Positive Disruption in South Africa

Disrupting Doesn’t Mean Destroying

Volcano Eruption. A large volcano erupting hot lava and gases into the atmosphere. Illustration.

Disruption can be a force of good that changes lives for the better. To do this it must move beyond shock-value, bypass simply breaking convention, and avoid destruction and vandalism.

There are numerous historical examples of individuals, groups, and even business’s choosing to interrupt the status quo in order to draw attention to rules, laws, and social practices which are discriminatory, damaging, or in need of being reworked.

In general, when any deviation from the accepted norms appears or is voiced, it is viewed by the majority, somewhere on the scale from suspicion to outright hostility. This is demonstrated in the case of past accomplishments such as outlawing child labour, extending the right to vote to women and achieving flight. It is seen in smaller shifts too, such as regulated working hours, use of automobiles, and placing computers in classrooms.

South Africa’s history is full of noteworthy, remarkable, and inspirational individuals whom have dared to disrupt to bring positive change! Extending the concept of positive disrupters out to include companies and social entrepreneurs let us zoom in on three positive disrupters at work in Gauteng currently.

Maboneng Welcomes You: A New Kind of Neighbourhood

In downtown Johannesburg suburb, one entrepreneur looked past the facade of derelict disrepair to envision a lively urban district.

He saw a new and hip area with spaces for artists, cafes, and coffeehouses, complete with apartments and well-maintained streets, completed by an eclectic mix of the cities inhabitants building a community together.

For most, the vision would be halted by scepticism and doubt but not for Jonathan Liebmann. Armed with determination and his vision to kick start transformation, Liebmann went head-to-head against the naysayers and the established norms to successfully build a full-fledged neighbourhood that is functioning beautifully today.

It started off shakily though and Liebmann admits “People thought the idea was impossible, that it was crazy and wouldn’t work. But an entrepreneur with a new idea always comes up against sceptics…”

The key to rising above and achieving includes combining zeal and focus while immersing oneself in implementing the project. As the plan is put into action, those around it become won over and often may even reach the point of contributing and getting involved. Once a project reaches critical mass it can be considered a success. Maboneng has definitively achieved this. Drive down to the Arts on Main Market on a Sunday and you too will become a believer in what is possible with the power of passion and perseverance!

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In a Township Near You: Opportunity Can Be Created

Growing up in Diepsloot, opportunities were not easy to spot but what was lacking was.  Neftaly Malatji turned wistful thinking about what wasn’t in his lunch box into action when he began collecting specific litter to earn an income as a young boy.

This income allowed him to have something alongside his cabbage and pap from the schools tuck shop and taught him to get creative about solving his problems. At the early age of 14 he demonstrated great promise as a social entrepreneur by starting a youth activity project in his neighbourhood.

While doing his best there he was criticized, called names, bullied, and made fun of but he kept his head high. In spite of this adversity, he received his Matric certification at 16 and remained determined to address the shortage of opportunities available to his peers. Malatji soon founded the Diepsloot Youth Project using funds he had personally saved from his part time job. Malatji has faced numerous challenges and has persevered.

In this video of his story in his own words, he tells of the importance of these song lyrics during the difficult times.:

“Even though it is difficult, even though it is too far, even though the road may be tough for me, all I know is that I am going to reach where I am going”

Currently, The Diepsloot Youth Project is fulfilling its mission and is focused on creating income generating jobs for young people. With a willingness to work diligently and be persistent Malatji is changing lives for those in his community and is making a positive impact on the South Africa of tomorrow!

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Moving Point: From Complaining to Changing

Sitting in a traffic jam is a frustrating experience for anyone. When traffic lights malfunction, accidents happen, or congestion occurs.

Did you know that through the Outsurance App you can request a mobile Pointsman to help get traffic moving again? The unique and helpful program began in 2005 when the company Outsurance decided to stop complaining about traffic standing still and instead make change happen.

They partnered with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and launched the Pointsmen Project. In the beginning they faced unforeseen difficulties which made an initial launch of the project unsuccessful. These elements included strikes, achieving comprehensive training, the recruitment process, and difficulty determining where Pointsmen were needed most.

Finding solutions to overcome these challenges has made the Pointsman Project a tremendous success.

Thousands of commuters around the city benefit daily from their intervention and management techniques daily. How grateful we are for these innovators who are providing this valuable service helping drivers stay safer and get where they are going faster.

Note: To date six Pointsman have been knocked down and injured. It is worth appreciating their commitment to serve despite the dangers.

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The Importance of Keeping it Positive

Disruption is a natural element of change and change is an integral part of Life. How we work to achieve it can take many forms but it is important to persevere to keep it positive and honourable.

South Africa; our task is challenging but filled with opportunities that can be addressed with integrity.

It cannot be done in an afternoon or through a protest one morning next week. We must daily strive to combine our efforts and find shared humanity. Emerging together committed to creating spaces for voices to be heard, for learning from viewpoints other than our own, making room for more than one perspective, and finding a way to honour our shared human dignity.

Creating long-term change and positive disruption means to persevere past the marches and the podiums and the moment. To be hopeful rather than cynical, creatively tackle what lies in our way as we go, and contribute wisely to creating a momentum that will one day allow society is exist with dignity.

Prestigio believes in South Africa and #PotentialUnleashed!

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