Monday launched my week-long tour of HOPE Global Initiatives through mother South Africa.
My first meeting in South Africa was possibly my most inspiring, and certainly my most important during the entire one week stay. Spending some quality time with a mentor, a friend, and on occasion an advisor; the iconic Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
We met at his Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Capetown, South Africa, where a strong team is hard at work producing real results for the people of the country. This done, even while the Archbishop is ‘technically’ on retirement. Sounds to me like he is rewired, not retired — and the entire world is fortunate to have his sustained voice and engaged energy.
My team, which included HOPE Leaders and HOPE Team Members Mary Hagerty-Ehrsam, Zviko Mudimu and Elroy Fortune, joined in a round table conversation around ‘possibilities for partnership and collaboration,’ with the team from the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
Listening to Archbishop Tutu frame out his gentle, loving yet bold vision for a moral world, in spite of all of the challenges and problems facing our world today, inspired all present to go out and ‘do more.’ Frankly, it inspired me — and I have been fortunate enough to be in his presence many times before.
I specifically visited Archbishop Tutu to thank him for his wise counsel a couple years ago, during the time I was writing my newest book, “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism.”
He cautioned me then to positively challenge the current state of capitalism in the world (I did), and to fundamentally ‘re-imagine’ the basic values and approach driving further engagement and involvement of the poor in a future free enterprise system. His counsel rang gently in my ears as I wrote and finalized every page of this important book.
The result of his counsel, along with the key counsel of others who helped with book feedback, is that today “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism” is the only bestselling book on economics in the world today by an African-American author. I was honored to bring complimentary copies of the book to the Foundation office, signing copies for all members of the Foundation staff.
Most inspiring of all, our teams are now in discussion around working in partnership, on the ground in South Africa. It’s fine to talk about our problems, and even to pin a book around possible solutions, but it is even more powerful and empowering to actually get engaged on the ground — helping real people to help themselves. On this, we 100% agree.
The best is yet to come.
John Hope Bryant