On the 11th of February, 1990, at 16:14, I was sitting in a hotel room – our house was being renovated – in Maseru, in front of the telly with my father and siblings. This was the date and time that Nelson Mandela finally walked free. This was an occasion that had significance not just for South Africans but Africans as a whole. The 26 years since that day have been marked with positives, negatives and the blurry areas in between. It is also easy to get caught up in the challenges the country faces, which can be a very dark place.
“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”
This quote is something I try to remember constantly. While there are serious issues that we face daily, there is also a great deal being done. I have always believed that we should not allow ourselves to wallow in the quagmire that reality often seems to be. Being blind the challenges does not help to solve them but we should also recognise that there are many who are doing their part in building and evolving community, society and country. I also believe that we – people, brands, companies, etc – cannot operate in isolation of the community they are part of, and I am fascinated by initiatives that seek to redefine the narrative.
Mercedes-Benz South Africa has partnered with 24.com and Beautiful News – created by photographer and filmmaker Adrian Steirn – to search for and share a series of film and photography dedicated to the many positive people across the country and continent. Mercedes-Benz had previously partnered with Steirn on the 21 Icons Project and the Beautiful News initiative enables them to continue to position themselves firmly within the community.
Every day at 16:14, starting on November 1st, a new story will be released that details the inherent goodness that resides within each of us.
For Mercedes-Benz South Africa, a company that employs several thousand people across the country, people from different backgrounds, with different challenges, being involved in initiatives such as this can go a long way to bridging the divide that we often find between multinationals and the country within which they operate. Through involvement in initiatives like 21 Icons and now Beautiful News, they do what many of us take issue with when it comes to corporates, which is ‘being human.’
I’ll be sharing some of the videos that stand out for me over the next month on social media.