July has been dubbed Mandela month in honour of South Africa’s first democratically elected president (before you yawn, this post is not about him). On the 18thof July every year, 67minutes are dedicated to charity work to continue with his philanthropic spirit, one of the many legacies he left behind. *sidenote* July is also savings month so get to saving that moola!
I have a 5yr old brat (daughter actually but if you stay with her long enough, you will understand my term of endearment). I’m constantly thinking about what legacy I will leave behind for her and her offspring. This refers to the beliefs, traditions, morals, teachings and traits that will be embedded in her for life. I ask myself- what generational wealth am I leaving? (because wealth could be money, wisdom, life skills, etc, the list goes on but we tend to think it’s only monetary).
FYI: The learned peeps define legacy as “something acquired by inheritance” which is passed down from period of time to another period of time. Had to throw the definition in there since the owner of the blog is an academic!
I think we take for granted the impact our deeds have on the people around us. We take for granted how certain actions can alter not just our lives but generations to come. Little story, my maternal grandad is a self-made man, in every sense of the word. He didn’t complete his formal education (that being high school, his kids think he didn’t finish primary *shrugs*) and he sold peanuts and drove taxis amongst other things to make money. Met my granny and she would save a little money every month and eventually he had enough to buy a taxi and the rest is history. However I think due to his lack of education, he made it a point that his kids, the whole soccer team and reserves completed high school as well as an undergraduate degree (those available at that time to the owners of the land *wink*). They in turn also drilled down the need for education in one’s life and I can attest that as the third generation we are investing in the quality of education we want our kids to have.
My value of education has me dreaming of opening several libraries and science labs in our community schools, I’ll ask you to contribute on another post! However (really wanted to use “but” kodwa ke) it wasn’t only education that was passed on, but also being frugal with money and a proper kick-ass work ethic. It’s those intangible legacies that I am most grateful for. It’s those legacies amongst others that I want my child to know, understand and live out, even while I’m still alive. In reality, a legacy is a powerful life tool that is passed on.
So, next time when we think of legacy or generational wealth, let’s broaden that to beliefs, morals, traditions, roots and not just a trust fund or a holiday house in Stellenbosch (anything to be close to the wine!). Let our offspring inherit the compass that helps them navigate life. I would love for my kid to say “mom left me with a financial inheritance but the greatest inheritance she gave me was knowing the Lord”
So as I close off with a quote (I’m not sure by who, found it on google) “Everyone leaves behind a legacy after they die, but only few people leave behind a legacy worth talking about”
Make yours one where people smile when they reminisce on it.
Image courtesy of: Summitlife.org
About the Writer:
Silindokuhle Chonco is a Management Advisor/ unofficial Project Manager at eThekwini Metro Municipality. She is a lover of wine, life, shoes, pasta/starch and bags… and Phiwo the brat! Found God when she left religion.