Gert Scholtz 🐝 en Bee Inspired!, beBee in English BeBee Brand Ambassador • beBee Hace 6 d · 2 min de lectura · 2,5K

I Still Have Heroes

I Still Have Heroes

As a young boy, I had two heroes: Superman and Bruce Lee. I often wondered who would be the victor if these two had a wrangle. Luckily the creators of their films and stories never thought the same. The posters that once adorned my walls have long since disappeared.

Maybe after my five decades one is not supposed to have heroes anymore. Yet when I think of it, I still do. 

Not in a worshiping kind of way but in admiration of people who all have a special talent for taking risks, applying themselves to their chosen craft and who have succeeded in a worldly sense.

For those from South Africa and now on the world stage, I have special admiration. Coming from a relatively small talent pool which in many ways is dislocated from the global arena, they have reached the peaks in their fields. Here then are my international South African heroes.

Elon Musk

Founder of SpaceX, SolarCity and Tesla Motors. His enormous self-confidence, inventiveness and ability to go against entrenched interests makes for a modern day Henry Ford. Musk made it big as co-founder of Paypal, and had the nerve to place his last money in Tesla when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. In Tesla Motors his goal is to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and create a legacy of renewable power usage.

Charlize Theron

Oscar winning actress. Born in an Afrikaans family she moved to the US. Unable to afford a voice coach she trained her American accent by listening to the radio and mimicking the presenters. Once a model, she is gorgeous. Not relying on her beauty, she picked up weight and with the help of make-up artists turned herself into an abhorrent character for the movie Monster, for which she was awarded an Oscar.

J M Coetzee

Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and twice winner of the Booker Prize. His delicate flowing prose depicting the sinister side of society leaves you breathless. Never one to shirk from controversy, after his book Disgrace appeared, he received many bitter reproaches. Notwithstanding, Disgrace earned him a Nobel Prize. As a university professor for many years he turned down promotions in order to have more time to hone his craft. His writing often has a melancholy tone while gently lifting the veil on uncomfortable truths.

Wayde van Niekerk

Athletics world record holder in the 400m. His record, set at the 2016 Olympics, may well be one of those rare milestones that stands for twenty years or more. Unless he breaks it himself for he is not yet at the top of his ability. For some perspective on his time: Van Niekerk would have beaten the legendary Michael Johnson by almost two meters. Less known is that he is the greatest all-round sprinter ever, having combined best times in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints. The fastest man ever in the sprint amalgam of athletics.

Chris Froome

Two times winner of the Tour de France cycling race. One of the most grueling sporting events of the world set in the beauty of the French landscape. Froome’s team spirit and even-keeled approach to winning and losing sets him apart. Unassuming, never bitter, always crediting others and keeping his dignity when crowds turn against him, his mental toughness on and off the cycle is exemplary.

Ivan Glasenberg

Founder and main shareholder in Glencore - the largest commodities trading company in the world. Glasenberg is extremely wealthy. Yet his success is underplayed. When Glencore listed, his wife asked him if she can now buy herself a new hand bag. Headstrong and tough as they come, he is an example of “quietly toiling away” for years in a forgotten industry until he rose to prominence and success on the back of the Chinese economic boom.

Trevor Noah

Presenter of the Daily Show and Comedian. On air he has a quick wit and slightly debonair presentation style. On stage his biggest talent is to act out and contrast with total accuracy the many different peoples of South Africa and absolutely take the mickey out of them. His crowds here can’t get enough of laughing at each other and at themselves. And we do so need to laugh at ourselves more.


So I’ve come to realize I still have heroes. Of course luck and genetics played at least some part in their achievements.

But I truly admire the determination, risk and effort it takes for each to be top in their chosen field. They show and remind me that the limits of aspiration are vast.

Heroes originally from the “outpost” of South Africa.




VDS Brink Hace 23 h · #24

Lovely again Gert! Makes one think ... it is about moving forward, create a better world.

Above all do this with humility. Ever saw a photo of Allan Gray? A famous advocate being in the news daily coaches a primary school rugby team and helps in the church on Sundays. The late Anton Rupert lived in an ugly house without a garage. Spent hours just talking to his employees.

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Campbell Price Hace 1 d · #23

Interesting post Gert. The four that I know of all needed to leave South Africa to achieve global success. How often do they go back? For Ivan, I suspect he would see his identity more in relation to the cultural stereotype you describe, with the wife can now buy herself a handbag comment. Oscar Pistorius could be explored as an example of a fallen hero. He is also a discussion point for the biggest problem in an otherwise great country. Which I refer to in my first post/ story on beBee.

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Dean Owen Hace 1 d · #22

Hmmm, not sure I would classify the Glencore guy as a hero, but then again I do know quite a bit about Glencore. Trevor Noah for sure! What a guy to have taken over for Jon Stewart. They could not have found a better guy unless he was British and not called Piers.

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Gert Scholtz 🐝 Hace 4 d · #21

#15 @Robert Cormack A very apt remark - these heroes all to a greater or lesser extent fly in the face of convention. Thanks for reading and adding your comments Robert.

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Gert Scholtz 🐝 Hace 4 d · #20

@Stephane Fenner Thanks for reading and stopping by Stephane. If I may belabour the SA theme, but it my be of interest to you that the tennis hero Roger Federer's mother was South African. More than that, she was once a pupil at school of my mother, who was a teacher. Small world!

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Gert Scholtz 🐝 Hace 4 d · #19

#17 @Donna-Luisa Eversley Heroes are personal and different for every person - and as you mention they are to inspire and give hope. Thank you kindly for reading and sharing Donna-Luisa.

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Stephane Fenner 🐝 Hace 4 d · #18

The word hero depends on one's interpretation. I personally prefer saying I have inspiring characters. This choice comes from the fact that my interpretation of a hero could sound like someone unreal... Elon Musk and others are definitely inspiring.
Thank you @Gert Scholtz for starting a very interesting debate!

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Donna-Luisa Eversley Hace 4 d · #17

I still have heroes... Maybe we need to have them because they gives us hope, some incredible resilence to inspire, and look to. My baddest superhero is Jesus... Because I believe and he delivers.

Whatever ones choice , it's great having heroes. Thanks @Gert Scholtz your examples are great.

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