Work. Self promotion. Sleep. 

I type this with heavy eyelids, I cannot wait to get under the covers. Sleep is one of my favorite pastimes (had you told me this when I was a child, I would have told you to bugger off). Over the last few weeks, I’ve been burning the 11pm oil (my candle burns out by midnight) and rising early to work (on my business proposals). 

In 2016, my focus was on university and my first year as a technology and media candidate attorney. It has been great. I’m glad to note that I have been growing my personal brand as a technology lawyer. 

One year in, and I’ve been published in reputable platforms, including South Africa’s legal journal. I will include the links below as I’m not above self promotion. If you don’t promote yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? 

I have now adjusted to working over and beyond 8 hours (candidate attorney life) while studying full time. This adjustment has confirmed that there is as much time in a day as you choose. 

I have currently been stretching the hours of my allocated 24 hours, at work and on Symbios, my CSI (Corporate Social Investment) consultancy, or implementancy as I like to call it. We’re doers, go-getters, action people and we’re going to manage sustainable projects. 
Exciting times ahead! But first, sleep. 

Oh wait, before bed, here are the links to my articles that I’ve written (and co-written). 
1. Is virtual child porn illegal? http://www.timeslive.co.za/ilive/2016/04/15/Is-virtual-child-porn-illegal 

2. Your private Facebook messages can be used in court against you – even if you were hacked http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2016/02/05/Your-private-Facebook-messages-can-be-used-in-court-against-you-even-if-you-were-hacked-iLIVE

3. POPI – Compliance v Defiance http://www.derebus.org.za/popi-compliance-v-defiance/ 

4. Businesses lure Pokémon go players to their doorsteps https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2016-08-11-businesses-lure-pokmon-go-players-to-their-doorsteps/ 

5. Minister Gordhan’s budget speech hints at using big data to give a big beating to corrupt officials https://www.ppmattorneys.co.za/minister-gordhans-budget-speech-hints-using-big-data-give-big-beating-corrupt-officials/

6. SASSA controversy: aspects related to the protection of personal information https://www.ppmattorneys.co.za/sassa-controversy-aspects-related-protection-personal-information/

7. Ben 10s and state ICT procurement- getting it right the first time https://www.ppmattorneys.co.za/ben-10s-state-ict-procurement-getting-right-first-time/

Symbios 

Derived from the word Symbiosis which means “the interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.”

I’m officially in business! 

With the help and guidance of two good friends, I have founded Symbios, a business that incorporates CSI into enterprise growth strategies. The goal is to create and facilitate sustainable CSI projects that go beyond positive PR. We want to make a genuine investment in the communities our clients operate in. 

I’ve worked on two projects – from the planning to implementation to evaluation – and it’s exhilarating to see them transpire. I love business and I’m driven by a desire to make a positive impact. I cannot wait to get more work done. 

Website coming soon! For now, I’m on Twitter/Instagram: @symbios_za   

My core

I am, at heart, a philanthropist. It makes me feel good to know that someone is benefiting from my actions. It is not about how good I will look, what drives me is the ability to make a positive impact on someone’s life. That is power. Power isn’t about having control over people, it is about the ability to change lives and make great things happen. We all possess this power, but most of us do not harness it.

I am entrepreneur because I have identified an issue, albeit accidentally, and I stepped up and decided to address it. I am new to entrepreneurship – in fact, I have told myself that I am merely engaging in a few “projects” but someone I respect and admire, referred to me an entrepreneur, and so I affirm this.

The issue that I have identified is social discrepancy among South Africans, I live in an upper-middle class suburb with the richest people to the left of me and extreme poverty to my right. I want to live like the people on the left but I cannot ignore the people on the right. I have spent six years actively engaging in fundraising for and volunteering at many NGOS. It is hard work, but hard work has never detoured my sense of responsibility.

I have also noticed how NGOs PLEAD and BEG for money and resources. I do not want to plead, I want to encourage businesses to be responsible corporate citizens because they have the means to make a substantial impact.

I aim to address this by incorporating CSI to a business’s growth strategy. This is not merely donating money to random NGOs, to address the issue, we need a sustainable solution. I want to work with businesses and employees to select a cause that is relevant to that business and plan a long term project which is ultimately a genuine investment in the community. A business WILL reap the rewards – and there are many rewards. Forget using CSI to look good, consumers can see through that. I am passionate about helping people and I coordinate projects in a hands-on way. I have always been 100% involved at EVERY step and ensure proper feedback and evaluation with regard to every project that I have undertaken, whether in my personal capacity or with Rotaract and NGOs.

Essentially, I will be spending someone else’s money on my passion. My passion is people and social development. However this does not mean that I don’t enjoy the finer things in life or that I won’t splurge occasionally – because I will, but it brings me joy to know that I have done something to help –  to help a business enhance their competitive advantage and retain loyal consumers AND to help the communities they operate in, thrive.

THE BEST EMPLOYEE

  • Works long hours for low wages
  • Not a member of pesky trade unions
  • Works under extreme and dangerous situations
  • Does not ask for breaks
  • Does not complain
  • Will not argue with you

Can you guess who this is??

The appeal of using child labour is obvious – children are compliant and can be easily intimidated; they do not have trade unions to bargain for better pay and working conditions; and they are innocent and uneducated which makes them easy to exploit.

There are many stages of production in the fashion, construction and agricultural industries and shrewd employers get away with using child labour because large companies and customers cannot keep track of every stage of the process. In 2001, one of the biggest brands in the world took a major blow when they admitted to using child labour in Pakistan and Cambodia. This sent other brands spiraling on a course to ensure that they were not going to suffer the same fate. And while Nike has recovered from that (due to extensive CSI and governance measures) and rised to popularity again, the reality is devastating – even with businesses actively implementing extravagant CSI initiatives and encouraging ethical practice, the use of child labour has found its place in the market.

Next week, 4 April 2015, is Child Labour Day in South Africa, and I thought it would be appropriate to think, and encourage discussion about this problem. I have chosen some photos from the inter-web that depict the seriousness and gravity of child labour. Essentially, it is abuse. It deprives them of their childhood and exposes them to dangerous environments. SO WHY DOES IT OCCUR? Because they are the perfect employees.

There is a definite correlation between poverty, lack of education and child labour. Countries like India and Bangladesh have some of the highest rates of poverty and child labour, recruiters convince impoverished parents to allow their young children to work at their factories. There are promises of meals, accommodation, education and a good pay. Sounds great, right? It would be except the children who are as young as 5 years old, are forced to work in appalling conditions – earning nothing more than a few cents. Their parents are too poor, too ignorant and too desperate to protect them.