A LETTER doing the rounds on the technical grapevine by a young, dejected former Investec employee grabbed my attention the other day. Though the letter didn`t really have much to do with me personally, the boy raised number of points that made me re-examine my own role as a young black professional.
He also mentioned a conversation where one of his ex-colleagues said that in his role as a mentor, he would pass on his knowledge and skills at as slow a pace as possible so that `when` (because this has now become a certainty) his understudy was deemed `ready`, the company would undergo a restructuring process and the black guy would be promoted into his position and the mentor would be able to quit and consult to the company at twice the cost.
Though I personally believe that the views of the mentor are shortsighted and somewhat self-centered, they make perfect sense to him. I find myself asking what caused these feelings of mistrust among black and white professionals. Empowerment, with the best of intentions, has thrown people together with no `manual` perse
Industries have literally been told to run with it, and though its been more than a decade, these underlying feelings of `you are here to take over my job` and `its time you moved over so we can run this place` have not been resolved.
Interestingly, these feelings are not bubbling under the skins of all professionals. There are thousands of South Africans who go about their lives without even giving a thought to this, just pop into your nearest News Café, Primi Piatti or Nelson Mandela Square and see for yourself. - The acceptance and camaraderie is immeasurable and multiracial companies and families are budding around us like wild mushrooms after rain.
With this thought, I urge those of us who have embraced the colours that make up the rainbow in our nation to assist those still struggling to come to terms with integration. Lets help them help themselves, it`s no mean feat but I know we can do it. Let`s make each day a world cup match. During these events we are so focused on being `South Africans` that we forget everything else and pull together.
Till next week.