Historically, as an African people, our character has been welcoming, friendly, empathetic and respectful of others. Our societies were set up in such a way that every member was looked after. In fact there was usually a societal pressure to look after the weaker members of society. This recognised the value of each person. Concepts like “Ubuntu”[efn_note]”Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, “Yu u nobuntu“; “Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu.” Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours.” …We say, “A person is a person through other persons.” …A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. …To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. What dehumanizes you inexorably dehumanizes me. [Forgiveness] gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from “No Future Without Forgiveness” (1999)[/efn_note] (which are largely non-existent in Western culture) are innate to us – it runs in our blood.
At Unmask Africa our vision is “to create an affluent and interconnected Africa through afropreneurship – the evolution of sustainable and game-changing African corporates”. We are an NGO with a mission to the alleviate poverty and suffering that plagues the African continent through business. CSI projects are all well and good and do a lot for the communities of the continent. However, we believe in transferring those skills that enable African companies to compete GLOBALLY and in turn, create new, successful entrepreneurs.
The PIF – Program
This is the method by which Unmask Africa is funded. In order to sustain our activities: To find, grow and even invest[efn_note]Time, resources (including funding) and intellectual proprietary information, etc.[/efn_note] in worthy businesses across the continent in order to help them grow into influential conglomerates, we need money – a lot of it. We therefore expect the companies that have been benefited by our programs to contribute a tiny percentage of the incremental net-profit. I.e. share some of the benefit you now enjoy, so that we can grow and develop others.
To us, this is Corporate “Ubuntu”. It recognises the fact that we are one continent and that while we each individually wish to succeed, if this success comes at the detriment of the collective, then ultimately we all suffer. It is not rocket science: In order for businesses, and ultimately economies, to do well, they require customers or clients able to purchase their products/services[efn_note]Or in the case of economies, they require active contributors to the GDP[/efn_note].
Counter-acting the Impact of an unforgettable Past
What traditionally happened on this continent is that the purchasers and beneficiaries of our natural resources were not on African at all.[efn_note]More here.[/efn_note] As a result the businesses that profited we mainly non-African and therefore didn’t have much interest in people on this continent being able to “afford” their wares. In other words the economies of Europe grew as a result of companies’ participation as employers, as solution providers, as suppliers of goods and services. European economies, European employers and employees, European solution providers, European suppliers of African-based and sourced goods and European services. Therefore, Europe grew and Africa stagnated or even regressed. That is the past. We can only change it by duplicating the method on the African continent OUR WAY.
Enter Unmask Africa. Think of it as a non-governmental business incubation organisation. Our reward will be the eradication of squalor, the development of a self-aware African workforce, the promotion of intra-African consumption of African goods and services and the boosting of African economies. In or view this will result in a corresponding increase of people participating in the economies of the continent as opposed to languishing on the fringes.