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The government won’t drive radical economic transformation by simply selecting a few black entrepreneurs and backing these with support and finance, entrepreneur activist Vuyisa Qabaka said yesterday.
“You’re not going to drive radical economic transformation by creating this cherry-picked, fancy, apply here,” said Qabaka, who runs business consultancy Entrepreneur Traction. He was speaking at Silicon Cape event Tech eKasi at Workshop 17.
“A black industrialist is not created through an application form. It’s created through blood, sweat and tears, taking risk, and finding investors and building up. So first of all our politicians need to get their minds straight about that,” he said.
‘They’re created through blood, sweat, tears, taking risk, finding investors’
Qabaka said black people need to stop asking for permission to pursue economic opportunities.
“Sometimes our people believe almost that (their) relatives should raise out of the grave to give people permission to live the economic reality of their lives and pursue the economic opportunities that South Africa has.
“And that’s what needs to happen is that literally — get out of your own way and start pursuing your economic opportunities. Stop looking at a white guy for your opportunity. Because by the way that constitution protects us all, it gives us all the same access to equal opportunities,” said Qabaka.
Qabaka was part of a panel that included Silulo Ulutho Technologies founder Luvuyo Rani, Girlhype Coders founder Baratang Miya, SharePoint technical lead Bhuti Mbele and mobile app developer Lebogang Madise and was moderated by Cape Talk presenter Kieno Kammies.
Rani, whose 40 outlets offer internet access, training and services such as copying, believes tech can serve as a platform to foster inclusivity.
“The beauty of tech is there’s no colour. And tech is going to revolutionise our lives,” said Rani. “If young black people are sitting there and still complaining about the government, it’s their fault,” he said, adding that it came down to hard work, rather than being able to win a tender or not.
He said the country needs more entrepreneurs that can think beyond where they are. “I call it ‘container mentality’ because if I’m in the township in Gugulethu I think only Gugulethu, so I don’t see beyond it,” he said.
“There are two things that can change this country and leapfrog (its challenges) – it’s entrepreneurship and technology and I think we need more entrepreneurs,” he said.
Featured image: (From left to right) mobile app developer Lebogang Madise, SharePoint technical lead Bhuti Mbele, Girlhype Coders founder Baratang Miya, entrepreneur activist Vuyisa Qabaka and Silulo Ulutho Technologies founder Luvuyo Rani.