by: Mr. S. Singh (28th July 2023)
Mr. S. Singh delivering a talk On Friday, July 28, at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted by the Russia-South Africa business dialogue dedicated to the development of long-term business relations.
I represent my group of companies fondly named, DepiAfrica which is primarily a petrochemical company and a media company.
I was asked to speak about the importance of the media in the business world. I’ll start by saying that in South Africa we say without contradiction that we have total media freedom.
That media freedom is entrenched in our constitution within our Bill of Rights.
The South African constitution is regarded as one of the finest in the world.
We jealously guard, protect and defend those rights and advance it in every way we can.
Our constitution was shaped in the main by the progressive ideologues who influenced and carefully managed the transition to democracy and beyond.
Without naming other names as there are many, I want to make it absolutely clear that this was all possible because of the enormous role that Russia played for over a century in supporting, preparing, training and defending those who eventually ensured the collapse of the most horrific apartheid state that South Africa was.
Without Russia this would not have been possible.
Founding father, Josiah Gumede, visited the USSR in 1927 attending the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the October revolution, and took part in the Congress of the Friends of the USSR.
Gumede considered as one of the greatest achievements of the USSR that the Socialist Revolution managed to unite people of different nationalities in their struggle for common ideals.
When Gumede returned to South Africa, he said in a speech: ‘I have seen the world to come, where it has already begun. I have been to the new Jerusalem.’
Marked by his experience, Gumede began to call for a united front uniting communists and non-communists. Later that year he was elected president of the ANC.[Source SA History Online]
Russia for many of us, invokes feelings of warmth, love, support from our darkest days when we needed it most.
We are grateful. Enormously so.
The camaraderie and fraternal relationship we share with the Russian people is permanently bonded in our common ideological aspirations which is infused through the South-South cooperation and more formally in our relationship through BRICS and more, at national strategic levels.
It is an honour therefore to address this gathering of the good folk here who understand the tremendous potential that lies in deepening personal relationships and fostering business cooperation between South Africa, Russia, and our fellow BRICS nations. It is time for us to grasp the opportunities which lie in front of us, built by the sacrifice of those who went before us, many having given their lives so that we can gather here today as we do.
In a world where borders seem to blur, and our economies intertwine, seizing opportunities for collaboration has never been more crucial if we are to leave future generations with a better world. We find ourselves at a unique crossroad, where the realms of media and business intertwine more than ever before. Gone are the days when media was merely a messenger; it has now become a powerful catalyst that shapes not only public perception but influences decisions and paves the way for new economic frontiers.
As we embark on this journey of discovery, we cannot ignore the vast potential that exists within the BRICS nations. Together, our countries comprise over 40% of the world’s population and contribute significantly to global GDP.
This offers an immense realm of possibilities for businesses to connect, innovate, and thrive. BRICS is 5 countries. 22 more have asked to join.
While political leaders engage over and determine the ideology, the shape and character of this powerful grouping of countries, it is us, ordinary folk, individuals and gatherings of businesspeople and entrepreneurs who will make this work – we have the means, the opportunity, the motives and more than that, the duty to make it work.
South Africa, Russia, and our BRICS partners are beacons of untapped potential, and it is within this untapped potential that the seeds of mutual growth and prosperity lie.
The opportunities for business cooperations are ripe for the taking, as we possess a wealth of resources, knowledge, and diverse markets.
From Johannesburg to St. Petersburg, from Beijing to Brasilia, our diverse cultures and unique strengths can interlace to create a vibrant tapestry of cooperation.
By pooling our resources and expertise, we can and must unlock new frontiers of trade, investment, and technological advancement.
But, let us not forget the crucial role the media plays in this narrative. As businesses seek to collaborate and expand across borders, the media becomes the storyteller, shaping how the world perceives these endeavours. It becomes the bridge that connects our ambitions to the global stage.
The media’s ability to provide accurate, unbiased information and highlight the benefits of such collaborations cannot be underestimated or understated.
As representatives of both the media and businesses, we share a symbiotic relationship.
It is incumbent upon us to work hand in hand, fostering an environment of trust and openness. By doing so, we can break down barriers, dispel myths, and create a conducive atmosphere for fruitful cooperation.
The world is dominated by powerful economies for historical reasons. Yet our countries have the most natural resources on the planet and holds most of its population.
In 2023 that is inexplicable how we are still dictated to by more powerful nations.
Change must happen. It must start here.
Let us commit to that. Let’s commit to building together.
Let’s commit to building each other.
Let’s do that, not by exploiting each other and deepening the inequality fostered on us over centuries by powerful nations, but by a deep commitment to making the world a better place, by making each of us better.
In conclusion, the opportunities before us are vast and promising.
Together, we can embark on a journey that leads to shared success and prosperity. As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of global commerce, let us remember that it is through unity and cooperation that we can unlock the true potential of our nations.
May the spirit of collaboration guide our path to a brighter future.
by: Mr. S. Singh