Alan Knott-Craig is one of South Africa’s most inspirational entrepreneurs – in addition to launching innovative companies, he is generous with his ideas. He has a knack for identifying positives where many only concentrate on negative developments, which is undoubtedly a reason he spots money-making opportunities where others don’t. Knott-Craig’s love for South Africa infuses his writing. In this piece, he shares why he is optimistic that SA can be pulled out of its dive – a much-needed tonic at a time when job losses, business failures and corruption dominate the headlines. – Jackie Cameron
SA is a country of miracles
By Alan Knott-Craig*
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine your starting point.”
South Africa is a country of miracles.
Big miracles like the 1994 elections when, somehow, the Apartheid state peacefully handed power over to a democratically-elected government, willingly consigning the ruling party to a minority role and reversing decades of racist policies at the risk of vengeance being rained down upon white South Africans.
Small miracles like Herschel Jantjies, a coloured kid that grew up in Kylemore, a low-income community in the Western Cape, somehow avoided drugs and gangs and alcohol, and rose to play scrumhalf for the Springboks, scoring a try on his debut and then another to tie 16-16 with the All Blacks in Wellington in front of millions of people across the world.
Big miracles like the Union of South Africa in 1910, seven years after the Second Boer War ended in ignominious defeat for the Afrikaners, consigning millions of the volk to poverty to compound the miseries of the world’s first concentration camps where thousands of women and children died. Somehow, seven years after the British “scorched earth” policy burnt out most of the Afrikaner’s farms and houses and livelihoods, South Africa became a single country with independence from Britain.
Small miracles like a baby being abandoned in a forest outside Durban, found by a random passerby, left at a government hospital, tested positive for HIV, adopted by the father of one of the doctors, 18 months later cleared of HIV, and sixteen years on captaining the soccer and rugby teams at an elite private school.
Big miracles like the ANC choosing Cyril Ramaphosa over Jacob Zuma, in spite of JZ’s decade-long monopoly on power, and miraculously replacing the pilot of Ship South Africa just in time to change course from head-on collision with the iceberg of fiscal catastrophe, a la Argentina.
Small miracles like SA’s population not being wiped out by COVID thanks to our existing battles with auto-immune diseases and general health challenges having created tough people and a healthcare system that actually works.
Going into 2021 it’s not looking good. Jooste and Ace still running free. Deep recession. Tourism depressed. More job losses.
It will take a miracle for SA to pull out of its dive.
Luckily, we’re a country of miracles.
- Alan Knott-Craig is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, and founder of Project Isizwe, an NGO that deploys affordable public WiFi to rural communities across Africa. He is also the founder of HeroTel, a broadband operator operating throughout SA. Originally from Pretoria, he studied at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (formerly UPE) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte in 2002. Between 2003 and 2017 he has co-founded and/or funded 27 companies in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector in Africa. He was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009.