To save SA, we must learn to fly

CityPress - - Business - Muzi Kuzwayo busi­ness@city­

The seag­ulls in Port El­iz­a­beth have ac­quired bad habits – they hang around the KFC at the prom­e­nade in Sum­mer­strand, wait­ing for hu­man be­ings to toss them some left­overs.

Some have even learnt to sit in the car park like car guards.

It is like walk­ing into the world of Jonathan Liv­ingston Seag­ull, beau­ti­fully de­scribed in Richard Bach’s book of the same name.

It is a pitiable sight when you come to think of it: birds that have lost ubun­y­oni, the bird equiv­a­lent of ubuntu.

The lat­ter is the sum to­tal of all things lofty, such as com­pas­sion, re­spect and dig­nity, that save us from the base­ness of an­i­mals.

The op­po­site of ubuntu is ubunja, which lit­er­ally means “dog”. Pigs are bet­ter be­cause at least they con­trib­ute ba­con to break­fast.

The dog pees on dust­bins, chases cars, mates in pub­lic and is even de­scribed as um­lahlwa ne­sikhumba, meaning “the one that is dis­carded with its skin”. Seag­ulls are nat­u­rally grace­ful. I sat on the pier and one came along and flew above me, its wing­span fully open, legs straight­ened, and hov­ered grace­fully as if it was pos­ing for me to take a pho­to­graph.

The beau­ti­ful bird flew away, up and then down, to hover over the beach and catch some­thing.

I im­me­di­ately re­mem­bered Jonathan Seag­ull when he said: “We can lift our­selves out of ig­no­rance, we can find our­selves as crea­tures of ex­cel­lence and in­tel­li­gence and skill. We can be free!”

Free. More than 20 years into our democ­racy, we are still com­plain­ing that we have no eco­nomic free­dom.

We are still talk­ing about “rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion” like a groom who passes out dur­ing his own honey­moon and de­mands more time at the ho­tel from the man­ager.

We con­tinue to walk with our eyes openly shut, and we are un­able to see the de­light­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties that are in our coun­try.

Many peo­ple are chas­ing any­thing that looks like it can vomit money with­out in­vest­ing the nec­es­sary time to be mas­ters of their craft, or hop­ing that some­one will call them for a BEE deal.

If we want trans­for­ma­tion, we must teach our young peo­ple the hon­our of earn­ing an hon­est liv­ing – this is the only path to suc­cess.

We have great South Africans, such as for­mer Deputy Chief Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke, who lead by ex­am­ple.

He is in­vited all over the world to give lec­tures on his craft.

Eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion de­pends on po­lit­i­cal con­scious­ness and high dis­ci­pline.

It can only be achieved if there is a clear un­der­stand­ing of why peo­ple should work, and not on in­fan­tile gur­gles aimed at at­tract­ing memes.

The bick­er­ing among our lead­ers has in ef­fect de­gen­er­ated to a new form of black-on-black vi­o­lence, and has gone way beyond the nec­es­sary ten­sions of democ­racy.

We must un­der­stand that a new na­tion will not be built overnight, much less by the glut­tonous in­grates who want ev­ery­thing for them­selves.

Be­ing rich, we must learn, is not like adult­hood, which is de­ter­mined by reach­ing a cer­tain age. It is like black­ness – a state of mind. There are many busi­ness­peo­ple who have healthy bank bal­ances, but are bit­ter and twisted, and fear­ful that they will die a lonely death.

The eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion we need should be founded on kind­ness and love for the peo­ple.

It is about go­ing back to the ba­sics, which in­cludes dis­ci­pline, ed­u­ca­tion, a long-term view and hard work.

Like the seag­ull that flew above me in Port El­iz­a­beth, glory does not lie in sit­ting in restau­rants and car parks, but in fly­ing high through heavy winds to see far and get the best re­ward. Kuzwayo is the founder of Ig­ni­tive,

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