Gifts and what we do with them
- By Wits University
At the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 2 April 2014, Isaac Shongwe, Executive Director and board member of Barloworld Limited, told graduands that they were the lucky ones among thousands who would love to be in their shoes.
"You are a very special group of young South Africans. I have no doubt that you worked very hard to be sitting where you are today. You are smart, gifted and committed, and for that achievement I congratulate you," he said.
Shongwe encouraged the graduands to reflect on the gifts they had been given - by their parents, by those who assisted them financially, by their professors and by the South African tax payers. "The challenge of being given a gift, especially a higher order gift, a gift of education is what you do with that gift," he said.
Some of the questions that Shongwe encouraged the graduands to ask included:
- Will you be motivated by serving others; or focus only on yourself and your own narrow set of interests?
- Will you respect and trust others: or will you exploit and abuse them for you own benefit?
- Will you speak out and be heard; or will you be silent and fearful?
About Isaac Shongwe
Isaac Shongwe is an Executive Director and Board member of Barloworld Limited, a global company with its headquarters here in Johannesburg, South Africa. Barloworld focuses on Infrastructure Development, Power Generation, Automotive / Logistics and Agriculture.
Shongwe founded the Letsema Consulting Company, a strategic management consulting firm. He is the founder and Chairman of Letsema Investments, a black owned investment company in SA. Letsema is engaged in a range of ventures, predominantly in the Logistics and Information Technology sectors.
No stranger to Wits, Shongwe Chairs the Boards of the Wits Business School and the Open Society Foundation in South Africa. He is a member of several NGO boards which include The Aspen Institute, The Ragon Institute and Endeavour - an NGO focusing on entrepreneurship development in SA. In addition, he is heavily involved in social and community upliftment projects.
Shongwe also founded The Letsema Foundation, which focuses on leadership development, entrepreneurship and education. He is a founding partner and Chairman of the African Leadership Initiative in South Africa.
A Rhodes Scholar, Shongwe holds a BA Honours degree in Economics and Political Science from Wesleyan University in the USA and a Masters in Management Studies from Oxford University.At the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 2 April 2014, Isaac Shongwe, Executive Director and board member of Barloworld Limited, told graduands that they were the lucky ones among thousands who would love to be in their shoes.