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The Tortoise and the Hare

January 24, 2013

One of Aesop’s most adapted fables, I don’t think there is one human alive who hasn’t heard some version of the Tortoise and the Hare. Just in case, you are getting old let me remind you how it goes. A crap talking Hare tells the slow Tortoise that he can never beat him in a foot race. So the tortoise takes him up on his challenge. The hare, half-way through the race thinks his lead is so large that he can take a nap- only to awake and find that the tortoise has crossed the finish line.

Now, this story has been likened to real life time and time again. Encouraging ambitious leaders to never overestimate their lead. However, living in Africa it is undoubtedly more often than not that the hare will beat the tortoise. Why you ask?

Well, the Hare of course comes from a good family in Africa. You see many Africans who have lived abroad and are returning home come with an unfair advantage of access to capital. Whether it is their grandparents’ or parents’ legacy wealth  or their good credit score in the US/UK many of these young ambitious leaders are undoubtedly out running many other African entrepreneurs, even though they aren’t even running.

So even if they don’t deserve to win the race, some of them have no choice but to. Now the next question, what happens if you don’t come from a wealthy family or have access to capital. And well, that answer isn’t as simple. The best thing you can do is not watch the hare and stay focused on the race, or else you will find yourself extremely frustrated. Just take comfort in that fact, that like the Olympics, as long as you are one of the first few to cross the finish line there is still a reward.

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