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April/May 2011

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One of the most important tools in business today is NETWORKING. If nobody knows about your business you are invisible. Join a Networking group that is serious about Business and about keeping Christ as our centre and foundation.

OUR MISSION • To grow, equip and encourage Christian business owners • To extend God’s Kingdom by using our unique marketplace gifting to bring finances into our local churches • To give exposure to each member’s product or service so that we can support and refer business to one another • To create a culture of excellence and integrity in Business

Durban When: Where: Time: Cost:

JOIN US

14 April 2011 & 12 May 2011 Highway Christian Community, 10 Harvey Road, Pinetown 8am - 10am R50 members, R80 non-members

When: Where: Time: Cost:

Pietermaritzburg 19 April 2011 & 17 May 2011 African Enterprise Centre, 1 Non Such Road, Montrose 8am - 10am R50 members, R80 non-members

Each meeting features a 30-minute talk on a topic that will help you build your business – plus lots of great networking time over coffee and muffins.

Contact Tracey Olivier for more information. Tel: 084 548 4720 or Email: tracey@connectmagazine.co.za


WHAT’S HAPPENING? We would like to CONNECT people in business. If you have a meeting or ministry for the Marketplace Christian we would like you to be able to let people know about it. Remember that we bring out a new issue every two months so you will have to plan ahead and give us your dates 3 months ahead. See page 30 for deadline dates.

Kingdom Business Network Pmb. 19th April 2011 & 17 May 2011 at African Enterprise. For more information: info@connectmagazine.co.za

Send your info to info@connectmagazine.co.za

VOICE OF THE PROPHET

Whose foot is making the print?

8

HEART OF THE PASTOR

Loving our neighbours as ourselves 11 Ubuntu Business - Building a better world 14

HAND OF THE HARVESTER

Ubuntu in Action Real service not lip service

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IN EVERY ISSUE Letter from the Editor The Rest is HIStory Advertising Information Where to find CONNECT

4 26 30 31

CONNECT is produced by:

Tracey Olivier - Editor tracey@connectmagazine.co.za Belinda Peck - Admin info@connectmagazine.co.za Elaine Young - Sub-Editor elaine@copyeditpaste.co.za Steve Joubert - Ad Design steve.joubert@gmail.com and is printed by: DNA Print (Pty) Ltd. nikki@jmsa.co.za

Cover photo by Worth 1000/Bongoclown/Colourful vine contest

You will be given 5 lines to announce your meeting, so it will look something like this...

CONTENTS


Embracing the spirit of Ubuntu In his 1994 inauguration speech, Nelson Mandela quoted these powerful words from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Jesus came to set the captives free and heal the broken-hearted, and we have been given that same mandate. And as each of us receives all that Jesus did for us on the cross, and begins to live out His message to mankind, we inspire others to awaken to their

own life mission. In Southern Africa this ‘living for others’ is called Ubuntu. Ubuntu, as described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is “the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.” In this issue of CONNECT we look at the subject of Ubuntu from a Kingdom perspective. People use it for many different purposes, some new-agey and some politically strategic, and for many people it’s become something of a ‘mickey mouse’ term. But there’s something in the term, something in the concept of our actions impacting on the lives and welfare of others, that resonates with the example Christ himself set. And for that reason we decided to take a look at how Ubuntu gives expression to Jesus’ command, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” To take a practical example, if you take hold of what God has for you and start to grow in it for your business, you will be in a position to create jobs and reward people for their worth – not just what you can afford to pay them. You will be able to sow into the Kingdom and feed the poor – and not just feed them, but reach a hand out to them to help them move to a different level in their walk. When we understand this, we stop building our own little kingdoms and start putting our shoulder to the wheel, we begin to see God’s economy in action. God’s

One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu - the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity. Archbishop Tutu


economy is not about money; it is about something of far greater value: human lives. As you sow into people, who are eternal, you will see the multiplication of your time, treasure and talent start to explode. And the other things...these will be added to you. There is incredible need all around us, and there are many incredible people arising and doing what they are called to do to improve the lives of others. In this issue we introduce you to a few such people, not so much to honour them (though they surely make God smile) as simply to encourage you to do what God leads you to do. Every little act of obedience will send out ripples – ripples which reach further than we can comprehend, touching others around us with the love of Christ. Blessings

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VOICEOF OFTHE THEPROPHET PROPHET VOICE

“Madiba” brought something into Africa that none have. He has so clearly defined integrity and reconciliation nationally, that nations stand to attention with great respect when he comes by. A father to South Africa indeed. Are there any more in our land? Blessings come when two generations connect (2 Kings 2:12). Our destinies will be determined by our relationships with our spiritual fathers and mothers. Our legacies will be determined by our reactions to our spiritual sons and daughters.

Elijah and Elisha

Are we in a “Malachi Moment” – a transition zone where two generations are connecting?

N

ations are crying out for spiritual fathers and mothers to parent a new generation. Nelson Mandela came out of hospital today. Reporters thronged the hospital and then his home gate to grasp any sensational news. All who wanted to “feed off the sensationalism”, for profile and approval, were there too. Yet others, many never came home from hospitals. Why all the news media, radio talks and fuss? He is a national, if not international, fatherstatesman. 8 | www.connectmagazine.co.za

Elijah and Elisha transitioned successfully. Three things were required before Elisha received Elijah’s mantle of wisdom, power and influence: 1. Elisha had to leave his past. Be separated from uncleanness, impurity, and ungodliness and from the things others have allowed. He had a higher call. 2. Elisha was humbled for ordinary work. He left his farming business to become Elijah’s ploughboy; just as the disciples left their fishing nets to follow a “carpenter” and be discipled. Elisha honoured his spiritual father and obeyed his every command. He submitted himself to the knife of his words and later found the blade and power with God. 3. Elisha refused to be disconnected from his spiritual father. He endured the ridicule of

Many a young boy or girl wants what the fathers walk in; yet few are willing to go through the “sack cloth and ashes” to be honoured with it


his peers but refused to be disconnected from what his father carried. He picked up and applied instantly what was in his mentor’s hand. He already had permission, and entered his commission. Many a young boy/girl wants what the fathers walk in; yet few are willing to go through the “sack cloth and ashes” to be honoured with it. There needs to arise a breed of men and women who will endure hardship, ridicule and persecution, and yet long and thirst above anything else for God’s Presence in, and on, everything they do – a mantle of God. They will not be swayed by Unions, Human Rights, party politics, peer pressure, but they will stand the test of time and be found to be a man or woman of God’s approval. Walk in your Malachi Moment and leave the right Footprint. Keir Taylor Hand in Hand Ministries

Taken from Keir’s blog with permission http://www.handinhand.co.za/keirs-blog/8keirs-blog/94-whose-foot-is-making-theprint/article.html


HEART OF THE PASTOR

Loving our

NEIGHBOURS

I

as ourselves

have had the amazing privilege of conducting many funerals over the years, and I recall at one particular service having my own ‘lightbulb’ moment as people stood to pay tribute to the deceased person. My ‘light-bulb’ thought was this: every person spoke about the impact that person had had on his or her life. Not about which side of the tracks they had lived on, the size of their house, the cars they’d owned, or how frequently they’d travelled overseas. Not that there is anything wrong with these things, but in the final analysis it is all about relationships and touching people! It is wonderful that such tributes are made at funerals, but why not say them while the person is alive? One of my favourite songs is ‘In the Living Years’ by Mike & The Mechanics. The lyrics talk about Mike Rutherford’s relationship problems with his own father until it was too late; now he was the father with his own newborn son: I wasn’t there that morning When my father passed away I didn’t get to tell him All the things I had to say

Any parent will testify to the truth that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – especially when energy levels [in the parent] are at their lowest. This is ‘ubuntu’ as its most basic level. But where is the village that reaches out to help a single

www.connectmagazine.co.za | 11

Image from www.hillside-ba.org

I think I caught his spirit later that same year I’m sure I heard his echo in my baby’s new born tears I just wish I could have told him in the living years

parent, even if only for a few hours? According to the Bible, the testimony of a true Christian is that ‘we love one another, and our neighbours as ourselves.’ There are no boundaries to the Lord’s definition or profile of what the ‘one another’ or the ‘neighbour’ should be – it is all-embracing! How easy it is to preach about love, to speak about love...but where is the walking in love with someone desperate and in need – in need not only of the material things in life, but for the ‘human connection’? So clearly do I recall the time when a homeless man entered the church, dirty, unshaven and unwashed. The smell was overpowering but a lady went over to him and hugged him. He started to cry, and when asked why, he said that no one had done that to him for many years. That truly is an example of showing the love of God to someone most people would avoid. How easy it is to love our peers and demonstrate it, but how difficult it seems to be to touch the unlovely with ‘humanness’! Without bringing guilt or condemnation, it seems fitting to ask at this point, ‘What would Jesus do?’. The challenge is to see people, all people, through the same glasses God does. Oh yes, it is probably impossible to change the face of society, but it is possible to make a difference in the lives of those who cross our paths – even if it is just one a day! Sadly, the cursed priority of busyness in our own lives denies us the privilege and opportunity of stopping, however briefly, to touch the life of someone else. It can be as simple as a hug, a kind word, a word of encouragement, a ‘how are you?’ that is sincere. After all, God is a God of ‘ubuntu’. He is not human, certainly, but He is a God who


touches the lives of everyone, who sent His Son to reconcile man to Himself. Dare I say, it was because He did not want to be alone and neither did He want us to be. He wanted fellowship with that part of His creation about which He said, ‘it was very good.’ Sherwin Arnold Pastor at Highway Christian Community sherwin.arnold@highway.org.za

The success company

S

A CONNECT NUGGET

ocial Media is quickly becoming an integral part of our daily lives and is certainly a viable and cost effective option for marketing our businesses. There is, however, a huge learning curve to deal with when it comes to social media. Unlike other things we learn, this isn’t about acquiring new knowledge on top of previous knowledge. For many people, social media is about a totally new way of thinking, a new way of approaching interacting with people and interacting with technology. And that is why so many older people feel so intimidated by it. We call these people ‘digital immigrants’ – people who seem to have ‘arrived’ in a world where everyone was communicating in a language they hadn’t learned.

While this is often intimidating, it can be overcome. Just like with every other challenging circumstance, realising that you are not the only one who is terrified by Twitter, or flummoxed by Facebook, means that you are in good company. It is worth learning these tools for the sake of marketing your business, for connecting with your small group and your family overseas, and for spreading any worthwhile goals for any missions you are involved in. Don’t let the challenge get the better of you. Charlotte Kemp Owner of Niche Training and Co-owner of Social Media Solutions charlotte@nichetraining.co.za

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HEART OF THE PASTOR

U

buntu is a word I hope most of us are familiar with, especially us Africans. I am sure Tracey and her incredible team at Connect Magazine will address its definition in this edition. But just in case you missed it, let me give you a very brief overview: Ubuntu is the spirit of Africa. Ubuntu is a philosophy that stems from the native tribes of Southern Africa who believed the very essence of our humanity was that we care for and love each other, despite

The key to a successful business in the Kingdom is considering others before oneself and one’s profits. our differences. It is a philosophy that says we need each other in order to survive. No matter who we are. One of my favourite insights about Ubuntu comes from web entrepreneur Tim Jackson, who said this: “Ubuntu is a philosophy that supports the changes that are necessary to create a future that is economically and environmentally sustainable.” And it this very fact that I would like to focus on in this article. Ubuntu – the heart of sustainability Tim Jackson is my kind of guy, and I believe God is raising up a whole lot more men and women like him. Men and women who have a 14 | www.connectmagazine.co.za

passion to see economic and commercial reform, whose voices will be heard by the top leaders in world governments because their ideas and strategies are too good (and too sustainable) to be ignored. I believe there are people like that reading this magazine right now. And it is for this reason I am so excited about the subject of this edition. Ubuntu. It is the spirit of Ubuntu that will catapult the world’s economies into sustainable development. Therefore the leaders of tomorrow will carry this spirit at the very core of who they are. The world is changing far too rapidly to even begin to comprehend. The Mark Shuttleworths, Tim Jacksons, and Richard Bransons of tomorrow will be the ones who won’t have their heads in the sand trying to ignore that change. They will be the ones who will mould the new looks of our economies into sustainable vehicles of development by embracing the change and seeing new opportunities to work with. The world and its leaders are finally alive to the fact that our planet, its resources and its inhabitants are far more valuable than our

“Ubuntu is a philosophy that supports the changes that are necessary to create a future that is economically and environmentally sustainable.” – Tim Jackson


HEART OF THE PASTOR

economies. The priorities are starting to fall into place. And as we enter into this new age of doing business, the business strategies and models that put the planet and its people first before profit will be the strategies and models most likely to succeed. This is where the people of God, Christ’s Body, have the advantage. It is in our nature to think of others before ourselves. Especially the Body of Christ in South Africa. We know what it means to strategise for the sake of those less fortunate. I believe we are going to see a lot more South African business leaders and entrepreneurs rise to a position of global influence. Especially the people of God. And for the sake of our international readers, as Christians you too have the advantageous position of knowing a creative God! World leaders are looking for new ways of doing things. We are in an economic reform. You can be part of this economic reform. You can be the change. My encouragement to you today is that you start to think out the box, trust the ideas in your heart, and trust your Father in Heaven. What difference can I make? I want to encourage you today to be thinking of business ideas and strategies with spinoffs that include some of the following: • Benefit those less fortunate • Create jobs • Educate the uneducated • Are more helpful to the environment than they are harmful (if it all harmful) • Are financially sustainable for all involved • And above all, consider others before yourself and your profits. This is the key to a successful business in the Kingdom: Considering others before oneself and one’s profits. The top oil, tobacco, alcohol and more recently food companies have come under immense pressure from the public who have become fed up with profits coming before what is best for the people and environment. These selfish and twisted business strategies eventually become found out. But when you have a strategy

that does the complete opposite, it will be celebrated, encouraged and invested into. Friends, I encourage you: include God in your business plans. The ideas that will arise will surprise you! Your business may be small. You may think of it as insignificant, but your one business plan or model for your small business could impact a larger corporate giant who adopts your model and brings about economic

The spirit of Ubuntu may be the spirit of Africa, but it also encapsulates the spirit of the believer. reform! Never underestimate the power of a good (and Godly) idea. No matter who you are. I believe the next few years are going to be significant for Christian business leaders. The shackles of religious thinking that limit and hinder the creativity within every born-again believer are being removed, and once again we are going to see believers leading the way in sustainable economic development! As believers we can celebrate the spirit of Ubuntu. Even if those who adopt it may not necessarily be Christians, at least they are adopting a Kingdom mindset without even knowing it. Let us encourage this spirit in our businesses, our partners, our clientèle, and our beneficiaries. For the spirit of Ubuntu may be the spirit of Africa, but it also encapsulates the spirit of the believer. Now go and change the world! James Preston Youth & Associate Pastor at Highway Christian Community james@highway.org.za

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Ubuntu in

Action A

s a business strategy, Ubuntu is often dismissed as an empty gesture, a convenient, politically-correct phrase with no real substance. And it often is that way, especially in large organisations. But is that any reason to ditch the term and the ideal behind it? No – especially for small businesses, which are by definition rooted in the communities they serve. Ubuntu is a nice philosophy to have, but it needs to be put into action to make a difference. CONNECT takes a look at two KwaZulu-Natal initiatives – the CAST Business Forum and the Arauna Ark – which are rooted in the principle of ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, which happens also to be the essence of Ubuntu. We hope that by opening your eyes to the work they are doing, you will open your mind to the ways in which you can actively contribute – whether it be to either of these two ministries, or to the lives of the community around you.

CAST BUSINESS FORUM

The Church Alliance for Social Transformation 16 | www.connectmagazine.co.za

from a painting by Faye, www.stevebell.com

FEATURE ARTICLE

(CAST) is a non-profit organisation that develops programmes to help poor people escape the poverty cycle. CAST works in partnership with community churches, schools and communitybased organisations to help them find and implement solutions to the number of social ills associated with poverty. One of the programmes established by CAST is the Business Forum which helps people in disadvantaged communities to start businesses – or grow the businesses they already have – by offering training, mentoring and practical assistance. The first forum under CAST was established in KwaDabeka in November 2008, and its membership has since grown from 6 to approximately 180. The purpose of the forum is, through the Church and its Christian values, to provide the local community with the tools to understand the basic principles of starting up one’s own business. In encouraging the local community to generate its own income, we aim to enhance its quality of life and facilitate the restoration of self-respect and dignity.


FEATURE ARTICLE

The members of the KwaDabeka forum gave their forum the name “His Harvest House”, and aligned it with the methods of the Learn to Earn Association (LtE) which was established in 1989 in Khayelitsha. We share in the LtE mission statement, which is “To seek to develop people, especially the unemployed, socially, economically, emotionally and spiritually”. We follow their philosophy of a hand up and not a hand out, and are committed to empowering the local communities to provide for themselves and for their families. The Em’native Story

It was through this business forum that eM’Native Collections was born. Owner Mandisa Sithole learned the skills required for tendering, business planning, etc. through the business forum and went on to submit a tender for a curio shop in the new King Shaka International airport, which was awarded in October 2009. Through the forum’s assistance, Mandisa managed to secure not only finance but also a mentor to guide her through the process of running and owning her very own shop in the airport. eM’Native Collections, situated on the airside of the domestic departures lounge in the King Shaka airport, opened on 1 May 2010. Our intention is to grow the business forums into other communities and to offer the local residents exposure to the same business opportunities that have been presented in His Harvest House – KwaDabeka.

Mandisa receiving the keys to her new shop prior to opening.

How you can help us

We are currently working on a web site which will be a mentorship programme which anyone can link to. You can identify the profile of someone from the community who you would like to “connect” with and mentor them in whatever area you can. This site will be linked to our CAST web site within the next month. Alternatively, if you feel you have some skills that you can offer in terms of training members of the community, please make contact with me and we can arrange for you to speak to the forum at one of our meetings. We have a few small projects that we have started that require a small amount of capital outlay, so funding is also always welcome. For more information, contact Brigitte Gonggryp at (031) 2663334 or 082 826 1451 or email ambgonggryp@telkomsa.net

ARAUNA ARK

The story of the ‘new Ark’ at Cliffdale, near Hammarsdale, goes back many years to the Ark ministry in Durban’s old Point Road – a haven and a help-up to those who had lost everything, mainly to drugs and alcohol. Various internal and external pressures led to the ‘old Ark’ closing in 2000. Arauna Ark – led by former Ark pastor, Gary Purchase – was established in 2001. The bright green roof of Arauna Ark’s church is plainly visible to the left of the Cliffdale/ Peacevale offramp from the Pietermaritzburg-

The sign to look out for when you next fly out of Durban. www.connectmagazine.co.za | 17


FEATURE ARTICLE

bound N3, inviting passers-by to pay a visit to its peaceful, self-sustaining community. We chatted to Pastor Gary to learn more about Arauna Ark’s heart for the people it serves, and how we all can contribute to that mission. Pastor Gary’s own story is documented in Mos van Schoor’s book, The Heart of a Streetfighter, which tells of Gary’s upbringing as the neglected youngest child of an alcoholic mother and father. Orphaned by the age of twelve, the young Gary and his brothers had become adept at doing whatever it took to support themselves and their growing drug and alcohol addictions. Following his older brother’s salvation a year earlier, Gary accepted Jesus at the age of 13, but spent the next 13 years in and out of prison and rehab, eventually spiralling into a pit of hopelessness and despair. At the age of 26, utterly destitute and sitting on a bunk at the Kwasiza Bantu mission – where he was awaiting transport to the Durban Ark – Gary had his first personal encounter with Jesus and promised to “give 100%” to Him for a year. The rest, as they say, is history, and 20 years later Gary is still giving 100% for Him. “Araunha”, which means “The Lord” in the Hittite language, was the name of a Jebusite who offered his threshing floor on Mount Moriah to David free of charge. But David bought it, refusing to sacrifice his life on that which cost him nothing, and used it for the site of the temple Solomon later built as an altar to God.

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The story of how Arauna Ark came to be is one of God co-labouring with his disciples to create something miraculous out of nothing. The ramshackle buildings that used to be a children’s home have slowly grown over the years into a small, welcoming complex that houses a church, a number of small businesses and accommodation for the Ark’s 100-plus residents. Arauna Ark is essentially a men’s


FEATURE ARTICLE

ministry but it has always had a small number of women and children as well. It is currently busy with renovations and improvements to dormitories, and Pastor Gary is presently developing The Ark’s own Restoration Centre which will focus on the recovery and discipleship of drug addicts, alcoholics and other dropouts. It will be sited at The Ark’s stables alongside the Sterkspruit, opposite The Ark’s dormitories and businesses. The Ark also has an anointed equine ministry, healing and training horses that have been written off as ‘crazy’. Working with these horses is an important part of the ‘detox’ process for newcomers at the Ark, and endurance riding has become a passion of Gary’s – a passion which enables him to take the love of Christ to some far-flung corners of the country. The Ark survives by the grace of God and with the support of the community for the business services it offers and, of course, on the generosity of those members of the public who bless The Ark with donations of all kinds. Many people are amazed to discover that The Ark, a ministry for society’s dropouts, itself reaches out to provide for the needy and under-privileged rural African people in its district. Nothing goes to waste at The Ark, and any surpluses in the food, clothes or other donations that arrive at The Ark are handed out to others who need them. They have a feeding scheme for over 100 rural locals who gather at the Ark every Wednesday; they support the Bucks Farm school of about 45 young children on an ongoing basis; they provide food and clothing to the Vuve Meshle Creche, which has about 80 toddlers; and also support about 250 adults. Asked what the Ark needs, Gary responded simply, “Money.” It costs around R60 000 per month to run the Ark. A fraction of this is covered by a saint who pays the monthly bond, and its residents tithe from their earnings from the various businesses run by Arauna Ark. These businesses include the popular Rebels Rock restaurant and pizza hut, a nursery, arts and crafts, fresh vegetables and chicken, and an array of domestic and industrial services: building and

maintenance, electrical repairs, steel fabrication, DSTV installations, motor repairs and servicing, and retaining wall fabrication. The CONNECT team was highly impressed with Arauna Ark’s facilities and we encourage you, the next time you are on the road between Durban and PMB, to pop in for lunch and see how else you can support them. This support might be financial, it might be spiritual, or it might be practical – like donating building materials, or coming alongside people to teach them new skills that they can use to become self-supporting again. Whatever you do, make sure you do it with love and avoid going there with your own agenda. For more information, contact Donna Myburgh at 031 736 1166: For a copy of The Heart of a Streetfighter, contact Mos van Schoor at mosv@iburst.co.za or phone 082 3717837.

Pastor Gary baptising a new believer www.connectmagazine.co.za | 19


HAND OF THE HARVESTER

W

hen I began writing this article, I thought, “Isn’t this a bit too challenging for the readers?” At that instant I realised that it was going to be challenging to me as well! Was I going to become a better person, employer and businessman? Seeing that you and I are going to be equally challenged by the read ahead, I need not make apology for any discomfort caused. I really hope that what follows will get you thinking. In business, we often see a hierarchy of employers and employees. Sometimes this

is a master –and-slave type of relationship, with employees serving employers with little reward and sometimes at their own expense. In contrast, one might have an employer who has been so abundantly blessed that he gladly passes some of the riches on to his employees. These riches are not only material in nature but also spiritual – like compassion, understanding, encouragement and equipping. Both of the employers described above are leaders. Why do they run two completely different businesses?

The challenge Albeit one of the most important places for Christ to be emulated, business is a place for work and for economic productivity. It is not a place of open evangelism or worship – this is what happens in church. So then how do we use our work place to worship our Lord who has blessed us so abundantly? How can we show our fellow workers who Jesus Christ is? How do we respectfully invite others to know our Lord?

Jesus turned the world upside down with His example of servant leadership, which has challenged mankind ever since. Can servant leadership work? Does it work? In this context, can servant leadership work in business? The other question is: can self-serving leadership create and maintain a sustainable and prosperous business? Can a self-serving business owner trust his employees to run his business whilst he is away? If he left his business for three months, what state would it be in when he returned? Is a self-serving business owner in bondage to his business then? To material riches such as a smart house, car, money, power? Is this person content or agitated? I would venture to say that a business permeated with a servant culture would probably grow whilst its owner was away. Maybe not so for the self-serving business owner. Before I return to the servant leadership of Jesus Christ, let’s consider the African ideal of Ubuntu. What is it and how does it relate to leadership and business?

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Jesus – our blueprint for servant leadership


HAND OF THE HARVESTER

Servant leadership and Ubuntu

The Zulu/Xhosa word Ubuntu stands for the humanistic philosophy that is explained by phrases like “I am what I am because of who we all are” and Desmond Tutu’s definition, “A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed”. Nelson Mandela offers the following practical example of Ubuntu: “A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he wouldn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?” Ubuntu is a lifestyle which is practised throughout Africa and in many other places in this world. A practical example of Ubuntu at work in business is the Ubuntu Project, founded by South Africa’s own Mark Shuttleworth to ensure the long-term existence of his Ubuntu Linux distribution – an extremely successful computer operating system. Unlike many business models, Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu Project doesn’t merely pay lip service to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is its very essence – not a fashionable, politically-correct label façade for ‘business as usual’. Read the Ubuntu Project’s code of conduct and you will be astonished at how it speaks to the ways we should work together in business (and in the Church!) Consider the following extract from the Ubuntu Project’s website:

Be considerate

Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and we should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Consider the other people in the business chain that depend on your work.

Be respectful

Everyone can make a valuable contribution to Ubuntu. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behaviour and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack …a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.

Be collaborative

Collaboration is central to Ubuntu and to the larger free software community. We encourage individuals and teams to work together whether inside or outside the Ubuntu Project. This collaboration reduces redundancy, and improves the quality of our work. Internally and externally, we should always be open to collaboration.

When we disagree, we consult others

Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time and the Ubuntu community is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively and with the help of the community and community processes.

When we are unsure, we ask for help. Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the Ubuntu community. Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, and so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked questions should be responsive and helpful. Step down considerately

Members of every project come and go and Ubuntu is no different. When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, in whole or in part, we ask that they do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. (summarised from http://www.ubuntu.com/ community/conduct) www.connectmagazine.co.za | 23


HAND HAND OF THE OF THE HARVESTER HARVESTER

According to the website (www.ubuntu. com), “Ubuntu is…the ‘belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’. The same ideas are central to the way the Ubuntu community collaborates….Members of the Ubuntu community need to work together effectively, and [the Ubuntu Project’s] code of conduct lays down the ground rules for our cooperation. We chose the name Ubuntu for our operating system because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of the sharing and cooperation that is at the heart of the opensource movement. In the free software world, we collaborate freely on a volunteer basis to build software for everyone’s benefit. We improve on the work of others, which we have been given freely, and then share our improvements on the same basis. That collaboration depends on good relationships between developers.” (http:// www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct) Let’s ask the question again: Can Ubuntu be used in business? Yes, most definitely. If the above attitudes are applied in your business, not only will your employees solve problems better and be happier people, but your bottom line will be better and your business will have a better chance at long term success! My final conclusion is that Ubuntu is underpinned by servanthood. Christian servanthood is the product of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Witnessing this relationship in action offers non-believers an eternal perspective which stretches their minds and expectations infinitely past their immediate concerns – even past the grave. To return to our starting question, what kind of employer – or employee – are you? Your employees (or employers) are watching, and their eternity may rest on you! Ever thought of that?

Howard Phipson Boogatina Performance Consulting CC howard@boogatina.co.za

www.connectmagazine.co.za | 25


HAND OF THE HARVESTER

SBS

(Specialist Building Suppliers) was started somewhere in the dark 80’s when war was still war and the words Aids and Freedom had not been invented yet. There we were, a bunch of entrepreneurs – farmers, varsity, tech, army and school leavers – all pushed into a corner, with our heads in the sand, and – for those of us that bothered – hoping that some or other angel of mercy would come and bail us out of the political, economic and social quagmire that was SA at the time. At the same time this angel of mercy would hopefully make some riches for us without our having to lift too many fingers. Well, it would soon became very clear to us white South African boys of mediocre means that we would have to look after ourselves and that the world was no longer our oyster.

With R50 monthly contributions and a bit of help from friends, family, and the bank we could soon put up a steel shed on a property which we bought from the local church. 26 | www.connectmagazine.co.za

That angel came in many forms and soon we were Specialist Building Suppliers CC, and making and delivering concrete blocks, bricks, sand, stone and cement in and around a small place called Lilienthal in the KZN Midlands. Siegfried and Armin Bartels (neighbours), Gary Redinger (my brother-inlaw), and Leon, Dirk and Eddie Freese (my brothers) were the founding members. With R50 monthly contributions and a bit of help from friends, family, and the bank we could soon put up a steel shed on a property which we bought from the local church. We all clubbed in, working on weekends, holidays and whenever there was a bit of cash to be mustered out of our seemingly never-paying debtors. I was still in the army at the time and was only officially admitted to the table of six in approximately 1991 when I could afford the R50 out of my R300/month varsity allowance. It was a massive sacrifice. Soon we were progressing from “egg layers” (a primitive type of block-making machine), hand mixers, Vaal Japies (a tractor that could run on paraffin), ancient John Deere tractors and a solitary dilapidated Ford 6-ton truck, to static block-making machines, more Ford 6-tonners, two Toyotas and then to the ultimate – Mercedes Benz 1113’s. Over time we went from a oneman band to being able to employ two and sometimes three of us on a full-time basis. SBS Electrical was also born during that time and, headed by Armin Bartels, soon found its own feet in the Pietermaritzburg area. SBS Electrical is now trading under the leadership of Russel Ash, but we still work together when the opportunity arises. Leon, my boet, somehow got us involved with the government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in 1992 or


so, initially to supply building material to RDP projects in the Montebello and Appelsbosch areas. Eventually a new CC (called SBS Contracting CC) was formed for construction

Somehow we found the strength to persevere. If God had not been with us, we would have thrown in the towel. work in the Low-Cost Housing industry. But this industry was still in its infancy and all the mistakes had not yet been made. It was not so easy to get money out of the government after the initial P&G draw-downs and political interference through unrealistic promises made progress far slower than it should have been. To free Siegfried up to assist the construction company, I resigned from my assistant accounting job at Pannar (Pty) Ltd in 1994 and joined Specialist Building Suppliers CC full-time. I soon became deeply involved in the making of blocks and bricks and the logistical support to the housing projects. It all seems like a bad dream now, as the money was little and the world was out to get us, even at its own admittance – but somehow we found the strength to persevere. If God had not been with us, we would have thrown in the towel. In 1996 it became evident that, to pick up more construction work, we would have to form a company with a majority black shareholding. SBS Community Based Projects (Pty) Ltd was formed with the late Mr Gash Ndlovu and Mr Sicelo Duma as partners. This company eventually became our main construction leg and traded right up until 2009, by which time politics, red tape and greed in the low-cost housing industry made it impossible to earn a living. Siegfried and his family left for Australia in 2010 to follow their dreams. Going back a step, on the 15 March 1997 my youngest boet, Eddie, and his family were

brutally attacked and nearly killed on our small sugar cane farm in Lilienthal. Following the attack, our lives were put on hold and we lived from one day to the next in shock and anxiety. Leon had been planning to leave for Australia before the attack and this event cemented his decision. I took over the financial running of the construction business in Durban, leaving Dirk to run the blockyard in Lilienthal as well as the farming operation that he had taken over from Eddie during his time in hospital and throughout his recuperation. The effects of this fateful day still have a marked effect on all of us, now 14 years later, but I am pleased to say that Eddie is back in full control of the running of the farm. Dirk, my second eldest brother, joined Leon in Australia a few years later and they have now settled and become extremely successful there, no doubt learning from their time at SBS (you can Google Kitcraft, Duoglass and Logsys if you like). During his first few years in Oz, Leon was on the lookout for Oz-SA business opportunities and, among other potentials (some fortunately left alone and some stolen from under our feet), he came across our current water tank suppliers. Our relationship with them soon grew to a stage where we opened up a new company called SBS Water Systems (Pty) Ltd for the distribution and sale of prefabricated steel panel reservoirs. In approximately 2003 it became apparent that SBS Water Systems could not be run on a

Looking back now, we can laugh at the challenges that we faced and be thankful that they made us tougher. That’s not to say that we do not face challenges now, but we certainly cope with them better. www.connectmagazine.co.za | 27


part-time basis and Chris Leah, Delayne Gray (who was our preferred installer at the time) and I decided to join forces and move the business up to Pinetown. This was really the turning point of this business, and the unity in minds allowed us to focus on doing the business well. Looking back now, we can laugh at the challenges that we faced and be thankful that they made us tougher. That’s not to say that we do not face challenges now, but we certainly cope with them better. After a brief sojourn in the irrigation industry, SBS rightly disposed of all its the non-profitable enterprises over the ensuing years – sometimes at great pain, but never at the cost of others. As we look forward to the post-recession era we can take heart in the knowledge that, even with the best planning, we are still 100% reliant

Some of the SBS Team

Delayne Gray

on God and, through His grace and through our Saviour, Jesus, we have the opportunity of forging ahead. It won’t be easy, but with backing like that, what can possibly be the problem? Heiner Freese Financial Director of SBS heiner@sbsgroup.co.za

Moosa and Patrick

The first SBS Tank installation


Brad and Este from GraceHill

We have two winners

The Winner of the Awesome South Africa book is Brad & Este Sadler of GraceHill Church.

The Winner of the ARTISAN&WELL one year’s worth of Cut & Colours is Michelle Coskey of Index. Michelle with Dino Brown from Artisan & Well www.connectmagazine.co.za | 29


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Ubuntu Issue - April/May 2011