SPEECH BY SIBONGISENI MBATHA, PRESIDENT OF ABSIP AT LAUNCH OF THE ABSIP STUDENT
CHAPTER AT RHODES UNIVERSITY. FRIDAY APRIL 26th
THEME: BUILDING A CULTURE OF SHARED KNOWLEDGE AND
SHARED DEVELOPMENT OF IDEAS THROUGH THE STUDENT
Representatives from Faculty at Rhodes University;
Representatives from the SRC;
All student formations present;
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to address you on this launch of ABSIP’s 14th
student chapter at Rhodes University.
It is good to be in Makhanda. The last time I was here it was still called
To those who are here for the first time or may not remember the history
of this town, history books remind us that Grahamstown was named
after Lieutenant Colonel John Graham. His role in the Frontier Wars was
to exercise “maximum degree of terror” on the Xhosa natives. He was
and still is infamous for his methods to “break the back of the native”
by employing the most savage means imaginable including liberally
employing the “scorched earth policy” against those he conquered –
burning their homes, their crops and their livestock before murdering the
warriors he met in battle, and butchering even women and children in a
mass extermination of a people – whose descendants can still be found
in this area.
Makhanda was a warrior, a war doctor, philosopher and prophet whose
heroics in the Frontier Wars included an attack on a British garrison at
the locality. Makhanda ka Nxele was imprisoned in and would later die while
escaping from Robben Island.
Now the government believes that the renaming of this town will ensure
that Makhanda ka Nxele’s memory is immortalised.
This university’s mantra is “Where Leaders Learn”. As a leader in the
financial services sector, we at ABSIP are excited to form a chapter
which will help build and enhance excellence amongst you our youth,
our financial services leaders of tomorrow. It is you who sooner or later
will be helping to keep the wheels of our economy turning.
This university which until 1980s admitted only white South Africans, has
produced many well-known leaders, including Wilbur Smith, a novelist
specialising in historical fiction about international involvement in
Southern Africa across four centuries, seen from the viewpoints of both
black and white families.
Allan Gray, a South African business magnate, investor and
philanthropist who founded Allan Gray Investment Management and
Chris Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of
staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe who was assassinated in 1993 – are
graduates of this university. Jacko Maree, former CEO of the Standard Bank Group, and now
Investment Envoy of President Ramaphosa is another leader that has
been a Rhodes scholar.
Nora Roberts an American bestselling author of more than 215 novels
once said: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward,
you’re always in the same place.”
ABSIP recognises that you are here because you want education, you
want to acquire knowledge and to learn to be a leader in your own right.
At the launch of this student chapter, I, therefore, wish to emphasize
the power of “BUILDING A CULTURE OF SHARED KNOWLEDGE
AND SHARED DEVELOPMENT OF IDEAS THROUGH THE STUDENT
At ABSIP, we recognise that successful organisations are knowledge creating
organisations, which produce, disseminate and embody new
knowledge of new products and services.
As a lead custodian of black professionals’ interests and black business
in the financial services sector, we recognise that knowledge sharing and
management enables organisations to improve efficiency and
effectiveness mainly by decoding tacit knowledge into explicit
The launch of this student chapter is a realisation of a vision that
knowledge always starts with individuals, and knowledge creation
commences when people like you share their internal tacit knowledge,
by socialising with fellow students to discuss issues affecting our nation.
When this shared knowledge is internalised, it creates new knowledge,
thus preparing leaders of tomorrow.
The central activity of knowledge creating organisations is making
intellectual capital available to others. Through the ABSIP student
chapter we can achieve this at Rhodes University.
At ABSIP, we know that people have to question their beliefs: how they
create knowledge instead of simply performing tasks and how they
transfer useful knowledge.
We are aware that knowledge has to be created, embodied,
disseminated and used to contribute to organisational effectiveness, and
ensure that the organisation can demonstrate what has been learnt
through its actions and decisions.
I know that it takes time to build a culture of shared knowledge and
shared development of ideas, hence, I hope that from now until your
graduation, you will use the ABSIP Student Chapter as your base of
Ladies and gentlemen Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, one of the best
civil rights orators the world has ever seen, once said: “One of the great
liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake
through great periods of social change. Every society has its
protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who
are notorious for sleeping through revolutions.
Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new
ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” Through this student chapter, let us remain awake through this great period of social change coming after the May 8 elections.
ABSIP offers such recognitions through the Student Chapters. We are
proud of our student membership of over 3,000 young people across 13
institutions of higher learning, including the Universities of KwaZulu-
Natal (UKZN), Johannesburg (UJ), Cape Town (UCT) and the
Witwatersrand (WITS). Now Rhodes, the 14th institution, is present.
These chapters are a wonderful opportunity for us to help inspire the
next generation of financial services leaders, share knowledge, create
new knowledge, and thus create leaders of tomorrow.
We are proud to encourage you to share knowledge, create new
knowledge and help you prepare for your careers.
Ladies and gentlemen, the financial services sector is changing not year
to year, but day to day, because of advances in technology and the way
those advances affect and enhance our ability to go forward with a
creative vision and sharing knowledge.
This chapter is a wonderful opportunity for you. It brings you right in front
of the industry, to be seen, to be visible, and to make people aware of
you and what you can do and ultimately advance your knowledge.
I hope that this chapter will inject a fresh perspective, new energy and
new skills into the financial services sector universe.
As we celebrate the launch of this chapter and prepare to vote on May
8th, we must acknowledge that our economy is still faced with profound
challenges that require a coherent and concerted response from
everyone, including our beloved financial services sector.
It is no secret that the democratic government inherited an economy with
deep structural deficiencies.
Since 1994, our government has had to put in place interventions to
ensure economic stability and encourage growth.
To do that, since our formation, ABSIP has been focused on helping
transform the economy, helping introduce appropriate levers to grow
strategic areas of this sector to help create employment opportunities.
Significant progress has been made. However, we need to do more and
we need to do it better. Our economy needs to grow at a faster rate to create jobs and eliminate
Through this chapter, we seek to encourage all of you to embrace
transformation and play your part in growing our economy and making
South Africa a globally-competitive nation.
Let me end with this inspirational quote from Steve Jobs, the man who
started Apple whose Iphones we use today when he said: “Your time is
limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped
by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and
intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to
become. Everything else is secondary.”
Thank you for attending the launch of this 14th ABSIP Student chapter. This
is a clear demonstration that, working together, we can and will move
South Africa forward by building a culture of shared knowledge and
shared development of ideas through the student chapters.
I declare the Rhodes University ABSIP Student Chapter officially
I thank you.