Phakamisa Ndzamela is an award-winning former business journalist for Thomson Reuters, E-News Africa, Moneyweb, Business Day, Financial Mail and Financial Times of London. He holds an honours degree in journalism from the University of Witwatersrand. He lives in Cape Town.
The story of black business in South Africa remains under-explored and poorly understood. Dispossession of fertile or mineral-rich lands through colonial wars, as well as the landmark 1913 Land Act, are among the root causes of the economic precarity of black South Africans to date. Inadequate attention has been paid to how racist policies and discriminatory practices thwarted black business initiatives and success. That’s why Phakamisa put pen to paper to present the world with his book – Native Merchants: The Building of The Black Business Class in South Africa
In this episode, Sizakele and Phakamisa explore the root causes of the current material imbalance in South Africa and he, through structured thought and deep scholarship – presents a case for correcting stereotypes and according due praise to those forebearers who founded and grew businesses in the darkest times of South Africa’s history. Despite these biased systemic impediments, black South African men and women built successful enterprises in industries as diverse as hospitality, mining, media, agriculture, financial services, and real estate among others. Phakamisa seeks to show the long tail of entrepreneurship among black South Africans and to consequently correct a historical stereotype that implies that black people in South Africa are only able to do business as ‘tenderpreneurs’. More importantly in bringing these stories to the fore, he offers, the young black girl and boy – a NorthStar - as well as a renewed sense of pride premised upon an unshakeable truth, that they descend from a lineage of people who, from the beginning – we remarkable and resilient.