By Ashley Thekiso @AshOfCeremonies                                                                         [Entrepreneur, Brand Consultant & Columnist]

  Eyta fellow hustlers:   What is a brand? Well a brand is the image that you portray to your audiences; it is what you are known as but today I would like to address the story behind the brand. I went around asking successful individuals like Mr Richard Maponya why they are as successful as they are and either than hard work and the obvious motivational bluff we constantly hear, what their reason is for following an entrepreneurial journey as they did. Mr Maponya was able to explain to me and a group of fellow entrepreneurs that his success has nothing to do with him wanting money. He said that he was determined to develop Soweto’s small economy into an economic giant. Mr Maponya explained to us that he finds joy in the development of under developed locations in Africa in order to make life better for the people living there. From my understanding Mr Maponya’s concern was that there are too many people moving out of townships to go and settle in suburbs forgetting that they are leaving other people behind, forgetting that most of their own people are stuck in those same townships. Mr Maponya’s dream is to turn the township into a liveable urban space as much as the suburb is. He gave us a long talk on how it bothered him that everyone’s concern is to develop on developed areas when the townships are remaining under developed; this bothered him a lot because that is where most black South Africans reside. He said “when we ignore development in townships we ignore the development of black people”. Moral of the story: you need to get in the habit of chasing a dream that is worth more than monetary value. The economic struggle is about developing forward the dream of a low tax environment, a less than 5% youth unemployment rate and a country that is turgid with investment potential. The only way we can achieve this as youth in South Africa is getting out of the ‘silver spoon’ habit. We can only achieve economic freedom in this country if we work at goals without being distracted by greed and material wealth. The joy and fulfilment of reaching a goal that helps more than just you as the entrepreneur is worth much more than any currency. Our youth today is easily distracted by the look of things; they are distracted by the money failing to understand that it is only a reward in business. Like Mr Maponya chased his dream of playing a big part in the development of South African townships you too should focus on the dream and ‘why’ of it all as it is more important. This yielded in financial rewards for Mr Maponya and it will certainly do so for you. I have sat down to seek guidance from many successful individuals from different parts of the world and I found one thing in common from all of them. These people all wanted success when they started out however success to them does not mean money alone. Success to these people means having started a revolution and legacy that is bigger than themselves and will outlast their existence. My good friend Tsepiso Makhubedu says “South Africa is currently riding on ‘new money’, what we need to build instead is generational legacies”. Let’s go out there and live the dream that our people fought for.    

It is up to us to oil up the economic engine of South Africa, let’s pay our dues in this game so that when we finally make it; it is worth it. We have been given this freedom by those who came before us; the least we can do is prove that we deserve it.                                                                   Existence is given; Life is a choice – Ashley Thekiso