I was sitting at the Receiver of Revenue’s office. On the other side of the desk sat an officer who had the look of a Mother Theresa but severely salted with a Superman vision that pierced the wall behind my feeble heart. Whilst I was still exploring new avenues to reach the pure heart that I hoped would eventually be shown, my cell phone rang. I answered and told my client on the other side that it was good for him not to be with me at that moment in time and that I would phone back.
On my wounded retreat from that lost battlefield, I phoned back. It was then that I started to feel life after death again. The man on the other side of the line was and is a property investor. No, no old money. No, no noveau riche born from scrutinizing the darker Robert de Niro or Al Pacino movies. This guy is an ordinary man from humble beginnings with the demeanor of one that was often left without mercy and care.
This man somewhere long ago decided not to be a victim. He decided to fight back and started working towards financial respectability. Exposed to the harsh reality of being stuck in an ordinary job with no real future and a very basic salary, he kept going in a determined way to better his position step by step.
Somehow he succeeded in saving a small amount of money to eventually realize his dream of improving his circumstances by investing in property. What he saved was not even enough for a deposit. Somehow he then succeeded to enlist a few friends to form a partnership to buy property. With their combined money and the generosity of a bond-providing firm, they bought a plot from a developer.
It is at that point where things could have gone wrong. It would have been better for them to buy an income-generating property as their capacity to carry a bond on the property was not extremely well oiled. Luckily, the plot was only to be transferred after six months, and when the time came they had already sold it to pocket their first profit and thus establish working capital for a next venture.
When I met him, he was already capable of putting down a deposit on his own on a basic new property investment. He called me initially about the best proposition that I was advertising. He had already developed that vitally important "nose" for focusing on the most feasible proposition among the masses of advertisements screaming for people’s attention.
Even now it is still a struggle for him to qualify for a bond, but boy, can he fight eight rounds! He can do fifteen, and if necessary, I’m sure he will do more.
It is human beings like this, who through their immense guts, bring one to your feet in applause and respect. I have tried in my way to cover for him when possible as the capitalistic world out there can be very cruel, and I hope that you, the reader of this real life story, will do the same when you encounter this kind of fighting spirit. They will not ask for money, they only ask that we make some space for them in the sun. Furthermore, personally it has an ongoing motivational effect on me to watch this man, and others like him, focused fighters, on their determined journey in life. They are the real heroes, these long distance runners in their solitary strife towards personal coastlines.
Wim van der Walt
15 June 2007