Pause: Maintain your dignity and poise when provoked

__Be the change you wish to see…
A friend of mine from West Africa once told me something very profound: “In our family, we come from a lineage of kings that once ruled throughout our region. As young members of this ancient royal family, we underwent secret training on how to act and behave as a royal. Although the kingship was ended by colonial governments, we still undergo the training even today.”“Can you share with me some of the secrets of this training?” I asked him, out of curiosity.“It’s really a mindset thing. A royal must maintain dignity and poise at all times, particularly when provoked. A royal mindset does not allow you to deride or belittle someone simply because you disagree with them. The use of insults in an argument is very undignified.”

“Anything else?” I asked as I took down some notes.

“As a public figure, some weak-minded people will always try and goad you into a response that causes you to lose your cool and get into a brawl with them, rather like little boys fighting in a school yard.”

“Don’t fall for it,” he said.

“Who is this ‘weak-minded’ person?” I asked.

“Someone who has no capacity to disagree without being disagreeable in their manner of approach.”

“A king or queen must weigh carefully every word they say, as though it is made of gold. That is how they get their respect. No shouting and no impulsive response in anger.”

Then he added this observation: “If you meet any member of my tribe, even young people, they all behave in the same way, because they learnt it from the royals. We are known for our dignity and poise.”

After reflecting on some of the things he had said, I finally said to him: “You know, I have the same training, too.”

“Are you also from a royal African family?” he asked.

“No, not at all. It’s just that I study the Bible every morning, and it compels me, to speak, think and act that way.”


It was his turn to ask questions…

Now speaking of royal African families, I chose this picture today because, as some of you may know, there’s a historic music concert called “The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100″ which will take place in Soweto, South Africa this Sunday 2 December to commemorate 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth.

Sunday’s event (amongst others over recent years) has been put together by an international group called, sponsored by a large cross-section of large private sector companies and NGOs, together with a few foundations, both local and international.

If you’re interested, you can find out more at (But I don’t think there are any tickets left!)

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the concert, but let’s talk..

Global citizenship: What does this mean to you?



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About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

8 thoughts on “Pause: Maintain your dignity and poise when provoked

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    Personally, I’m completely wired to switch off automatically if someone uses bad language or shouts, particularly on social media. It is almost as though I could not hear them!

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    Debate on social media about things we agree or disagree with, including complaints, does not need to be disagreeable. In doing so, we are unwittingly mimicking the approach of some other cultures, not our own.

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.

    I will never forget the first time we saw (on TV) a brawl in the parliament of a country in the Far East, many years ago. Everyone in Africa was shocked. It was amazing to see members of parliament fighting and shouting at each other!

    My driver, who was an elderly African gentleman, asked me: “Sir, I thought a Parliament is a modern ‘Council of Elders’ from an African perspective?”

    “Is it not possible to disagree without hurling insults at each other like those people were doing?”

    I did not answer.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Breaking news! #Special event for my family because one of our daughters is a speaker…
    The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 concert is being live-streamed across the world!

    The show is just getting started in Johannesburg (Sunday, 2 pm SAST).

    Remember: You don’t have to be a famous celebrity like Beyoncé or Jay-Z to make a difference. You can use your own talents and skills every day, right where you are, to help fellow global citizens defeat poverty.

    Here’s the link:

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    # Breaking News! Berlin Town Hall tonight!

    At about 7:30 pm (SAST) tonight, I will be holding a student town hall in Berlin at Humboldt University on the subject of “Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Entrepreneurship to drive food security and jobs on the continent.” We are going to be talking about building the 21st Century as Africa’s Century…

    As I mentioned to some of you earlier, I am in Berlin to attend a board meeting of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

    The event is being co-organized by the Dr. Joachim von Braun’s Centre of Development Research (ZEF) at Bonn University. Dr Tekalign Sakketa will be the moderator (former PhD student and now Senior Researcher at ZEF). Our co-host will be Dr Stefan Schmitz. You should be able to view LIVE right here on Facebook shortly!

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    A funny story!

    A big international bank with offices in SA wanted our account. I agreed to have lunch with their CEO when I was next in London.
    On the morning I arrived I had a nasty incident in the queue with a young black man who just barged past me, and almost pushed me to the ground as he rushed past to get to the counter.

    “I’m in a hurry!” Brashly.
    I did not say anything, and let him have his way.

    When I got to the lunch, even the chairman and several board members were there to receive me, as I was a special guest of the bank that day.

    “We invited some of our young up and coming bankers from Africa, so they can get a chance to meet you,” the chairman said.

    Guess who was amongst the young bankers?!
    I just smiled at him and whispered, “Let it be a life lesson for you.”


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