We all need HOPE!
In our travels around the country, working with and meeting diverse people, I have discovered that the greatest thing missing in our country is Hope.
I met a man, in the rural Western Cape, who runs a very successful tuckshop. They supply all the daily groceries needs in the area. And the most awesome calamari, fish and chips. People travel great distances, to buy from him.
J, designated “coloured”, in South Africa, told me a story of how he had been second in charge at a local bottle store. He had also managed the bar, in the hotel. He said, “My boss was white. When he resigned, I applied for his job. They ignored me and brought in another white man, who knew nothing about the job, or even the computer systems.”
He went on, “I had to show him how to put on the computer, how to use the programs and how we controlled stock. After a while, he got to know the job. It was then, that he started to call me names and treat me badly. He called me a Hotnot, a derogatory term for coloured people.”
I asked him, how you felt about that and what he did next. He said, “I was angry and felt like rubbish, and I could not take it. That is why you see me here, in my own business.” Obviously I have no idea, of all of the dynamics, in that workplace.
But this kind of ceiling, exists in many backward workplaces. J had no hope of promotion, and the chances are that was, to some degree, based upon his not fitting the right profile.
Whilst on the same journey, we had the good fortune, to facilitate a Celebrating Humanity diversity workshop. During the workshop we met a group of people, who equally had no hope of advancement.
They were all white males, over the age of 50, and they had reached the end of their opportunities. They cannot legally be fired, because of their colour, but by law, people of other backgrounds, races and genders must be given opportunities before them. The frustration with this is intense! They too, live without hope. They cannot resign and seek new opportunities, because the chances are that they will not find another job.
Yet perhaps, they do not realise how lucky they are, because they do have employment and an income. There are far too many people in our country who do not have any chances to find work or opportunity.
Although, much has improved in terms of gender inclusion, employment and promotional selections often excludes women. And young graduates who, after studying for many years, apply for jobs only to be told that they have no experience.
That is simply dumb. How on earth will they get experience, without been given an opportunity!
Our biggest focus, in our country must be on creating opportunities, and employment for all. All side issues such as race, gender, age, experience or religion must be moved from consideration, when creating opportunities.
We cannot leave this, in the hands of our leaders.
We the people, need to find ways in which to build a bigger and far more inclusive economy. We must bring Hope For All! For without hope, we will have nothing but sadness, anger, poverty and conflict.
Please add your voices – let us hear possible solutions.