Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Afrikaans Capital, African Consumption

This week I read about the imminent listing of Transaction Capital, the investment firm led by Massmart Chairman, Mark Lamberti. It was reported that the company plans to raise R500 million from next month's JSE listing.  Other than Mr Lamberti at 7%, the company's shareholders include Ethos, a leading SA private equity firm at 10% after investing R100 million; and Futuregrowth, which has invested a whopping R340 million of equity in the venture.

Now, at this point I'm thinking: “Wow, how amazing is this: a brand new business, likely to create hundreds if not thousands of jobs in our economy, about to list on the JSE, with THAT calibre of shareholders, who have committed THAT much equity. This is awesome”. 

Think about it, if Ethos' 10% is worth R100m then this is (at least) a R1 billion business before it even lists!

So, I was intrigued. I wanted know what is it that could've convinced the stubborn minds of Fricker Road to invest at such levels. So I did some research, and the activist in me, saw more than I should've.

Transaction Capital has 4 subsidiaries.

Subsidiary 1: MBD Solutions, is a company that collects debt for retailers such as Woolworths, Truworths, Edgars and Jet, basically the Wooltru and the Edcon groups. This business turns over R635 million, and delivers a Profit Before Tax of R91 million. Very nice! I wonder who holds that much debt in retail purchases.... oh of course it must be 'those people'....

Subsidiary 2: Bayport, is a company that provides unsecured lending to consumers that were historically ignored by "traditional" banks. Historically ignored???? By traditional banks??? Mmmmmmm, who could THAT be? Aha! Its 'those people'!

Bayport turnover is R1,4 billion per annum. I couldn't find any profit numbers but keep in mind that unsecured lending tends to be a very profitable segment in retail lending (think: High risk, High return). 

And whilst everyone is ranting and raving about the risks of unsecured lending growth in SA and even comparing it to the US sub-prime crisis that sparked the global economic meltdown, Lamberti is quoted as saying "Unsecured lending in the country is about R110 billion and our book is just under R3 billion, so we can afford to be very selective about who we grant credit to and how we grant credit". 

Translation: "Don't stress my fellow investors, there are enough Black people in SA who have no assets to place as security but are responsible enough to pay your loan back with interest (priced just below uMashonisa rates), simply because they are good, gainfully employed, responsible citizens of the country who want the best for themselves and their families. Trust us, not everyone is a Julius Malema. We’ve done the research!"

Subsidiary 3: Paycorp. This is a clever business that consists of "off-bank" ATM's. You know these. These are the ones you find at filling stations, with no identifiable retail bank attached to them. Yes, the ones which you tend to always encounter when in an emergency for cash and have no time to drive around to find ‘your’ bank’s ATM. Funny how you always think: "This withdrawal is about to cost me a lot of money”, but you always withdraw anyway.

Paycorp, puts about R22 billion through its 4,000 ATM's every year. The business is busy with plans to grow into remote areas to complement their footprint in forecourts and shopping malls. Who lives in these remote areas? Yes, you guessed it: "those people"...

And now..... *drum roll please*..... for my personal favourite:

Subsidiary 3: SA Taxi. Yes, you heard me, the company is called "SA Taxi". SA Taxi provides lending services and insurance products to more than 20,000 taxi operators. This business is said to be poised to benefit from the taxi industry when the national taxi fleet is renewed as the current fleet is aging. Who OWNS taxis? Who DRIVES taxis? Who RIDES in taxis? Yes, you guessed it again: "those people".... "I like your perm, but not on my window". I wonder if Mr. Lamberti has ever seen one of these?

The Transaction Capital group's overall income is R3,6 billion. Their total loan book is R6,7 billion. In short, if you add up all the credit they have granted to Black taxi owners and loans to the many Black families with no assets, plus 'who knows what', these add up to R6,7 billion. That will buy you two Avusa's, plus some healthy change to take back home!

I have lots of respect for entrepreneurs. In fact, the concept of making something out of nothing, other than an opportunity, a great idea, a conviction, has taken over my life and arrested me and sentenced me to a life-long dedicated entrepreneur.

I am fascinated by how Transaction Capital has identified gaps in the market and the markets in those gaps. Look at a business like Bayport. Most banks have literally fled from these unbanked Blacks with no assets to put up as security for loans. Bayport is in there and most importantly is making tons of money doing it. This is good. This is very good.

How about a business like Paycorp? The big 4 retail banks have had to be forced to create "access to financial services" sites in remote areas for Black people, who have historically not been considered part of the economy, except as the necessary "cheap labour" evil. Should Paycorp succeed in providing ATM services to remote areas, this means our people in the many remote villages of the country can have access to basic electronic banking services offered by a simple ATM. This is good. This is very good.

I, therefore, have great regard for what Mr Lamberti and his colleagues have achieved to date and I wish them every success in their listing and beyond. It is no simple feat to build a R100 million business let alone a R1 billion business. So well done, gentlemen.

However, reading the story I realized something that is NOT an indictment of the entrepreneurial team of Transaction Capital but a SERIOUS INDICTMENT for the Black people of South Africa.

The story of: Afrikaans Capital, African Consumption.

Why is it that the largest financier of unsecured lending is an Afrikaans run bank?

Why is that most Black taxi owners borrow from white run (and controlled) banks? 

Why can't Black people think-up, develop and roll out these ideas for themselves by themselves.... to themselves?

Is Stellenbosch going to continue to be the economic capital of South Africa, whilst Africans, in their townships and villages, remain the systematic consumers of its myriad of goods and services?

Think about where you do groceries? Afrikaans Capital.

Think about where you bank? Afrikaans Capital.

Who grows your food? Afrikaans Capital.

And if Stellenbosch has its way, your children will go to an Afrikaans capitalized private school, pitched ‘not as expensive as St. Johns, but not as cheap as Orlando High’. And you and I know, we will send our kids there. Not because it's funded by Afrikaners, but because it a great idea developed by great entrepreneurs. Except that these entrepreneurs are not Black. And yes, Political Correctness aside, that is an issue as it creates a systematic threat to the continued stability of the democracy we hold so dear.

Black man, wake up! Your 'real' freedom is being outsourced to the minority, whilst you occupy yourself with meaningless politics and tenders. You are busy drinking skinny cappuccinos in Melrose Arch, whilst your markets are being penetrated by those who dare to dream, and do. Access to capital is a poor excuse. I keep saying, and will never stop saying “Great ideas, always secure funding”. Transaction Capital has proven it so far, and I have my money on them to prove it when they list.

So, what is it about Blacks that make us comfortable being market takers, and never market makers? Why are we not leading in market segments that sell to our people? We understand the cultural behaviours and disparities of Black South Africans, more that any research house could, simply because we ARE the market. Yet, we take this invaluable IP and do nothing with it.

To borrow from the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko, we are sitting and spectating in a game that we should be participating in.

Asked about how he juggles what must be a very demanding Chairmanship of leading retailer, Massmart (yes, the one that has just been bought by Walmart) Mr. Lamberti concludes by stating that Transaction Capital takes up 12 hours of his day and he is "having a lot of fun".

I'm sure you are indeed, having a lot of fun, Mr. Lamberti.... as you should, you have earned it. I, further wish you and your colleagues all the best in your business endeavours.

In the meantime, please excuse me whilst I try and wake up my sleeping brothers and sisters who are more concerned about Mangaung than Stellenbosch and are too blind to see the relationship between the two.

Sources: Sunday Times, May 13, 2012


  1. We have tried to start South Africa`s first Black owned Supermarket. I have all the pieces in place. but, when the land and shopping malls belong to a cartel (listed property companies)and Big supermarkets deny you physical access to trade. my hope is lost and the afrikaaner wins another battle. They laugh and continue to send cash out. no strategy, no tactics, no unity

    1. @stockbroker: please email me at & cc

      We have land, plenty of it. Lets talk please.

    2. Now thats what we all want to see. Thanks Bongani. I wish you all the best Stockbroker. Rememmber that the "first black" USP died years ago. You have to put together a solid and compelling business case for your venture, become an expert in the industry, know all your pros and cons and seek to beat the cons. Nobody is going to hand this over to you. I read something the other day that said "Unfortunately, for you to succeed, you gotta want it as much as you want oxygen". Good luck, champ! AK

    3. @Stockbroker and Bongani great initiative ! lets not forget location placement. good luck on this venture. @AK thanks for providing me with a great read...eye opener.

      Do you need finance to start up your own business or expand your business, Do you need funds to pay off your debt? We give out loan to interested individuals and company's who are seeking loan with good faith. Are you seriously in need of an urgent loan contact us.

      Phone No: +919873186890

  2. A rather eye-opening post especially for the black race. I always struggle with the question why is Afrikaans community always successful in this lower market e.g Capitec? What do we attribute this to? Finance? networking? The university they go to?

    I also thought that finance was hindrance to black budding entrepreneurs until I got corrected that Networking is a really problem in all this. The problem I can only think of is that we as black people do not read as we should, do not indulge in intense research and we do not ask for being mentored.

    Thank you for another poignant post!


    1. Thanks Dumirocks. I too do not have all the answers. My personal view, is that we do not collaborate enough. We want 100% of the curmbs instead of 20% of the loaf. That keeps us all at the bottom of the food chain. AK

  3. We are going to continue blaming and complaining because we are our own worst enemy. I have never seen a Nation that sabotage one another as we do, we always think and believe if we support another brother or sister we are making them better, failing to understand that the more we play in this economy, louder our voice become. Politicians are busy playing a dirty game using us, yes!!! they call "Masses, our people" because they believe they have a right to define our fate. If we don't promote and create platforms for economic intergration we are seriously doomed. I had a business proposal from Angola, they were looking for a technical partner for their multi million dollar project in Agriculture, guess just guess where did I go for technical help? Rainbow Farms, they don't only sell chickens but they have diversified their product offering, bigger market share. they even do crops. I proposed partnership between a South African ICT firm and my Angola based associate in order to offer ICT Solutions in Angola, guess what??? my brothers have no clear structures, clear marketing plans and growth strategies, I suppose I need to knock to another white door and it will open because they have mastered the art of holding us a consumers instead of creaters and inventors, please do not blame the past.
    Since 2010 I have been working with the president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of commerce, indusrty, mines and agriculture (NACCIMA) who is also a board member of The Onne Oil and Gas Freezone Authority, who is a chairperson of the investment committee, in order to promote South African businesses to do business in Nigeria particulary in Energy,Oil and Gas sectors, we had meetings but the attitude and mindset of my African brothers is disappointing. After all these attempts and efforts I realized there was a great need of "mental surgery" I decided to organize a seminar, theme being "Decolonizing the Mind- Through Business Strategies, where african business owners would sit together including expects, private investors, government departments like DTI, DIRCO, Dept of Education, SMME, just to mention the few. In order to address this issue of mindset. We need a robust approach and enough is enough. Africans they have to wake up, its been a deepest sleep ever!!

    Thanks Mtungwa once again

    Kind regards
    Thuli Hadebe

    1. Wow, Thuli! What a mout full. Suffice to say, you are spot on about our core problem being the mindset and our lack of professionalism. Lets keep talking. i like the idea of a seminar about this issue. I am working on something where this seminar could fit in, and perhaps we can do it together. Drop me an email and lets chat. AK

    2. I appreciate the dialogue, I believe Africans should simply be jealous about their hard earned money by choosing to produce local, and buying local products and services. I've taken it upon myself to start Social Investment Revolution. This is the only way that has immediate impact.

    3. Hi Maakaplan. Tell us more about The Social Investment Revolution.

    4. this i a good read. We need to start our own black economy that we own and run, we have been comsumers in the white economy for far too long

  4. Thanks for these words baba, ure an inspiration to me and many. Uze ukhule njalo Mtungwa. Thank you for yet again breathing life and hope to my shell of dark skin.

  5. I totally agree with Thuli, we as black people and custodians of our beautifull continent should get in the game and claim our own, the time of wait on the stoep and see who will deliver the next plate of food should be a mindset of the passed.We have enough in ourselveS to be role players in our own economy hence we wait, for the next handout. The "Decolonizing the Mind- Through Business Strategies seminar is a step in the right direction. Lets be channels of information one to another, with the vision that WE will wake up from dreaming and start putting on work clothes and re-claim what we were born with WHICH IS "GREATNESS".

    1. Indeed. Thuli hit the nail on the head. Let us hear her and behave accordingly. Thanks for your input Clement.

  6. Somewhat it appears that we lack the basic requirement to achieve. The coherence of of vision and our needs. We are also fragmented and miss the importance of pooling resources. Established business people are immune to developmental obligations/opportunities of their smaller counterparts. Apathy of professionals employed in places like NEF/IDC and so forth is another myopic stifling factor. Most of these so-called Stellenbosch Capital was started of by resolute high risk/high reward capital and most investors were prepared to lose capital - but the odds were there was a big deal of reward than the opposite.

    We can say many profound and inspired words; actions are the only dealmaker/breaker to free us.

    Thank you Matshobane for your insights.
    MAILA LEDWABA ka Mzilikazi

    1. Mzilikazi, I think the words are aimed at driving some action. We have to start somewhere, so i hope you have taken them in that spirit. The one thing this blog has certainly brought front of mind for many is the lesson of working together and corroborating where it makes business sense to. I think that is a key lesson for us as a people as we are still struggling with this concept one way or another. Secondly, many out there have access to families with generations of capital or even family friends with such means. The truthj is we dont. The like of NEF and IDC are our only REAL chance of raising capital from institutions who are, at least mandated, to support us, especially the NEF. I must admit that i have had good experiences with them both. I think we need to drive the changes we want to see happen. Thanks for your comment, Maila. AK

  7. I enjoy reading your blogs Andile. Most of us don't realise what is going on until it is pointed out by someone like yourself. We go with the flow day in and day out unaware who are we enriching. As I speak I can identify with the two ladies in the pic, because that is who I am a consumer. I have been educated and I have benefited. Thank you, will continue reading..

    Vuyi Pellem

  8. You are right on the money AK - as Blacks we should be masters at selling to our own Black people for the benefit of ourselves and not for the benefit of the folk from Stellenbosch.

    Simbongile Manzi

    1. I dont blame them for seeing the gaps in the market and making money. I blame us for NOT seeing the gaps and making money. AK

  9. Being Afrikaans and educated in the best Afrikaans institutions our country has to offer, including the University of Stellenbosch, I would like to say:

    Thank you for this great article and I agree - wake the f*** up people.

    Learn from my culture and other cultures (Jewish). We may think we are special but there is only small differences in how we operate - like for instance: We care for our own. "Our own" doesn't necessarily mean white and Afrikaans but we know that by working together you can achieve much more (like compound interest in a way). AND that corruption and backstabbing is not sustainable.

    Also understand that me as an Afrikaans, white, male would only welcome the economic emancipation of other groups in South Africa because then I can sell more stuff to them.


    1. Well, well, well. Thanks for the commenty Schalk. You heard it guys. I rest. AK

  10. Interesting piece of information. Being an african has always being perceived as a curve, I AM AFRICAN and acceptance thereof is need - large dose - our people still lack the confidence and the drive to push even when is hard (again I say: Nobody knows and understands poverty like a black person). So hardship should deter our desire to best we are. MR. SCHALK, thank you for your words - lets wake the F*&^ up and start to work.


  11. I really like this post and it really does speak a lot about what us as black people should be doing in our own country. Black people are the majority in this country and yet we are so far behind in terms of entrepeneurship and I don't mean being a so called tender-preneur (and I am aware that the injustices of apartheid are to blame for all these disparatese) ... The facts are that we are 18 years in a new democracy with access to somewhat the same resources as everyone else we should be doing as black people. The research on this is impaccable and eye opening beyond words for me.


  12. I bet most darkies wont even bother reading this!!!

  13. love it Andile ...Free yourself african child

  14. as a result of lack of dreaming and entrepreneural desire (or should I say laziness or thelove of freebees), we leave our birth provinces for CPT,Joburg and so on, whereas if we could start our own because land is what we have, but we don't use it

    thank you AK, hopefully it does not fall in deaf ears

  15. It is a sobering piece and I applaud you. As discussed before a simple question for a man on the street like me is where does you R1 end up? If you can this and follow that we can go somewhere.

    1. I see a business opportunity in that question, anonymous. Do you?

  16. This is really a mind opening read. There has been articles that are somehow similar to this one, but it's sad that little has changed. Perhaps we are focusing so much on changing behaviour without changing our mindset and attitude, hence we keep falling into the same trap. This is challenge for everyone to start thinking differently, especially on how we spend. Again, really mind opening and interesting read, hopefully a lot of people get to read this.

  17. Let's stop the blaming and unite.

  18. Siyabonga Khumalo. I agree with Ledwaba ka Mzilikazi - there is no coherence in vision. After living in Stellenbosch and CT, I realised that these Afrikaners are sorted and will be sorted for at least the next three generations. They have networks established by previous generations which they nourish, keep alive and grow. Come another financial crisis, tsunami or world war, they will come out tops.

    Then you must see Bellvile, CT where the Somalians have exceptionally bargaining power and trading will. You can't tell me that all the containers and spazas in township can't put their cents together and buy bulk to also drop their selling price. We have the numbers. We are the majority. What is our problem? My take is that the principles of consumer and producer in a "free-market" system rely on the disproportionate relationship. i.e. for a producer to make profit, they must have a large population of consumers to supply. That essentially means that our majority status will always be disadvantage to us if we do not act collectively for our benefit.
    My hometown iTheku is again a classis spider web. According to the Jew, the Indian (especially the Muslim Indian) and everyone else except umuntomnyama, once money enters their system, it does not leave. People, it does not leave! But then again, we are "those people":( #vukadarkie

    1. Very real observations there baba? Do you think Black South Africans are lazy? How else do you explain the Somalian issue?

  19. So i read the article and comments.

    Then realised what a bunch of immature unintelligent sentiments you go on and on about.
    Capitalism has nothing to do with race - it is however based on a principle of a minority controlling everything.

    Ur analysis of how easily it is for "white afrikaaners" to setup billion rand companies and how it "inspires" you, shows the little thought you have put into this article.
    If your "white" friends impress you so much, then you must go back to the history books - it is written in black ink on white paper, how minorities through out the years have managed to create these systems that you admire so.

    It's easy to set up businesses like "Transaction Capital" - find a country with an abundance of resources,labour, land and all imaginable natural resources - then find a way to convince yourself that they are less than you. After you enforce your godlyness onto the indigenous people, destroy their sense of being, through violence and systematic opression for 450 years - i guarantee you Khumalo you too can be a Mark Lamberti.

    Ur article is just a waste of self propaganda, and I loath the un-intellectual sentiment that we somehow as "black" people are asleep.
    During apartheid black people collectively invested in the liberation movement - it is still taking us time to realize that ,those same people responsible for your personal success, infiltrated the process and declared divided before the investment had matured.

    Im sorry that your heart is sore because you think it should rather be you listing a R1 billion company, but remember - money is the root of all evil, and it has a price.

    If the sentiment that we , and rightfully so, as black people - as a community should be en-devouring vigorously to control and contribute to all and every productive activities in our society. Then we must eliminate the destructive elements and the propagators, of these false ideas, about wealth,worth and success.
    The white mans wealth and achievement is built on years of treachery, and inhuman tendencies. There is nothing admirably about that. Nothing at all.

    The time has come for alternative and new ideas. Don't regurgitate ideas by men like Malcolm X (who spoke about black nationalism, and how that idea talks about us owning the business in our communities) and likes of Steve Biko - these where gr8 men who died selfless martyrs to a gr8ter cause not only for black people, but for the human race.

    The idea of entrepreneurship goes beyond personnel achievement - it relates to our society and our environment. How we value that environment, and how we give back to it. Don't be fooled by these face value things - your gr8nes as a black man is still to be revealed. Once we as all black people can selflessly reinvest in our own communities, without seeking acknowledgment or any measurable returns - i guarantee you in 3 generations, there will be no such thing as "white capital".

    1. Mandla, thank you very much. I too feel like I have read and heard every one of these sentiments expressed in the exact same tone by other significant people. I passionately agree with your last statement about reinvesting in our own communities. The reality is that until we do this our people's disadvantaged position is perpetuted.

    2. Everybody is entitled to their opinions, Mr Mahlangu. You included. Thanks for reading mine. AK

    3. Hi Andile

      My name is Modise, and thanks for a nice blog...

      I am keen to hear your response to the opinions of Mr Mandla Mahlangu, although I gather (by the above comment and your tone) that you would rather not debate or engage with him!

      Respectfully yours

  20. Most of the new middle class are victims of uneducated credit. I don't think the 'lazy-to-think' label is the only thing to blame though. I believe our government carries much of the blame, more than the rest of the middle class's financial miseducation and stupid credit hunger put together.

    There is no way you can expect black community to learn those tricks that you are describing by osmosis. Apartheid government invested in educating their children more than it spent on the army. The average per capita spent on a soldier between 1980 and 1990 was more than three times lower than that spent on the education of a white child in South Africa over the same period. As a result, white communities will continue to reap those benefits for the next three to four genrations, while we continue fumbling our education system as in the case of Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

    So, I admire Lamberti for his ingenuity, but in the same line, I also admire our government for allowing such ingenuity to find life at the expense of the our black middle class. Our own government borrows excessively from the same white institutions. The E.C. education department was placed on administration for financial mismanagement because ABSA refused to provide the more than R300 million overdraft that they used to provide over the years. And the result, E. Cape was in red.

    This quote has more to it than just the poetic savvy of the late Mazisi Kunene:

    '“Those who feast on the grounds of others
    Often are forced into gestures of friendship they do not desire.
    But we are the generation that cannot be bypassed.
    We shall not be blinded by gifts from feasts.
    With our own fire we shall stand above the mountains, as the sun.”

    He expressed this as a prophecy for the black community while in exile in the US. But with the current situation, his prophecy remains an utopian dream.

    As for you Mandla, like the whole democratice revolution movement, you continue to lament the past, wrapped with the most naive perspective on capitalism. You sound like the some of the speakers in the recent ANC policy conference. Nothing material apart from playing with language, even the media is stuck on it: second transition/second phase of the transition/social cohesion. If only the ANC could understand that the science of linguistics is completely different form that of economics.

    1. Thanks Mpilo. I am particularly interested in your statement: "Our own government borrows excessively from the same white institutions. The E.C. education department was placed on administration for financial mismanagement because ABSA refused to provide the more than R300 million overdraft that they used to provide over the years. And the result, E. Cape was in red". Are you saying that the EC provincial govt was placed under administration BECAUSE of ABSA refusing to provide the overdraft? That doesnt sound right. I would expect ABSA to pull the plug on the overdraft BECAUSE of financial mismanagement. Educate me, please.

  21. Andile, great read...eye opener! Brilliant.
    Mandla, impressive linguistic approach...HOWEVER, "wake the F*** up".

      Do you need finance to start up your own business or expand your business, Do you need funds to pay off your debt? We give out loan to interested individuals and company's who are seeking loan with good faith. Are you seriously in need of an urgent loan contact us.

      Phone No: +919873186890

  22. Andile, please check your email

  23. Ever since the great trek Afrikaanerdom has fought for its independence politically and economically. I find it interesting that in none of the above debate has the Broederbond been mentioned. It has been the the semi secret think tank that devised the strategy for Afrikaner economic freedom way before negotiations began in the early nineties... Since 1948 in fact. The Nats were only in power for 46 years! what they achieved in this time was phenomenal. Education, forward planning along with talent identification and skills development especially in the civil service, town planning and management sectors and the support of Afrikaner entrepreneurs was at the core of BB philosophy. What is forgotten is the Afrikaaner fight from perceived British oppression was a driving force that is still playing out today. Answer this... in 1948 did Afrikaner capital exist?
    Andile is right to respect their achievements if not their methods. This all happened to plan, not through inheritance, Afrikanerdom were the poor whites under British rule and the colonial economy. The message to the ''New South African' is to move our current leaders into mobilizing for an education revolution as the Asian tiger economies did, create leadership economic think tanks that follow a national agenda aimed at uplifting our people and re engineering the South African work ethic. Without intellectual and economic creativity to break the old socialistic thinking only pockets of Black breakthrough will occur. This requires discipline and organization and a will to encourage debate and new thinking that is not self evident in our current leadership. We still think old school, black white, English Afrikaner, Zulu Sotho, them us... . those who break this mould, partner with the right resources and embrace doing what is right will be the fore bearers of change. Good on you Andile for opening up this debate. Hard talking, real will, collaboration, strategy, planning and action are required. You can take horses to water, but....
    Who will stand up with Andile?
    South African

    1. John, I think YOU should be blogging my good sir! You raise such important points in your comment. Thanks for taking the time to do that. Education, Education, Education. We cant stress that any further can we? I also particularly like your reminder to the guys that Afrikaaners were the poor whites under British rule. I think most of us sleep better at night by oversimplifying that AFrikaaners have always been rich. Not true. It was a very well thought out and well executed plan that achieved all this. I wonder of FW De Klerk could tell us the ins and outs of how this was engineered? :-)

      Thanks again , John!

  24. Nice article. Its time we wake up to the realisation that we will only be able to do this on our own. Our government wont. Debt can only kill us. Most people I know who are on the upper end of the middle class are swimming in debt too. The great jobs will not get us anywhere. Its not about how much one makes. We really need to wake up. Thanks for your post.

    1. Debt can indeed be a trap. We need to use it wisely. Thanks for reading and especially for commenting

  25. Hi Andile, we are an organisation for Young People called SpringAGE. We have think-tanks with young people in
    our country and come up with ideas that will become enterprises to create employment.

    We have woken up :) as young people in SA (not just black) realizing our potential and dreams to make a difference.

    Maybe you join one of our think-tanks one day


    1. Hi Neliswa. Thanks for reading and commenting. I would love to see the work you guys are doing. Hit me up on on your next session and i will try my best to make it. Think tanks are very important.

  26. With the commentry above all being valid and very good (John I learnt something today! Thank you!!), and the general notion being that black people are still abit behind in terms of the entrepreneural spirit, both because of uncontrollable reasons from the past and reasons of self inflicted restrictions of the now...
    Can someone then please explain the wonder that is Bab' Richard Maponya??? Coz from where I stand, I can't seem to fit his burly self into the box labelled 'blacks are lazy and not innovative'. He saw gaps, created gaps, in a similiar way as your Wiese's and your Basson's. But he stayed with his people (Soweto), lived off his people, empowered his people and reinvested in his people.
    In the same breath,as much as we are fired up (and awake, I think we also must remember one very important thing. Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Just like not everyone is an artist or an accountant. Entrepreneurship demands a certain type of person; agility of mind, big picture thinking,obsession with pushing boundries and not being comfortable in a zone,being driven by risk and as buth' Andile mentioned earlier on, the ability to make something out of nothing. I think one of the major problems is also a lot of ppl not really knowing, with conviction, where their strengths lie. Self-realisation would change a lot more things than the time spent forcing something you are not. If you are purely and passionately an educator, create workshops and maximise!! If you want to take that further, form a partnership with a passionately business minded person, and maximise!! We often don't use the human capital/resources that is/are often right in front of us.

    Neliswa, the SpringAge website is AMAZING!! Keep it going!!
    Buth' Andile thank u for the discussion starter.Can one reach you via the email address you gave to Neliswa or is there a business email available?


  27. Thanks for your comment Siwe. Yes indeed you can reach me via that email address. Richard Maponya: World Class Entrepreneur. Especially when you consider that he started his businesses during deep 'state of emergency' apartheid. He is definitely a beacon of excellence for me and someone that every entrepreneur can learn from. If you scroll my blog posts, you will find an article entitled "Just do It. Yourself." where i talk about entrepreneurship and the qualities required. Being an entrepreneur doesn't make anyone more or less superior. Its a life choice like all other life choices. Its also not about the money. I know many corporate guys who are much more wealthier than many successful entrepreneurs. I am a committed promoter of entrepreneurship as I truly believe that its a very real option to achieve economic growth and alleviate poverty.

  28. Wow such a good article.As a white male(attended Stellenbosch) who africa is home,we need more people like AK.Yes the past was wrong but it was the past.Point is we actually all in this together.If we turn to zim ,who is going to benefit accept a few elite

  29. Fascinating little problem. A friend posted a link on FB to this article; I've never been here before. I'm not sure if you read all the comments, but there's an obvious answer to your question:
    "So, what is it about Blacks that make us comfortable being market takers, and never market makers?" It's called BEE. Let me explain. A young talented black graduate will get a much better job in any big (i.e. BEE-interested) SA company than his white equivalent. Rightly so, you may say. Should say, in fact.

    I consulted for a mine where the black junior engineer, aged 24, earned more than the white senior engineer, aged 55. Yes, that's right. 24 vs 55. Unreal. But BEE's logic IS important, and IT DOES help to "redress" the past. But get my point: Why would Mr. Young Black Engineer risk the long-and-winding road of entrepreneurship (where most people fail, even smart Afrikaners and Jews) when he's guaranteed a great paying job since there is such competition for his services? I'd probably do the same if I were him.

    I happen to be white. I'm bright (my mom says so), and I got three university degrees, two Master's. But am more likely to try my hand at some little idea - and maybe start a company - than even apply for a bank or a mine or a safe office job. And in the end, if I succeed, I will probably also be labeled "Afrikaans Capital". I'll be required to employ young black graduates for more than they're worth. I'll do it, because it's the right thing to do. But they will become part of "my capital growers", and not entrepreneurs.

    Off course, neither Lamberti (italian, by the sound), or the management of Standard bank is really Afrikaans. But I understand you use it as a metonym. Anyways, BEE is here to stay, and thus, so is white entrepreneurs who have to play smart in order to survive. Or leave, and make lots of money for another country's coffers. And we don't want that.

    Last thing. I really dislike it when anyone uses 'black' as if SA represents Africa as a whole, or that all black people share some inherent backwardness. Just as i dislike immensely using Afrikaans when people really mean white-people-in-SA. Still nice question, even though I don't think you'll like the answer.


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  34. Insightful post indeed.A lot still need to be done to emancipate ourselves.