Principal of Cranefield College, Prof P. Steyn;
Chairperson and members of our Governing Council;
Cranefield management, all lecturers and staff
Proud parents, partners and relatives of the graduands;
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the 2017 graduation of Cranefield College, it is an honour and a privilege for me to address you today on this auspicious occasion.
This, is a once in a life time moment for all of you graduands, therefore, take a deep breath – OBSERVE AND ABSORB THIS MOMENT!
It may come as a shock but in the interest of full declaration – I would like to tell you that my views only represent my choices and experiences and NOT the ultimate truth. This means you can challenge them and in fact I’m sure there are many alternative views and paths. Therefore, what you get out of this address will entirely depend on you.
I’m quite aware that this is a special day for the graduands and their loved ones and therefore I will make a short speech.
“When your mind is closed and your spirit is covered with the snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty. But as long as your mind is searching optimistically for a new and better path, there is hope you may die young at ninety”
Let me outline the key events impacting the current geopolitics:
The abovementioned events provide a limited list of the contemporary geopolitical events – as you could notice/observe I avoided the merits and demerits but rather presented them as they are. If we were to employ the Pareto principle, we would all agree that the new US administration represents the most fundamental policy shift that has a decisive domestic (security, justice, economy) and global impact (balance of power, international treaties, economic, American exceptionalism doctrine – with an added twist of “America first”).
Please note I have chosen to illustrate the US because of its sheer influence on humanity in terms of cohesion, trade, peace, commerce and globalisation.
South African Economic Scene (23 years since 1994):
It may appear that the two observations represent doom and gloom, but to the contrary (to me) they represent opportunities. These are political and business opportunities for:
Above all these, nothing will beat individual commitment, hard work, dedication, selflessness and education. You 2017 graduands, you represent this important future that our country needs so much. I therefore once more congratulate you for being on the right path, but let us see if you are adequately prepared for the coming challenges.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”
Bruce Lee – you may not be aware that as much of a martial artist he was also a philosopher – once said “those who walk in the dark and don’t know the light, will never seek the light”. This means those who want to know more will have to always open themselves up to knowledge and learning. My experience has taught me that when we think graduation represents the last lap in the quest for knowledge, we often make a dangerous mistake of slowly becoming irrelevant. My former Chairman and the current Imperial Holdings CEO, Mr Mark Lamberti used to say “If you grow faster that your organisation you are becoming valuable but, if your organisation grows faster than you, then you’re becoming redundant”, may this never happen to you.
The prevailing challenges in our businesses -but highly conspicuous in the SOE’s – is the one of boards and executives filled with individuals who want power and influence without knowledge and expertise. In life there are attributes that we currently don’t have an instant cure for, such as a pill/tablet of knowledge – the process of imbibing knowledge remains a domain of the dedicated, committed and hard workers, such as yourselves. Therefore, fraudulently buying a qualification can never match the knowledge accumulated in the education process. This means, instant education/knowledge does not exist just like instant expertise – these are achieved through refining processes.
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” – Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
What should we do?
We must show that intellect, application, diligence, creativity, innovation, service, judgement, integrity and just plain hard work will succeed long after the dishonest opportunists have been forgotten. We must protect our reputation with strong character and sound judgement and we must nurture it in the knowledge that we cannot talk our way out of a situation we have behaved our way into. We must accept that we cannot apply one set of ethics for our family, a second for the office and a third on the golf course. We have to accept that there’s an expiry date on blaming others for your actions. You have to claim and take full charge of your life. What is there to lose?
Your future will only be limited by the choices you make.
How to sustain motivation and maintain a good perspective
Michael Josephson provides us an excellent context on significance in his poem that I truly love entitled “What will matter”.
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end,
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies, will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you come from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end. It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built,
not what you got but what you gave,
What will matter is not your success but your significance,
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught,
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion ,courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many people will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.
What will matter is how you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but choice.
Choose to live a life that matters
Live each day as though it was your last, cause one day it will probably be true!
Congratulation to all of you 2017 graduands and may you grow in wealth, wisdom and may you be TRUE TO YOURSELF in everything you do.
Our country desperately needs the best version of you.
I thank you
About the Speaker:
Mr. Bonisile Makubalo
ND (Mech. Eng.), MBA, PhD Candidate at Cranefield College, IoDSA.
Born in the Eastern Cape and matriculated with a university exemption from Limekhaya High. Bonisile completed a Mechanical Engineering National Diploma from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (former PE Technikon).
He also completed an Executive Leadership Program at Unisa Business School, a New Managers Program certificate from UCT Business School and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Management College of Southern Africa. Bonisile is currently registered as a PhD candidate in Commerce and Administration at Cranefield College.
He has worked for GMSA (former Delta Motor Corporation) as a Product and Project Engineer in the Product Development and Planning Department. He joined Denel as a Design Engineer in the Mining Section and worked as Business Unit Manager Mining and later the Business Development Executive. He was responsible for the entire Mining Business Unit from Marketing, Logistics, Production, Global distribution, Research and Development and Technology Transfer.
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