As I was driving back from speaking at the 3rd annual Global Learning Academy conference yesterday, I saw them again; the windscreen-washers at Grayston drive in Sandton. I observed with great curiosity the passion, zeal and hustle that these gentlemen have for what they are doing. On most occasions, they wash a motorists’ windscreen before they even get consent for this. After their windscreens have been washed, some drivers frown and not give these guys anything but others due to humiliation rather than goodwill; they offer a few rands as a token for their windscreens being washed. I once asked a few gentlemen how much they make in a good day. Answers vary but like a lazy business person I will resort to an average; R120 on a good day.

In comparing South Africans from people who come from other African countries, I often hear people saying that most unemployed South Africans are lazy; I beg to differ. I often see people in townships spending their full-days guarding cars in shopping centres, waiting for a full-day to push a trolley for a R2 coin, closing potholes in township streets for whatever the motorists can offer, selling cigarettes at traffic lights for the whole day for a meagre R10 net profit per day.

In my view these hustlers are not lazy, they work hard. They have something that this country desperately needs; hustle. I do propose however, that this hustle is misguided. Many of the people of this country have the spirit to hustle (ukuphanda) but this is channelled towards activities that at best help them to survive and at worst are total wastes of time.

Channelled correctly – we have something the world can learn from us; to hustle.