‘May we learn from them and grow generations anew.’

2013-04-28 12:26

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For the longest time, it has perplexed me about how hard we are on ourselves here in Mzansi. We are a demanding people and that’s a good thing, because it means we won’t be stomped on.

But it also means we often fail to harvest the life lessons of the good and the great among us. This is our effort to do so.

This, my pet project, is a collection of South Africans who have staked a claim to greatness not only on our shores but also abroad.

I know ‘world class’ can be a contested term, but like our partner, Andile Sangqu of Xstrata, I use it unapologetically.

If we are to reach our potential as a nation then we must strive to be a world class nation. To my mind, we are not that far away, though the popular narrative may paint a different picture.

One of the many adverse legacies of apartheid is an  inferiority complex – if a system tells you often enough that you are not good enough, you begin to believe it.

I think sometimes we still suffer the affliction.

So, here is a collection of men and women who can guide us to a different path, people who have reached their destinies and often beyond accepted ability to do wonderful things.

To make art, make peace, cross deserts, to judge, to bless, to act and to create.

We salute them all and learn from the many wonderful examples of persistence, talent and truth-telling we chronicle here.

There are gaps, but that’s the difficulty of trying to squeeze it all into just over 100 people – it was hard to edit the list down and we chose based on obvious impact, on awards and on consultations with industry experts.

If you know of people who absolutely must be included next year, let me know.

I nearly cried to have to remove Olympian hero Oscar Pistorius, but after much deliberation we did.

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