Never eat alone

Recently whiles travelling, due to my understanding of the importance of networking I found myself engaged in a conversation that brought to life thoughts that I’ve kept within for a while whiles observing my fellow brethren going on about this very issue.

I was sitting in the plane reading Keith Ferrazzi’s book titled “Never eat alone” when a certain gentlemen whispered next to me to catch my attention. “In my county we live like this” he said. Not quite sure what he meant, he pointed at the tittle of the book in my hands and said; “We never eat alone, we always share. We eat from one dish, we share beds, we travel together, and we do everything together for one another”. It turned out the gentlemen was Ethiopian, travelling from Frankfurt back to Addis Ababa.

I had actually witnessed whiles checking it at the airport how applicable this proverb is to every aspect of their lives. When one was called to check in by the clerk, they would all pick up their bags and walk to the counter together. They’d wait there until every single one of them has been successfully checked in. it did look chaotic though, but I guess they are not bothered, they are more concerned about the well-being of every member in the group than what people say.

Perhaps I should have clarified earlier that as per South African classification standards; I was born black, I am still very black and I believe I will remain black for a very long time. I was also born and bred in a township, and have experienced poverty like many black people.

Going back to the conversation with my Ethiopian brother I have observed how they and other similar nations conquer parts of the world. They first send 1 or 2 to go first into a country and try to find a place to stay. When that has been accomplished, a very large number of the next group would follow to share that very same room. They HUMBLY identify opportunities to create income. They would generally start by selling little things, wall pictures, carpets, etc. They would do this by walking and knocking house to house whether the sun is extremely hot or the rain is pouring.

When they’ve raised enough capital, they approach tuck-shop owners in the townships to rent their Spaza shops. Seemingly it’s deals the Spaza owners cannot refuse because within a very short interval, they take over all the Spaza shops. Basically getting the Spaza owners to be their customers. It’s like renting your house and you pay me rent to live in it. This process continues to supermarkets, wholesalers, etc. During this process, they never forget their favourite proverb “Never eat alone”. They employ and empower their own. Soon, they own towns and cities.

The craziest thing here is that these people come into the country with nothing, and within a reasonably short space of time, your daily survival is dependent on them. Crazy I say.

So what do WE black folk do differently?

This may be a generalization simply because a greater majority of us black people live like this. If you are different, by all means you are excluded.

Firstly, we do nothing. We sit around mourning and act like the world owes us. We act like somebody else out there should do the jobs we do not want to do whiles we get paid for it. We complain daily about the government but do nothing to change the government, even with the little power we have on the X. Instead of investing energy on reasons why we should prosper, we focus our attention on excuses why we remain poor. We choose to be poor and we let it continue for years and years whiles other nationalities are doing the thinking for us.

Secondly we do not understand the principle of sharing. When we do prosper, we want it all to ourselves. Look at the government officials. We want to be the only people in the neighbourhood to live in a nice big house driving porch cars. We want everybody else to praise us for the riches we have. We just don’t see it making sense that we should share. That when one is empowered, he can empower the next, and the next the next, until we are all empowered.

Thirdly, greed is killing us. When we start projects, we start together as a collective. But should I suddenly get a bigger deal, instead of looking at the bigger picture, I am suddenly driven by greed thinking, I won this deal alone so I cannot share with the rest of the team. Forgetting that we started the projects because of the required different expertise we all possess to ensure success in everything we do. Suddenly I pull out with the deal, and because I do not have all the skills, it fails and I lose out even more. Si greedy nje.

Fourthly, we pull each other down. Instead of elevating each other, we rejoice in each other’s struggles. Sadly this happens within families too. Brother hating brother for his success. We go to a point of bewitching each other. The stupid thing about that though is that when we bewitch you for your success; your success doesn’t come to us, we remain poor whiles we watch you suffer.

Fifthly, we are very materialistic. If you’d take a walk around some informal settlements, you will be amazed by the number of satellite dishes hanging on corrugated iron little houses. You will be amazed by the very nice cars parked in those yards. If you take a look at the people walking around, you will be amazed by the expensive brands they wear whiles the beds they sleep on are supported by bricks. S’khothane mentality.

We’ve seen nations coming into our country to conquer for years. But seemingly we learn nothing from it. We continue to be a consuming nation rather than a producing nation. We wait for somebody else to come from far away to sell us something we know we need and are capable of producing. We see nations working together as collectives but still insist on doing it alone. We see nations sharing with their own and we continue to be greedy seeking all the praise to ourselves. We see nations producing and fixing their own problems whiles we continue complaining day after day waiting for the government to do something.

The sooner we realize that nobody else has to do it for us but ourselves, the better. The sooner we realize that by empowering the next person we empower ourselves, the better. A dread log is collection of multiple hairs and one dread log is indeed stronger than one hair. We must learn to share, we must stop seeking self-glory and seek to empower. We need to realize that we have all we need to change the situation. Get rid of the laziness, greed, envy, jealousy and let each one teach one, son help son, daughter help daughter; and slowly but surely we will rule the spaces we live in. we must get off our behinds and just do it.  

Never eat alone black child.

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