As we head towards the end of the year, I figured that this penultimate post should be more of a reflection than the usual thought piece. As I type this in my hotel in Abu Dhabi, I look back at an eventful year and can’t help but be proud of our team. The recent spat (on this platform) with the former SAMSA CEO is still fresh on mind, I took a moment to pause and reflect on the validity of his assertions, those that know me know that I will consider all opinions and give them their due consideration. So, I had to ask myself, are we doing enough?
Our beloved city of Durban experienced a tumultuous two years, over and above the Covid pandemic, we had the lootings and the floods, we saw a large migration of people rushing to the Western Cape fleeing what they deemed to be a failed state. We have investments both in Cape Town and in Durban and could have joined the exodus, but we continue to choose to have our head office in Durban, the city we were raised in. It has been the best of times, and it has been the worst of times. Our travels this year have taken us to London, Houston, Miami, Liverpool, Tel Aviv, and the United Arab Emirates, all in the pursuit of change. We did all of this because we seek change, not only for our company, but for the maritime industry at large. Our industry needs change, the forces of power need to shift. We have been saying this since 2012 when we started Linsen Nambi, and the same applies now 10 years later.
We have come to accept that if you are going to make lasting, and generational change, it may look like you’re not doing enough from the outside. The only change which matters is real change, real change takes time, real change is incremental, real change requires you to rise above the petty arguments and spend your efforts on action. We did all of this whilst at the same time pursuing an MBA through GIBS; I write this on the eve of our final submission. It hasn’t been easy, time is a constraint, so it came at a significant cost to family life, but I don’t say that to complain, real change takes sacrifice.
The past three years has been a concerted effort in shifting the paradigm of the bunker industry of South Africa, and I believe we are at the rising of a new dawn in our industry. I’m reminded of a quote from the book of Exodus, verse 13, chapter 17: When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them go on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” The past three years since we purchased the bunker company from Grindrod has been tough, I questioned our decisions throughout, but now that we are at the end I can see the purpose behind it, we were being prepared for something greater, we couldn’t let our light shine too soon as we were not ready, but now we are. We are war ready.
The answer to all the critics is yes. Yes, we are doing enough, we continue to fly the South African flag proudly, we continue to advocate for South African owned business to be in the forefront of economic development and job creation, but more importantly, we are working towards change. Real change. A tide is coming.