About Us

EH14    Julian Hewitt (Aged 34)

Having travelled to 45 countries and worked in multi-disciplinarian environments from Shanghai to Soweto, Julian has a unique professional experience centred on change management.

This leadership ability has been internationally recognized as the recipient of the Clinton Democracy Fellowship, Chinese Government Scholarship and Global Award for Individual Leadership through AIESEC. Furthermore, he has been published in the Boston Globe, Mail and Guardian, China Mining Journal, Africa Analyst Quarterly and China Analyst.

A strong sense of entrepreneurialism underpins his passion. As such, Julian has been a founding member of 3 social enterprises: Twenty30, Brightest Young Minds and Ungana Afrika. He is currently the Fellowship Director at Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.


Ena Hewitt (Aged 34)EH5

Born in Umtata, Ena completed high school in New Dehli before studying Actuarial Science at UCT. She has travelled to over 40 countries and has lived for extended periods in New Zealand, India, China. Germany and England.

Ena spent  6 years in the financial markets in South Africa as a fixed income and foreign exchange trader with JP Morgan. She was the first South African to completed her MBA at CEIBS in Shanghai  – currently rated as the top business school in Asia. This included a semester at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before spending a year with HSBC from 2008 to 2009 as the Head of Asset and Liability management for Mainland China.

As a mother of two daughters, Ena is currently out of the industry, She has been involved in initiating a small scale organic farming initiative in Pretoria and works as an estate agent.



  1. George and Wendy says:

    Wishing you all well during your challenge month of August
    We will watch with interest!
    Know that you are in our prayers.
    Love from your aunt uncle and cousins in UK

  2. Ennis Jones says:

    August 2013 will be one of the best and most memorable months of your life.

  3. Medha says:

    Wow Ena and Julian! How inspiring! I feel so proud to call you my friends. Looking forward to following your experiences during this amazing life adventure. Sending you lots of love and well wishes from Delhi!

  4. Boiketlo says:

    All the Fellows are behind you!

  5. Jeanny says:

    Julian i listened to you this morning on Talk 702, all i can say is that what you are doing is so awesome & admirable. Wish you and your family all the best during your stay in Mamelodi especially your little ones. God bless you

  6. Tatenda says:

    Hope the experience has been life changing.
    I believe such a change in perspective sure is a harbinger of greater good in society. When you interact with others or when you tackle issues facing our society there would be a different level of engagement compared to those ‘removed from the coal face’.

    Somewhere on the site you mentioned that someone told you to be ready for the tremendous outpouring of love from the community…how has been your experience thus far?

    God bless you richly

    Cape Town

  7. siphiwo mentile says:

    What you did guys is to show others it can be done the is nothing wrong to stay at the townships

  8. Tumi says:

    All i can say is i am really impressed to hear some white South Africans really interested in trying to understand where a black child you see trying to impress or work hard within the Corporate ladders may have come from.Your story is inspiring particularly to your two daughters, i will be keeping an eye on you and all the best. Keep it up

  9. Mkhandas says:

    The journey you have took it is couraging to our country that change has come to embrace each as unity.where by the previledge will see the is more to be done to improve the poor

  10. Laverne says:

    Dear Julian and Ena,

    I am really encouraged and inspired by your journey.
    Very proud to know you.
    All the best!

  11. S says:

    I’m reading your blogs with interest. Thank you for sharing your experiences – it is quite enlightening. I’m of the mind that you can’t truly understand or appreciate something without experiencing a bit of it yourself. I have listened to comments on radio and read the tweets – a few that is negative. I applaud your courage and empathy – we need more of you in this country.

  12. khumbulani says:

    Great story and great achievement so far, hopefully this may lead, and in no small way, to greater societal integration. It helps to see the different paths that we all travel to get to where we are, hopefully this is the start of something that will lead to that cohesion.

  13. Ace says:

    Anything is expected from the 2 of you. You make me so proud to be South African. This is fantastic, in fact I LOVE IT… even more proud of my homegirl. Nothing unexpected, Ena comes from a region that produced the first 2 elected presidents in SA :-)…She is yet to achieve more
    when are we starting our movement Jules? i am coming back, so much needs to be done to integrate our society. Keep it up

  14. Rose says:

    So inspiring!

  15. Raymond Mahlobogwane says:

    This is an interesting story, wonderful people in Mamelodi. I have found out about your mission on Kaya fm this morning. I commend you.

  16. Dana says:

    I am listening to Julian’s interview on 702. I just want to say, well done to you and your family. Your wife is my homegirl, well she was born in Umtata. So yeah I will claim her 🙂

    All the best for you and your family.

  17. Ntombi says:

    I wish many local people can do what are you guys doing you are showing the spirit of ubuntu we need people like you guys in our society i was living with my white partner in a two room house in a township many white critisesed him about that wish you and the girls all the best

  18. Lace says:

    Hmmm…after your profile in the New York Times, I’ve decided to tackle your blog. I have to admit to some trepidation. This ‘experiment’ in radical empathy elicits so many questions, even before I delve into your family’s actual experience.

    One thing I am going to do is try to identify and process what it is I’m feeling right now. The first and most prominent feeling is that of unease; I’m not sure I can even articulate whatever other feelings I have inside. I’m doing this because I have this strong sense that whatever ‘residue’ I bring to your writing as a reader is going to inform, or even infect, how I read your words and what I take away from it.

    So, here’s my commitment–to read this with as open a mind, heart, and spirit as I possibly can. To not post till I’ve read the whole thing. To try not to get too triggered, and finally, to ‘assume best intent’ (in the words of the Quaker Mr. Fox) about your intentions and motives.

    Let’s see what happens.

    About me, because I think it’s somewhat important to disclose at least some of who I am, so that one might perhaps begin to where I’m coming from, so to speak:

    I am a 50 year old African American (truly, I’m not sure if South Africans would consider me black or mixed race, but I certainly identify as black) woman in San Diego, California, USA.

    I am right in the middle economically, progressive socially, and practice what I hope is a mindful and progressive strain of Christianity. I have Mennonite and Quaker underpinnings, though I currently worship at an Episcopal church.

    More about me later, if it’s relevant.

    Let’s see how this goes…

  19. Robin says:

    “This is no longer an academic concept for us. It is a real experience.” If you can’t read a news article and feel empathy for someone, you’ve got some real issues to face. That entire month you could have spent helping their neighbors seek work or inspired them to building something. Hell you could have organized the entire village, pulled some funds together and bought a communal van which would lower the cost of transportation and put more money immediately into the hands of the poor. I mean there were a million things you could have done besides waste a month living in extreme poverty only to add statistics that are already available on the internet. All you have done is shamelessly plug yourselves into the press. This isn’t heroic this isn’t even an effort, this is a mach of real people.

  20. LiberalMom says:

    I think the people that criticize you are reading too much into your “experiment”. I think it is lovely that you introduce your children to other lifestyles at an early age. Yes; they may not understand it fully, but I am quite certain that it will have an impact in the long run. I am happy to hear that your children are raised to be colorblind and I am sure with parents like the two of you they will fare well in this world!

    About me: Born and raised in Norway, married to a (black) American, we have 2 small children. We NEVER EVER use the words “black” and “white” when describing people, and my oldest who just started Kindergarten will sometimes describe kids as: “she/he looks like Daddy, she is kind of brownish”…. We are waiting for the day he will come home and say “Someone said my Daddy is black”.
    I wish the whole world could be colorblind, but don’t think that it will happen in my lifetime. However; it makes me happy to see that families like yours are raising your kids to see that we are ALL the same; we are all part of the puzzle that makes up this world.

    Thank you for sharing your blog!

  21. Shabazz S says:

    How about next month you move on to an empty farm. One left behind by a family that has fled so as not to be murdered in their sleep. Then you can let us know what happens when 3 or 4 black africans come by to pay you a visit with knives and machetes. I look forward to hearing all about how it changed your lives and helped you to understand better the lives of the poor black africans. Good luck!

  22. Sarah says:

    I think this is a very interesting immersion experiment. I think more people should try to get to know more people out side of their social class before they judge. I wonder how your habits will change post August now that you have lived a different perspective.

  23. Ena Urbina says:

    I am going to start reading your blog just because we share the same name! keep it pimping ENA

  24. Bukeka Nxumalo says:

    Very impressive, it is important that people first try and understand before they try and help or even write about poverty. This is what the South African government should be doing, because in order to know what development people need you first have to live like them not only observe or read. All the best…..

  25. Barbara says:

    It is now half-way through your first month back to normality. Have you gone back to the same life-style or have your consumer habits changed in any way? Have your two little girls gone back to visit the friends that they made or are the friends just forgotten?

    • Ena says:

      Hi Barbara. Yes and no. Consumer habits haven’t really changed. I’ve never really been the ‘mall type’ and still am not. However I like shopping at Woolies for food and continue doing so (for example). Small things that have changed are 1) the way we pay Leah (stripped out transport costs from her wage), 2) if she finishes work mid day for example I’ll drive her to the closest taxi hub as I now know catching a taxi in the middle of the day is a nightmare (they are all on lunch break), 3) I’ve given a lot more lifts to people (being aware of the taxi costs etc).

      Julian has been back to Mamelodi several times as he continues going with to Leah’s church on Wednesday evenings. I have not yet been back but plan on going next week. The girls have sorted through their toys that they no longer use and we are taking that through to give to some of their friends in Mamelodi, they are looking forward to it.

    • Pam says:

      Dear Julian and Ena – we have just watched the end of Carte Blanche and recognized you! We didn’t put two and two together until we saw you and realized who you were. We did Marriage Prep with you! You are both looking well and obviously living and experiencing life to the full and continuing to make a difference. Well done. It is lovely to see your two beautiful little girls as well. With best wishes Pam and John Durrant

  26. […] This isn’t the first time better-off South Africans have opted to forego their creature comforts for the reality of poverty. One such family moved to the slums of Mamelodi for a month as an “experiment in radical empathy,” living in a one-room shack with no electricity or running water, and blogging about their experiences. […]

  27. Mpumi says:

    Julian And Ena

    Very few people can open themselves to experience poverty as it is, for a long month of end winter. Your experience and character is highly commendable. I was humbled ten folds by your actions.May your efforts continue to improve lives and give hope to humanity. All the best in 2014!

    Best regards

  28. Kwanele Mgijima says:

    My fav white fox on earth

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