Hey, how about this? When John Motaung stood on the podium at the English National Stud in the last week of June, he became the second Childwick scholarship graduate of our School of Management Excellence in three years, to be anointed Top Practical Student of the Year at that venerable institution. Within days, our traditional dance troupe cracked the nod to perform at the world’s greatest pageant of its kind, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The previous month, a former pupil of a local government school was crowned the world’s most influential business person by Time magazine. The environmental concern that is born into most of our countrymen, sees a South African with his eco-friendly motor cars, working to save the planet, while at the same time launching a spacecraft to leave it. True vision is binocular, and Elon Musk is clearly a man who sees many things at once.
Only a year before, an international study hailed South Africa as the font of more world class companies than any other country of its size. Yes, we have our issues, but we certainly have our celebrations, too. To put this all into perspective, both John Motaung and his mentor and former victor ludorum in England, Thabani Nzimande, came to Summerhill from impoverished communities with little to offer but the dream of working with thoroughbreds. That they should emerge as the number one students at the English National Stud is both a signal to us all that miracles are still possible, and a vindication of our belief that right here in our neighbourhood, exists a reservoir of the finest talents of stockmanship on earth.
Another graduate of the class of 2013 is presently on a Cathsseta scholarship at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Six months out of our school, Hazel Kayiya is the CEO designate of one of our biggest racing operators. Like her fellow classmates, she’s a product of a new wave of thinking. She knows there is a costly misconception hindering innovation. Most business models, for instance, hold that strategic reasoning must always precede emotional execution. That means, don’t try an idea before its worth is proven by knowledge or science, untainted by feeling.
We’re in the horse business, for heaven’s sake; we’re working with flesh and blood, where the heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing. Emotions assign value in our game, not tests or analysis. Disruptive ideas rarely pass muster, because they’re benchmarked against the norms of ordinary old ones. That’s not to say we should reject rationality, but we need to know its limitations in harnessing our creative spirits. We cannot expect innovation on one hand, and kill it with the other. Truth is, the scientific world offers much fertile ground, but woefully few farmers.