One thing you get immediately about the South African people is their utter hope. They believe in their country, and themselves. Here, as soon as I entered the local terminal, I am approached by a half dozen impeccably well mannered South African young men. They are not begging. They have a trade and they want me to experience it; the fine art of the shoe shine. Or in my case, the boot shine.

I mentioned I didn’t have any South African Rand handy. No worries, “pay me later” the young man says, beaming with pride over his craft and pride in sharing it. Of course, I will not leave without paying him, but seeing a young black man who not only doesn’t want handouts or charity, but believes so utterly in himself that he is willing to make the investment in others and “trust” — is inspiring indeed. American young black men could learn something from our South African brothers.

John Hope Bryant reporting from the iPhone.

Proudly South African

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