Address by Joel Netshitenzhe on Economic Transformation for Social Change, at the Conference of the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) in Sandton, 08 November 2016.
It is quite apposite that the issue of economic transformation for social change should preoccupy black securities and investment professionals. For, the curse and blessing of history has afforded you and other black professionals the responsibility of thought leadership in the cause of social change. We’ll all agree that such status cannot be decreed. It depends on self-generated agency: the preparedness constantly to improve the self and the peer group, and to act in a manner that advances social progress.
The society we inherited, a special type of colonialism, has dictated that social wretchedness and ostentation should live check by jowl. Most black professionals in the current generation belong, at once, in both these seemingly binary settings: the sense of ‘arrival’ is daily tempered by the realisation that we are only at the beginning of another episode in a never-ending journey. How to avoid the tragedy of the gold at the end of the rainbow turning into a mirage, will depend on the effort that we put into our narrow professional tasks, and on the ability to relate those tasks to the broader aspirations of a society seeking to improve its lot.
And so, in seeking to understand economic transformation for social change, we are obliged to try and answer the deceptively simple questions: what is economic transformation!
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