by Gigi Ngcobo
This November I had the honour of being selected as the first student moderator of the World Lecture Series at Michigan State University (MSU) in a 163-years. I was chosen to moderate Rev. Nontombi Tutu. a consultant, professor, clergy and the daughter of Desmond Tutu lecture on the TRC and apartheid. As I was preparing for the talk, I was reminded of some of the reasons I take pride in my African and South African identity.
1. Africa is the continent of OPPORTUNITY
Schooling in the USA I’ve seen services and used products that aren’t available in South Africa (SA). Products such as Bird, Alexa, and Ring that offer new ways of commuting or home security that haven’t entered the African market. When using these products, I realize the opportunities that exists for us as Africans to create new businesses, local products or introduce foreign ones into our markets, and we can collaborate with others anywhere in the world and, and, and…. It’s also easy to get started in developing markets like ours because we don’t have strong laws to comply with that make starting a business cumbersome and costly. Lastly, another added advantage is when it comes to funding there are so many opportunities, I wrote an article about them that will be up soon.
2. You have a UNIQUE perspective
The perspective you bring to the world might seem similar to those around you because you are all South African, however, once you step outside the country, you recognise how different you are. As South Africans, we have an unparalleled history with apartheid, we have the concept of the rainbow nation, 11 official languages, and a new culture that is highly influenced by America and Europe. The ability to live in such a cosmopolitan society but remain distinctly African is rare, and if you embrace it and use it to learn how to see from different perspectives, you’ll have the ability to connect with people in an impactful manner and offer new ideas that they’ve never heard off.
3. The internet is ACCELERATING scale.
We as Africans have often not traded with one another due to inheriting a colonial economy that centered on trading with Europe and ensuring their raw materials were supplied. However, the internet allows us as Africans to connect and work on trading with one another, some of my favourite fashion retailers are based in Kenya, and I found them on Instagram. I think that as the internet connects us as Africans we’ll start trading and opening ourselves to new markets within Africa, this means that businesses will have better returns on investments. So, as an African invest in your yourself and your continent, Africa is a huge market and closest to you..
by Gigi Ngcobo