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23 September 2011 – Justin Stanford

Taf and Justin Stanford

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder. ” – Ronald Reagan

The Justin Stanford Portrait met its highly focussed, relaxed and unassuming owner earlier this week in Cape Town. Justin Stanford is one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs and angel investors in the ICT startup sector. He is the cofounder of 4D Innovations Group as well as the Silicon Cape Initiative, a private sector, community driven initiative that was endorsed by the head of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Dr. Mamphela Ramphele. He also has his own independent record label, JMR Records, which has signed up the Purple Hearts (PH), ‘a Cape Town based rap trio that are claiming back the moral high ground for hip-hop music, one song at a time’. Remarkably, Justin is just 28 years of age and has achieved all that he has after dropping out of school in Grade 9.

Justin maintains that he does not necessarily encourage others to drop out of school as well. He does point out that there are many ways, some very different from what is the accepted norm, of getting to where you want to in life. Justin was a top performing student but the conventional schooling system was not for him. So he forged an alternative path that would result in the best possible him he could develop. Justin did not drop out of school – he walked out, without ever ceasing to learn and discover and remains standing firmly on his feet today.

A generation of creative thinkers and mavericks like Justin is perhaps what is needed to solve our present day socio-economic problems. Justin astutely describes current systems in place as simply ‘shifting the chaos’ – the shifting of debt does not eliminate debt. Growth, and true economic freedom will come as wealth and value is actually created through ethical business.

With enough resolve and perseverance, regardless of our individual starting points in life or the demographic groups we are slotted into, each of us has the capacity to be part of a positive movement of young Africans and global citizens who, instead of demanding that more is given to them, take the initiative to create and build the future they want themselves.

It seems that we really are living in interesting times… and in the company of some very interesting people.

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Featured Image: Tafadzwa Mukwashi & Justin Stanford

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