5 lessons from Nelson Mandela for entrepreneurs

, , , July 16, 2014 by Portia Mthembu 

“Mandela’s life reminds me of the maxim that it matters not what happens to you, but only what you do with what happens to you; and that no matter how extenuating the circumstances, you still have the freedom to decide how to respond to adversity,” Sir Richard Branson commented on the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Although Mandela is no longer with us in the physical form, he serves to remind entrepreneurs about how they can enlighten their views for their business endeavours.

Below the founder of Virgin shares his ideas on how entrepreneurs can learn from Nelson Mandela’s life lessons:

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, left, and U.K27 years

Nelson Mandela was kept in a small cell for 9861.54 days where by day he smashed rocks, and interacted with fellow prisoners after sunset. Although he endured physical limitations and a lack of freedom, in his mind he was free to think and dream of change. During those days Mandela remained optimistic and he never lost hope that one day anentire nation will turn out for the better someday.

As an entrepreneur you may be facing many difficulties, especially if you are at the early stages of your business. Despite the unattractiveness of your challenges, always remember that they are temporary. Do not dwell on the negatives, but rather realise that you’re free and able to think positively and focus on executing your business for better days.

“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

An important decision for all successful entrepreneurs is the company they choose to keep. If you spend your time around people who are negative, they can influence you in thinking that life is terrible and that your ideas have no chance of success. Positive and independently minded people can make you see things in a different, deeper and more objectively.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

Regardless of your past obstacles or what you are currently facing, if you are determined and active about what you’re doing, you can achieve success.

Most successful entrepreneurs come from unfavourable backgrounds, and usually what distinguishes those that reach success when compared to the unsuccessful ones, is the level of dedication and passion towards their product and what it has to offer the world.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

Being jealous of others’ accomplishments and successes will not help you. Instead, being envious will interfere with your cognitive processes and your ability to focus on what you want from your business and life. In the spirit of competition, you should get to know your competitors, their positioning, products, finances, etc. but you do not have to react to their every move. Rather, channel your energies on focusing on you and your journey.

“If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.”

At the end your journey should be about the journey itself – a journey you are proud of – and not about the outcomes. Those whose long-term vision is driven by profit soon realise that financial gain isn’t everything.

Rather than worrying only about the amount of money you will make, focus on the bigger picture, and ask yourself, “Would I do and go through the same things over again, if I had the chance to?”

More importantly ask yourself, “What is my legacy?”

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10 Nelson Mandela quotes that can help build your personal brand

, , July 15, 2014 by Portia Mthembu 

Nelson Mandela is counted among the Nobel Peace Prize laureates for his commitment towards the peaceful abolition of the apartheid regime and for establishing the foundations for a new democratic South Africa. His wisdom can be applied to all spheres of life.

Here we’ve identified ten of Mandela’s infamous life quotes that you can apply to your own life to grow your personal brand and enable you to make a difference in the lives of others.


“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”


“Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front.”


“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”


“It seems impossible until it is done.”


“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”


“The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children.”


“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”


“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”


“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Mandela Day Team-building activities Part 3

, ,  by Portia Mthembu 

If your offices are situated in and around Durban, here are some team-building activities you and your colleagues can partake in to make a difference on Mandela Day:

nelsonmandela_with_children_53d4f_thumb_01. Educate a child on Mandela Day

If your team, like the Mtubatuba community in Richards Bay believes in upholding Nelson Mandela’s ideal of “education as the most powerful tool,” join them in donating educational mathematical instruments and scientific calculators to the Ikusasaletu High School in Mtubatuba.

Contact ekotze@webmail.co.za to contribute.

2. Mandela Day Blood Drive


The South African National Blood Service has set a target of 200 pints of blood for 67 donors for the Sunflower fund. If your team would like to be the next heroes, why not visit Kensington Square in Durban North on 18 July 2014 to donate your blood?

Call 031 564 6070 for more.

3. 67 pictures for Mandela Day

The public is invited to pose for a picture which will be taken behind a Mandela wallpaper for R20. All participants will be given a piece of paper to jot a message that will be put inside a pair of shoes that will be donated to 20 of the most needy school children in the area of Umlazi in the South of Durban. Businesses as well as the public in and around the city of Durban are warmly invited to join.

For venues visit RS Multimedia’s website, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

4. Siyakhula Etholeni Creche

Put on your construction helmets and assist the Etholeni Community in providing a safe and conducive learning environment for the children of the crèche in Etholeni, near Wasbank. The existing crèche building is in terrible condition and the community has started to build a new one.

Contact siyabadudulacoop@gmail.com to find out more.

5. Mandela Day

Why not take your team to join the four homes for children with disabilities, HIV/Aids and the homeless that have been invited to the local FET College in Margate. On 18 July 2014 local artists and musicians will be entertaining the children who will also be given toys.

To find out more email anelemsomi@gmail.com