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Mandela dead

The man who made “The Miracle of Africa” possible

Ex-president Nelson Mandela died on 5 December 2013 shortly before 21:00.… Read more
Mandela dead

The man who made “The Miracle of Africa” possible

Ex-president Nelson Mandela died on 5 December 2013 shortly before 21:00. He was 95.

The most famous of all South Africans, is a man who was found guilty of sabotage because he opposed the political system which denied him the vote, was sentenced to life imprisonment, released after twenty-seven years in jail, became the first black president of his country, and led it to a peaceful transition to democracy.

Rohihlahla (the name means “shaking the branch of a tree” or “troublemaker”) Nelson Mandela, was born on 18 July 1918 in Transkei, in the south eastern part of South Africa.

Mandela was a prominent member of the African National Congress (ANC) which was formed in 1912 to promote the inclusion of black people in the government of the country. Its aim was to use peaceful means to convince the white government to allow a political system of one-man-one-vote. Successive white dominated governments refused the claim due to the fear white people had of being ruled by black people.

After the ANC decided that peaceful means would not get the black people political freedom, Mandela formed Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) which means “Spear of the Nation”, as the military wing of the ANC.

In June 1964 he was convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 27 years of his sentence in jail, most of it on the infamous Robben Island.

After FW de Klerk became president of South Africa, he started dismantling the policy of “apartheid” (separate development) which was the official policy of the ruling National Party for more that 40 years.

In February 1990 Mandela was released, and on 27 April 1994, the first democratic elections in South Africa took place. The ANC won the elections and Mandela became the first black president of South Africa.

The transition of power to the black majority in South Africa is often referred to as The Miracle of Africa, because never in Africa, and rarely in the world, did the transfer of power from an oppressor to the opressed occurred without violence.

The “miracle” can be ascribed to Mandela’s convictions about violence. He opposed violence and would only accept it as a last resort to political change. He constantly reminded his supporters that the liberation struggle was a fight against a system of oppression and not against any group of people.

Had Mandela chosen to instruct the black masses after the 1994 elections to avenge the wrongs of the past, South Africa would have been plunged into a bloody civil war.

In his autobiography he said: “. . . . for to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” .

History will vouch that South Africa enjoyed a historic transition to democracy without violence, because of the choice that one man made. The choice of peace above violence.

Nelson Mandela retired from public life in June 1999.

BIOGRAPHY:
His autobiography “Long Walk to Freeedom” was published by Macdonald Purnell, 10 Burke Street, Randburg, 2194, South Africa. 1994. ISBN 0 316 87496 5
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THE JOURNEY TO MYCITYINFO

(first published on our Google+ Page)

When we started in May 2008 we had a view of what we wanted to do: we wanted to create a business directory and social platform for our city (which is a city, not because of it's … Read more
THE JOURNEY TO MYCITYINFO

(first published on our Google+ Page)

When we started in May 2008 we had a view of what we wanted to do: we wanted to create a business directory and social platform for our city (which is a city, not because of it's size, but because it is the capital city of Limpopo). So we created MyPolokwane.com.

Unfortunately, as the lives of entrepreneurs tend to be, we had constraints. But, we had the advantage of any family business - we had passion. And we had a vision.

The passion that resides in a family business is unequalled. It allows for advantages that any other business lacks or find very difficult to muster, especially in South Africa. There were no office hours, little pay, no personal demands and no responsibilities towards third parties.

Our constraints were that we had only one software engineer or programmer, one marketing manager/sales person/content manager, and three content providers - the whole family.

Having only one software engineer meant that we had to put together a very basic business directory just to have something to start with. What could have taken a full team of programmers a week to put together, took us the best part of a year.

Getting 2500 businesses on our website (our tipping point) took us 6 months (it might have taken a team of 10 people just a week to do the same).

But, we had another secret weapon: our community network.

If any start-up have access to a good network, it ensures that it will survive longer than most others. Our community ensured that we could survive where it would have been impossible were they not there.

We had advertisers who took up advertising without knowing whether it would have any benefit. We had people asking for affordable websites, which we quickly created templates for. We did a website in 1 day for R500!

All these things kept us going long enough to reach tipping point where advertisers started reporting increased traffic to their websites. Then, one day at an event, we were introduced to the meeting when a woman exclaimed: "I don't use the telephone directory, I just use MyPolokwane!" and a murmur of agreement went up. It was then that we knew our brain child had been accepted.

The process had been going on ever since, and now we believe we have something that can add value to the lives of all the people of South Africa.

Every time we thought we were ready to launch MyCityInfo, something had changed - technology that changed, a new social media platform that changed the rules of the game, a change of habits in the use of technology.

What could have taken a team of software engineers 6 months or less to develop, took us 5 years.

We are still a family business. But now we will have to accept that we are moving closer to the day when we will have to employ someone outside the family circle. It should take a while - we have a big family!

Please join us on our journey. We don't know whether we will be successful. We don't know whether we will be out-gunned by a big gorilla with more financial muscle. And the one thing we cannot know: whether our contribution will be accepted by the South African community in the same way it was accepted originally in our local community.

I am Nico Prinsloo and I will mostly do the posting about our journey. With me on this mad road, is my wife of 35 years, Marthina, and the engine room of our endeavour, software engineer and son, Michael.

MyPolokwane has grown into MyCityInfo, and you can see what we do at MyCityInfo.co.za .

Please contribute your insights, experiences and views. We can only benefit from that.