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Loyal to you or loyal to our economy…

On my way to work the other day, I was listening to the radio and the guest speaker touched on a very interesting but sensitive topic. He went on to expand on how young people should consider the economic needs at the time of selecting their career paths. I must say he raised some really valid points but as I drove, I couldn’t help but ponder about this issue from a different angle.

There is a paradox inside of me around this. On the one end I am a patriot of my nation and I really believe that the wisdom and the resources to solve most of Africa’s issues do not lie overseas but within the borders of our glorious continent. So I really would like to see our economy flourish.

On the other end though, anyone who knows me knows just how passionate I am about purpose. I often echo in my circle of friends, family and colleagues about the importance of living a “purpose driven life.” I am passionate about purpose because when my purpose unfolded I understood why my life mattered.

So a question that continues to linger on my mind is, encourage young people to go into career paths that address the immediate needs of the economy or encourage young people to do what they passionate about?

But for me to truly answer this, I had to ask the question of what factors are important in aiding with a country’s economic growth/development. I opened this question up on social media and my friend’s shared some interesting insights below:

“Widespread skills; Common vision, Trust in government; Absence of corruption; Too many people studying for corporate jobs-focus on entrepreneurship from primary school; Visionary Leadership; Job creation and a focus on trade.”

You may contest that there are so many other factors that influence economic growth but the aim was not to make this an academic paper, but a simple reflection shared by an ordinary South African fascinated about the happenings in the country.

I still ponder on whether we can advise young people to cement their future on an economy that’s ever changing? And yet as I say this I am also saddened by the escalating high unemployment amongst graduates.

I am opening this up for us to have digital and face to face dialogues. My viewpoint is that we need a healthy economy. When the economy is healthy, we will have very limited dependence on the Government to supply free housing, social grants, public clinics etc. A healthy economy ensures a sustainable livelihood for the country and its occupants. I believe we need to engage more in wealth creation dialogues’ as opposed to the obsession around job creation.

The other catch 22 situation with “you have to finish university and get a corporate job mentality” is that there seems to be a rise of individuals who have great corporate jobs but are miserable. I always seem to meet people in corporate who complain about their jobs and make mention of other things they passionate about and believe that if they were courageous enough to see those passions through, those could actually be the door way to wealth.

I really like what Liz Davidson (CEO of Financial Finesse) said in her article “Eight Ways to Build Wealth like Millionaires Do – Make It A Game” She made some truly powerful reflections but there are 3 points that really stood out for me. These points were;

  • “Invent something and sell the concept”
  • “Turn your hobby into a business”
  • “Solve a problem”

These stood out because they carry the undertone of purpose and that wealth flows through engaging in society transforming actions.

As I continued to read her article, her concluding remarks really hit my core as she said “…if you can pair up your skills and talents with what you love to do, you can actually build wealth by having fun. Isn’t that how it should be?”

If we really want a future for Africa we have got to emancipate peoples thinking. I guess this might be one of those on going paradoxes but I leave you with something to ponder about. I close in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

It’s OK to say: “I don’t know”

We live in a world that only seems to accept us based on what we can offer. I have suffered with this issue throughout all my life. I’ve always felt the overwhelming need to have an opinion about something, be it the latest news on education, entertainment, politics or spirituality. Whenever I didn’t know the answer to a question or didn’t have a viewpoint about something, I felt as if I was neither smart nor worthy. I then went on the “I’ll act as if I know everything” journey, which meant I fell into the trap of talking too much.

I wanted to be seen as someone who was well informed and relevant. But what people didn’t know was that I was trapped inside that image you know, that voice you hear from your core that says “You’re not being true to yourself”. I remember praying for direction and feeling God replying: “Bongeka, it’s OK not to have an opinion or talk about matters you know nothing about”.

I wish I could fully express how liberating it was to realise that it was fine for me to simply say: “I don’t know.” Recently a senior colleague sent an alarming email before an important meeting, insisting that every attendee should prepare no fewer than three questions to ask.

It’s amazing how society tries to box us in so that we all act the same. This begins early in our life journeys: if you speak out more than others in class, you’re considered smarter. The pressure rises from a low boiling point to blazing hot when you enter the corporate world.

We’ve all heard the saying: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Actually, there is- usually asked by people who simply want to be heard. The pressure to always sound well read, informed and intelligent is a daily challenge. But I’ve realised this truth: if my motive for saying something isn’t right, I might as well shut up.

My enjoy life tip is this: Here’s my advice to everyone reading this- next time you feel overwhelming pressure to open your mouth and speak, first ask yourself: What’s  my real motive?” Only thoughts that genuinely offer ideas, solutions or healing should be uttered. I’ve made up my mind that I won’t comprise my heart or dignity any more. I sleep lighter now knowing that I’m more genuine in all the meetings I attend and that when I contribute, I do so from a place of peace.

This article is featured in the  2016 September issue of Destiny Magazine.

The Human!

On my way to work I was listening to my regular programme on the radio. The guest speaking that day really caught my attention and had me glued to the conversation. He began to unpack the life of a gentleman called Roger Lucey.

He was so deep and powerful as he began to tell this story. Now Roger Lucey can be considered as one of those South African heroes who don’t feature much in our history tales. But the South African music industry decided that the time to celebrate this unsung hero was long overdue.

He recalled how Roger Lucey played an integral role in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa. What fascinated me about his story was that Roger Lucey was not even a politician but a brilliant musician.

He used his craft to raise awareness about the social injustices happening in South Africa and he was so adamant about his stance against it in his music. He did this so much to a point that the Apartheid Government Security unit made his music career and life miserable. They disturbed his concerts and stopped his music from playing on media platforms.

He had no other choice but to cut his music career very short.  Someone may say but Bongeka, there are so many other musicians and even black South Africans musicians who did the same thing to a point where they had to go into exile.

I completely agree and all these heroes played a pivotal role and all the books in the world will not be enough for us to reflect on their lives.

But there is a lesson I wanted to draw from Roger Lucey story… you see my friend Roger Lucey was a white man. And if we look into the Apartheid context, he really didn’t have to do this.

But he chose to literally put his own life in the line for the cause of human rights. Most people of colour in South Africa fought because the system hit home and they were the ones suffering.

After the speaker had finished on the radio, I was so touched by this that I began pondering and asking myself honestly, have I really been a true advocate for my fellow humans? I recall instances in my life where I have witnessed varying degrees of human rights violations in different social contexts. I have stood up for some and yet have been too silent in some.

In this “me” and “I” driven generation we can be so absorbed into our own realities that we forget about those around us. I recall instances when after I had graduated and started working. Most of my peers would gather every weekend, showing off their new cars and talking about their amazing corporate jobs.

All of a sudden there was an emerging class of young black professionals, whose common thread was that the township had been their nesting place. But now they had “made it”.  And to celebrate their achievement meant creating an “elite” society that thrived on social gatherings.

But one question that always lingered on my mind was, okay yes, “we have made it” and then “so what?”

I find that the more advanced and sophisticated we become the easier it is to forget the “human” element. We become so ignorant of world affairs and even the things happening in our own countries. Even those of us who are part of powerful society transforming institutions like Corporates, the Church, Democratic/liberation organisations can be so inward looking to a point that we forget that we exist within a society that has many issues.

No matter the race, the country, the continent, the social status, the physical appearance etc. – an umbilical cord that binds us all is the fact that we are HUMAN.

My enjoy life tip is this: as long as you breathing find a cause that will benefit the next human. Now I am not suggesting we step outside of our comfort zones. But in our different industries and the places of influence we find ourselves in, “be aware of the Human” and in whatever way feels true to you touch the next person’s life.

We ought to stop being so inward looking. Care, Greet, Give, Teach, Be generous, Build, Love, Respect and most importantly let’s learn to celebrate every one’s differences and uniqueness. As Joyce Meyer rightly puts it “The best way to get along with everyone is not to expect them to be like you”…

Singleness is not a waiting room to get hitched!(Married)

Recently I was hanging with one of my girlfriends and of course the “man talk” came up… We were going on and on about the kind of men we would want in our lives when our singleness journey come to an end. We had some interesting similarities and differences. When I got home though I started asking myself honestly, why should the singleness journey end? There is such an expectation from society and it comes at different angles that when you single you not complete and that you just waiting for someone to sweep you of your feet if you are a woman or someone to fulfill your fantasies if you are a man.

I started thinking about how many people always seem to be eagerly awaiting their perfect “better half” as it’s commonly known. I’ve heard so many women expressing a list of things they need in this “better half”. You hear them say, “I need a man who’s successful, good looking, romantic, great sense of humour, God fearing, etc. the list is exhaustive. I’ve heard men say, “I need a woman who “can cook, be hot, respect me, God-fearing, do what I need her to do, love me etc.” the list is exhaustive here also.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting these things from someone you want to do life with. But I do think we should really zoom into people feeling that until they meet people with these qualities, they feel a sense of not being complete.

When someone says I will only be completely happy with life until I find my “better half”, you already saying that you are not complete as a woman/man and that someone else possesses what you need to complete you.

What you bring to a relationship should not be your “half” but your completion.

Here’s the truth my friend- no human being can and will ever complete you. Only God can complete a person.

I really love this definition of what it means to be Single… Single means that you are alone but not lonely. SINGLENESS is the Most IMPORTANT Asset whether your are Married or Single” – Dr. Myles Munroe

My enjoy life tip is this: love being single and enjoy it. Love every moment and develop yourself to become a better woman/man. Your “singleness” journey will and should never end even when you do get hitched (married). Singleness is about you being a complete and whole person. You not just living life because you are anticipating a “spouse” but you living life because you realize that you have a greater God given purpose and by pursing that you will make this world a better place…

 
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