Recent horrific racial related events have seen the resurgence in #BlackLivesMatter activism activities, and we are reminded about the tremendous amount of injustice and disadvantages towards people of colour in society around the world.
Globally, and especially here in South Africa, history has depicted that people of race have been marginalised and not afforded the same opportunities. Bridging this gap and creating opportunities for previously disadvantaged people of colour was one of the goals when successful businessman, Mkhonto Mntwini started with his multiple business ventures. One of these ventures includes Star of Azania, a transport company with the motto to, “Rise Above the Rest”.
Not only does Star of Azania have the vision to ‘rise above the rest’ in terms of offering passenger safety and satisfaction, but also in terms of business ethics with a clear approach to systematically reduce the racial prejudices and disadvantages which are still prevalent in our economy.
Even since the liberation in 1994, prejudices in society continue to undermine the development of human capital of people of colour, undervalues leaders of colour and investors are hesitant to fund businesses owned by persons of colour.
This negatively biased approach in fact could unfairly deter the prosperity and growth of the individual and also prevent economic growth as a whole from reaching its full potential. Greater economic productivity is hindered when prejudice prevents highly skilled and qualified persons from practicing their basic human rights to earn a living. Furthermore, harmful racial tendencies deter other counties from participating in trade and investment opportunities with South Africa.
Activism and action to change, are not limited to the digital space and street protests only. Mr. Mntwini believes that transformation is motivated through action in business and by leading by example. Change occurs in the workplace, at home, and in social circles.
The most effective manner in which to mitigate these inequalities is by creating black-owned businesses, employing previously disadvantaged people, creating skills development programmes and by supporting other black-owned businesses. By providing all citizens with a space to be part of the economy, they are then also empowered as people of colour in society.
Star of Azania is a 100% black youth-owned BEE (Black Economic Empowerment), value-adding supplier. The vision is to operate as a world-class passenger transport service while upholding the values that sustain and ensure a prosperous future for clients and staff by supporting skills development and encouraging transformation.