The year 2016 has been challenging in many ways, to say the least, but I would like to believe that through our challenges (once overcome) we learn more about ourselves than we could ever imagine—and we end up better people and more experienced than before. The same can be said for the challenges we encounter in the business world and this year has surely tested our patience and endurance.
Looking back at the transformation space in 2016, many are saying that not enough is happening to transform the lives of black people and other previously disadvantaged groups—that not enough is done in terms of economic transformation.
Yes, we might well still have a long way to go—and I hear the complaints and impatience of the people—and I get it, but we also have to admit that much has transpired and we have indeed come a long way. In 2016 we have witnessed many great attempts, both from Government and the private sector, to tackle the transformation issue head-on.
Government has surprised us—and let us applaud them—with many initiatives to advance the opportunities for us back people (also that of women and the youth). The private sector has also realised that unless they support transformation efforts, we can pretty much close the doors to our economy. They also need to be applauded!
Yet many a man on the street is still frustrated—and rightfully so, but they also have to look at it from a different perspective: On my travels I’ve seen and met countless black people who came from absolutely nothing and made huge successes of their lives. These friends, family and business acquaintances of mine come from poverty, from the struggle like myself and from hardship. But they have transformed their lives (and their businesses) and climbed the corporate ladders to the top. The operative word is THEY. Not the government, not the private institutions they might represent—they did it. In the end it is all about determination to succeed in life, not matter what the odds and challenges—and identifying and seizing opportunities in life.
Nobody said it would be easy. But there is hope—and there are opportunities and platforms to tap into to help us raise above our circumstances. My wish for 2017 is that before we criticize Government, or whoever, for not making things happen fast enough for us, we examine ourselves—and ask ourselves if we have indeed done enough for ourselves to make things happen. Have we been proactive enough? Are we visible enough? Have we asserted ourselves when we needed to?
As the gap between 2016 and 2017 is closing, economists are saying that things are not going to get any easier for our economy, and that’s all the better reason for us to stay positive and be focused. Everyone in this country—not just black people.
This is probably the part where you expect me to say that despite the challenging year behind us, 2017 will be better. But I’m not going to do that. Yes, we have to be positive about the future and approach it with enthusiasm, but we also have to be realistic. Globally 2017 is expected to be a rough ride with many challenges—one from which I intend to learn more about myself than ever before and I’m looking forward to the experience of a lifetime.