A chance to train with CNVC trainer Nic Burnand in Cape Town this October 2017

By Sarah Dekker

I suddenly found myself largely running our business on my own this year. My business partner Tara Wood went on an extended maternity leave and Samantha Wittenberg unexpectedly left for Australia to care for her daughter. For the first time I was going to be organising and facilitating Language that Works trainings on my own. Or was I?

It was like a window opened and I was surprised to find myself connecting and getting support from various NVC trainers in the Netherlands, Canada, the UK, Brazil, and Kenya via Skype, Facebook and e-mail. The Centre for Nonviolent Communication has nearly 500 certified trainers sharing the NVC methodology in over 65 countries around the world. And yet, Language that Works is still a pioneering organisation in bringing this game changing toolset to South Africa.

Nonetheless, the moment my partner Samantha found out that she was leaving, Kolbrun Karlsdottir, a fellow Nonviolent Communication certification candidate from Iceland, came knocking on my door. She heartily co-facilitated training sessions with me for two months. We learned so much from each other, exploring new forms of collaboration and ways of explaining the tools of Nonviolent Communication together.

Meanwhile, as soon as I told Nic Burnand that I was running trainings on my own, he started looking for flights to Cape Town to come and support me. That’s why, this October, I’m really excited to offer training opportunities to South Africans with a CNVC-certified nonviolent communication (NVC) trainer, Nic Burnand. So who is this Nic?

Although he lives in Belgium and has travelled a lot, Nic Burnand is a South African. We met each other in NVC trainings in Cape Town several years ago. Nic ran a weekly practice group in Cape Town, and when he moved to Belgium with his wife and daughter, I decided to take over the baton and keep NVC practice alive and going here.

Like an artist moving to Paris in the 1900s, moving to Europe opened up opportunities for Nic to train with many great ‘NVC masters’. We were both very enthusiastic about the work of CNVC trainer Robert Gonzales, and Nic got to participate in the two-year Euro Life program led by him. Robert Gonzales has developed new ways to explore the spiritual dimensions of compassionate communication and Nic will be sharing some of this exploration in the three-day retreat we are organising.

Nic and I stayed in touch and he has become a dear friend to me, connecting, learning, inspiring, mourning and celebrating together in regular Skype sessions over the last six years. Throughout he has been committed to doing everything he can to support the growth of an NVC community in South Africa.

And now we find ourselves working as trainers, Nic for Team Blabla in Belgium and I for Language that Works in South Africa. I could hardly imagine all those years ago when we’d first met, that we’d both be following our hearts, doing the work we’re most passionate about: offering training, building bridges, spreading the practical tools for more compassionate and effective communication, pursuing a journey of self-discovery and authenticity.

I am thrilled to have this chance to exchange ideas and co-create some life-enriching spaces together this October. I am deeply grateful for the astounding support I get and sense of connection I feel with the global NVC community.

If you have been curious about these practical tools for more effective communication, or have colleagues and friends you would like to introduce to NVC, this is the ideal occasion. I highly recommend joining us for these unique and fun sessions of learning and (self-) discovery:

11 October 2017: three-hour experiential workshop, Cape Town – An evening session of inner enquiry.

12 to 15 October 2017: three-day NVC retreat, Samadhi Retreats – An experiential immersion, shifting the pace of our lives for a moment, slowing down, experiencing, sensing and being.

17 & 18 October 2017: two-day introductory training – Learning practical tools for effective communication that lead to more productive and satisfying relationships with our colleagues, friends and family.


“Empathy is not something I do, it is rather an act of not doing. A part of myself holding space while allowing another part of myself to exist. There is really no difference whether I listen to myself or another, it is all the same. Self-empathy, and empathy for another are just concepts, and I feel some concern that they may be concepts that contribute to the illusion of separation.

Nonviolent Communication has been a fantastic process to support me in learning this, and offers me maps to inner experiencing. With these maps I can navigate the inner world. The inner world becomes clearer. I become ever more transparent and free from the ideas and concepts that I have put in place to keep me safe. I realise that there is no safety, because when I am honest, open and transparent, there is nothing left to protect, nothing to keep safe. I am free and my heart is open again.” – Nicholas Burnand

For more information call Sarah on +27 73 960 3406 or write to sarah@languagethatworks.co.za


“Sarah has been a close friend and part of my Nonviolent Communication community since 2010. We have attended workshops together, hosted practice groups, organised and offered workshops, met for empathy sessions and just simply hung out and chatted about Life and contribution to Life.
I am inspired by Sarah’s honesty and openness in her communication, as well as her ability to truly listen. Her dedication to promoting peace and serving her community is a gift to me and a reminder of what is possible with courage and determination. I can confidently recommend Sarah as a skilled Trainer, coach and mediator.” – Nicholas Burnand, CNVC trainer, Belgium


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