By : Tiisetso Makhele
Let me state that I don’t know, and have never met, young black entrepreneur Nthabeleng Likotsi. I know her family well. Her elder sister, Mpho Thuthani (nee Likotsi) was my class mate at Hohle Primary School, Botshabelo, in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
Her father and uncle, Ntate Mofihli and Ntate Moshoeshoe Likotsi are profound struggle icons with a strong black consciousness background. The Likotsi’s are an established business family and continue to be respected in Botshabelo, Free State, South Africa and surrounding countries.
From what one can deduce from her social media postures, Nthabeleng is a confident (which may appear cocky to some), opinionated, and is sometimes impatient with those she disagrees with.
These are normal traits that all of us have, although they may be an irritation to some. When Nthabeleng addressed the media yesterday, she made a profound statement that blacks are generally and outrightly regarded as incompetent, not based on their attributes, but because of the colour of their skin.
At the same time, Nthabeleng was not aware that the same treatment will be meted against her and her organisation. The white establishment, which dominates all industries, including South Africa’s largest sector; finance, will not allow their territory to be challenged.
As was expected, they have already unleashed their trusted lapdogs to throw garbage on the Young Women in Business Network’s business model. It is true that there are some potential investors who raise pertinent questions, and Nthabeleng and her team MUST humbly respond to these queries, without showing irritation.
Nthabeleng makes another important observation, that blacks in South Africa must be categorised as the “unserved banking clients”, for all major banks are essentially established to serve our former oppressors, rather than natives.
This vision by Nthabeleng and her team to ensure that both the unbanked and the unserved get banking institutions that don’t discriminate against them, that funds their business proposals and that funds their wealth creating initiatives is profound. This is an indication that indeed Nthabeleng is ahead of her time, despite her tender age.
Her vision should have been implemented by the democratic state since 1994. Even the South African Reserve Bank, which has afforded the above organization authorization to serve as a cooperative financial institution (CFI), is largely untranformed and utilized as a toy by the same monopoly bankers to enforce barriers to entry into the industry. Our commercial banks are, after all, shareholders of the same Reserve Bank.
As black people, as Africans and as the revolutionary state we must support initiatives that begin to interrupt the monoplies which restrict growth, transformation and development of the economy. The Young Women in Business Network must be supported by all of us, in the interest of the revolution.
Whilst we support, we must also encourage the team to consult far wider, rather than relying on media briefings and twitter activities alone. The model of professionalisng the Stokvel sector is what many people support, and it is through grassroots mobilisation that the organization could get practical support.
Nthabeleng Likotsi must avoid exposing herself to attacks from racists and bodyguards of imperialists. She is not a politician, and cannot risk facing live ammunition from an unruly monopoly mob. We, as activists, will fight political battles on her behalf, and she must focus on building a people’s bank.
In conclusion, I will invest in the YWBN CFI. I have no doubt that the Network will grow my money, whilst building a platform to assist blacks in business.
Makhele is an African Marxist. He writes in his personal capacity
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