some interesting encounters


It was a busy week..It flew by and smacked into Friday before I’d even caught up with Wednesday. I had some interesting encounters, including an interview with Janet Street Porter, who is highly intelligent, feisty and as sharp as a paper cut..Then Jerry Hall and I had a different kind of discussion about the vatious aspects of "love" for a radio programme she’s putting together. On Thursday I spent an inspiring evening with Satish Kumar..the visionary behind "Resurgence" magazine…I’m going to post a U Tube piece soon, so you can get a sense of how special he is. I love being with people of passion and insight. On a different note..but still on the topic of people with passion and insight..Pat Pillai, the founder of Life College in South Africa sent me an email. " I am not in a good frame of mind. I may not make sense. Yesterday I happened to see 2 youths kick and stab a kid to death because of some drug related thing. They then ran away. A dead child – probably 17 years old. No-one knew who his parents were. Why??? How can we be so cruel and so soulless? It happened outside a drug dealer/ prostitution house a few blocks away from my home. Kids say openly on the streets that "it’s a great deal! For R100 you can get high and get a screw" When I ask about the risk of HIV they shrug and say Naah – it’s alright. " "I am furious with the leadership of this country because many of them do not care a damn! Their maxim: I did not struggle to be poor. They make a mockery of our struggle against apartheid. I am sickened and disgusted by their selfishness and inept management. We report on this daily. I interview these "leaders" in a television studio far removed from the township and I am often amazed by their expert posturing and retreating. How frustrating!! Many simply don’t give a damn." You can Google Life College to find out more about their work. I’ve been a supporter and "Life Champion" for a few years now…Here’s a little background…. The basis for the college was broadly conceptualised and launched by Pat Pillai in 1986 – when he was 22 years old and looking for answers. The attempt worked, but never really took off. However, valuable lessons were learnt. After many years of concept development and accrual of capital, serious work on the college began 11 years later, in 1997. By this time Pillai had experienced the corporate world sufficiently to realise that unscrupulous businesses generated profits for themselves and actually destroyed value over time – often maintaining worker poverty and dependence. They essentially increased the gap between the wealthy and the poor. Early in his presidency, Mr. Mandela said that South Africa’s democracy was threatened by poverty and disempowerment. However, there were examples of successful, responsible businesses and business people, and the belief that emotionally intelligent entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and leadership was the key to empowering people in South Africa, took root. Life College was launched in the south of Johannesburg, South Africa with just 16 students. The first work was done in a garage and later in rented classrooms at a government school. Over time many staff, students and parents having contributed to the college’s development. To date over 1 400 students having benefited – from single day workshops through to the full programme.