I was born in 1953 in South Africa, the eldest son of a white liberal father during the darkest days of the Apartheid era.
I was brought up to question authority and never to take things at face value … and I have instinctively challenged ‘conventional wisdom’ on almost every answer I’ve ever received ever since.
In the late 60’s/early seventies I became an anti-apartheid activist … a teenager with a strong social conscience, who under ‘normal’ circumstances, might have ended up as a famous artist (I studied the visual arts and certainly had the talent and ability!).
How could a young white South African contribute in some tangible way to ensuring a peaceful, non-racial future for his racially-polarized country?
I weighed up my options and decided that evolutionary change offered more hope for the future than a bloody revolution. As I saw it, this required the white minority to accept that change was a positive thing and would actually benefit them. I remember someone at the time telling me that I’d need to be the best salesman in the world to pull that off.
So I became ‘the enemy within the walls’ as opposed to the revolutionary without.
Eventually I was recruited as a political strategist and campaign organiser for the fledgling Progressive Federal Party. The PFP was a party that would be defined as ‘liberal democrat’ by world standards … but was branded by the Apartheid regime as extremely left-wing, radical, and with ‘communistic tendencies’.
The pivotal role that white liberals (such as PFP leaders Frederick van Zyl Slabbert and Helen Suzman) played as catalysts for South Africa’s eventual peaceful transition to a non-racial democracy is massively underrated. I am proud to have contributed in my own small way.
In 1991, as the ‘impossible dream’ of a non-racial ,multi-party, democracy loomed closer, I shifted my focus to growing a culture of democracy, assisting former liberation movements to fight the election on my even terms through my involvement in the Foundation or Democratic Advancement.
In early 1993, as the birth of the Rainbow Nation became inevitable, I was recruited into the National Peace Accord structures and my focus shifted to peace-building. Later I served a five year period as provincial director of the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa, and 2 years with the Cape Town-based NGO, UMAC.
In 2004 took the plunge and went into business with two former UMAC colleagues, Len Khalane and Melikaya Ntshingwa.
Our company, Safrika Development Services focuses on a proactive approach to managing crime ... social and situational crime prevention being a specialized and critically important niche market at this time as my country, South Africa hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the immediate future.
I have recently become involved with two South African companies in the water/sanitation sector. Both offer propriety technologies that deserve a wider audience:
- Lilliput provides top-quality biological sewage treatment solutions; and
- Micro-Pac is a mobile water filtration solution perfect for deep-rural and wilderness areas.
Having been exposed to what is happening, I sense ecological disaster looming. It's a massive threat ... and a massive opportunity
I believe there are better, more effective ways of countering water pollution and efficiently recycling mankind’s most precious resource and I am currently on a mission to develop the most biologically-efficient and cost-effective sewage/wastewater treatment and recycling system in the world.
In short, I am a maverick. I do many things differently because I am by nature a lateral thinker, constantly hatching new ideas, developing original concepts and finding better ways of doing things.
I have a liberated mind and fertile imagination; a big-picture perspective; I have a diverse set of skills; an ability to spot opportunities and solve problems; an ability to align and integrate approaches and to Connect the Unconnected.
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"Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.