How to Spread it – Daniel David: Helping others to take the first step

2014-09-07 15:00

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He started out as a mine worker in the gold mines of South Africa. Now Daniel David is not yet 50 years old and is the CEO of the Soico Group, the biggest private media conglomerate in Mozambique.

He is also the chair of the Mozambique Portugal Chamber of Commerce and is recognised as one of Africa’s greatest entrepreneurs. He believes that a culture of giving should be centred on creating opportunities to learn skills.

What is your view on philanthropy?

Philanthropy is not about money or donors. We can change lives by giving someone an opportunity that can completely change his or her life. I help people by challenging and changing their mind-sets. I am especially grateful to my wife and children for doing this for me personally. They always encourage me to continue fighting and do something different in the world.

Do successful African businesspeople have a responsibility to give back? How is it different from the past? For example, less focus on charity and more on sustainable projects?

Africa is known for its poverty despite it being very rich in resources. Most successful African businesspeople today were poor in the past or came from a background of poverty, and this gives us a responsibility to give back to society. This can happen in many ways, such as employing and training people from poor communities.

More than implementing social responsibility programmes, we have to become socially responsible businesspeople. For example, if we help develop a project to create new entrepreneurs, we are expanding the possibilities of the poorest communities, and allowing them to grow and become sustainable. Being mentors to new entrepreneurs is another way in which we can give back to society.

Soico has been involved in many social responsibility campaigns. Tell us about the Mozambique in Action campaign.

The Soico Group created this project to develop a new consciousness – to transform minds and transform the way in which people live. We think that the media can and must help foster social, educational and environmental awareness, and is essential for training and building public awareness on how to promote sustainable development.

The Mozambique in Action campaign operates in the areas of health, citizenship, the environment, education, culture and entrepreneurship. We consider our role vital in communicating, informing and disseminating information around these issues, and we do this through various news articles, interviews and programmes. The campaign aims to teach people how to be self-sustainable, and supports the implementation of actions that encourage people to be proactive and stimulate change through innovation and accountability.

According to the World Health Organisation, malaria is one of the biggest killers of young children in Mozambique. Tell us about Roll Back Malaria.

When the Soico Group received the proposal from Vodacom to join the Roll Back Malaria initiative, we accepted immediately. Vodacom’s part was to distribute mosquito nets in the communities where they were most needed, and to send out educational messages.

Our role was to educate and alert the public on how to prevent malaria, identify its symptoms and proceed accordingly with treatment.

How do we create a culture of giving?

The culture of giving comes from one’s heart. But it is important to understand that the culture of giving is not about giving food, money, clothes or whatever else. If we want to help someone, we must give him or her an opportunity to learn. I think that the culture of giving must be centred on giving the tools to acquire knowledge. As the Mozambicans say: ‘We cannot give fish, but we can teach how to fish.’

What is your message to the youth of Mozambique?

Our country is in a phase of accelerated development and we should also accelerate the change of mentality to take advantage of the opportunities around us. We all deserve to be part of this development, but it takes knowledge, courage, faith and action.

The youth should start somewhere, no matter how far success may seem to be. They need to take the first step. There’s always something we can do.

This series is developed in partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. To support a cause, visit

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