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Keynote Address by Deputy Minister – Hon. Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams

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SPEAKING NOTES FOR THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND POSTAL SERVICES, MS STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS AT THE ICT YOUTH BOOTCAMP
15 NOVEMBER 2017
The 4th Industrial Revolution in the South African context and the role ICT Youth SMMEs need to play
 
Programme Director,
Leadership of Abuti Rams Consultancy
Distinguished guests,
Members of the media,
 
I extend warm greetings to you this morning.
 
It is indeed a pleasure to be in the presence of young people, captains of the ICT industry, who are congregated during this Global Entrepreneurship Week, to explore ways on how to grow your respective brands through digital platforms; and compete both locally and globally.
 
Programme Director,
The era of the 4th Industrial Revolution is dominated by trends related to mobile technologies, cloud computing, smart connected devices, cyber physical systems and robotic technology; amongst many others.
 
It has seen the emergence of new energy supplies and technologies, Internet of Things (IOT), advanced manufacturing and 3D printing and artificial intelligence (IA).
 
The 4th Industrial Revolution presents opportunities to developing countries has the potential to raise global income levels, thereby improving the quality of life for people and opening up new markets due to improved technological innovation and.
 
As we move towards this industrial revolution, it is imperative to note that new technologies and digital platforms will increasingly enable citizens to engage with government by voicing their opinions in a coordinated manner, which will circumvent the supervision of public authorities.
 
The 4th Industrial Revolution will profoundly impact the nature of national and international security, affecting both the probability and nature of cyberspace and cyber-warfare.
 
In terms of business, it will invariably force big companies to re-examine the way that they conduct business by aligning with local innovators.
 
For communities, the 4th Industrial Revolution will not only change what society and people are used to doing daily but also of who they are; challenging cultural practices and traditions.
 
Inevitably, people will be required to have new sets of skills to access employment opportunities and career advancement.
 
Distinguished guests,
The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has been tasked to facilitate a country approach on the 4th Industrial Revolution with all the relevant stakeholders.
 
In this respect, government has prioritised the development of SMMEs as a crucial milestone for employment, wealth creation, development of innovations and contribution to economy. This is supported by legislative and policy frameworks that support the development of SMMEs and cooperatives.
 
This includes, amongst others, the National Small Business Act which provides an overall legislative framework on the development of SMMEs across various sectors of the economy.
 
Programme Director,
My Department has further developed the National ICT Integrated White Paper Policy, which provides the new policy framework for the ICT sector and specifically addresses barriers to entry for SMMEs to participate in the sector. This policy was approved by Cabinet in September 2016.
 
On the 1st November 2017, Cabinet also approved the ICT SMME Development Strategy, which is a sector specific intervention to address challenges facing SMMEs operating in the ICT sector.
 
The strategy proposes interventions to accelerate the development and growth of small enterprises in the ICT sector, whilst facilitating an increase in the levels of uptake and usage of ICTs by the general small business sector.
 
These interventions include, opening up of both the telecommunications and IT sectors for SMMEs to effectively participate and compete on providing ICT services.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
My department, through partnerships with relevant key stakeholders, will also focus more on relevant skills development initiatives to respond to the 4th Industrial Revolution opportunities.
 
Such identified skills include: ICT and e-literacy, software and applications development, e-commerce, cloud computing, website development and web hosting, business and financial management skills.
 
We have also committed to forge partnerships with municipalities and key stakeholders to establish ICT Hubs in townships to support rural enterprises. This is in appreciating the need to decentralise services so as to benefit all citizens of the country.
 
However, as we forge ahead on this quest, it is worth noting that government continues to experience challenges in the rollout of SMME development programmes due to a lack of an integrated national database of SMMEs in the ICT sector.
 
There are many SMME groups including associations which are currently fragmented and are at various levels of development. The Department has responded to this challenge by creating a single integrated database of all SMMEs in the ICT sector so as to enable harmonisation and coordination of ICT SMME initiatives.
 
These are some of the interventions introduced by the ICT SMME Development Strategy, which aims to support start-up ICT enterprises, strengthen existing enterprises and extend support to potentially viable SMMEs.
 
I therefore urge you to read this important ICT Sector SMME Development Strategy.
 
As we embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution, we need to move towards diversified economies driven by productivity. Our economy need to develop more tech-savvy entrepreneurs who will be able to respond to technological developments as introduced by the 4th Industrial Revolution.
 
It is important to also leverage on opportunities presented by this technological revolution to address the socio-economic challenges that South Africa is facing. As entrepreneurs, let us remember that our primary motive is to solve problems in our community. As ICT entrepreneurs, let our drive be to use ICT technologies to provide solutions to our people through innovation.
 
With this being said, allow me to conclude by congratulating the programme organisers – Abuti Rams Consultancy – as this Bootcamp further serves as the official launch of digiTAAL – a training programme to support SMMEs in townships and rural areas who have minimal ICT Skills.
 
Let us continue to use ICT technologies to create jobs and reduce poverty in our country, and further improve and strengthen our township economy through innovative means.
 
I thank you.

ICT Youth Bootcamp

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Abuti Rams Consultancy (ARC) in partnership with the Standard Bank Incubator and Geekulcha will host an ICT Youth Bootcamp during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) for rural and township SMMEs on 15 November 2017 at the SB Incubator in Rosebank. The objective of the Bootcamp is to provide a platform for A-Level influencers within the South African ICT industry, government and its agencies, youth ICT innovators, young professionals and youth-owned SMMEs to explore through discussions and workshops strategic ways on how they can grow their brands through digital platforms to compete both locally and globally.

The Bootcamp will also serve as an official launch of digiTAAL – a training programme to support SMMEs in townships and rural areas who have minimal ICT Skills. The 6-month programme is a five-phased ICT intervention to combat the day-to-day business challenges that SMMEs face. This includes ICT Youth Bootcamps, ICT Skills Pre-Assessment, Capacity Building Workshops, Ongoing Online Mentorship Programme, Progress Check Workshops and the ICT Skills Post-Assessment.

The carefully selected 150 SMMEs and professionals will benefit from the various highly relevant, multi-focused presentations, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, workshops and opportunities to network with policy makers and thought leaders with the ICT industry.

The ICT Youth Bootcamp key pillars of discussion include workshops and presentations on:

  • Skills Development: e-business, e-literacy, e-practitioner and e-government-user skills development;
  • International best practice exchange: African countries’ ICT success stories;
  • The 4th Industrial Revolution in the South African context and the role ICT Youth SMMEs need to play;
  • ICT SMMEs Business Opportunities and process plans to support SMMEs; and
  • Cyber Security threats and solutions.

Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) Honourable Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams will deliver a keynote address at the Bootcamp. Workshops will be conducted by our partners which include: MTN Business, CSIR, AD Dynamo, Standard Bank, NEMISA, Geekulcha, IBM, Microsoft, DTPS.

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Time: 8:00am – 5pm

Venue: Standard Bank Incubator, Rosebank

Email: events@abutirams.co.za

Phone: 012 771 4705

Registration: http://www.abutirams.co.za/event/ict-youth-bootcamp/

Abuti Rams congratulates Pule Sir on his new appointment

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It is with great honour to announce that one of our own leaders Mr Tshepang Pule better known by thousands as Pule Sir who joined a Brits North West community station – Madibeng FM as both content producer and presenter for “The Early Birds” show from 3-6 in the morning.

It was 2013 when I told Mr Pule that he has an incredible voice for radio and that his talent and passion to inspire and inform definitely belongs on the radio waves. Pule Sir never took that for granted, he worked hard to better his craft and today we celebrate his achievement with him. This is the beginning of many opportunities in the media space.

I have had the pleasure of working Pule on the #BeyondInspiration project and launched it in 2015. The book has been touching thousands of lives across the country. He is one of the most trustworthy, effective, dedicated, very punctual and efficient leaders I’ve ever worked with.

You can agree with me that media is one of the important sectors of the society that influences opinions and shapes views of the masses. Thus, we need powerful and influential young people who are going to bring back the dignity and pride of out beautiful country with excellency.

This year is a year of maximisation and as a growing movement, we are excited to see one of our own taking over in the media space. Our leaders not only preach excellency, but they also lead by example.

As Pule Sir adds yet another title in his profile, we take pride in the work he has done for the movement over the years. The daily inspirational content we receive on our social media platforms and our newsletters are results of his hard work.

We trust that God is lifting him up to greater heights.

Don’t forget to tune into to Madibeng fm 105.3 or visit www.madibengfm.co.za to listen online.

– Abuti Rams

#Maximise2017 #TheMoveIsOn #AgentsOfChange

IS CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS IN-SYNC WITH THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST?

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During the previous week, the multi-award winning and platinum selling Gospel musician – Dr Tumi released a public statement stating his reasons for not participating in an event organised by Muzi Cindi who proudly promotes a widely accepted concept called ‘Christ Consciousness’. This concept is taught by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Pastor Chris Oyakilome who both enjoy a large array of support from their followers globally.
 
Criticism and messages of support overwhelmed Dr Tumi’s lengthy Facebook post, however not everyone took time to interrogate his stance and the underlying factors of his withdrawal, but that’s not the purpose of this article. This article serves to put two concepts on the table and weigh them against the Biblical texts.
 
Before we can inspect the interpretation of the representation of Christ through the two concepts in question, I would like for us to take into cognizance of the nature of the human mind and it’s ability as explained in the scriptures below:
 
1. Matthew 15:10-11 (Easy-to-read Version)
Jesus called the people to him. He said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not what people put in their mouth that makes them wrong.[c] It is what comes out of their mouth that makes them wrong.”
 
2. Jeremiah 17:9 (God’s Word Translation)
The human mind [including the heart or feelings] is the most deceitful of all things. It is incurable. No one can understand how deceitful it is
 
3. Romans 7:15 (New Living Translation)
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate
 
Based on the above-mentioned mentioned texts of the Bible, we can clearly see how deceptive the human mind can be. What more can it do if it is influenced by the intellectual community which always seems to deviate the masses from the teachings of Christ? This community of thought leaders, invest much resources and time into annihilating anything that remotely looks Christian. Thus, it is very important to approach such a community with both reason and logic without using faith and spirituality.
 
In order to conclude whether Christ Consciousness and the Doctrine of Christ work in harmony and in-sync with scriptures, we first need to clearly define these two theories and also interrogate both their primitive roots. In doing so, we’ll tackle them from a historical point of view, then scripturally in order to have a fair analysis.
 
To kick-off this discussion, let us first define The Doctrine of Christ as this is much evident in scripture than the latter.
 
WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST AND WHY DOES IT MATTER THAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
 
The Hebrews 6:1-2 account might be the only time where in scripture Christ teaches about the 6 elementary Doctrine of Christ, but throughout the Bible, particularly in the New Testament that we understand the nature of Christ and His role in the universe at large. It is therefore safe to say that first time we are introduced to the ‘Doctrine of Christ’ is when we read the Hebrews 6 account.
 
It reads as thus in the Old King James Version:
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
 
The Doctrine of Christ unpacks the 6 teachings in which other translations such as the New International Version deems them as “Elementary” to mean “the very basic teachings” of the Christian faith. The teachings are as follows:
 
1. Repentance from dead works
Being born of a natural man, we need to be aware that our nature is corrupt by virtue of the Adamic fall. Our works [thoughts and actions] are continuously corrupted by the evil that exists in this world we are born and live in. It is therefore advised by God for each one to constantly find repentance from our works which lead to death.
 
2. Faith towards God
The Bible makes it clear that only confessing with our lips that Christ is Lord and Saviour, we [every human being] will receive the gift of salvation from God. In order to have a relationship with God, we need to have faith in the existence, importance, power and relevancy of God in our lives. Thus, the Bible likens A-theism as foolishness (see Psalm 14:1)
 
3. Doctrine of Baptisms
Baptism as explained in scripture, is an important element in the continuous growth towards a relationship with the Father (God). This exercise may be a physical activity involving the immersion of one in water, however it holds a spiritual significance of the death of the old being to birth a new man who is in Christ.
 
4. Laying on of hands
The Bible teaches us that the ministry of healing is part of God’s plan for restoration of human life. It goes without saying that the largest miracles Jesus Christ performed in His time were centred around the restoration of health amongst human beings. Thus makes this subject an important element of the foundation of the Christian faith. Healing of the mind and body is pivotal to the spiritual growth of a human being.
 
5. Resurrection of the dead
If we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, it is also a nobrainer that the same Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah who was prophesied of in the OT. He has lived, died and rose again (resurrected from the dead) conquering both death and Hades (Hell/the grace).
 
6. Eternal Judgement
It is public knowledge that the Christian faith believes in the eternal judgement of souls. There might be differing views on how we will arrive at the ‘Judgement Day’ and their varied interpretation of the term ‘Last Day’, however we can all agree to a certain extent that the foundation of our faith embraces a teaching of eternal judgement. This is supported by hundreds of scriptures from both the OT and NT.
 
The writer in the Hebrew texts, lays a foundation for any person who wishes to establish a church or ministry that seemingly adopts teachings of the Christian faith. The 6 teachings forms the integral parts of a statement of faith of any church. Contrary to popular belief, the debatable theories such as Trinity, Speaking in Tongues, Rapture, and many other complex concepts DO NOT FORM part of the Doctrine of Christ. Therefore, a church should not be established on the basis of such theories. Also, revelations do not merit one to establish a church, but ONLY the Doctrine of Christ does.
 
The Doctrine of Christ matters to every Christian believer, because if you find yourself in any ministry or church that do not teach the above-mentioned elementary teachings of Christ, then they are committing a serious doctrinal error!
 
Furthermore, I encourage you to take a look at the material produced by Dr Sam Soleyn on The Doctrine of Christ. I have found him through-out history as one of the most sound teachers on this subject. Follow his teachings from 2012.
 
WHAT IS IS CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS, HOW COME MANY CHRISTIANS DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT AND WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL?
 
The first time I was introduced to the subject of Consciousness, before learning of its infiltration within the Christian Faith to be what we now call ‘Christ Consciousness’ was after watching a debate on Subjective Idealism vs. Objective Materialism where Richard Dawkins said “consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.” This statement shook me because I have a problem with the term “emergence” especially when it comes to consciousness.
 
Let me try to explain…
 
Well a very basic definition of emergence is something like complex properties that result from the interaction of simple behaviours. So in essence, when people like Dawkins talk about emergent consciousness, they show nothing of this sort and therefore don’t answer the how part of consciousness.
 
A linguistics and research neuroscientist by the name of Marc Ettlinger (PhD) questions the missing mechanism around emergence in conscious. He puts it nicely by saying that “when we talk about real emergent properties, like those of a network, for example, we can show how a specific type of network (e.g., a Small-world network) will emerge in lots of different situations, (e.g., the brain, social networks etc.) because of simple properties that connections between things have: some sort of relationship between viability and proximity. From this, you get lots of local connections and a few non-local ones in certain proportions. ” Thus, the problem I have with Dawkin’s understanding is that emergent consciousness is not a model that can exhibit properties of self awareness and qualitative experience from chemical properties. Until it does, I think he should reserve his comments.
 
Basically, this concept of consciousness means that a human being can only be conscious of his existence outside a divine being. It means that we do not need the creator in our affairs since we are pro-creators. This is a BIG problem for me and such teaching needs not to enter the Christian faith and should never be taught.
 
WHERE DOES CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS ORIGINATE?
A simple answer would be from the World Mission Society Church of God, also known as the Church of God, which is a new religious movement that began in South Korea in 1964 led by Joo-Cheol Kim. Accordingly to WikiPedia, the church believes in God the Father and God the Mother, claiming to be restoring the truth and practices of the early Church. Because the Bible mentions “the Spirit and the bride” in Revelation 22:17, the Church believes that the bride is God the Mother. Its interpretation of Genesis 1:26–27’s use of “us” and “our” has two gods: a male image of God and a female image of God. It calls the female image of God “God the Mother” and teaches that in the last days, God the Mother has to appear on earth in the flesh. The Church believes that God the Mother is Jang Gil-ja, the source of Mother.”
 
A rather bizarre observation is that the church also believes that Jesus was to come a second time in the flesh. They believe that Ahn Sahng-hong is the Second Coming Jesus, who came with a new name (Revelation 3:11–12 and Revelation 2:17), and it states that he fulfilled biblical prophecies that only Jesus could have fulfilled.
 
Some of these teachings were later carried out by Eric Butterworth who originated the Spiritual Therapy Workshops. In his book titled “Discover the Power Within You” published 1968, Eric introduces his audience to a concept called “Christ Consciousness” which is a more extremist approach to the World Mission Society Church of God. He talks about human beings being aware of their power which is equal to God’s. Jesus Christ is totally diminished in the plan of redemption for humanity.
 
The emergence of the New Age Movement making rounds in America and other developing countries in the world teaches that “The coming of this Master teacher 2,000 years ago was a milestone in the journey that marked a great acceleration in the process of moving back to alignment with the Light within. This master teacher was known as Jesus Christ. The man Jesus was a perfect child of the Goddess and God energy–just as we all are perfect children of the God-force.”
 
Oprah Winfrey who is part of the New Age Movement also believes that while Christianity is a valid way to achieve high states of spirituality, it must not be considered a unique way, or a “correct way,” nor is Jesus the only way. Oprah’s god is all about love and higher consciousness; she does not subscribe to the teaching that Almighty God is also holy, jealous, and just. Oprah also believes and teaches millions of her followers that Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven or to God. This teaching is embodied within the Christ Consciousness.
 
Some of the shocking definitions of Christ Consciousness by the New Age Movement folks:
 
“The “Christ” itself refers to the Light that we are – the Self, the Atman, the Buddha nature, the Child of God, pearl of great price, treasure buried in a field, measure of meal that leavened the whole loaf, or mustard seed that grew into a great tree. The “Christ” is the “particle” of the Formless that is placed in the womb of Shakti, the Holy Spirit, who is the Divine Mother, mater, matter. (Note the Trinity here of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or Brahman, Atman, and Shakti – or, for that matter, Osiris, Isis and Horus.)”
 
 
DOES CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS LEAD PEOPLE TO CHRIST AS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN?
 
John 14:6-7 NIV
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
 
If we were to look into the two in comparison, we would note that they differ vehemently and do not mix at all. If we are Christians, we should all believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life (see John 3:16). The idea that we can look inside and believe in ourselves without the support of God’s influence in our lives is a total distortion of God’s word.
 
If we deny Jesus’ deity, there is no way we can ever believe in the six elementary doctrines of Christ as taught in Hebrews 6. Christ Consciousness is thus a blasphemy to the Christian Faith and is not in-sync with God’s word! Looking at the trends of this movement, I conclude by saying that Christ Consciousness on is a silent New Age Atheism. With the above-mentioned history and understanding of Christ Consciousness, we can rightly conclude that it does not lead people to Christ, but to themselves as self-saviours.
 
UNTIL WHEN WILL ATHEISTS TEACH US HOW TO UNDERSTAND GOD AND JESUS? UNTIL WHEN WILL WE ALLOW ATHEISTS EMBED THEIR BELIEFS INTO OUR FAITH? UNTIL WHEN SAINTS?
 
1 John 5:13 NIV
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

We’re hungry and angry

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There’s a very thin line between hunger and anger…

My intention is not be controversial, nor frighten you, but imagine a day in the future were black people carried pistols with them waiting for a dispute between them and white people to occur. What do you think would happen to the white community in South Africa? Pause for a moment and allow me to talk about our (black people’s) frustrations.

A sad reality I have come to acknowledge is that, we (black people) are walking ticking time bombs waiting for a perfect moment to explode. It is almost as if we have put traps on every white person and cry “racist”. Just look around you and see what I mean. You can even hear it from the tone of our voices each time we speak about white people. We are an angry people. A broken people.

In a conversation I had with a friend on Twitter, I asked her to reflect on the rage we have a black people and in her response, she said “We [Black People] have been mistreated for a long time. Families dismantled, men and women killed, raped, moved from their land. That anger is justified.”

Everything happening to us today, is a manifestation of our bottled emotions filled with animosity and rage. The years of pain, torture, humiliation and intimidation. At times, we hide it through our smiles and that hope of saying “everything will be okay one day”, but motivation and reality are two worlds apart. We wake up each day to a reality that we are still hungry, and our hunger has gradually turned into anger. The thought that at one point in our history, our hard-earned resources have been stripped away from us. Emotions are further boiled when we think about the current government we put in power is snailing down the programme redistribution of land and other resources.

The Krugersdorp Spur Squabble

In the morning of the Human Rights Day (21 March 2017), we woke up to a video that went viral on social media about a case of a black woman and a white male who were in a heated quarrel at a Spur food outlet in Krugersdorp. Apparently, the fight emanates from their children’s fight which led the man approaching the woman at her table. Unfortunately, the video does not provide us with much information about where the argument began and I believe that it is pivotal to our analysis to reach a conclusion whether there was any racial slurs from the white man. We are only shown when the two are in a serious exchange of words with vulgar thrown from all angles.

There has been an issue of racism attached to the white man’s approach and different scenarios have been painted by the public in their eagerness to find racial undertones. Some of them include;

  • If the woman was white, he wouldn’t have spoken to the lady in that manner
  • If the child was who fought with his child was white, he wouldn’t have reacted the way he did

Speaking on Power FM’s Power Perspective with Vuyo Mvoko on 21 March, Gushwell Brooks representing the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) had this to say “Unfortunately we can’t necessarily read race into/or it was necessarily race inspired the confrontation and that doesn’t make it less grievous. The incident was terribly horrible and needs to be condemned on all possible levels because I don’t think a woman should be confronted in such a violent way no matter what the dispute, especially if we can see that this man had a violent intend…” Gushwell who is the Communications Co-Ordinator at SAHRC continued to say that “We need to remind ourselves that the South African Human Rights Commission works within the law – within the ombuds of the law, whether we are comfortable with it or not, the unfortunate fact of the matter is we have to work with evidence. Based on the video, and my emphasis is on the video because that’s the only public record that actually exist, there was no overt exchange or statement from the man that indicates that this was racially driven. In-fact the dispute (if you watch the video), is around children. Supposedly bullying around children…

If the man was to ask everyone who are calling him “racist” and said “Prove to me by law that that I was being racist”, unfortunately no one will have the legal grounds to say that indeed he was racist. My limited understanding of the law informs me that the nature of the law depends on evidence. It is just unfortunate (as much as many black people wish it was all racial) that the incident does not (in any form or shape) suggest that the man was being racist. Even if the lady shouted “Just because I’m black…” and “you f***** racist” to the white man, fact of the matter is that the man didn’t suggest that he was being racist. However if we were to measure the man’s wrong-doing based on violent behaviour, we could be having a different conversation altogether. As far as my minimal legal knowledge is concerned, in the the video shared nothing suggests that the man was being racist. By the look of things, the man was being his normal self (bully) who needs to start attending anger management classes. Here, we are dealing with a case of violence and intimidation. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the case has nothing to do with race.

On Helen Zille’s Tweets

Were we too quick to judge Helen’s tweets?
My offices in Pretoria are right at the church square. One afternoon during lunch, I walked out with a colleague to get food and observed the buildings around us and reached a conclusion that there are some good story to tell about colonialism. As inhuman as the system was, there are few elements we can appreciate about the system. I share the same views about the ANC. I’m not a fan of the organisation, but there are few elements I can appreciate about their work towards developing this country and for that, we need to constantly admire.

The other day I listened to a conversation between three old black men who were complaining about the current political and social setup. They were all echoing their frustrations and sharing their admiration of the apartheid system which in their words was far better than the current system led by our very own black people. They gave clear examples of some of the developmental initiatives that the apartheid system came with and emphasised that things are worse. To my surprise, these are the same old men who said “maburu ne ale sehlogo” (Boers were very ruthless) earlier on in the conversation. For a moment, I struggled to understand how one system can both be ruthless and good at the same time. But when I read what I Helen tweeted, I didn’t jump to attack her, I chose to wait for her to finish talking in order to understand the context in which she was basing her statements from. Unfortunately tweets are only 140 characters and you can’t explain yourself properly even if you were given another change. Once a tweet is out, it is out! Your reputation is on the line.

But why are we angry and when/where did it all begin?
Are we both (black and white people) tired of pretending to each other? Have we tolerated each other enough to a point that we are now tired of pretending? Surely the reconciliation programme since 1994 has serious cracks, and they are rapidly surfacing 23 years later. But who’s to blame for the evident failure of the programme? Did the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Surely there’s great lessons to be learned outside the TRC. Maybe we need to go back to the points of discussion and the compromises made. Maybe that’s where our anger started.

It is sad to see my fellow black people going around with red pens, finding faults in every statement white people make. Everything bad done by white people has turned into a race issue. The media is doing a very good job of fueling the fire by raising the past injustices in their reporting. “Because I’m black and you’re white…” line is rapidly growing within our daily conversations. Our anger towards white people distract us from being objective in calling out wrong-doing. Our anger is confusing clouding our judgement and reasoning towards issues.

I beg not to be misunderstood in my stance. I am in no way supporting whites. My argument is not to dismiss the evident fact that there is white supremacy in our society. All I am saying is that we are so angry to a point that we keep turning every incident into racial disputes which is depriving us from the opportunity to see other whites as human beings. We are promoting black versus white instead of seeing each other as one human race. Yes, let us call out and shame all racists, but careful not to incite violence in our approach.

The 2008 and recent xenophobic attacks suggests to us that we are both hungry and angry. We have turned our anger towards people of our own skin colour. We are afraid to confront the people with economical power and have turned our anger to our African brothers and sisters. Our hunger for land is turning us into monsters who are ready to devour everything around us even if it means killing each other. The increasingly service delivery and the #FeesMustFall protests say a lot about our hunger problem. Maybe Mmusi Maimane was correct after all; “we are a broken nation.”

I dream of a day when we (black people) turn our anger towards coming up with real and tangible solutions to the pertinent issues we are faced with. We do have the power to change our circumstances. Our disunity and tribal egos are getting the best of us. Anger is not the solution to our hunger. Let’s put our brains together and find solutions!

Living on Borrowed Time – Leon on Life

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I’ve learned that each time we are faced with life-threatening situations or lose our loved ones, that’s the moment we get wake-up calls that we are not gonna live forever (as yet). We’re reminded that we are not as superior beings as we thought. Death has a way of humbling us. We are just ordinary mortal beings and one day we shall return to the dust which we come from.
 
In a recent incident that nearly took a life of my best friend (Leon), I re-learned a cliché lesson: “life is too short and tomorrow is not guaranteed”. I learned to love without conditions, give without expectations, work without complaints, and to share without groanings and moanings.
 
I have learned how to appreciate the little I have because many people wish they were in my position. I have also learned to take my life and opportunities presented to me very serious, because one minute I might be texting you this message and the other I might be gone from your presence. Life is really that unpredictable.
 
During a hospital visit, Leon (my friend) said to us “Comrades, the little things you see as simple to you, to me it’s luxury. Walking from here to the door is a mission. Bathing myself is a big task for me. I wish I had that luxury.” In my mind, I kept thinking of the privilege I had. The luxury of being able to do things myself without a need for help. Such, is a blessing we never get to appreciate.
 
I got home that Sunday evening and listened to Musiq Soulchild who, in his song “Don’t change”, shares lessons on how we should never give up on people and love. In the music video, Musiq narates a story of a man who receives news that his fiancé had will never be able to walk again due to a car crash that took place the same day he proposed to her. At the end of the video, the story is fast-tracked to years later when they are old with grandchildren and the man is asked how he was able to marry the wife even when she was crippled and could have gone for other “abled” and beautiful women. He responded and said: “if you know that you love someone with all your heart, just love them and God will see you through.”
 
When Leon recovered from a tragic accident of that stole away his loved one, he then sent a short but yet compelling email to few of his friends saying: “While in ICU and barely conscious, I had to go through something I would call ‘fighting for my life.’ See, you make a decision to either live or die. The decision is totally in your hands. It’s just like deciding to wake up on a cold winter morning at 4. There were times I slowly felt life slip away from my grasps. Giving up is easy, you just tell yourself you can’t take this anymore.”
 
Don’t stop fighting! Fight to live and love.

The State of Credit Capture – Secure in Credit Comfort

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The system was designed in such way that we no longer see buying things cash as wise. There’s a credit culture it has created. A culture of having without owning. A culture of borrowing without wanting to borrow. We’re locked up for life. If you think about it, you’ll realise how inhuman this system is.

Look around you. If walls could speak they’ll tell you how the system destroyed family (especially the black family). The family unit has been crushed because the system demands blood, sweat and tears. It needs us to work for credit. Since when was it correct for us to get excited when we qualify for credit? What went wrong?

The system mocks and discards those who can afford to purchase without using credit. It romentise credit and protects those who qualify until they are unable to feed it.

It almost seems and feels weird for one not to be in debt. We have normalised what is abnormal. We aren’t afraid to swim in a pool of debt. Sadly, our wealth creation is in the intensive care unit (ICU) surviving on oxygen drips yet we preach “economic freedom in our lifetime.” We March to banks on Monday for the Apartheid money “they owe our government” and then run to them to get credit on Tuesday morning. We’re trapped in the system.

“Come on in and get a discount when you join us.” – the famous line said by those who are also trapped in the system. The most disturbing reality is that we are beginning to believe in this fable. It’s a hoax! It’s a trap. It’s all lies. Oh, I forgot that we know all that. We know it all. We know that we are captured and “mara re tla reng.”

Is your dam ready for the rain?

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I hope you a had a great weekend.

A lot of times we ask God to bless us. When we are at the lowest point of our lives, we pray to God for blessings to overtake us (see Deut. 28:1-2), but do we ever take time to prepare ourselves for the big blessings we need from Him? If a million hit your bank account, what would you do to multiply it?

“Pray to the Lord for rain in the springtime. The Lord will send the lightning and the rain will fall, and he will make the plants grow in each person’s field.” – Zechariah 10:1 ERV

Few months ago, we complained and prayed to God for rain. It earnestly pleaded with Him for his saving grace. Our dams were running out. Experts were suggesting that by 2021, we were going to have a high water shortage in the country. The department of water affairs created adverts on media platforms with efforts to make us save the little water we have.

There are a number of times in the Bible when the children of Israel were faced with serious droughts in their country. Having trust in God, they looked up to the heavens and prayed to God. God answered their prayers and sent rain. Things were restored to their normality.

Just like the Children of Israel, this past week something happened in the heavens. God opened up the heavens and poured out massive rain into various parts of the country. Unfortunately, some people lost their lives whilst others lost theirs houses and cars. What seemed to be a blessing, quickly turned into a curse in a matter of three days. The worst part is, when clouds gather, people are already fearful. Could it be God’s doing or we messed up?

A question we should be asking ourselves is, “do we have enough dams to carry the amount of water from the rain?”, “do we have systems in place to carry the floods to our dams?”. I watched as floods ruin buildings, cars and take lives in Gauteng. It was a painful experience as people shouted to God for help in the midst of their troubles. In my head was how we as a province failed to create drainage systems that can handle the floods and deposit water into the dams we have. The worse part is that the Vaal dam in Gauteng was not affected at all.

Most of the times we ask God to bless us, but we are not ready to receive blessings, as a result they become too heavy for us. We do not create or prepare environments for us to receive blessings from God. We ask for rain to fall, but we don’t have systems to carry the amount of rain that might fall upon us.

Are you one of those who still isn’t ready for God’s blessings? Prepare yourself, God is about the rain blessings in your home.

#FillUpYourFaith

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WOW WOW WOW!

That is what I have to say after what we have experienced over the weekend. What a moment prestigious moment in the history of South African music we had this past weekend. If you don’t know what happened, then you need to read your local papers.

A young man from Mafikeng, South Africa by the name of Refiloe Phoolo famously known as Cassper Nyovest has done it again. He has proved to South Africans and the rest of the world that nothing is impossible with God. In his famous thanks giving speech, he likes to say “Good is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.” Indeed that is what we should believe without any single doubt.

The past year (2015), a South Afrikan Hip Hop artist by the name of Refiloe Maele Phoolo famously known as Cassper Nyovest shared his big dream with millions of us. His dream was to fill up one of the biggest venues used by most international musicians called Ticket Pro – The Dome. The venue takes about 20 000 people to be filled up. Firstly, I have to admit that I am not a fan of Hip Hop, be it South Afrikan or international. I however am a number one fan of faith and dreams. His dream to #FillUpTheDome is moving and inspirational. Cassper’s leap of faith is not something we should ridicule as Afrikans. It is bigger and very possible if we all believe.

Cassper’s dream didn’t stop with filling up a 20 000 seater venue. He wanted to do more. He was hungry for more. This year, he aimed higher. He wanted to do double the size and went for Orlando Stadium. By God’s grace, planning, preparation, determination, focus and prayer, his dream came true on the 29th of October 2016 in Soweto, South Africa. He filled a stadium with not just thousands of people, but with a bundle of faith.

One of the most powerful words ever said by Jesus Christ are found in the book of Matthew 17:2 when He said “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

When Cassper sold us his dream about filling up the dome, millions of South Afrikans didn’t believe that it could come true. They thought he was being too ambitious or just crazy to even dream of doing such. They thought it was suicidal for his career. Honestly? Cassper transformed my faith into greater dimensions. His journey of faith towards filling up the dome has rekindled the fire in me. He inspired me to think and dream bigger than before. For that, I just want to thank everyone who bought tickets to prove to me and millions of other young people that indeed dreams come true and that nothing is impossible if you believe.

Today, I want you stand up and #FillUpYourFaith. There’s nothing stopping you from achieving your goals. There’s absolutely nothing standing in your way of success. Let go of those excuses. YES, it is possible. Keep telling yourself that all the time. Focus on your goal. Increase your faith. When you feel like it is drying out, get up and fill it up. Cassper has done it.

Join me on the 19th of November at the State Theatre as I launch a book that shares Cassper’s story on how he did it through social media. The book is called “A tweet from my bedroom” You don’t want to miss this great night of inspiration with other friends who are doing incredible work in empowering young people in Afrika. Hurry up and book your seat on www.abutirams.co.za/events/a-night-with-abuti-rams

See you soon!