Editor’s Note – Nov/Dec Edition

Wow! We are finally here – at the threshold of the end of the year.  What a year it has been for us all.  To think that we have lived in lockdown, in one form or another, for the past 12 months – with a curfew. It was just like being in boarding school.  Nevertheless, most of us in CSI worked as hard and indeed harder than ever.

Here at CSRNEWSSA – (soon to be CSRNEWS Africa) we have come to the end of our selection process for the South African CSI Legacy Awards, and have our 12 finalists. We’re so excited to see the process taken forward in the New Year and to meet you all as we discover the winners in our four categories. Getting to know so many amazing development programmes across the country has been eye-opening. South Africans really are among the most innovative and creative people in the world. Despite the conditions in which we live, we’re resolutely hopeful that we’ll hosting the South African CSI Legacy Awards live on 24 February 2022 – venue to be announced. 

Our hope is that we will continue to host these Awards for the next 50 years. I remember the Shoprite Checkers CSI Awards of some years ago, which are the catalyst of these Awards.  I’m a great believer in acknowledging the shoulders I stand on – in this case, Shoprite Checkers. To them I say, ‘Thank you!’ You shone the light on a much-overlooked cohort of  community builders and change agents, as we are doing now.  We hope that the South African CSI Legacy Awards will carry this flame forward with the same zeal and dedication and bring honour to the people and organisations who make a difference in South Africa.

It is a long-term vision, but one we intend to work hard on and uphold. If you’re interested in becoming a long-term partner, please get in touch. Contact editor@csrnews.africa and let’s chat about how together we can take CSI to the new future post Covid-19.

And now about rest and recovery. We all need it, after a year like this last. My recent move to a new area of Johannesburg really got me thinking on this topic. In my new place, electricity costs almost three times what I was paying in my last place. At first sight of the bill, my organic lifestyle kicked in.  When I say organic, I mean I have not drunk water from a tap in over five years – I use dispenser water at home, I use solar powered electricity where I can, rather than Eskom power (despite having once worked, indirectly, for the power utility) and I am vigilant about unnecessary expenditure as I am sure we all are.  

So, one of the first things I did was learn to switch on the geyser in the mornings for about an hour, and then off again.  Which got me thinking about how a geyser works, and why we have that ‘off’ switch in our main switches – I truly believe it is there for a purpose.

A geyser is like a kettle.  A kettle is supposed to be turned on until the water boils, and once the water has boiled, we turn it off – although today’s kettles turn themselves off.  But in the old days, we had to remove the kettle from the stove or switch off the stove at the wall. 

Now today’s human beings have no automatic ‘off’ switch like a kettle. We’re more like geysers. We have to take the deliberate action of switching ourselves off regularly. I am thinking particularly of those CSI practitioners who have worked incessantly over the last twelve months, and really need a break – those CSI Managers who have worked continuously during lockdowns, transportation and food crises, and the devastation caused by looting. It is time to switch off your internal social impact geyser. Please take this advice to heart and have a well-deserved break as soon as you can, so that you come back in the New Year raring to go!  The Lord Jesus Christ said – ‘you will always have the poor with you’.

And now I have to thank my most amazing team. At times I can be tough on them – as Tino says,  ‘Simphiwe you can shout! But when you do, we all fall into line.’  Shouting is never my intention – serving CSI in the most powerful and ardent manner I can is always at the heart of my goal. I demand excellence, efficiency and dedication in everyone who works with us. Thanks be to God, I actually have that in a team of about 15 people of whom I am justifiably proud.  Things can be tough – but as Tino said in her – according to you who is CSRNEWSSA –

To Ms Mqamelo, thank you – where would we be without you constantly challenging and questioning me. To Ms Mia – our African legend, thank you. To Ms Russell – our hardworking persistent editor at large, thank you. To little Tino – with the thickest skin in CSI South Africa today, thank you. To Jeffrey – hard working and relentless in creating new and innovative designs, thank you. To Ms Ricky – the one who take her time to reread the work to make sure that all is spelled well and flows, thank you. To Dylan – our silent weapon – your silence completes our loudness, thank you. To Amien – where is this invoice Mr Mtetwa, where is that invoice Mr Mtetwa – enough said, thank you. To Mthandazo – it is an ‘explicated’ situation – enough said, thank you. To Craig, the lover of Christ and giver of self, thank you. To Dorcas – the doting Dorcas, thank you. To Benza – we need to reread that contract – why must we sign it, thank you. And to the team members who will be joining us at the beginning of the year – welcome on board, and thank you in advance!

In closing, I am happy to share that we now have a ‘How we help’ programme, where we partner with corporates to conceptualise and produce a number of their programmes, including their Annual Reports.

Partnership so far include International Federation of The Red Cross, Old Mutual, Capitec and Old Mutual Insure.  Work under this umbrella falls under The GivenGroup Foundation, a subsidiary of CSRNEWSSA, as you will see on our website https://csrnewssa.co.za (look under ‘How we help’).

The aim of The GivenGroup Foundation is conveyed in our slogan –  ‘Communities At Work’. We want to see communities working in every sense of the word. Right now, our focus is on producing cutting edge Annual Reports that serve the current CSI landscape, giving due recognition to environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects and the need to convey complex information in a succinct, informative and visually attractive way.  

To all CSI practitioners, NGO owners, captains of industry, CSI enthusiasts, academics and more – thank you for your contribution to the CSI industry, this industry about which I am so passionate. We may struggle, agree, disagree, fight, laugh, cry, fall on our faces and occasionally soar  – but we never give up.  Together, we make up what a friend calls the ‘ecosystem’ of CSI (Luvuyo Madasa); in other words, the living, breathing network of people who have chosen to make a difference no matter what the odds.  Let us keep looking upward and outward, developing each other and our country as we grow.

Finally: Please, please rest. It’s so important. Ag man who cares – do what you want! 

I look forward to meeting with you all in the New Year!

Simphiwe Mtetwa

Corporate Social Responsibility News (CSRNEWS) is South Africa’s leading Corporate Social Responsibility news, media and publishing firm. We create content on social responsibility, helping government, corporates, consultants, NPOs and NGOs to reach their target markets through appropriate, targeted development news.

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