Reputation Custodianship through Ubuntu.Lab Hub at Reputation House

Following last year’s revelations of state capture and other corporate scandals, we saw many individual and corporate reputations ruined. The revelations laid bare the need for oversight to ensure that ethical business practices be upheld. They also shone the spotlight on the need to find ways of safeguarding one’s reputation. This involves “out-of-the-box” thinking as well as the concept of ubuntu.

In acknowledgement of this, Reputation House has embarked on forging new partnerships, including one with the Presencing Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through engaging with author and consultant Martin Kalungu-Banda. His profile can be viewed at

There is also a video link to Kalungu-Banda, in which he explains what Ubuntu.Lab is about:

In addition to being the lead facilitator of the Presencing Institute in the United Kingdom, Kalungu-Banda is a faculty member of the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, with a focus on enabling senior business executives and those working in the public sector to take an active stance on sustainable development.

We at Reputation House have noticed a growing need for interventions, designed to conscientise internal stakeholders about the importance of managing their personal reputation and help them better understand how their conduct affects the company’s reputation. In response, we have come up with a process for enhancing the corporate image – what we call Reputation Custodianship.

After nearly twelve years of delivering RepTrak in South Africa, we are confident that reputation research coupled with systems thinking enable reputation custodianship and better reputation risk mitigation in organisations.

For an introduction to Theory U and Presencing, please view a nine-minute YouTube explanation at https://youtube/8zuDNH3zXW0.

You can also gain a deeper understanding of these theories from viewing the following video, which is just under an hour long: https://youtube/Ne78lVetZcA

Communication is vital to protecting one’s reputation, and we invite those who work in corporate reputation risk and in the communications and marketing sectors, as well as stakeholder engagement professionals and others keen on safeguarding their reputations, to engage with us in order to foster reputation custodianship in business and in other situations or “eco-systems”.

We offer this service, in addition to our reputation research and measurement offering, using the Reputation Institute’s RepTrak® model.

Ubuntu.Lab is an eight-month, applied online-offline learning programme for change-makers, emerging innovators and established leaders across Africa. It is ideal for people keen on driving corporate excellence. Through Ubuntu.Lab, we offer corporates the space to engage in crucial guided conversations about issues that ultimately have to do with reputation.

The Theory U process espoused by the MIT’s Presencing Institute comes highly recommended. We are privileged to announce that our first sessions of our Ubuntu.Lab Hub will be supported by Theory U expert Dr Dena van den Berg. Her profile can be viewed at

Our purpose is to enable our members to connecting the dots by re-imagining the interconnectedness of the business world, society and the self. Accordingly, our experts take corporate delegates through guided conversations that are drawn from the work of Theory U’s originator, Otto Scharmer. He and Katrin Kaufer wrote a book detailing this theory in 2013, titled Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies.

The purpose of this programme is to make a difference to members of Reputation House in three ways:

  • By our experts delivering knowledge about global best practice;
  • By dealing with issues specific to South Africa and the African continent; and
  • By addressing issues specific to the individuals attending the sessions
  • Given the need to respond to the challenges that come with the public losing their trust in corporate and government leaders whose ethics have been proven to be flawed and even non-existent, the Ubuntu.Lab Hub initiative aims to generate a positive social impact through tried-and-tested approaches delivered by leading experts in the concept of Presencing and Theory U.

    With the above as our focus, we invite organisations to join in and engage with other people in various African countries and also in the European Union.

    We are thrilled to be launching an Ubuntu.Lab Hub in Johannesburg, along with events and initiatives that we aim to deliver through our exciting new partnerships with the Mail & Guardian locally and the MIT’s Presencing Institute abroad.

    By signing up as a corporate member of Reputation House, you’ll have the opportunity to access skills that are available through Ubuntu.Lab and you will be part of our Reputation Custodians Network.

    You can log on to the Ubuntu.Lab Hub in Johannesburg at the following address: To find the Ubuntu.Lab Hub closest to you, scroll down to the world map and click on the marker for details.

    We hope you’ll join us in the process of enabling reputation consciousness and custodianship in South Africa and across Africa. Please also consider sponsoring youths or other people as part of your Corporate Social Investment programme.

    For more details about how to join Reputation House, please contact director Moshopyadi Hannah Heil by emailing [email protected]  

    Subscribe to the M&G

    These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

    The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

    Guest Author

    Related stories

    Covid logic beats ‘irrational’ human logic

    The virus will lose if the government and high-profile people communicate effectively the reasons for restrictions and the compromises that have been made

    Rethinking communication and innovation in the time of Covid-19

    Physical distancing rules do not have to mean that we work in isolation; on the contrary, the need for communication has never been greater

    As the economy inches open, South Africa’s startups prepare for a post-Covid world

    The pandemic offers opportunities for online businesses that deliver services ranging from education and communication with clients to delivering groceries, but it doesn’t come without difficulties

    The changing role of marketing

    Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

    Government spokespeople have a crucial role to play in facilitating communication

    Those tasked with communicating on behalf of the government would do well to engage in some introspection regarding the purpose of their job

    On the power of language

    Educating our children in their mother tongues will help to address underdevelopment in Africa

    Ingonyama Trust Board moves to retrench staff

    More than 50 workers at the Ingonyama Trust Board have been issued section 189 notices

    No proof of Covid-19 reinfection, yet

    Some people report testing positive for Covid-19 after initially having the disease and then testing negative. Scientists are still trying to understand if this means that reinfection is possible

    press releases

    Loading latest Press Releases…

    The best local and international journalism

    handpicked and in your inbox every weekday