Published by Dougie Oakes, Cape Times, 14 September 2016 at 10:08pm

“UNLESS you take control of your destiny, you will have no destiny.”

These words could easily have been construed as a warning. But on a chilly evening this week at a conference centre at Old Mutual in Pinelands, a gathering of black business owners, aspirant owners and young professionals interpreted the message as a call to action – more so because the messenger was one of the country’s most successful and controversial business moguls, Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé.

The response was enthusiastic applause.

It never takes the doctor long to warm to the task, and this address was no exception. Speaking as a black business leader to a predominantly black audience, Survé said: “The narrative is, we should set up our own banks, that we should set up our own institutions, and that we should set up our own development structures.

“The reality is this is not the right way to do it. We must be far braver than that. We should be more courageous than that.”

Then, pointing across the hall, he said: “This institution does not belong to white people. The bulk of the money it gets in comes from the pensions of black South Africans.

“Take this as your starting point. If you understand this, you will understand that you can take control of this institution. But you must have the courage to to do so.”

More applause. Only louder this time.

“You must accept,” Survé continued, “you will not be supported by people when you threaten their economic system and power base.”

Survé’s rise to the top was built on an unshakeable belief in himself. He was born poor – “like so many of you in this hall”, he said. But he was determined to break the spiral of poverty that threatened to choke him and his family.

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