Steuart Pennington

Book Steuart Pennington

The business of SA, The Good News is to change the narrative out of South Africa and Africa. We believe in celebrating the good and confronting the bad; that news should be balanced, contextual and truthful (as per the SA Press Code); and that citizens should understand the truth of our progress over the last 20 years, warts and all.

It is our firm conviction that if citizens understand both the good and the bad they are much more able, and willing, to make a positive difference to the bad. We believe that much of the current print, radio and broadcast media are trapped in a “good news is no news” paradigm and that our public broadcaster has no coherent news strategy. Add to this the danger of the ‘single story’ of afro-pessimism that is so much part of the global narrative on South Africa and Africa and the truth becomes distorted – bedevilled by conventional wisdom madness.

“You don’t describe the future you see, you see the future you describe” is our mantra.

Steuart will share with you his personal journey of discovery in our extraordinary country post-1994.  He, with contributions from some 150 informed South Africans is co-editor and publisher of 10 books on South Africa and Africa:

  1. “South Africa – The Good News” (2002)
  2. “South Africa – More Good News” (2003)
  3. “SA 2014 – The Story of our Future” (2004)
  4. “Miracles that are Changing a Nation” (2005)
  5. “Employee Volunteering in South Africa” (2007)
  6. “2010: Africa’s Time has Come” (2007)
  7. “Action for a Safe South Africa” (2008)
  8. “Africa – The Good News” (2008)
  9. Promise of Leadership (2009) – published for the Nelson Mandela Foundation
  10. South Africa @ 20: For Better or for Worse? (2013)

He has delivered over 500 talks on SA’s global competitiveness both here and abroad.

“The facts speak for themselves ….rumours, conventional wisdom madness and journalists speak for each other.” (Steuart Pennington 2012)

“There are three sources of opinion; fact, rumour and prejudice. The truth can only be found in the first. There are three elements to a story; accuracy, context and balance. Truthful stories contain all three. There are three requirements for understanding; trust, honesty and respect. Without them opinion and truth count for little.” (Steuart Pennington 2014)

 Our Work

  • We have worked in underprivileged schools to encourage corporates to “benchmark” the impact of their interventions.
  • In 2004 we adopted a Crèche in Soweto which looks after 150 small and vulnerable children.
  • In 2007 Steuart was awarded the “Public Service Entrepreneur of the Year Award” by the African Heritage Society.
  • In 2008 he was one of nine finalists for the Johnnie Walker Striding Man Award for exceptional social entrepreneurship.
  • In 2012 he was awarded the Distinguished Rhodes Alumni Award for his contribution to the geo-branding of South Africa.
  • In 2012 he appeared on TEDxRhodesU with a 10 minute talk on “Good news is no news”.

Steuart holds a B.A. (Honours) degree from Rhodes University, a PDM from Wits Business School and a Certificate in Management from Oxford. He lives in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands with his wife and four daughters, is an active sportsman and lover of adventure.

PRESENTATIONS

Steuart presents the five talks listed below. May we suggest you read through each and decide what is most appropriate for your audience? We try as far as possible to structure the talk around the theme of your conference/event and are able to cover almost every aspect of business/commercial/political/social developments in South Africa.

South Africa @ 20: for Better or for Worse? (published 2013) – The Story of our Changing Global Competitiveness

  • We look first at what ‘good news’ and what ‘bad news’ is trending in SA.
  • We include an interactive questionnaire on developments in South Africa post ’94 (very few delegates do better than 6/10!).
  • We cover our changing Global Competitiveness in the economic, political and social spheres.
  • We focus in particular on what the next four years will look like.
  • We conclude by dealing with our major challenges; state capacity, corruption, crime, education, unemployment, labour relations and health.
  • We consider scenarios for the future.

The information and facts presented are not found in the general media. As Ferial Haffajee says “The narrative of dysfunction that is still dominant in descriptions of South Africa are entirely misplaced and, personally, nauseating. It is also deeply self-serving.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator and Statesman  

In recent times the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Apartheid Museum has launched an exhibition on the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Essentially the exhibition weaves the 6 phases of his life “Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator and Statesman” into a wonderful visual series of images and text. Using these images Steuart is able to narrate these six phases in the context of contemporary South African history by providing a fascinating insight into the broader issues that shaped the life and times of our greatest statesman.

From his birth in 1918, to his 27 years on Robben Island,  to his courageous steps to unite a fragmented nation – this talk will give the audience precious insights into the life of a remarkable South African.

Africa – The Story of changing, and improving, Global Competitiveness.

Africa is changing for the better rapidly.  Recently articles in Time magazine and the Economist have recognised Africa as a growing investment destination.  Yet, Africa remains much misunderstood.  Our presentation focuses on the changes happening in Africa on the economic, political and social fronts.  The presentation will enable attendees to understand Africa better and based on this knowledge to consider investment opportunities in some of Africa’s less known countries as well as some of Africa’s star performers.

Entertaining Snapshot of South Africa – Our Progress since 1994

Steuart begins with his well-known “dinner party” story that inspired the writing of the first book “South Africa – The Good News”. He follows this by taking your audience through a visit to the Apartheid Museum, Zonderwater Maximum Security Correctional Centre; a night “clubbing” and staying in a bed and breakfast in Soweto; and finally mountain-biking through the Karoo. The talk is designed to inspire South Africans on how positively the country has changed in just 20 years. Very humorous it is suitable for both conference and after dinner occasions.

Interactive Schools Talk: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“Do you do talks at schools on South Africa’s good news?’” Steuart was recently asked by an 11thgrade school girl. “There are many of us here (she attends an independent co-ed school) who are passionate about this country and its future, but our parents are advising us to seek our careers elsewhere!”  A week later we presented to the 11th graders and their parents. The presentation includes a 10 question test on “How well do you know your country?” The learners generally do better than their parents! He tells a number of stories which relate to how he came to write ten books on South Africa’s progress and South Africa’s future, of a visit to the Apartheid Museum, Zonderwater maximum security prison, and a bed-and-breakfast in Soweto.  In broad terms we cover both the bad and the good of our economic, political and social prospects and how we compare internationally.

 

Book Steuart Pennington