Good business is built on a ­foundation of optimism

‘SA is blessed with the finest people you could imagine, therefore good must eventually triumph over evil. Issue date 8 June 2007

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I’ve had my share of close personal encounters with crime recently. I won’t bore you with the details, but against the backdrop of David Rattray’s murder, the violent highjacking of a neighbour two doors away, and a vicious attack on ­Louise, the daughter of a close friend in the ­district, I got a good dose of pessimism.

I was about to snap, when David ­Bullard, who brightens my Sundays with his Out to Lunch column in the Sunday Times, was shot and wounded in his Johannesburg home. My optimism index went into the red. I was miserable and depressed, ­wondering why I was such a naïve idiot to ever believe we could turn this country into one of the greatest in the world. I moped around listless and dejected, but ten days later I started feeling better. The trigger was David Bullard, back with his column headed “South Africa is worth living for…”

He wrote about the prompt ­professional action of the Parktown police, the superb doctors and nursing staff and said, ”… my optimism for the future of this ­country has been strengthened rather than weakened. SA is blessed with the ­finest people you could imagine, ­therefore good must eventually triumph over evil. If I can believe that, then so can you and you must – otherwise we are all lost. ­Warfare is all about breaking down the spirit of the people, and our rampant crime is a particularly ugly form of warfare.”

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Bullard’s words brought tears to my eyes. I think I was ashamed of the way I’d sulked for the past week or two. Maybe it was a mix of this and the welling up of patriotism which sometimes comes, like when PJ ­Powers leads the singing of Nkosi Sikelel’iAfrika.  Well my pessimistic wallowing is over. The police quickly dealt with ­Rattray’s murderers, and within days caught the thugs that attacked Louise.

To lift my spirits right back to an ­optimistic high, Stuart Pennington of SA Good News recently wrote about some of the ­incredible changes that have taken place in South Africa since 1994. Things like 500 000 ­families ­moving out of ­poverty; 400 000 families ­moving from poor to middle class; car sales ­increasing from 365 000 new units in 2003 to 730 000 last year; our economy growing at close to 5% per annum while population is growing at less than 1% per annum.

These facts are changing the market at great speed. You need to be making sure your business is ready for these changes. Contact agribusiness ­consultant Peter Hughes on (013) 745 7303 or ­e-mail [email protected].