___A few words about fear
I want to address a concern expressed by some of you about speaking up or acting against corruption. I want you to know I am listening. Your concerns can be put into one word – FEAR. What is fear? It is, of course, a response to imminent physical or emotional danger.
There are different types of fear – of death, of pain, of revenge, of the unknown, of collateral damage to loved ones.
Fear is very real, and it can freeze us like when an animal is caught in headlights on train tracks. Many animals act on instinct. At night, they are blinded by the light. They freeze.
___As humanity, we have a choice. We can stand there frozen in fear, or we can move.
Corruption is a train coming right at us. It comes in different ways. In broad daylight. In the dark of night. One thing history has shown us is that the corrupt do not intend to stop if we are in their way. They intend to tempt us, or threaten us, or come up with clever ways to make our best intentions quaver away into complacency.
Fear is a strategy of our enemies. There’s a German proverb that “fear makes a wolf bigger than he is,” but, in fact, the wolf of corruption is a very fearful wolf.
In Africa, corruption has devoured untold billions of dollars over the decades. It has devoured prosperity. Worst of all, it has eaten away at the hope and self-confidence of Africa’s younger generations, in particular.
Most of us lament what we see. Impunity. Many do not see an honest way out. Maybe some of you even ask yourselves, “Do we play the game or does the game play us?”
Overcoming fear is a very real factor in the fight against corruption. As citizens you have every right to stand up for what is right, but I don’t want any of you to decide to recklessly confront those who would maybe even kill you just to keep themselves out of prison, or out of revenge, or simply to make money. A strategy to fight corruption is required. Overcoming fear is a first important step.
What, on the other hand, is courage? Courage is the ability to do what frightens you, but, in this case, do it wisely.
The author Mark Twain wrote, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Let’s keep talking about what it takes to stop corruption. Several ideas have been suggested.
In the meantime, reflect on these words:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa