In 1997, President Nelson Mandela, made an impassioned plea for black professionals to enter the mainstream economy of South Africa. This, after decades of economic disparity due to apartheid.
The economic exclusion of black groupings in South Africa pre-1994 meant: no capital was made available to black individuals by banks and other financial institutions; black people were not granted permits to trade; and the capital markets were the exclusive domain of white business people.
To address this imbalance the then newly established, democratic government, adopted an affirmative economic policy called Black Economic Empowerment, popularly referred to as Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE).
Heeding the call, Dr Iqbal Survé, a medical doctor close to President Nelson Mandela, decided to leave medicine and established The Sekunjalo Group (Sekunjalo), which was founded on the principles of social justice, broad-based economic participation and inclusion for the majority of South Africans.
Sekunjalo sought to offer ‘a gentler capitalism’ that emphasised putting people before profits, and investment in skills development, especially those of black people, as a means of improving the lives of previously disadvantaged South Africans.