What a year of turbulence.
What a time to be alive.
What a shock to the system that is life has been this year of 2016.
2016 will forever be the year remembered for the “Rise (again) of the Right”. A rise not seen since World War II. It will be characterized by the extreme nationalism of Brexit, the enraged fascism of Trump, the collapse of and mass murders in Aleppo, the re-emergence of Russia as a geopolitical force and most notably the year China built and launched its first mega-aircraft to rival Airbus and Boeing.
On the African continent, 2016 is the year Robert Mugabe attempted to block the internet to quell uprising, Jose dos Santos saw an uprising led by the collapse of the oil price, Muhammadu Buhari told David Cameron he didn’t need to apologise for calling Nigeria “dangerously corrupt” but rather that he returns the money that the British banks held on behalf of corrupt Nigerians (or as we say in South Africa, #PayBackTheMoney) and most notably 2016 will be the year South Africa reclaimed its place at the largest economy in Africa.
In South Africa, 2016 has been a shipwreck of humor, tragedy and political quackery with a sprinkle of courage. Zuma was told to “thula” by Thuli and to pay back the money by the ConCourt, Mbeki told Zuma to meet with the stalwarts, the stalwarts named themselves after the Dalmatians, Pityana asked Zuma to leave, Zuma told the nation he was badly advised, Malema lost weight (a lot), Zuma gained weight (a bit), the Gupta’s built a mansion in Saxonwold then moved to Dubai then back to Saxonwold, Brian Molefe discovered a shebeen in Saxonwold whilst the rest of the black middle is still searching for said shebeen amidst all this Pravin was charged then uncharged then almost charged again, Jesus arrived in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Bay and finally (and this is not a joke) Vasco Da Gama was reborn.
What a year!
In the midst of the storm and uncertainty that has surrounded 2016, it is easy to forget that there were some fantastic feats made.
Usain Bolt cemented his place as the most prolific sprinter of all time, Wayde van Niekerk thrashed Michael Johnson’s record, Caster Semenya slid back into form and Vusi Thembekwayo was listed in the Top 12 speakers in the world for the second successive year (shameless plug).
From a career perspective, I couldn’t have asked for a better year: I also spoke in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, New York, London, Colombo, Dubai, Accra, Nairobi, Windhoek amongst many others. I founded and invested my own capital in venture capital firm MyGrowthFund, took over MyGrowthFund as CEO, partnered with Standard Bank to launch Founders Forum – a platform for entrepreneurs, graced the covers of Entrepreneur and Destiny magazine both and started the work of my educational foundation.
As the year winds down its important to remember that the best bet to a better 2017 is the attitude we take into that year. Laugh a little. Live a little. Work a lot.
Annual Dr. Richard Maponya Lecture delivered by CEO of MyGrowthFund, Mr Vusi Thembekwayo.
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