I am very excited to be here in South Africa, where we have maintained a major program office over nearly a decade through Operation HOPE, South Africa. You can find some of our results here for HOPE South Africa, and information here for HOPE Global Initiatives.
A press release was issued today which outlines my stay in some detail, and that is available in the link below, but in short, we are ‘doubling down’ in and around our commitment to the people of South Africa. There has been a lot of transition, transformation and challenges since the heady days of Nelson Mandela, but the main issue today is not race based or racial — it is economic. It is a starvation of opportunity, and a fundamental lack of jobs.
Here is a statistic to appreciate.
“You have approximately 50 million people, and just about 8 million taxpayers (some reports put this number at less than 5 million taxpayers). There is nothing else to say. Stability is fragile at best with these numbers. This is simply a material fact.” John Hope Bryant
What Africa needs now are more taxpayers, which means more (people with) jobs. This means more entrepreneurship and small business owners. It means more bottoms up wealth creation, and an expanded sense of prosperity for all.
Like in the United States and other parts of the world in the 20th century (including South Africa), the issue was civil rights and social justice. The way you achieved justice and a level playing field of ’empowered citizens’ in this environment, was the right to vote.
This was achieved on many continents, thanks to leaders from Nelson Mandela, my friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi in India and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and my mentor Ambassador Andrew Young in the Southern states in the United States, amongst others. But what we need now, in the 21st century, is a new focus on achieving silver rights empowerment for all — building on the solid foundation of civil rights success.
We need to open up the untapped power of the free enterprise system to empower all with the will to do for oneself. This means, most people.
This is my focus here in South Africa. To take our solid foundation of programmatic achievements for tens of thousands here in South Africa, and to build on top of this a broad based strategic framework for silver rights empowerment for all.
Financial and economic uplift, at scale — is what South Africa, and by extension the African continent needs now. And dignity too.
I will say more on my work, vision and mission here in South Africa and the African continent, but for now I say this — it is time to get to work.
You can find a link to the official press release on my visit to South Africa here.
For those who would like more information on our work here, or my public schedule and activities while in the country, check with my Operation HOPE South Africa Managing Director Zviko Mudimu here.
John Hope Bryant