Reflection: A tribute to love, sadness, hope and courage.

__You are not alone.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny,” wrote CS Lewis. One of you recently commented here that you were going through such a hard time that you were even thinking of ending your life. This deep sadness is something I think might affect a lot more people than we know, so I wanted to write about it today. In this case, the person also shared that our posts here, your own comments of support, had lifted him out of that feeling of complete desolation. Some of your words, might even have saved a life.

Today around the world, some people are celebrating what is called St Valentine’s Day. You may or may not be one of them. It can be a time when the people who do not get a card or flowers or chocolates or a special text message, feel more alone than ever. Don’t let that happen. You are not alone!

Whilst we talk about so many important matters on this page, especially about changing our#mindset, I want you to be sure also to keep good care of your #heartset. (This may not be a word but maybe it should be).

I wrote at Christmas about Leah Sharibu, the young Nigerian girl taken captive by Boko Haram. This week it will be one year that she’s been away from her family. I quoted 1 Corinthians 13, about faith, hope and love, the greatest of these being love… We continue to pray for Leah, ceaselessly.

Whilst we work together here to build the vision of Africa’s century, both individually and together, may I say respectfully, whatever our differences, and there are very very many sometimes, if we do not #StandTogether… yes, stand together even in love for our fellow men and women without exceptions, we put at risk our dreams and plans, for building a future for our children and grandchildren, and beyond.

__The legacy of prosperity and hope and opportunity that we see and hope to leave behind when we pass, if we cannot put aside these divisions both in our lives and our hearts, and work together to build our shared futures as best we can, it shall all surely fall apart! We cannot let this happen.

There was someone who once said during the Cold War years ago something like, “The only real iron curtain, lies in the heart of each one of us”.

Speaking only as entrepreneurs, which is our world here on this platform, we too must work to see a common vision for future generations. I am not going to mention anyone by name, but millions of people throughout this continent are committed to uplift their countries. They are in every sector. They include most of you.

It is the person on the side of the road selling you a perfect tomato, or planting a garden, or driving a taxi or flying a plane or ploughing a field, or healing patients, or teaching children or inventing or disrupting or #Re-imagining…. The list goes on and on and on.

__And many are you… just starting out, studying each other’s words and mine, and beginning to craft together ideas for a future billion-dollar business (that will also provide tax revenue our great African nations!!)

But that entrepreneurial road, most roads in fact, can be very very difficult, and also lonely sometimes.

Last week a Grammy (music) award winner called “Lady Gaga” got an award for a song in a movie called “A Star is Born”. I am sure some of you know about it.

When she gave her short acceptance speech, she spoke of the importance of recognizing and reaching out to people with mental health problems (this was in part of the movie). Depression, addiction and trauma can be devastating and if you feel it affects you, I want you to get help. I think Prince William spoke about this subject at Davos, too. In any case he has spoken about it before. It can affect everyone, no matter your age, wealth, gender, nationality… Everyone.

If you need help, please summon the strength and good courage to ask for help. Don’t ever leave us on this page because you feel there is no hope. You matter to us, and to those around you. We all have challenges and deep sadnesses. You are not alone.

You are loved. Take care of yourself.

This is written in tribute to Leah Sharibu, her family, the people on my page here who have expressed sadness and despair, and to all who are feeling the pressures of the world are difficult to bear.

Selah.

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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.

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