Combretum Seeds and River Bushwillows – the background and relevance of the Conflict Dynamics brand

06 February 2020

As the new decade dawned, we reflected on the Conflict Dynamics brand and whether it still serves the organisation.

A brand reflects how a company wants to be seen by its stakeholders.  In an age of social media and rapid change, we asked ourselves and our stakeholders whether the Conflict Dynamics brand, which has been around since 1996, is still appropriate.

Our reflections have resulted in a refreshed brand, yet with a recommitment to the original rationale behind the brand.

Conflict Dynamics has the indigenous Combretum seed as the logo. The multifaceted texture and appearance of the seed resonates with some of the features of relationships and conflict, which we focus on in the business. Relationships, like seeds, are multifaceted and need nurturing to grow and to be the best they can be. Conflict is dynamic and can root easily like a seed does as it is blown through the bush. The common name for the Combretum is the River Bushwillow, which is a very hardy, fast-growing, deciduous, drought-resistant tree with dense foliage that has rich autumn colours.

It bears puffball flowers that are fragrant and turn into our logo’s four-winged seeds. The flowers attract birds and insects. Our research informed us that the Bushwillow bark has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes.  Parts of the plant are used medicinally, extracts of the leaves and roots are used for the treatment of wounds, snakebites, stomach ailments and high fever. This tree is still important in traditional medicine today. Fresh or moistened dry leaves are used as dressings for wounds. The Bushwillow prevents soil erosion as its fine root system stabilises the soil and traps surface water. The wood is hard and durable and is often used for axe handles and walking sticks. The boiled leaves produce a red dye, which is used in basket making. These characteristics of healing, holding, change, and durability sit well with the role Conflict Dynamics plays.

The winged Combretum seed signifies the Company vision of being able to get to where we are needed as trainers and dispute resolvers, and, once there put down roots and grow an endemic, resilient and sustainable conflict management culture.

Conflict Dynamics provides conflict management training and dispute resolution processes which are rooted in and indigenous to South Africa, and which have been nurtured and grown over our many years of working in the field. We adapt this expertise to the environment we operate in and trainers and mediators adapt these services to the environments across the world that they are drawn into.

The Conflict Dynamics vision is to achieve a society in which people, workplaces and organisations are skilled in negotiation, conflict management, and dispute resolution. This is achieved by:

  • Presenting training courses and workshops on employment relations, conflict management and dispute resolution related topics, which are of a high quality, cost-effective, learner-focused, and meet the standards of the National Qualifications Framework and international best practice;
  • Conducting dispute resolution processes for parties in conflict and disputes, which are of high quality, cost-effective and which conform to local and international standards of service delivery; and
  • Advocating for appropriate dispute resolution in South Africa, and in other countries.

May the next decade be one in which seeds of problem-solving, respect and resolution grow into strong River Bushwillows where they are sown and nurtured.

- Marion Shaer