Spending time with my privileged friends

 

I guess it’s true when they say your upbringing affect your character which consequently determine your decision making in life. The surrounding environment you grew up in may affect how you see things and how you orchestrate things like planning for your future and how to react to unexpected challenges life has to offer.

As they say, the future holds no guarantees one can assume it’s the reason me and friends at the campus like to jump into the imaginary world and talk about how we like to see ourselves in the next five years or so. Some people say we crazy because we talk about weird stuff and neglect that life is all about reality not “dreams”. The name of the activity (which is what we do) is called “Give us the unexpected to talk about” of which we practice every Monday where one member of the crew must come up with a topic we can discuss and share our thoughts about it and give recommendations where necessary.

Well, one day we bounced off in some topic which says “what would you prioritize in this country should you become president”, of which some people find it boring and irrelevant to be a hot potato among young people. I started as its one of the rules in the crew that the person who came up with a topic in the last discussion is the first one who share his thoughts on the next given topic. My ideas were strongly around prioritizing education, improve government spending in a social grant to reduce poverty and promoting entrepreneurship. The person came after I became the devil’s advocate on the matter of social grant, he pointed out that we can instead use that money for job creation. He concluded his argument by stating that an increase in tax can attain free higher quality education.

The third guy touched more on attracting foreign investment and ensuring that energy is stable to support the business sector and using the social grant money to improve entrepreneurship. In that moment I felt stupid because the idea of improving social grant to fight poverty seems general and not well thought because it has some detrimental consequences, such as encouraging people to be lazy because the government gives free money which could deter life improvement. As always I decided to be adamant about my claims and avoided arguing further.

It didn’t end there, the last person I thought would side with my thoughts in this matter had the distinctive opinion which focused on job creation among the youth to fight poverty. He dismissed the idea of the social grant by stating that it’s a burden to the government and the one of free higher education because “it’s unfeasible considering the economic condition of the country”. However, he supported the idea of entrepreneurship as a tool to fight poverty. That came as a relief in my mind because I saw that we had something in common which is “entrepreneurship”

What I noticed is that all these ideas given by my friends were from a privileged perspective because, to be honest, my friends do not understand what poverty means. They don’t know the NSFAS application form, their parents pay their fees some of them drive nice cars which are why their opinions do not mostly accommodate the poor they think breaking out of poverty is a walk in a park. I felt very challenged at that time but when I realized that the people I’m talking to are from the middle class that hasn’t tasted the life of being poor, I was satisfied with my thoughts and decided not to justify any further because sometimes you understand somethings when you experience them unlike when you picture them.

I assume my friends need to be reminded the saying that says “never judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes”. Because it’s the experience that causes people to be biased in some particular situations.

Ali Baloyi is a student at the University of Johannesburg, you can follow his “craft” at Alibaloyiblog.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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Are we valuing the Americans so much

 

When South Africa was transformed to be a free country in the year 1994 it was a time for us to inspire others as Africans, it was the moment when a diversified society was formed after decades of apartheid in a country that was colonized by white people according to history. Apparently, that is not happening at a time when we should embrace our humanity as Africans, instead we aspire to be the “Kanye West of South Africa” or the “South African Barack Obama’’.

The point is we South Africans have the tendency to portray our much celebrate people in the American way instead of being proud of our unique talents. The worst part about this is that some of the people we look up to relish being fake Americans with no shame at all, that leaves a room for one to wonder that even if he/she can make it big in life they got a long way to go until they enjoy who they are, because being an American is the accepted standard way of appreciating your accomplishments. It has been a trend to simulate our Singers, actors, political leaders and other influential people to their overseas counterparts.

Well, I was taught that when you see a problem you must not dwell on it rather look for its cause and come up with a solution. The problem here is not us per say, the media is the instigator of such fuss about the Americans. Needless to say, I’m not implying that our brothers and sisters who aspire to make it big in the United State they are making a mistake by dreaming to be celebrated there. However, we should not glamorous the American life as this “Heaven” that we all wish to occupy one day.

You want to know why because it boosts their GDP revenue in such a way that their produced materials have more value and sell at ridiculous prices. Perhaps we should copy their methods of patriotism and not help them succeed.

Most people know now that its election time in the United States particularly young people, it’s funny because 80% of young people in SA have not registered to vote (including me) ahead of the local government elections but we know who are the two presidential candidates who are contesting for the White house thanks to our beloved media. There is even a special broadcast of the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle for the next president of the United State, (you can tune to ANN7 channel 405 every Friday at 15:30 if you want to know what I’m talking about). Not to say they are not concentrating on our politics but a special broadcast of another countries problems is not necessary.

In a nutshell, let’s proudly celebrate what we produce in the South African way and not try to emulate the Americans because doing so undervalue our abilities and diminish our talents. I’m with the view that we have the greatest talent that needs to be treated with the respect it deserves so that we can enjoy it, the reason being that it’s our culture and Culture define our roots.

Shat out to Hlaudi Motsoeneng  90% is lekker.

Let The Graduates Solve The Dilemmas Of The Country

 

I know on my first article I argued that we must not perceive Universities as the home where great ideas are found. With that being said today I will be suggesting how these universities can help our country succeed, some of you might find this article bias and say I contradict myself in my ideologies which is not true. This article is however aimed at students in Universities because, firstly they are educated which means they can take calculated risk, secondly they are trained to use technology to analyze the business environment, additionally they also understand how the world works around them. Thirdly their ideas are likely to be executed given the fact that they can do research about them. Besides, there are many ways to kill a cat.

With unemployment rate in the country increasing every year, I think it’s time the government make entrepreneurship a mandatory course in schools and Universities. Some of you might say this sounds like a cliché, as it is a mostly used statement when addressing issues of overcoming unemployment. I would appreciate if you stick with me in this article as I highlight some of the ideas that I think mighty be productive.

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Photo taken from the timeslive website (timeslive.co.za)

I propose we institutionalize entrepreneurship from basic education to universities. How though, entrepreneurship must be made a compulsory subject in high schools as this will enable the community at large to have more insight in the field of entrepreneurship. Universities  must develop a policy whereby in each and every faculty in every graduation an entrepreneur is born. This means that they must make entrepreneurship mandatory course in each faculty, this applies to professional careers as well, such as Medicine, Law, Education etc. Thereafter these entrepreneurs in their respective faculties must come together with creative ideas and build a profitable enterprise, they must create a company that will give people jobs and contribute to the economy. As our country have 26 Universities it would be a positive movement towards fighting the country’s biggest problem which is unemployment.

Imagine every year our 26 Universities baking 26 Entrepreneurs with creative ideas that could lead to tangible results in society, amazing right? I know. As learners from high school make their way to the life of being a university student, it will be easy for them to come up with innovative ideas because they will now have a solid foundation of what is entrepreneurship, what are the requirements of building a successful business. They will also be able to think critically and identify real opportunities that are unique, for instance trying to come up with a product/service that could be a long term success, something that is hard to copy and cannot be substituted. While they are studying in Universities they will develop more entrepreneurial skills and the capacity of being able to think out of the box. They will be able to do this because they will then have wisdom as they will be preoccupied with entrepreneurship.

Such an execution needs funds therefore the government must come to the party to ensure our prospective entrepreneur’s business goals materialize. With the billions of taxes paid by South Africans per year it is possible for the government to diversify some funds and invest in this process. Since we are skeptical when it comes to risking money to star-ups businesses, the government together with academics can take control of such a resource. They can decide which business has more chances of success and from that they will be able to inject money to ensure that our people get jobs. As these business are at their initial stage it will be a good idea that we get our graduates who don’t have the so called “experience” to work at these enterprises. This will be a cost-effective approach given the fact that we don’t have to have to waste a lot of money paying our graduates as they will be starting their careers, furthermore they will gain valuable job experience considering that they will be exposed to practical job experience where they don’t waste their time doing less challenging tasks.

Producing entrepreneurs every year seems unrealistic, to circumvent that we can give our graduates the freedom to execute their ideas. For instance, not giving them too much pressure to start their enterprise, we can however give them a minimum of five years to start their businesses. We can also give them the freedom of being creative by that I mean avoid giving them briefs on which businesses to start and unnecessary requirements for good businesses. Giving them freedom and power to make their goals a reality we will be making the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page as a country. We can at least produce 5 to 10 businesses in every five years that seek to fight unemployment, and also improve the economic status of the country.

The ownership of such companies can be split in a 50% stake, where the government own half of it and the founder make use of the remaining 50%. The decisions that the government make in the business must strive to serve the interest of the people, for example making sure more poor people are employed and nepotism is prevented. The government cannot interfere with the functioning of the business as this will lead to a lot of problems such as underperforming of the enterprise and changing how the business operate. There must be transparency in terms of profit made to ensure that the profit end up at the South African Reserve Bank, we don’t want a situation where public officials take control of such funds as it may lead to corruption. Such business cannot be sold they belong to the state; the founder cannot sell it rather they will have a recommended amount of profit prescribed by the government in case they decide to pursue other business opportunities elsewhere.

In conclusion I believe entrepreneurs can be made if we instil the idea of entrepreneurship to everyone, as it will stimulate the formulation of different ideas that can be use collectively to benefit society at large. If we all have the same vision, I doubt the country will suffer from economic issues. Combining our efforts together will be a productive move towards fighting the unemployment headache, considering fact that greediness will be eliminated so that everyone benefits on the resources of our country.

 

What? Leicester City winning the league no way.

No one can tell me they envisaged Leicester city winning the league or knew that an average team like Leicester will be competing in the champions’ league next season. In the Barclays Premier League we usually expect teams like Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal to perform very well in the league but this year we have witnessed history in the making, in today’s football that seems very predictable. It was the year when the football fraternity started to understand that having a lot of money and good reputation does not always lead to success.

It all started as a dream at the King Power stadium when the Foxes started defeating big guns, winning game after game and occupying the top spot, Jamie Vardy leading the top scoring chart and no one notice that we are about to witness Leicester embarrassing big teams. At that moment as a football fan I was so ignorant that I didn’t even notice how Leicester have played I couldn’t even read pronounce the name “Leicester”, when I check the Log the only teams I was paying attention to was Arsenal and Manchester City thinking they are the only teams that were contending for the Barclays Premier League. As time goes on people started talking, and we thought that they are being naïve, then the media focused on the foxes and how they mighty surprise us but still we continued convincing ourselves that a team that avoid relegation in 2014/15 season is not capable of winning the league. But today all of us who think we know and love football some much, must eat a humble pie because the foxes proved us wrong.

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They have shown us that stats doesn’t matter and in football there’s always a new start. With all their hard work and commitment they have produced what football analyst least expected. Claudio Ranieri and the team done the unpredictable in an astonishing and amazing way with players that were barely known. Players such as Vardy, Mahrez, Kante, Orkazaki just to name a few were not receiving much attention at the beginning of the season. But today perhaps the big teams have learnt a lesson that it’s little things in football that hurt you, I guess from today they will start closely analysing small performing teams before they go on the field.

Congratulations Leicester City you have made a lot of people fell in love with football again. Your performance is a manifestation of  the saying which says “let them talk while you take action”, you’ve shown courage, commitment, hard work and resilience during adversity. I guess your performance have attracted prospective supporters around the world who will be standing by you next season when you compete in the champions league. And that is the reason I will continue watching the English football because of its competitiveness and the surprises it offer.

These are situations that make us dream and believe in our dreams, furthermore it ignite the feeling that anything is possible in life as long as you know what you want and do what is expected in order to make your dreams a reality

Wait……… Did Leicester knew they will win the League?? You never Know……..

Why is everything about Universities?

So Unilever is looking for brilliant advert ideas from students in Universities. Many people perceive the higher learning environment as the place where most things happen and the place where great ideas emerge, universities are often seen as the bridge to a better future. This gives me the opportunity to argue that people are close-minded particularly academics and business leaders in the world, for instance look at the likes of Cassper Nyovest  in South Africa this guy is a successful hip hop star without having a mere certificate.

As I was busy in the internet I happen to come across a post on Facebook about Unilever where they are looking for a great idea advert from students in Universities across Africa. what worries me is the fact that Unilever open opportunities for those who have the advantage of making it big in the future, what about those who finished their matric seating at home because they are being  denied access to higher education due to lack of funding by the government. They are not giving opportunities to students in FET Colleges, this makes one think about the quality of education offered in FET Colleges but that is a discussion for another day. Unilever is perpetuating the perception that Universities are a platform where ingenious ideas emerge, they are not recognizing the depression they cause to the unemployed youth in the country. These are some of the things that result to suicide to those who are unfortunate not to get NSFAS.

When I went through the competition brief  I find out that there’s nothing that someone who completed a grade 12 cannot do. According to Unilever they want participants to write an idea of an advert of about 250 words that explores the need for physical closeness. As I read the brief this thought came in my mind Are they saying you need a degree in order to be creative in life?  clearly they not interested in fighting some of the socio-economic issues in the country. Its not only students in universities who can be creative in life, our people in disadvantaged communities can also come with innovative ideas, but because they are being denied that kind of opportunity to present themselves they end up hopeless and engage in crime and drugs. Considering the youth unemployment rate in the country one can conclude that they should’ve open opportunities to every young people in the country.

I say give opportunities to the less fortunate and see the difference you can make in their lives. Challenge them with this kinds of competitions and see the  number of young aspiring entrepreneurs you inspire. Such competitions  are platforms where young people can be responsible, present themselves and learn to be pragmatic in life. These are opportunities that let young people identify their talents and expertise because they test their creative skills. It is with great disappointed to find out that Unilever the number employer in the county is hindering those who cannot get a job the opportunity to present  themselves in this Africa Idea creation competition.

Although I’m on one of the participants in the Unilever competition, I still think they didn’t do enough in terms attracting the young, innovative, creative and enthusiastic to get great ideas. In doing so they have not make a difference to those who were told to take a gap year and find themselves. They did not make a difference to young people who drop out of varsity because of whatever reasons. They are neglecting our brothers and sisters who suffer from poverty in the  townships and the rural areas. I will say this again Unilever is perpetuating the perception that universities are a place where successful and intelligent people are found.