[Read with Nelson Mandela voice. This is a parody speech of Nelson Mandela giving encouragement to entrepreneurs. It never took place]
In 1952, Oliver Tambo and I decided to become entrepreneurs. We started South Africa’s first black-owned law firm – Mandela & Tambo – right during apartheid.
In the beginning things were hard, I only had 2 suits. So, don’t laugh at the young entrepreneur you see at conferences wearing the same suit over and over again.
Here is some little advice. Buy a black suit if it will be the only one for a long time. Any other colour will give you off – that you wear the same suit all the time.
In our days it wasn’t like today where lawyers enjoy big Mandela money at places such as Taboo or Eyadini.
During apartheid, injustice for the black man was rife. The calling to liberate our people was bigger than our entrepreneurship-slash-business endeavours.
So, I decided, we decided, to wear bigger boots and turn our entrepreneurial wit against another unknown – that is the active struggle against apartheid.
And that is what our generation sacrificed.
So, this democracy offers you the opportunity to do what apartheid took from us.
Here is what young entrepreneurs can take from the sacrifice to rebel against apartheid:
- Being an activist against apartheid was like being an entrepreneur. It was going for the unknown. We didn’t know if we would defeat apartheid in our lifetime, but we believed we should rebel against it right then.
Entrepreneurs do not know whether the ideas they are pursuing will produce profits, but they go on pushing, because they believe, like we believed that we shall defeat apartheid.
- We didn’t wait for the perfect circumstances to be activists. In fact the more things got harder, we got harder. It is how Umkhonto we Sizwe armed wing emerged. We didn’t wait to have a budget for banners before we spoke at rallies.
We did our best and worked hard on our speeches so that they would be effective.
Just like entrepreneurs don’t wait until they have perfect situations or funds – but use what they have.
- No cause can be achieved without discipline, commitment, organisation, and forming relationships.
Although it is hard, you have to keep realigning yourself with these four factors I just mentioned. We formed relationships with different nations, individuals, and organisations.
- We maneuvered the whole country and world to achieve our course for freedom. Entrepreneurs should not be afraid to go where enabling opportunities are.
So, dear entrepreneur, you are an activist for the wellness of your people. Create those businesses and distribute prosperity among your people.
I THANK YOU.