Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|July 19, 2022|4 Minutes|In Editor's Desk

Editor’s Desk

What kind of entrepreneur could Mandela have made?

Its nearly a decade since I spent 36 hours broadcasting live to the world the sad news of his  death and there can hardly be a day when I dont miss him.

In this frightening world of thugs, thieves, and crooks and that are just politicians  – how much do we need Nelson Mandela and his wisdom.

This is Mandela Day – July 18 the day of Mandela’s birth in 1918 – where the world pauses to think about what they are doing for the betterment of mankind. With the war in Ukraine and the world perched on the precipice of environmental and economic disaster, there is no better time for such thoughts.

The cynics might laugh, but I laud Mandela – whom I spent time with in years of presidential visits from Harare to Malawi – for merely having the courage to say there was good in everyone. Just as people were taught to hate, they could also be taught to love. There can be few  of today’s weary, worn and cynical politicians who could say that today and make people believe them. Maybe, too, we believed Mandela because we wanted to and didn’t want to believe that the powers of darkness and the bullies must always win.

Mandela’s quotes still make the hair stand up at the back of my neck.

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

This quote always makes me think Mandela also had the resolve and determination to be an entrepreneur and a good one at that. Billionaire Tomorrow always says entrepreneurs should think long term: Mandela could see the future on a foggy day.

In his autobiography – the Long Walk to Freedom – Mandela recalled his first appearance in the so-called treason trial of 1958. As the van with the accused pulled up outside the court, their supporters banged on the sides in encouragement.

“I knew then we were on our way, it would not be long,”

Long? It would take two years of boring hearings for the treason trial to end in acquittal. The police locked Mandela up again in 1962, for 27 years. Now there’s foresight, long term thinking, then there is  Mandela long term thinking.

On his first lonely night behind bars, the prison officers used to kick his door.

“Don’t bother to sleep Mandela you are going to die anyway !”

“Won’t we all?” came back the calm voice from behind the cell door.

That was Mandela, unbowed, calm in a crisis with the courage to assert himself; stare adversity in the eye in winning through.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

A quote that could have been written for an entrepreneur

How the world needs a leader with his iron will and gentle idealism. I was lucky to have known him and proud that he knew my name.