REMEMBERING MANDELA

What can i say about Mandela,a man who like my maternal grandfother whom he shared a first name and  year of birth with.

He towers over my child hood memories no matter where i look.

My father had the chance to travel to Botswana and growing up our house has always been filled  with the sounds of South African musicians,he  had come back from down south with music cassettes.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Paul Simon sounds filled our house.

He thrilled us with stories of Mandela,and for years my grandfather and Mandela looked the same in my eyes.

Mandela.

Mandela.

When the apartheid regime was at its worst in the 90’s i watched street protests on our JVC TV,watched burials of prominent anti apartheid fighters and admired Winnie Mandela ‘s stoic appearance and i was enthralled by this man Mandela.

I was in primary school when Mandela was released from prison,i will never forget watching him and Winnie walk hand in hand with the amandla salute…what joy!!!!

So much  so did my curious mind love everything  South African ,i had to learn the national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’  iAfrika .

And when they released the musical Sarafina,well that was the icing on the cake,i knew all the dance moves.

How many times did i read Mandela’s Long walk to Freedom ..countless time and more recently Winnie Mandela’s  book A Life.

Yes, Mandela has been a part of my walk in life too.

We can learn a lot from this man who was never afraid of his faults but changed the way we view ourselves as African as well as the way the rest of the world views us.

His long walk to freedom was for all of us as a continent,it carried with it hopes,dreams and aspirations  not only for his generation but for generations to come.

The walk is not over…….let us keep walking it like he did,proudly,humbly,stoically,faithfully.

The South African struggle for equality among the races is a story of all of us.

AFRICA IS CHANGING AND SO SHOULD AID ORGANISATIONS

On the 21 st of May 2011 ,months before Ms Lagarde had become the head honcho at IMF,i had written about her being the most likely candidate to get the top job there.

Read about it here.

Not only was I weeks ahead of most news agencies,I had done my research well and nothing much had been written about her before the 21st of May.

Right now a Google search on her brings about 6,700,000 entries.

Check out these group of young women ,Akirachix.

They are using technology to change some of the challenges the continent faces and mentoring younger girls to follow in their footsteps.

My point…

change

Africa is setting trends in unprecedented places and the world is already taking interest.

Africa has the talent,the the people and the knowledge to be a trend setter in unusual places.

Aid agencies have found fertile ground in Africa because we acre a continent though gifted with astounding beauty,natural resources and people we sometimes fail to make the best use of what we have and end up victims of our own making.

Take the never-ending hunger and famine in the horn of Africa every decade.

I have lived in places where when it rains,it pours and tonnes of water go to waste.It is only recently that people started harvesting water and i have noticed  more  people putting up water storage tanks even in residential areas to harvest the precious liquid.

If we used that harvested water to water green houses in arid and semi-arid areas that make up a large part of the horn of Africa we would be able to feed ourselves all year round.

If aid organisations helped small farmers tap into the knowledge base that has made developed countries self-sufficient in terms of food we would no longer need to take out our begging bowls for food aid every five years.

In a few years time the largesse that makes up a large part of the donor agencies funds may start dwindling,what then?

Africa is at the cusp of a revolution right now and it is time aid organisations developed frameworks that will still have them in businesses in the next decade.

How can these aid organisations still remain relevant on a continent that is rapidly changing to keep up with the rest of the world?

How can aid organisations change the attitude of the people they help by enabling them to see aid is temporary and not a permanent solution to the problems Africa faces.

How can aid organisations make the growing population of Africa’s middle class a partner in the provision of solutions to the continents challenges?

Only the aid organisations know the answer to these and other questions but change in terms of policy, strategy and implementations is definitely going to  be top priority.

While we are talking about aid,it would  be a good idea to read the book Emergency Sex,tells the very colorful life of a group of aid workers .

THE FUTURE:A COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA

Definition of COSMOPOLITAN

2
: a cocktail made of vodka, orange-flavored liqueur, lime juice, and cranberry juice —called also cos*mo,

source:www.merriam-webster.com

A look at history confirms that  the greatest cities are cosmopolitan.

And here is why..

Cosmopolitan towns are a treasure trove of culture,ideas and energy.

And these 3 things are the drivers of change .

Just read through the history of cities like Rome,Paris,Istanbul and you will see why.

Take cities  like Nairobi,Capetown,Cairo ,Kigali and many others in Africa,they can all be described as pretty cosmopolitan by the continents standards.

Look at their growth and study the changing nature of their cultural groups.

Further away we have Dubai ,Hong Kong ,London,Rome,New York,Toronto and Rio de Janeiro great cities they are because they are so culturally diverse.

It is a joy to see so many African cities and towns becoming so diverse with people from different cultures because these “new people” are the change agents that will push Africa from the edges of obscurity to economic and cultural power houses.

African governments and people then need to prepare themselves for more culturally diverse populations.We cannot fight it

No longer should we see other cultures as foreign but we should embrace them for the ideas and fresh perspectives they bring .

I have always found it so fascinating the growth of Australia,New Zealand ,America was fueled by people who left home and hearth in Europe.

Should we not wish the same for Africa in the next 50 years or less,that we will see major changes and more color in many more African towns and cities.

Let us see many more African governments embracing these changes in a world that is becoming increasingly more dynamic.

THE BOOK EVERY AFRICAN BUSINESS LEADER SHOULD BE READING

The past year saw me read a business book that i could not bear to put down.

I read it into the wee hours of the night.

Here it is….

Good to Great... By Jim Collins

Good to Great… By Jim Collins

It is an absolutely fascinating book that takes you through a research project by Jim Collins and team on some of the greatest companies in American history and what it took for them to be great.

The first chapter of the book is titled “Good is the enemy of great”

Further on along the book you get to learn why  who you hire and not how much you pay them determines the trajectory .

Why do i think every business leader should read this?

Most of us have heard about Kimberly Clark,Wells Fargo,Cisco systems and Walt Disney.

What made these companies great over time?

Read the book and find out.

I am definite Steve Jobs applied the same principles and insights  highlighted in this book to make Apple the great company it is today.

Let me finish off with an excerpt from the book..

“Enduring great companies don’t exist merely to deliver returns to shareholders.Indeed,in a truly great company,profits and cash flow become like blood and water to a healthy body:They are absolutely essential for life ,but they are not the very point of life.”

THE AFRICA WE NEED IN 2013

It is 1400 hours Kenyan time and I am thinking about the year that has gone by…..

What does 2013 hold for Africa as a continent and for its beautiful people…?

If global trends are anything to go by 2013 will be great for online businesses and if Africa hopes to reap gain from this trend it needs to remember a few things….

In 2013 we  need to pay more attention to the products we are putting out there.If we expect to reap from the online business trends, we need to develop standards and regulations that ensure all products meet international  standards .

In 2013 African governments need to develop policies that support the growing crop of entrepreneurs who are running small and medium-sized business because those are the future of business if global trends are anything to go by.

In 2013 we  need to learn from the more developed countries that have industries going back centuries on what it takes to be great.

In 2013 we need to never tire of telling our businessmen and women eager to get into the international markets to never tire of perfecting their crafts ,products or solutions they put out there.

In 2013 Africa  needs to tell its emerging entrepreneurs to know their trade so intimately they could give a lecture to prospective clients in their sleep.

In 2013 we need an Africa so daring in its ventures that the world sits up and listens.

In 2013 we  need to groom African youth to be so enterprising they never look at donor aid as a gift but as a curse.

In 2013 African governments need to work together more for the future of millions of African children who will come after us.

If you think this is what Africa needs in the new year,please share the post and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.