often incorporates elements of indigenous customs and rituals.

Shops

  • Zambia has a number of modern shopping centres and malls that resemble those found in western countries. Shopping in this country should be hassle free, especially in the capital city and other urban areas. There are also a multitude of online stores for the convenience of all shoppers.

 

 

 

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Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Facts to assist you when travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

DRC population

  • 102 million.

Capital and Largest City

  • Kinshasa.

Official Language(s)

  • French, Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili, and Tshiluba.

Currency

  • Congolese franc.

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 17:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC +1 to +2.

Calling Code

  • +243.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Felix Tshisekedi is the 5th president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Climate

  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo lies on the Equator, with one-third of the country to the north and two-thirds to the south. The climate is hot and humid in the river basin and cool and dry in the southern highlands, with a cold, alpine climate in the Rwenzori Mountains. South of the Equator, the rainy season lasts from October to May and north of the Equator, from April to November. Along the Equator, rainfall is fairly regular throughout the year. During the wet season, thunderstorms often are violent but seldom last more than a few hours.

Transport

  • The main airport in the DRC is the N’djili Airport, located in Kinshasa. Ground transport in the Democratic Republic of Congo has always been difficult. The terrain and climate of the Congo Basin present serious barriers to road and rail construction, and the distances are enormous across this vast country. Rail transportation is provided by the Congo Railroad Company and the Office of the Uele Railways. The Democratic Republic of Congo has thousands of kilometres of navigable waterways. Traditionally, water transport has been the dominant means of moving around in approximately two-thirds of the country.

Economy

  • The DRC’s main industries that contribute to its economy include mining, mineral processing, consumer products, metal products, lumber, cement, and ship repair.

Hospitality

  • It is very important to know the gestures and mannerisms when interacting with locals, so as to not be considered rude. When in DRC, do not use your left hand as it is used for personal hygiene. It is common practice in the local culture to touch one another when greeting each other, but it is ultimately expressive of their culture and values. Other things that might be important to know is that in the DRC, pointing at someone is considered to be impolite. Objects are to be passed either with both hands or only the right hand, never with the left hand. Also note to never shake someone’s left hand.

Greetings

  • One of the best, most common, and most appropriate greetings for formal settings and to show politeness is ‘’Bonjour’’. This French greeting is widely acceptable as French is the official language of the country is widely spoken.

Money

  • The Congolese franc is the official currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It used to be subdivided into 100 centimes, however, centimes no longer have any value and are therefore no longer used.

Transportation

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo, unfortunately, does not have an extensive transport network. Many of the roads are not paved or are in a bad condition. Taxis are often the best way to travel between the sights, especially in Kinasha and other towns and cities. In the case that you may want to cover large distances in a short span of time, then road transport is not really an option. Instead, one of the 200+ airports spread around the country may better suit your travel needs.

Safety

  • The DRC is a deeply troubled country with a tumultuous past. The arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth century, and the colonisation by Belgium shortly thereafter, stripped the country of its abundance of rich natural resources. Post independence violence in the form of war persisted in the country, further disadvantaging the nation. The DRC still struggles to break free from its reputation as a country of ”darkness”. The country faces huge challenges, but its people are welcoming and warm. However, the fact remains that it is not the safest country to travel to.

Culture

  • The culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is varied and reflects the diversity and different customs that coexist in the country. Congolese people have a strong sense of tribal identity. There are 242 languages spoken in the country, with perhaps a similar number of ethnic groups. They combine culture and tradition with religion, as well as taking influences from western culture- owing to the effects of colonisation- and abroad. The vast majority of the population are followers of Christianity, while the rest of them follow traditional religious beliefs. However, even those who follow Christianity often conflate the religion with their traditional beliefs that they hold on to.

Shops

  • There are a few shopping centres in the DRC that resemble that of western countries. There are also some online stores, which are very convenient for expats who have not yet settled in. However, ecommerce is still in the beginning stages in the DRC.

 

 

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Part of our identity at Relocation Africa is the fact that we are multifaceted and diverse. We are engaged in numerous independent and international commercial initiatives outside of our company such as EuRA, which we are a proud member of, and we take pleasure in the satisfaction and fulfilment that comes from our involvement in external causes and activities.  

 

Relocation Africa celebrates every achievement, triumph, and milestone, and pays homage to each of them, whether great or small, in order to acknowledge their individual importance.  

 

We celebrate being a member of the Cape Chapters, which is a branch of the South African Chamber of Commerce, based in the UK. The SACC is an organisation that promotes fair trade and investment into and out of South Africa. Additionally, the South African Chamber of Commerce also acts as a meeting point for South African business in the UK and promotes business opportunities between the two nations. Prioritising South African businesses first and foremost, the SACC considers themselves to be a means through which crucial knowledge about relevant business practices can be shared, a platform through which advice and training can be offered to its members, as well as a united voice in instances when dealing with government bodies and representatives.  

 

Our director with representatives who attended the SACC-Cape Chambers launch event

With specific focus on the Western Cape, the South African Chamber of Commerce hosted the Cape Chapters launch event in celebration of the organisation’s new developments and partnerships. The launch event was undertaken by 130 guests, all of whom were prominent figures, diplomats, and stakeholders in the industry. The launch event was officialised with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was conducted by the British High Commissioner, Anthony Phillipson, and the Chairman of the SACC, Sharon Constançon. Celebrations filled the air as guests enjoyed a banquet of delicious refreshments, engaged in constructive conversations, and displayed gratitude to the long list of proud sponsors who each played a role in the success of the evening.  

 

Relocation Africa graciously and generously consolidated their position in the industry, and their keen interest in the new opportunities that this cooperation will produce, with their commitment to strengthening and establishing relationships, by being one of the many sponsors of the Cape Chapters launch event. Given the company’s allegiance and dedication to establishing international connections, as well as their location in the birthplace of the Cape Chapters, the Western Cape, such proceedings seemed fitting. 

 

Other sponsors whose assistance was integral to the success of the evening are:  

 

  • Natalie Naudé, who provided the evening’s entertainment. The Congo Cowboys kept the guests entertained with their exhilarating performances that are representative of the coalescence of African and international efforts.  
  • Frankie Bells Real Estate, for their significant cash donation that stands as testimony to their commitment to the growth of UK-South Africa relations. 
  • David Naudé, the trusted and creative photographer, and Bjorn Salsone, the reliable MC extraordinaire. 
  • Abroadscope, whose support has been instrumental in allowing for a seamless and successful event. 
  • The British High Commission, who provided the venue and refreshments for the launch event.  
  • Table Mountain water, who sponsored the water, and De Grendel, who sponsored the wines. 

 

 

The purpose of the Cape Chapter is essentially to improve economic associations and business relations between the United Kingdom and South Africa, particularly the Western Cape. Its commencement is representative of the efforts of all involved parties to promote innovation, collaboration, and trade partnerships. The Commencement of the Cape Chapters is primarily based in the Western Cape owing to its ideal location, its diverse and ever-growing business community, as well as its entrepreneurial spirit. However, the organisation has every intention to spread beyond the province’s borders and into the rest of the country.  

 

Sharon Constançon, Chairman of the SA Chamber of Commerce UK, in her extraordinary speech at the launch event, describing the Cape Chapter, said:  

 

“The launch of the Cape Chapter is a momentous occasion for the South African Chamber of commerce UK. It signifies our commitment to expanding our reach and strengthening our presence in key regions. With its dynamic business community and entrepreneurial spirit, the Western Cape is a natural choice for our next chapter. We look forward to working closely with local businesses, government agencies, and partners to create new avenues for growth, trade, and collaboration.” 

 

Apart from successful trade and collaboration, the Cape Chapters will also produce lots of fruitful benefits for all parties, including more investments, cultural enrichment, and a large medium for the exchange of knowledge. Most importantly, the Cape Chapter, and all that it entails, will pave the way for a prosperous UK-South Africa partnership.  

 

Other benefits from this initiative include strengthening the bi-lateral ties and professional relationships between South Africa and the UK by:  

 

  • Advocating for Business 
  • Promoting Trade and Partnerships 
  • Celebrating Culture and Heritage 
  • Encouraging Investment 
  • Cultivating Knowledge Exchange 

 

Our director with representatives who attended the SACC-Cape Chambers launch event

Being an organisation whose primary objective is growth, the South African Chamber of Commerce is always inviting and accepting memberships from any credible South African business who shares its interests in the strengthening of global commercial connections. Signing up for a membership is as easy as visiting their website by clicking here and following the prompts. There are multiple variations of SACC memberships to suit their large and diverse audience, including memberships for young professionals, student associates, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, SME’s, corporates, as well as platinum memberships and strategic memberships. Each of these memberships are equipped with their own advantages and benefits.  

 

Some of SACC’s most prestigious and renowned membership holders are amongst the likes of Absa Bank, AngloAmerican, Investec, and Barclays.  

 

Some impressive advantages of being a member of SACC include:  

 

  • Guaranteed invitations to all events, including private and international functions, to network and build relationships, and learn.  
  • Earning up to 10% from any commercial returns received by SACC when sourcing business leads to hand to British Chamber. 
  • Earning up to 25% of the commercial returns received by SACC when fostering direct business introduction to British Chamber. 
  • Ability to place your services on offer on the Business Hub for proactive engagement of services to other members. 
  • Involvement in projects, with appropriate praise and acknowledgements.  
  • Platform to promote achievements and accolades. 
  • Possible discounted membership or attendance rates. 

 

The Cape Chapters launch event presented an amazing opportunity to network with the representatives of those companies already involved, and we are certain that, with continuous involvement of South African businesses and the perpetual growing number of their members, there will be many more evenings like this. The South African Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Chapter look forward to many more delightful evenings and events.  

 

The South African Chamber of Commerce holds a great deal of opportunities for commercial growth and development, regardless of the stage or nature of your business – whether an entrepreneur, an SME, or a large corporate. Their website is filled with educational pieces that can benefit not only those seeking to join their membership program, but also individuals and organisations seeking to gain information on relevant topics.  

 

In another recent event, Relocation Africa also had the honour of attending another function held by the Cape Chapters at Cape Town’s very own Royal Cape Yacht Club. The evening was spectacular, with an amazing line-up of speakers shedding much needed light on important topics in the industry. From rule of law, to the best way to go about attaining a visa, and the state of the global economy in relation to industry, the conversation went above the expectations of the audience. Relocation Africa is proud to be a part of the SACC UK, and a proud member of the Cape Chapters.   

 

 

Visit their website to stay informed or join their memberships or email nnaude@sachamber.co.uk for more information.    

 

Visit our Knowledge Centre to access our news posts, exclusive blogs, and insightful webinars. To read more about other initiatives and organisations that Relocation Africa is involved in, check out our article on the 2023 EuRA Sustainability Symposium