Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|April 27, 2021|4 Minutes|In Editor's Desk

Editor’s Desk

Money won’t make us free....

Anniversaries are often a good time for reflection and introspection. When 27 features four times in one day; definitely, it is time to take stock.

For on April 27. 2021 it was 27 years since South Africa found democratic freedom – the culmination of a struggle that saw Nelson Mandela spend 27 years in prison.

On top of this, it is 27 years since I began reporting on the African continent as a fresh-faced young idealist. The journey of a lifetime that saw me report from a score of countries through upheaval war and peace and many times cross paths with Mandela. There can’t be a day in Africa when I don’t miss him. That charismatic blend of toughness, wit and humanity was rare; despite his advancing years and the thousands of people he met every year he always remembered your and name and what you had talked about the last time.

The social media critics have accused Mandela of being too soft when he took the reins of power amid the euphoria of freedom after generations of apartheid. Maybe this was to do with his philosophy that harbouring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.

Mandela’s failing was he believed strongly that there was good in everyone. I share that view that there has to be a better world; that is why 27-years-later I write and fight.

The old man would find it very hard to look for the good in the people running his country right now.  People I knew close to Mandela, in his sunset days, used to tell me how would cast the newspaper away in disgust at corruption stories saying: “I told them when I left not to do this!”

With evidence of corruption crawling out of the woodwork in South Africa every day I am sure the old man is spinning in his grave. Many of his comrades gave their life and liberty to build a free South Africa they must surely wonder who far a country has come for so little.

Surely, South Africa is much better off than it was before democracy, but hard work and sacrifice are needed to secure its economic future

When I think of public money syphoned off by corruption I don’t think of it in dollars and cents – I think of it in lost homes, potholed roads, scarce electricity, fewer schools and over-burdened hospitals. The support people need to help haul them out of poverty.  The South African economy was struggling was before COVID-19 cost it millions of jobs and untold business confidence. Infrastructure is crumbling and the recovery is likely to be long and painful. It is a time for stout hearts and inspirational leadership.

This is when I miss the old man most. A few more words from Mandela can lend a glimmer of hope for Africa on day when we celebrate freedom.

“Money won’t make us free, the freedom to make it will.”

A daily motivation for every entrepreneur in Africa and what Billionaire Tomorrow is all about. This publication believes anyone can make it regardless of creed, colour and class. We also believe the successful – in the spirit of Mandela – should see the good in others and help them prosper too.

Africa can only become richer in the process – over to you….