“Knowledge is power, so don’t ever stop learning and getting your education. It’s the only way people will stop looking at you as a black African girl and start seeing a powerful business woman” – Steve Matema (1949 – 2001)
Steve lacked the power of conversation but he did have the gift of speech. When he spoke, senators listened, millionaires took notes and leaders of nations held their breath at his every pause. Steve lead the mining corporation. He climbed the ladder from a mine worker to the CEO in less than 20 years. He travelled the world and raised a beautiful family.
What I valued most about him, he knew what was coming. He knew things would get tough and he prepared for it. He prepared me for it. He knew people have one direction when they see Africans. Poor, dirty and starving. Like the media shows the world.
He didn’t want me or my generation to be dependent on hand outs from government and social aids. He believed black African people would eventually take the lead. He taught his children.. me an my siblings to do more than is expected of us. To always strive to achieve.
So the lesson I learnt is two fold. Foresee what’s ahead and be prepared for it. And the second thing I learnt was, don’t be limited by the petty price-tag mentality of society. Just because you’re born into a situation, doesn’t mean you’re limited by it. Steve Matema started from the bottom, like many of his peers. But he continued to study. He continued to work hard and give nothing but excellence in his work…! He got to travel the world as he led the mining corporation because he believed in himself and what he wanted to achieve.
They say…. you say… But who’s report will you believe?