Category : Financial Services

You need to be in it to win it

For many the end of 2010 and the birth of 2011 was a point of greater than normal celebration. The last year has been a troubled and often a confusing time, with some exceptional highs and lows, perhaps 2011 heralds a period of more stability and normality.

South Africa may have celebrated the FIFA circus, otherwise known as the World Cup, but thousands also lost their jobs and homes. The sickly veneer of soccer democracy, that is Sepp Platter’s road show, brought us some light relief and national pride, but like a brightly coloured foil wrapper on a rotten chocolate the show moved on and we were back dealing with the raw daily realities of life.

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When the tough get going!

As they say democracy is not the easy option, democracy is hard and demands that we never stop working at it to keep it and improve it.

Fascism, communism, one party states, religious dictatorships, fundamentalist states be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish or blind ethnic governments are easy, yes easy!
What is difficult, is listening to people you don’t agree with, tolerating thoughts and ideas you are diametrically opposed to reading articles by those you feel should not be given a platform and having to see people, you feel should be locked up, demonstrate on the streets. That is difficult that is challenging and that is what gives democracy its edge.

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Circle of Life

Twenty years ago I was sat in England and somehow convinced myself that elephants were about to become extinct. That led eventually to me selling up, leaving my job, getting dumped by the then girlfriend and driving out of London, on my “Big Adventure”. This resulted in me eventually arriving, six months later, in Cape Town.

By the time, however, I arrived in Cameroon, by way of France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria I was already convinced that the elephant was not in fact anywhere near becoming extinct, but was actually doing rather well. There were some counties south of Cameroon where no doubt animal protection came second to the need for food. Zaire for example, as Congo was at that time, was amazing but there was nothing that didn’t find itself onto a plate.

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The Secret of Success

As a regular traveller within SA and an unfortunate user of very early flights I can state that the economic recovery is well under way! The reasoning behind that prognosis is very simple, but then simplicity has always worked. The man behind the Dow-Jones index originally used the simple test of checking how many chimneys were being used at the steel mills and other factories, as a sign of industrial well being. I believe that a suitably reliable indicator in the 21st century is the length of the queue at airport security at 5.30am. Three years ago that queue, even allowing for inefficiencies, was daunting and quite unbelievably long.

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The Secret of Success

If at first you don’t succeed, well you must just be like the rest of us mere mortals! But what do we mean by succeed and against what are we judging ourselves and that level of success?

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In the presence of geniuses

It is not often that you get to be in the company of genius so when you get to be in the company of two of them you are in one of those halcyon moments, one you must cherish.

When you get to be in the presence of two geniuses coupled with two beautiful women, then you should chill, kick back, suck it up and learn to enjoy life! Well this lucky boy was in such a position only a few days ago and I am still in POG mode!

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Life is a golden thread

Here is to those we have loved and kept and here is to those we have loved and lost, here is to the secret of life; the ability to love and endure!

Life is for the living and not for the dead! Life is for those daily tests, that tell us we are alive. Then by surviving them we get to enjoy these delicate, indescribably wonderful moments that make life what it is, unique, special, treasured!

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The New South Africa

Sitting in the airport on a dark cold morning with a one hour flight delay may not appear, at first glance, to be the most inspirational place on the planet, but then first impressions can be often wrong.

Wrong, because it served as a reminder of the multiple layers of life that make up our society. The travelers, some on business visiting our shores, some on holiday following their team. The locals split into those working, booking us in, cleaning shoes, selling goods at the shop and those also travelling on business or following  team Bafana!

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A land of great potential

I met a man and what a tale he had to tell. He was an older, if not wiser, man than most, but the story of his life over the last twenty years was remarkable, an adventure that was to my mind extraordinary and if anyone had told me such a tale 20 years ago I would not have believed them.

This man had travelled, he had journeyed through continents and over thirty countries and he had seen poverty and pompous wealth at first hand. He had made fortunes and lost them, smiled and made them all over again.

He had loved beautiful women and been loved back and now in his mature years he had found the perfect partner. He had made friends and lost many, yet kept all those that mattered, he had children he would die for and parents that would die for him.

His life’s journey had taken him from a proud and principled working class background, to a position he never dreamt of. Yet he knew his position, his place in life and his people, he knew where he was from and where he was going. A man who saw more wealth in wonder and the love of life, than in mere money. A man with a love for simplicity and comfort over the collection of material objects.

This man told me about a country that he loved and a people confused by their own capacity. He had seen fear, hatred and division crumble in the face of honesty, compassion and forgiveness.

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Financial Maturity

As I sit here in my nuclear fall out shatter, banned by my editor from mentioning soccer and yet  surrounded by tofu and recently stocked up supplies of low fat yoghurt, olives and other essential supplies I wonder if I will survive the World Cup food shortages (sorry Ed)! There has been a run on sushi, soft cheese and salami but there did appear to be lots of people buying up wine, especially the expensive French fizzy variety.

Yes these are strange days are they not? A new British Prime Minister, cheap pounds available at 11 to the rand and a distinct lack of Match (FIFA) representatives available to take responsibility for all the unsold accommodation (hence the availability of caviar and oysters in the local Spar) and the sudden realization that it’s all about football or if you prefer soccer, not property speculation!

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