If you are township born and raised, old or young, sooner or later your inner fire goes out. It is not easy to get out of a ghetto state of mind. It is both addictive and infectious. It pervades the atmosphere.
It is then that you would need renowned motivational speaker, charismatic social leader, and visionary personal coach Dr. David Molapo to reignite it.
Without taking anything from Robin Sharma or Stephen Covey, we would NOT need them if we were to pay attention to Dr. Molapo.
Not many people will acknowledge or recognise that he is a modern-day hero, a leader of the calibre of Steve Biko, and even more if you like.
He is one of a growing number of men who live and work in townships to rekindle the inner spirit, especially among the youth.
I experienced the power of Dr. Molapo a few decades ago when he launched his I Can Foundation. I must admit I first looked at and listened to Jesse Jackson at Regina Mundi, Soweto in 1977. He was the first man to teach me the “I am black and proud” creed. It was then and remains the same thing with Dr. Molapo. His main goal is to arouse the spirit of self-determination among township folk, especially the youth.
Here is a man who desires nothing more than to profoundly shape and influence black people for the rest of their lives.
When his protégé, mover, and shaker, Simphiwe Masiza, invited me to his 45th birthday at Orange Farm, I broke with all my excuses on a Saturday morning to drive the 40km. On my arrival, Masiza came all the way to open my car door to welcome me to his auspicious event.
Perhaps he intuitively knew that I had travelled all this way only to be blown out of my mind.
He approved the day’s programme and thus knew that his leader and coach, Dr. Molapo, was going to deliver the opening prayer.
Who was I to doubt the man who had laid a red carpet to his township home for almost 200 black super-achievers and influencers? You should dare ask him for the list of Who is Who who was there.
We walked back to the home yard that had been transformed into a state-of-the-art Hollywood private lounge.
Masiza was making a statement. You can do this, that is, bring Sandton to the township.
There was not a thing you would find in Sandton that was not in his electricity-less yard. Orange Farm has been without electricity for three years.
If correct, it was Masiza or Nimrod Mkele that invited Dr. Molapo to do the opening prayer. And he opened the eyes, hearts, and minds of those who were receptive to the word of God.
God lives in the townships.
He first had a brief but concise public conversation with God. Soon thereafter, he delved into psycho-sociological analysis of the black township psyche,
especially of men.
Thus, he introduced a radical social and spiritual concept, Mentor (Men Entering New Territory of Respect).
It was clear that this youthful-looking 60-year-old has the ability to make men and women see more in themselves. He does not wish for township folks not to take themselves seriously.
His prayer and sermon were delivered off the cuff. Yet he stretched and unleashed the audience’s potential to realise their power to be agents for change, to transform at least one person’s life. The thing about Dr. Molapo is that he is a rare man who has long accepted his assignment and has over the last four decades given his best.
You have to know “Who you are” and “Why you are on earth.”
It would not be wrong to say he had tapped into the spirits and minds of almost everyone in that tent. I saw how people’s eyes and faces glowed when he spoke and prayed.
He defined and unpacked the notion of a mentor:
- Models – men must be role models who show exemplary behaviour.
- Explore – drop fear to try possible opportunities. Never think anything is impossible. Be the trailblazer.
- Nurture – allow the talent of others to grow.
- Opportunities – open the gates.
Trust their abilities
Above all, Mentees must be bigger than their Mentors. The success of a leader is to produce mentees who will do better than him. His message was simple and clear: we each have a responsibility to produce someone destined to be bigger and greater than us.
By the time I left the memorable event, I knew in my mind that Dr. Molapo and Masiza are men who are united in the vision and mission to unleash human potential among black people, especially the youth.
And it was clear to me that they are our new kind of peacetime heroes in a society at war with itself.
If you think Steve Biko or Black Consciousness is dead, then you better look around.
- Sandile Memela is a civil servant and former journalist. He writes in his personal capacity.
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