Sawubona South Africa!

Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will. – Nelson Mandela

Greetings from the Hong Kong International Airport as I wait to board my flight for Johannesburg. In just under two days, I’ll be joining more than 30 of my CBS classmates for the Chazen International Study Tour to South Africa.

To the great credit of my classmates, Eran Mizrahi, Nicholas Crosthwaite, and Uzayr Jeenah, we have an incredible itinerary set for our ten days in the Rainbow Nation. Our journey will officially start in Johannersburg, but we will immediately head North to Kruger National Park to see one of Africa’s largest game reserves. It also happens to be the setting of the famous “Battle at Kruger” YouTube video featured in Professor Daniel Ames’ Managerial Negotiations class.

Next, we will head back into Johannesburg to meet with David Shapiro, a well-known South African investment expert, for an overview of the South African economy. As The Economist points out, perhaps no other country better exemplifies the challenges confronting Africa as it develops. Twenty years after Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress delivered democracy to the people of South Africa, the country is still seen by most as Africa’s leading nation. On the other hand, South Africa suffers from unemployment rates as high as 40% by some estimates. No doubt Mr. Shapiro’s talk will provide greater context and insight into South Africa’s potential and challenges.

I will hold off on providing any more specific details on the adventure that awaits us in hopes that you’ll tune back in for my next update in a few days. Instead, I’ll close on a personal note. In my humble opinion, it is hard to think of a nation more inspiring than South Africa. The passing of Nelson Mandela last month was a somber reminder of one of the nation’s great gifts to the world. We might also remember that a young barrister by the name of Mohandas Gandhi spent his formative years in South Africa before returning to his homeland to lead the Indian independence movement. Gadhi’s non-violent activism would go on to inspire Martin Luther King Jr.’s tactics in the American Civil Rights Movment. With this in mind, I am particularly excited to visit and learn from South Africa.

Sam Wollner ‘14

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