One of the maxims to emerge from the difficult times in which South Africa finds itself is: “Only the creative survive”. This is clearly demonstrated by the group of people we’ve observed during this challenging period, and how they have dealt with the problems we all face. In this issue, we focus on what they have done to keep themselves afloat.
Our cover features local start-up, Yoco, a leading point-of-sale fintech company which has managed to raise funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. We tell you all about how Yoco does it. To my mind, they remain one of the few tech start-up businesses you may want to work for in South Africa. Our counterparts in the US agree with me on this one. As a result, Yoco has been chosen by Fast Company (in the US) as one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators.
Another creative survivor is artist Lukretia Booysen, who is developing a solution to the challenge of memorialising our dead loved ones when we can’t even attend their funerals due to lockdown restrictions. She is one of that same group who approach their profession in a way that enables them to thrive, even in adversity.
As this year draws towards a close, I’ve been reflecting on what has happened, and how the country will cope going forward. My Creative Conversation with Entrepreneurs Organisation’s (EO) Durban president, Clinton Holcroft, highlights one of 2021’s toughest moments — for most South Africans, at least — and that is the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal. While businesses battled to deal with the pandemic, they suddenly found unrest and civil strife added to their challenges. Holcroft’s suggestion is that we need to learn from each other, and share our experiences. He believes this will help business leaders deal with difficulties by learning from how others dealt with such challenges.
For loyal readers of Fast Company (SA) magazine, we want to become a space where you can share such knowledge and advice. Starting in October, I will be hosting a Twitter Spaces session where leading business people can chat about their experiences. I’m hoping that this will become a useful platform to encourage one another to creatively deal with the challenges ahead. Be on the lookout for a date and time on Twitter, where we will announce our first Twitter Spaces session.
As we plan for 2022, there’s no doubt in my mind that we will continue to have to operate in a complex world with more uncertainty. We need to remain positive and creative to thrive. History has shown us that after even the darkest moments, those who creatively work out a solution and survive will emerge into the light. I remain confident that at some point in our future we will look back at this difficult period and marvel at the levels of creativity it inspired. The question is: How will you use creativity to remain afloat? I hope some of the business stories documented in this issue will inspire you and make your business more resilient.
Editor-In-Chief, Fast Company (SA).
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