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The State of Credit Capture – Secure in Credit Comfort

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.”

#FillUpYourFaith

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!

Work on your gifts

Have you ever spent time to find out what is that one thing that you are good at? That one thing that when you have done, people are always raving about it. That one thing you can do without strive but people find very hard to do. In most cases, people wish they could do what you can. They keep asking you to teach them how to do it but they fail to bring it out the same way you can. You are considered the best at that one thing. It could be baking, cooking, cleaning, mathematics or driving. Whatever it is, do it with all might.

When you page through the Bible, you will notice a scripture that speaks to the ability to create wealth (Deuteronomy8:18), however what we always miss out on is the importance of working hard. We never give ourselves time to sharpen our skills, gifts or talents. Each of us has been blessed with one or more gifts which are special to others who don’t have them. Each one of us is born with incredible gifts that can help all of us at some point. To think that we you are not born with a talent or gift, is not only incorrect but also an insult to your creator because we are all born with special gifts that will help better our lives and other people’s lives as well.

“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” – Proverbs 18:16

Most of the time you don’t work hard on your gift because you still have doubts about its power. You don’t know how powerful it is and as a result, you waste your great potential. Have you seen many great people not using their God-given talents and how frustrated you get thinking how you could make a huge difference if God had given you the same gift? I sometimes wish I knew how to sing. I know that I would go all out to make sure that people listen to my songs every chance they get.

The biggest problem is that we never work hard on our gifts. We either limit ourselves or do not know how powerful they are. The Bible in the book of Proverbs 14:23 says “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” If you work hard on your gifts, you will create success out of them. On the other side, if you don’t, you will become poor. Wouldn’t you want to become successful because of something you are passionate about? Wouldn’t you want to travel the world and touch millions of lives because of your special gift? Think long and hard about it.

My prayer for you this week is that you realise your gifts/talents and work hard for them. Make them greater. We deserve to experience your greatness.

A powerful story

There was a daughter who complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face. “Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Here’s something I want you to understand; in life we ALL go through hardships, struggles, pains, tortures and adversaries. It is how we view and take them that we become either stronger or weaker. Next time you encounter a challenge, do not be reactional rather be responsive. Don’t let the hardships or life take you down. You are stronger than that. You are powerful and can influence things to favour your way.

What’s wrong with Haiti?

A century ago, US troops invaded and occupied a small country called Haiti. They stayed there for almost two decades, installed a client government, imposed new laws and fought insurgents in bloody battles on difficult terrain. Thousands of residents perished during what turned out to be 19 years of ‘de facto U.S. rule’.
 
Today, many Americans think of Haiti as a country that is still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake, but fewer realise that it’s recovering from an invasion that took place in 1915 which resulted in their state president being assassinated.
 
Americans had stepped in under the guise of dismantling anarchy and fostering democracy. But in reality, two things drove their actions: a desire to curb Haiti’s economy and government in a direction that was more in line with their own and concern over imperialist interest from France and Germany. U.S. leaders soon pressured the Haitian legislature to elect a new pro-American president, Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave.
 
When we look at Haiti’s current challenges, we often overlook the bigger problem it has been facing since 1915 and that is Americans invading another country to extract it’s minerals and imposing laws and dictating presidential elections. We are just not looking deeper into the crisis Haiti is facing. We are simply ignoring the overwhelming and most visible facts of Haiti’s real challenges. In an article I published in 2013, I go even deeper to question “are the so called natural disasters really natural?” is my quest to understand the challenges facing Haiti.
 
What you must know is that around 2,400 sq km of northern Haiti – or about 8% of the surface of the entire country – could be ripped away from local farmers and given to US and Canadian companies. In 2012, the mineral wealth for this area, which includes gold, copper and silver, was estimated to be worth more than $20bn.
 
Alarmingly, some contracts have been granted behind closed doors, without scrutiny or participation by Haitian civil society or parliament. Opening this kind of opportunity to foreign investors without proper laws, enforcement and transparency in place has created much anger among the population and some politicians alike.
 
What is happening to the citizens of Haiti is an emotional and traumatic experience. We cannot deny the evident pain the people of Haiti are facing, but we can’t keep quiet about the underlying issues that America has with Haiti. If a government is destabilised, it cannot control or prevent the disasters it finds itself in and that is where Haiti finds itself.
 
I will continue to pray for Haiti, but I also want America to leave Haiti alone.

You will get out of your pit situation

We all have our pit moments and situations. We fall into pits that may seem like there’s no escape. We try everything in our strength to pull out but it becomes difficult for us to do.

“Praise the Lord , my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,”Psalm 103:2, 4 NIV

The Psalm written by King David says that God redeems us from the pits we are in. He doesn’t only end there, but he continues to say that He crowns us with love and compassion. This means that, even after we go through our traumatic pit experiences, God further provides us with counselling for our souls. He doesn’t leave us in despair.

I may not know what kind of a pit you have been thrown into, however I know that there you can be pulled out of it. The Bible in the book of Genesis 18:14 asks “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” and then affirms to us that indeed there is nothing too hard for Him. Even if you feel like you are down and have no hope of rising up again, I am here to let you know that God is going to give you a helping hand to get out of that pit of misery. You will no longer be in despair and feel hopeless. You will restore your confidence. You will recover from every tragedy you’ve been through. The pit you find yourself in today, will never be no more.

Trust, believe and have faith that you will get out of your pit situation. Soon enough, favour will find you.

Focus on your box

On Saturday, I traveled with my team from AYM and spent 6 hours with a couple of youth in North West. The purpose was to inspire them to do greater things and not allow their surroundings distract them from achieving their goals.

One of the exercises I did with them was that of building a box using a blank A4 paper. They were not given any scissor and glue to work with. They had to innovatively come up with ways to create a box. They were given 5mins to do the box.

Out of all them, only one young man did a very neat and properly square box. Others attempted but their boxes would be crushed when touched. Others just failed to do boxes, left pages on the floor and watched others finish their boxes. From the exercise, there were many lessons we came out with, each lesson was important for their development as individuals.

One lesson I want you to capture is that in life, you might be given only one opportunity to do something without having all the resources around you. You have to do everything in your power to make it work. Time will run out if you don’t use it wisely. It is important to come up with best ways to make something out of that which you have been given.

Sometimes you won’t be given a glue and a ✂ to create a box, but you need to be grateful that you have a paper. Life might present you with only one opportunity to change your situation. Some will find it easy to crack the code, you might take longer to get it right, but what matters is for you to give it your best. Do it with all might. Don’t be like those who gave up when they heard that they are only left with 1 minute to do the box. Be that person who will try everything in your power to do something with the page.

Someone got a job after varsity, it might be a totally different case with you. You might be sitting at home with 5 years sending CVs with no luck. Whatever happens, DO NO THROW IN THE TOWEL. It is only a matter of time for you to get it right. Don’t give up. Build your box and focus on it.

The 6 Ps that torment people

1. Power
People that crave for power. People will go out of their way just to obtain power. Miseries have been caused, widows came and orphans have been crafted because people are chasing for power. A number of families were destroyed, friendships, relationships were destroyed in the process because people were craving for power. Don’t let power get to your head. You will crash!

2. Prosperity
People will go all out to prosper. People are told to do extreme things for prosperity. They will tell you that if you can sacrifice a child, your business will grow. If you can just bring your cousin’s eye just so that you can prosper. A number of people died because they want to prosper. Don’t be too anxious for success that you even lose yourself in the process.

3. Protection
That’s another P. There are so many families that would go all the way just to strengthen their families. People spend thousands of rands just to protect themselves from evil spirits and guard their houses. Knowing that you have a God who is a protector, you shouldn’t be worried about spiritual battles for He will prepare you and strengthen you for war.

4. Popularity
Others just want to be popular. Just to be seen on TV, Magazines, and Newspapers and they will do whatever it takes to see themselves being popular and people always talking about them. People go to the extreme just wanting to be famous. Ladies would even go out to be naked just to get some attention on social platforms. We need to run away from the obsession of being famous.

5. Presence
Others for presence. “When I come, people must sense me that I’ve arrived.” People would do anything in their power to make sure that people feel his/her presence. Stop over entertaining people. Be your best and people will love you still. Don’t go out seeking attention. If you are doing something good, people will give you attention.

6. Pleasure
They would sacrifice a number of things just for pleasure. People would sacrifice their dignity just to have pleasure. I was shocked to hear young people claiming not to have money to register for the next semester but they stiff have money to go see DJ so and so play and get drunk on that weekend. Priorities are not set right when pleasure is in the lead.

We need to learn not to let these 6 Ps control our lives. We need to learn how to draw a balance between all of them. Failure to do so, you will temper with your future and the happiness of people around you.
I want you to look at yourself today and introspect. Do you have any of the Ps? If the answer is YES, then you need to go on your knees and ask God to help you conquer that P.

Invest in yourself

If you were given the opportunity to ask God for anything, what would be your first wish? Would you ask for wealth, money or fame? Don’t you just wish you were treated like a king or queen? You wake up to enjoy your wealth and not work for anything. That is what most of us dream of. How are you investing in yourself?

“God said to Solomon, ‘Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people.” (2 Chronicles 1:11 NLT)

One of the most interesting passages of scripture in the bible is that of King Solomon who was a rich king with many wives and concubines. He literally had everything many of us wish we had. Being a king in Israel mean that he had wealth but to our amazement this well-spoken king, out of all the things in the world, he only asked God for wisdom.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” – (Proverbs 4:7)

What are you doing to invest in yourself? What are daily things are you doing that are promoting your gifts, skills and talents? How many workshops are you attending? How many seminars in-line with your vision have you attended thus far? How many books are you reading about the things you are passionate about? How many times a day do you think about the things that motivate or inspire you to become better?

If you value yourself, you will invest in yourself. You will be worth a great deal throughout your lifetime, both to yourself and to your community. People will identify with your success when you have invested in yourself. People are more drawn to your success and not your ideas.

What you know today is important, but if you don’t improve it, it will become irrelevant in the future. To invest in yourself, you need to give more time to yourself than giving it to other people – especially those who do not value your time. Do not spend your precious time thinking and doing things that do not add value but instead subtract value in your life.

Extract: Beyond Inspiration (Get yourself a copy on books@aym.org.za)