South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe says he feels honoured to be nominated among the 100 greatest living business minds by Forbes.
To celebrate its 100 years of existence, Forbes published an encyclopedia of ideas from 100 entrepreneurs, which it says is the greatest-ever collection of business essays and portraits.
Motsepe was honoured in New York alongside other renowned businesspeople, including Bill Gates, Russell Simmons, Jeff Bezos and Rupert Murdoch.
In an interview with SABC News journalist Mzwandile Mbeje, Motsepe said he had been inspired by a number of people.
“I think that they are many people in my country, as well as in Africa, who should be among those 100 greatest business minds alive,” he said.
He said one’s wealth and financial status doesn’t really describe one’s personality, upbringing and more importantly, commitment to uplifting poor South Africans.
Motsepe acknowledged that South Africa has lots of challenges, but it has exceptional, caring and talented businesspeople.
“I am a product of encouragement, motivation and inspiration by many South Africans (black and white) on the continent. I grew up just outside Pretoria and I continued to have the great privilege of meeting ordinary people from our country who sacrifice and help those in need. Many of them are in need of assistance themselves,” he said.
He embraces the culture of ubuntu and indicates that he has been a beneficiary of this culture of love and deep commitment.
“It is the love and deep commitment that you get from your parents and community members. Usually women, and the men as well, who instil a deep sense of recognition that your future and the success of yourself and your family is intertwined with the success and better life for the poor, for the marginalised and unemployed,” he said.
He says although good work has already been done, South Africa should provide better education and skills development that will prepare young people to get jobs in the country’s growing economic sectors.
Motsepe told Mbeje that through his foundation, he was educating thousands of young students. He said partnerships with local communities, NGOs and businesses would make a huge dent in unemployment, improve opportunities for those who have skills and expertise and make the lives of the poor and marginalised much better.
Asked about his recent venture into financial services, he says it is part of the opportunity he sees not just in South Africa, but also on the broader continent. “I am optimistic. We’ve got challenges, but successful countries and entrepreneurs have never succeeded by focusing on the negatives and problems,” he says.
Motsepe says challenges and problems are opportunities to create a positive future.
“South Africa has a bright future, we must just keep believing in ourselves, working hard and continuing with education. We need to identify our problems and deal with them honestly, because part of building a better future for all of our people is a recognition of those areas where we must do better,” he said.