Bongani Nqwababa's 50th Birthday Anniversary

By Dr Reuel J. Khoza  I  13 FEBRUARY 2016


Friends & relatives… making this an occasion … a defining moment … defining Bongani as Half-centurion … hot on the heels of arguably Bongani’s most significant promotion … Sasol CEO.

Mandla, we do not know what role you played in this regard … We can safely surmise … NOT INSIGNIFICANT.

Before I focus on the man who is the reason why we are here; may I pay tribute to some of his significant others:

Wife: For providing the anchor / stabilizing influence and departure point for Bongani’s achievements.

Children: For rending it all worthwhile.

Bongani’s Parents: For bringing him into this world, bringing him up / socializing:

  • So warm a personality
  • So disciplined and focused a soul
  • So diligent a performer
  • So persistent a pursuer of excellence
  • So persistent a pursuer of excellence
  • So effective an exploder of myths and stereotypes in the corporate arena
  • Such an epitome of a sense of efficacy
  • Such a mighty combination of literacy and numeracy
  • Such a valiant corporate warrior
  • Such a worthy exponent and practitioner of corporate governance
  • A visionary with an unwavering sense of destiny

Siyanibonga bazali for laying a sound and solid foundation on which Bongani built commendably.

Bongani, may I encode a few messages to you as you transit from:

  • Brilliance to profundity
  • Intelligence to wisdom
  • Importance to significance

Wide apart in age as you and I may be, we have had overlapping odysseys, Shell, Eskom, Old Mutual and now in one sense Sasol.

In paying tribute on your 50th Birthday celebration, I will occasionally borrow wisdom from sayings of our sages.

“In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their qualities in action. Aristotle Your bias for action.

“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not figures on a dial. We should count time by heartthrobs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest acts, the best. Phillip James Bailey.

On this score you came off with flying colours.

Heed the following observations from: Roy L Smith

As a man grows older

  • He values the voice of experience more and voice of prophecy less.
  • He finds more of life’s wealth in the common pleasures:  home, health, children.
  • He thinks more about the worth of men and less about their wealth.
  • He begins to appreciate his own father a little more.
  • He boasts less and boosts more.
  • He hurries less and usually makes more progress.
  • He esteems the friendship of God a little higher.

Roy L Smith

“There are three marks of a superior man:  being virtuous, he is free from anxiety, being wise, he is free from perplexity, being brave, he is free from fear”  Confucious

In conclusion may I borrow the words of James McCune Smith commenting on the success and contributions of Frederick Douglass, a 19th century African American leader of great stature:

“When a man raises himself from the lowest condition in society to the highest; mankind pays him the tribute to their admiration; when he accomplishes this elevation by native energy, guided by prudence and wisdom; their admiration is increased; but when his course, onward and upward, excellent in itself, furthermore proves possible what had hitherto been regarded as an impossible reform, then he becomes a shining light on which the aged may look with gladness, the young with hope, the downtrodden as a representative of what they themselves may become.”

Finally in the words of Andrew Carnegie:

“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve, Achieve!”

Your 50th Birthday Anniversary coupled with your appointments: Sasol Ltd CEO … are a wonderful mountain top experience. There must however, be other loftier heights to summit!