I’m publishing this letter on behalf of the Kwanda team. We recently decided to take a sabbatical — a moment to pause, reflect and recover.
Kwanda launched in February 2020, shortly before the pandemic gripped the globe. Our vision was and remains: a world where the creative potential of Sub-Saharan Africa and its global diaspora is fully realised, as a benefit to humankind.
With a team as ambitious as the vision itself, we set out to move towards this goal, knowing that we did not want to replicate the existing, top-down approaches. We firmly see ourselves as investors. We invest in communities, and we invest in innovations that address local and global challenges. The investments we make transform lives and will ultimately serve humanity.
Kwanda launched as an experiment. We knew where we wanted to end up, but we didn’t know how we’d get there. Our plan? Try a lot of things out, and see where the feedback took us. Well, we’ve received a whole bunch of feedback and learnt a great deal. Our challenge has become applying these learnings to Kwanda as we continue to drive forward.
In the last few months, we’ve felt this method of building quickly as we work take its toll on the team. We’ve had to think hard about what a sustainable company looks and operates like. We have come to the conclusion that a company sabbatical is the healthiest thing we can do. We’re a small, hard-working team and community of villagers. We have achieved an enormous amount of impact in a very short space of time; a company sabbatical allows us to step back and review our work so far and make the necessary adjustments. It helps us protect our ability to see our vision through and ensure we’re correctly oriented.
You can’t make things and break things at the same time. — Rumbi
What does a sabbatical look like?
A sabbatical means we will be pausing on all main operations, except for keeping our village ledger up to date and publishing ongoing project updates.
We will be pausing all current villager subscriptions and closing access to new villagers. As a villager, this means that your card won’t be charged (unless you choose to opt back in) while we’re on a sabbatical. New villagers won’t be able to join but can be added to a waiting list for when we return.
We will keep the Slack community chat open for villagers.
How long will the sabbatical last?
We’re not too sure just yet. Our priority is recovery; then, we’ll get back to strategy and building and re-opening the village shortly afterwards. We’ll keep community members up to date via our Slack channel.
What will we use the sabbatical for?
We’ll be using our sabbatical to ponder deeper questions around our strategy for achieving our vision. We’ll be using our sabbatical to build better back-end technology for Kwanda. We’ll be using our sabbatical to recover our bodies and minds.
Will Kwanda change?
Yes. If we are to apply the lessons learned appropriately, Kwanda will inevitably return transformed. We’re going to continue making bold and daring adjustments to Kwanda.
What is the next step?
Our next step is to pause subscriptions and halt entry to the village for the time being. All villagers will receive email communication as we roll out these steps.
See you soon
I want to thank all those who have been on this journey with us, those who still are and those who will continue with us.
Your belief in our team is greatly appreciated. Our approach is agile and experimental but intense. In the short time we’ve been operational, we’ve taken on a lot, and we sincerely feel that now, more than ever, we need to take a step back and re-orient ourselves to make sure we can sustain Kwanda for the communities we serve.
We’ll be back soon, new and improved!
See you on the other side.