Friends & Friction: Road to success is paved with words

2013-10-08 14:00

“It’s hard to be modest when you know you are good,” Muhammad Ali once said.

Well, it’s hard to be modest when the readers of your column are great people, I can tell you that.

Many people say our young people don’t read, but judging from the responses I receive on Twitter and Facebook, that is untrue.

The readers of this column seem to be young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, and those who are not yet such are well on their way.

I just have a small request – don’t forget me when you hit the big time. No rewards of any kind, just a friendly “hello” when you meet me on the streets, which, in Africa, is a human right for people beyond a certain age.

This newspaper reported that when US President Barack Obama was here, he saw a continent on the rise. Other international publications across the world have also reported such news.

Don’t let anyone fool you, the African train to success is on its way and all you need is to get on board. “You don’t need no ticket,” sang Curtis Mayfield years ago, “All you need is faith.”

Success, you will find, whether in business or in life, is not in stabbing others in the back or trampling over the weak, but in the service of others. And the precondition to success, if there ever was one, is reading.

Fortunately, the readers of this newspaper are already on the right path. After?all, Zig Ziglar, who built a wildly successful career in sales, said: “Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have big TVs and small libraries.”

In his book, The Money Code: Become a Millionaire with the Ancient Jewish Code, HW Charles writes that the main reason Jewish people are so financially successful is because they study. He also says that success and wealth are partly the pursuit of the fabric of Jewish society.

The same is true for many Indian families, which is why although they may be such a minority, they play a much greater role in the fields of business, medicine, law and many other professions.

The same can also be seen among Africans who continue to come out tops on the Global Rich List, such as Patrice Motsepe, who is a lawyer; Mike Teke, who is a qualified teacher; and many others.

“The mind is everything,” wrote Gautama Buddha, “What you think, you become.”

In order to think the right thoughts, you need a sharp mind, and we all know that a sharp knife cuts a lot easier than a dull one – and reading is still the only way to sharpen the mind.

So we must encourage our young people to pursue success but also emphasise the fact that it all starts with a voracious appetite for reading and then self-belief, which for black people has been systematically destroyed over centuries.

“It is what one thinks of himself that really determines his fate,” wrote David Thoreau.

If you think low of yourself and Africa, stop reading this column because you are making us commit the worst sin of all – we are wasting ink

on you. If, on the other hand, you believe that humankind’s creation is greater than God’s, then you are the chosen one.

When asked whose creation was greater, God’s or humankind’s, Rabbi Akiva replied that humankind’s creation was undoubtedly greater. God created chicken, but mankind created Chicken à la King.

God created Africa. Make it the promised land.

» Kuzwayo is a mwalimu at Ignitive, an advertising agency

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