For those who want to stay and build, plus 5 highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

29 April 2022 - 06:11
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The general interest should be embedded in the value system.
The general interest should be embedded in the value system.

The dream of bettering the country for everyone has dissipated, my friend Wouter van Zijl says. He is a Namibian who has created jobs for 100 people in an ocean of unemployment. Van Zijl offers qualified, unemployed people data storing courses.

Van Zijl says “the sea of chaos allows room for islands of excellence”, but no individual, no matter how good their intentions, can solve poverty, unemployment, corruption and poor governance. 

Some of our peers have emigrated to Perth, Seattle or Christchurch. Those left behind have only one of two choices: Do what you do well in your immediate sphere and create wealth rather than jobs, or stare despondently into the abyss of decline with a futile wish for a better life for all. Master projects fall within the state’s scope and e government doesn’t give the state a fair chance to do what is necessary.

The truth is most of us can’t escape the desperation of the situation. Those who had wanted to or could leave for foreign shores have already passed through customs. Youngsters with scarce skills may find a home elsewhere, but most of us are, despite our privilege and relative wealth, prisoners of an unpredictable economic reality at the southern tip of Africa.

Not every white conservative Afrikaner wanted to flee at the turn of the 1990s. In Pretoria, I know a man with a two-tone shirt and a hunting gun who writes software for literally hundreds of overseas and local companies. He gives bursaries to black students who don’t have the financial means. He battles crime and bureaucratic undermining but is stunned that anyone could consider leaving the country and the continent.   

In Stellenbosch a stocky Afrikaner runs a company that writes software for, inter alia, NASA and BMW. The intellectual capacity of his business is not limited by the shortcomings of our democracy or the stifling economy. More than 350 nerds — engineers and data scientists — work in his offices, and half his string of companies create wealth locally and internationally.

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In Ceres, Gerrit van Vuuren decided to focus on land reform that would enable black and coloured agriculturalists to escape the stigma of “emerging farmers”. Pals (Partners in Agri Land Solutions) create islands of excellence for these farmers in collaboration with established commercial agriculturalists. 

Van Vuuren realised ownership was a value system that could unlock social capital and root black agriculturalists in a market economy that transfers wealth across generations. Not only do they get ownership of the land, but they also get ownership in an agricultural value chain without the description of “emerging”.

If Van Zijl, the two-tone hunter and Van Vuuren don’t create wealth in the general interest, we are doomed. The general interest should be embedded in the value system — and this has to celebrate diversity rather than undermine it. 

Read the full article and more in this week’s edition of Vrye Weekblad.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

>> Browse the full April 29 edition

THE WEEK IN POLITICS | Max du Preez looks at Elon Musk’s struggle with his ”boytjie from Pretoria” label, Julius Malema’s Breitling watch, and Basic Instinct in the British parliament.

PAPPA MAYOR | Anneliese Burgess talks to Christopher Pappas, one of SA’s youngest mayors and the only DA mayor in KwaZulu-Natal, about the move from the opposition benches, the biggest challenges and speaking Zulu. 

FREE TO READ — TOO OLD FOR ACID ROCK? | When it comes to rock ’n roll, drugs are not the main worry. The future of the genre is what we should be concerned about. 

IF 1994 DIDN’T HAPPEN | What would SA have looked like if we didn’t have an election 28 years ago? Would Steve Hofmeyr have been in charge? He seems to be the spokesperson for everyone with amnesia.

FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS | We take a look at human beings’ relationship with dogs, and the role these animals played in our development. 

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