Friends & Friction: SA will be nothing without white skills?

2014-09-18 06:45

Listen up, you black boys and girls: they’re gonna be coming at you. Remember every inch of success you gain tears at their hearts, so they’re going to fight hard to keep you where you are, and they’re going to be relentless.

Why do you think they keep reminding us that Telkom chairman Jabu Mabuza was a taxi driver? His success and, by proxy, your success, hurts them.

You can tell they’ve never cared to learn and understand how you’ve lived because the taxi driver is the epitome of hard work. Have they ever wondered how their maid gets to their homes?

She uses the taxi whose driver was up long before dawn. They don’t know the taxi is the ultimate business school. The driver learns to sell a product where there is absolutely no product differentiation.

Their jealous hearts are asking who the hell you are to succeed with your Bantu education when their white government gave them every crutch and prosthesis to succeed, yet they still came out second.

You see, nothing hurts them more than losing to a black person, and Telkom’s success hurts them because it disproves the half-truths they’ve been peddling.

They said government was wrong by refusing the Koreans’ offer to buy shares in Telkom at R24 each. When Mabuza came in as chairman and appointed Sipho Maseko, another hard-worker, as the CEO, the turnaround began.

The Koreans and their backers lost the sweet deal because Telkom is now hovering around the R60 mark.

Nobody is celebrating Maseko, instead they are looking for faults in him.

Had he been white, he would have been hailed as the white knight that saved the natives – the classic storyline in South African boardrooms.

To rub salt in the wound, Maseko suspended a white financial director, Jacques Schindehütte, who the commentators expected to be the star of the show, and perhaps cast the CEO as the token black.

For those of us who grew up during the days of “k****r-bashing”, Maseko is the “Bruce Lee of the boardroom”. Lee was the first nonwhite to kick white men’s backsides. His metaphor put an end to the Ndebele joke “Jama, ikhuwa likurithe” (stand still and let the white man beat you up).

Maseko freed us from the white blackmail that states this country will be nothing without white skills.

If actions speak louder than words, the message is loud and clear: “You can buy that ticket to Australia with the greatest of pleasure, South Africa will succeed with or without you.”

Have any commentators asked themselves why Maseko, a man of such great achievements, would risk everything on something as little as this?

The answer is not in the facts, but in their attitudes. Black men are suspects – and the probability of committing any crime rises exponentially if his boss was a taxi driver.

Now listen to me carefully, black people: if you are going to succeed in South Africa, you need to be strong enough to absorb punishment that could kill an ox because the brutality of capitalism is second only to the wild.

Remember, you have a big job: building a country. In the words of Maseko himself: “Let’s not be distracted by sideshows.”

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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