“They took everything” she says holding back her tears.

I just had a mentorship session with one of my entrepreneurs.

She does landscaping for a couple of shopping malls and her storage facility was vandalised during the looting that took last week in Gauteng, and she lost everything. Those buggers took everything. Her damage got to about R100,000.

The looters have dealt a huge blow to a lot of startup entrepreneurs and township businesses during the riots and looting.

Not only is the loss in terms of assets stolen and property damaged, but also in terms of loss of operating time, loss of time to generating revenue.

Some businesses are insured and will manage to recover, but for others, this is the end for them.

The emotional trauma that these entrepreneurs experienced when their private spaces were invaded by looters is unfathomable.

A week after the unfortunate ordeal, thousands of innocent people who were not part of this crazy incident are stranded without basic necessities because shops have been emptied out.

It’s clean up time now, it is time to count the losses and damages to property now.

The dust has settled, and we find ourselves standing in front of heaps and heaps of rubble of damaged things and empty shops.

All that’s left are memories of what used to be and the current nightmare of what is in front of us now.

It is during this time that entrepreneurs have to dig deep for the emotional strength. Not only do they need the strength for themselves to solider on, but their team members are looking at them for a flicker of something hopeful.

This is the time where entrepreneurs have to be the glow in the dark when everything around looks doom and gloom.

When it all looks like it is over, the real entrepreneurs, the real leaders, stand up and say, no, not yet. It is not over.

I don’t know how we will recover from all this, but it is not over.

Those who looted our shops may have stolen everything, but they will never loot our spirit.

Yes, they were hungry, and they saw an opportunity to loot and feed themselves. Whatever their reasons are, they have also stolen other people’s livelihoods because some shops will have to close down.

As an entrepreneur, cry yes, but wipe your tears, dust yourself off, raise your chin up and face the world.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take pictures of the rubble, of the damage, of the loss.

Take lots and lots of pictures of this moment. 10 years or so from now you will frame the pictures of your success next to the pictures of the looting and you will show the future generation of entrepreneurs of what you have endured and overcome.

As entrepreneurs, this is our Hector Peterson moment, capture the moment, and we will look back to this period with a smile, a smile that says we overcame a moment of insanity that once befell your business and others in 2021.

Evil will never prevail over good.

I have no doubt you will overcome.

Sawubona.

Image: taken from Twitter feeds trending on the day of the riots.

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