Today is Nelson Mandela International Day. The day was originally launched in 2009 in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, and calls for the global community to devote 67 minutes towards doing good.
The day has now grown beyond from just being a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy, but is now a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.
Every year on this day ordinary people, groups and organisations all find ways to give back. And increasingly, businesses are also following suit as they recognise that part of good business is doing good and serving the greater good.
To inspire you this Mandela Day, here are 8 quotes on the power of giving back.
Solving African problems
“I actually think the businesses that have longevity are the ones responding to social problems. So you can make money while you are doing good, but you need to be unapologetic about the fact that in order to do good you need to make money.
I believe as Africans and as women in particular, we also need to start building institutions that are going to outlast us, that are going to be there for our children and our grandchildren” – Polo Leteka Radebe, founder of Identity Partners – Polo Leteka Radebe on the importance of leading with vision
People, planet and profit
“Reel Gardening, is considered a social enterprise. We are driven by purpose and we look to make profit from purpose driven sustainable impact.
“We understand the need to value People, Planet and Profit all as equals in our business model. In leading a social enterprise, I attract passionate social leaders to work for me and they are driven by our mission” – Claire Reed, founder of Reel Gardening which manufactures innovative biodegradable seed strips which makes gardening more accessible – What you can learn from how this millennial leads
“Africapitalism is about the intersection of economic prosperity and social wealth, the intersection of making profit and doing good, and not waiting to finish one before you do the other”
“Capitalism – which in its purest form is entrepreneurism even among the poorest of the poor – does work; but those who make money from it should put back into society, not just sit on it as if they are hatching eggs” – Richard Branson, from his book: Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
“Over time our society’s notion of success has been reduced to money and power. In fact, at this point, success, money, and power have practically become synonymous in the minds of many. This idea of success can work— or at least appear to work— in the short term. But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two- legged stool— you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. And more and more people— very successful people— are toppling over. To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well- being, wisdom, wonder, and giving” – Arianna Huffington, who is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author
“It’s imperative that we all lend a hand – simply because – together we can do more” – Hlengiwe Zondo, CEO of African Reflections Group – How 80 young Africans and their one book are redefining the African narrative
The greater good
“[We need to create] a culture of delayed gratification, that says build it, but build it for the next 10 years, next 15 years, shape generations, send young people through to varsity, create innovative structures and platforms and processes that will allow ours to build a different continent, but whatever you do, delay your own gratification” – Vusi Thembekwayo, Global business speaker and Dragon Den’s SA’s Thembekwayo is a 30-year-old self-made millionaire and the chief executive of MOTIV8 Advisory – Lessons from one of the world’s leading business speakers
Profit and philanthropy
Africapitalism is about the intersection of economic prosperity and social wealth, the intersection of making profit and doing good, and not waiting to finish one before you do the other” – Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian economist and investor and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, a $100 million annual programme offering training, funding and mentoring for African entrepreneurs
“You don’t go into business to make money. You go into business to serve people”
A greater impact
“But mostly, I think the key measure of our business would be what impact has it had on the meta issues – on society and on the economy” Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba – Find out what leadership means to these South African business minds
“Africapitalism therefore means we cannot leave the business of development up to our governments, donor countries and philanthropic organizations alone” –Tony Elumelu
“You don’t go into business to make money. You go into business to serve people and if you can then serve them well you will make lots and lots of money” – Ian Fuhr founder and CEO of cosmetic and beauty franchise Sorbet – Find out what leadership means to these South African business minds
The impact of social entrepreneurship
At the heart of developing the idea, was thinking differently about what the journey of getting educated looks like for a child coming from a low-income household.
We realised that we had an opportunity to solve some of the problems that children in our community face while also looking after the environment. For example the integration of the solar component is necessary as some would love the privilege of burning the midnight oil, but they literally cannot afford to do and are faced with ‘rationing’ candles. Also, walking long distances without any safety measures in place, called for the integration of reflective material for increased visibility” – Thato Kgatlhanye, founder of Repurpose Schoolbags, an initiative that creates schoolbags fitted with a solar panel which charges during the day, and transforms into a light at night, allowing children from off-grid households to study after dark.