Money makes the world go round. Off the back of that, it has created a class system with ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. If you’re a sceptic, think of Michael Moore’s Capitalism: a love story, where estate agent Peter Zalewski (CEO and founder of Condo Vultures), refers to the market as a “battlefield.” Speaking about the unjust housing system industry he thrived in, Zalewski says, “it’s all about taking right now. This is straight up capitalism; everybody’s got the desire to go in there and take advantage of others’ misfortunes.” While he thrives from “taking” – one wonders if this model of business solves any social problems of citizens or actually creates more of them.
From the “battlefield” point, it’s no wonder that books like Sun Tzu’s The art of war have become corporate bibles. Being an ancient Chinese military treatise, The Art of War dates from the 5th century BC and is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu – “Master Sun.” The text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, and is renowned to be universal.
According to Forbes contributor, Erick Jackson, “there was no greater war leader and strategist than Chinese military general Sun Tzu.” His philosophy on how to be a great leader and ensure you win in work and management is also described as “subtle and counterintuitive [war] strategy developed in ancient China.” Sun Tzu places the sovereign general at the peak of the hierarchy. Among other things, Sun Tzu states that “all war fare is based on deception,” and it is from these points that the timeless book proves problematic in its dogmatic masculine tone.
In contemporary business, the “general” is the CEO. But – the battlefield, in the capitalist world, can be between the CEO and its workers or clients. Meaning, the approach in Zelewski’s business and others alike are in serendipity with Sun Tzu’s words that “it is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.”
As such, while we appreciate Sun Tzu’s strategy; we must remember that for the African economy, we need intuitive methods like social entrepreneurship.
According to writer, Sarah Stankorb, among the first to carve out space for social enterprise was civil rights Bill Drayton, who founded the non-profit social enterprise Ashoka in 1980. He discovered innovators whose creative ideas for change were not well understood by their communities. Since then, we’ve seen projects that employ feminine tools to curb poverty, like Why Poverty? Solar Mamas. This shows that women have sensitivity of other marginalised groups like children (as they give birth to them) and nature (as it is fertile just like them). Femininity highlights caring & sharing.
African social entrepreneurship is at its height. Ideas are geared towards solving problems from the ground whilst responding to the traumatic effects of colonization, apartheid and war. One such is scientist, Arthur Zang’s “Cardiopad.” His is a touch screen medical tablet that enables heart examinations to be performed at remote locations while the results of the tests are transferred wirelessly to specialists who can interpret them. Zang does not counter his intuition and deceive the people in order to take advantage of what most affects them but offers a solution.
In conclusion, Why Poverty: Solar Mamas and Cardiopad are more feasible, stemming from people emotionally moved by the deprivation of their communities. In a world where money makes the world go round only for the “haves,” we cannot deny that a futuristic approach to a sustainable Africa is not a “battlefield” capitalism of exploiting the disadvantaged and calculatedly benefiting from the evils of war. Rather, the future of Africa belongs to feminine solutions and entrepreneurs that are fundamentally ignited by social activism.
Find “The Art of War” as an audio book on this link; https://librivox.org/the-art-of-war-by-sun-tzu/