February 20, 2022|4 Minutes|In Editor's Desk|Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop

Editor's Desk

Monday motivation: Struggle and pain.

Struggle pain and despair. Three words you should never forget if you want to be an entrepreneur in Africa – they can be the making of you.

Long before you become a social media star and people beat a path to your door – you  need to go through a basinful of all three if you want that elusive billion-dollar fortune.

These days, in the shallow world of social media, everyone seems to wantsto be someone yesterday.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, sorry, like it, or lump it, you have to DO something. You have to take a risk, you have to work hard and long I the hope of reward sometime in the distant future.

I am sure, everyMonday, wake up to this reality and take to it with relish on your way to creating the jobs that lead to wealth for all.

In this, maybe I could offer you a few snap shots of endured suffering gathered in my years reporting on entrepreneurs in Africa. I can guarantee all of them led to sunlit glory in the end.

A simple one to start with – I once interviewed a guy who spent all of his time and nearly all of his money sitting in a dank room working on his computer on his tech business. All he could afford to eat was carrots – so that is what he did to the point that the doctor warned him that months of carrot eating was turning his skin yellow. This cheap, strange, diet paved the way to a business upon which he could dine out on for life .

Then there was the suffering of South African mining magnate Tim Tebeila who gathered investment, in notes and coins, from the poor people he grew up with in Limpopo in northern South Africa. He needed to pay for a geological survey on coal-mining rights he held in the land they grew up in.

Through no fault of his own, the surveying company packed up and left the country leaving the job behind and taking the community’s money with them.  Imagine the suffering and trauma Tebeila felt;  not only the pain of loss, but also the idea that the angry community probably wanted to hunt him down.

Luckily, the surveyors left behind one sheet of paper in  their empty offices. From this flimsy sheet other mining surveyors were able to rebuild the data and the coal project was born; making Tebeila and  the people he grew up with, a fortune.

And lastly, one of my favourites about the late Tanzanian multi-millionaire Reg Mengi – a gentleman to his boots who made a fortune from trading and media .

Mengi grew up barefoot in a hut on a hillside deep in the bush. His family was so poor he had to share a room with the farm animals.

Years later, when his money for study in the United Kingdom dried up , he had to clean houses and drive buses to scrape money together to complete his qualification as a chartered accountant that proved his springboard to wealth. He said the hardship was no problem  because the suffering of his barefoot childhood his toughened him up for it.

Think on; happy money making this week!