South Africa – The Good News – Steaurt Pennington

You don’t describe the future you see, you see the future you describe” is Steuart’s personal mantra.

In 2002 Steuart and his wife walked out of a dinner party because the entire conversation was one of running the country down. He was angry that friends could spend an entire evening in negative conversation but he was much more angry at himself. He realised that he knew very little about the truth of the country he was living in. For example: the size of the SA economy in global terms; SA’s global competitiveness; the number of Government departments – those performing poorly and those performing well; the number of hospitals, clinics and schools in the country; what services had been delivered in the areas of housing, electricity and water and what was still outstanding; the SA crime statistics – getting worse or getting better?

He resolved the next day to write a book entitled “South Africa – the Good News”. Since then he has written eight books on South African related topics which have reached over 70 000 people. He has also delivered more than 450 talks on South Africa’s global competitiveness to more than 50 000 people.

His talk, a combination of storytelling, video clips and facts and figures truly meets the criteria of being entertaining, memorable and relevant.

He will share with you his personal journey of discovery in this extraordinary country post-1994. He will shatter the conventional wisdoms that abound. He will provide you with insights, reassurance and confidence seldom portrayed in our daily media. He will encourage you to celebrate the good while confronting the bad.

This is a unique presentation, perfect as a scene setter for strategic, business and sales conferences. The presentation will encourage the participants to confront their own personal reality, the challenges facing their business and the truthful context of the South African environment.

Steuart’s talks are consistently rated as outstanding.
Steuart is co-editor and publisher of 9 books on South Africa and Africa:

 “SOUTH AFRICA – The Good News” (2002);
 “SOUTH AFRICA – MORE Good News” (2003);
 “SA 2014 – The Story of our Future” (2004);
 “Miracles that are Changing a Nation” (2005);
 “Employee Volunteering in South Africa” (2007);
 “2010: Africa’s Time has Come” (2007);
 “Action for a Safe South Africa” (2008)
 “Africa – The Good News” (2008);
 Promise of Leadership (2009) – published for the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Current Work

Steuart’s “passion” is promoting SA Good News and Africa – The Good News.

He believes that:

“The facts speak for themselves ….rumours, conventional wisdoms and journalists speak for each other.”


“The truth is in the appreciation of the good and the bad”

In addition:
• He is an advisor to “For Good” on the safety and education challenges facing South Africa.
• He has registered a Section 21 called TogetherSchools to encourage corporates to evaluate schools to be able to “benchmark” the impact of their interventions.
• He sits on the management committee of the Foundation for a Safe South Africa chaired by Roelf Meyer.
• He has adopted a Crèche in Soweto which looks after 150 small and vulnerable children.

In 2007 Steuart was awarded the “Public Service Entrepreneur of the Year Award – 2007” from the African Heritage Society and nominated for the Rhodes Alumni Award 2007.

In 2008 he was one of nine finalists for the Johnnie Walker Striding Man Award for exceptional entrepreneurship.

Steuart’s previous career focussed on strategy implementation and good Industrial Relations practice.

He holds a B.A. (Honours) degree from Rhodes University, a PDM from Wits and a Certificate in Management from Oxford.

Steuart is married to Camilla, has 4 children and lives in the Midlands, Kwazulu Natal. In his spare time he writes, golf’s, squash’s, fish’s, hunt’s, cycles and photographs!


Steuart presents the following seven talks as listed below. May we suggest you read through each and decide what is most appropriate for your audience. He does try as far as possible to structure the talk around the theme of your conference/event and is able to cover almost every aspect of business/commercial/political/social developments in South Africa.

• South Africa 2014 – The Story of our Changing Global Competitiveness
(300 presentations to investment, university, corporate and school audiences)

This talk includes an interactive questionnaire on developments in South Africa post ’94 (very few delegates do better than 6/10!). Steuart covers our improving Global Competitiveness in the economic, political and social spheres. He focuses in particular on what the next four years will look like. He is able to customise the talk around the particular needs of your organisation, i.e. focus on technology/agriculture/tourism/banking etc. He concludes by dealing with the major challenges facing our country; crime, education, unemployment and health. The talk ends by awarding a “prize” to the person who did best in the interactive questionnaire!

“Patriotism is about being proud of your country all of the time and your government only when it deserves it” Mark Twain

Steaurt’s books and pocketbooks are available for sale to your delegates. This talk is best utilized at the beginning of conference as a scene-setter, or at the conclusion of conference to “end on a positive note”!

• Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator and Statesman


In recent times the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Apartheid Museum has launched an exhibition on the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Essentially the exhibition weaves the 6 phases of his life “Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator and Statesman” into a wonderful visual series of images and text. Using these images Steuart Pennington is able to narrate these six phases in the context of contemporary South African history by providing a fascinating insight into the broader issues that shaped the life and times of our greatest statesman.

From his birth in 1918, to his 27 years on Robben Island, to his courageous steps to unite a fragmented nation – this talk will give the audience precious insights into the life of a remarkable South African.

• Africa – The Story of changing, and improving, Global Competitiveness.
(20 presentations done, mostly at pan-African investment conferences)

Africa is changing for the better rapidly. Recently articles in Time magazine and the Economist have recognised Africa as a growing investment destination. Yet, Africa remains much misunderstood. Our presentation focuses on the changes happening in Africa on the economic, political and social fronts. The presentation will enable attendees to understand Africa better and based on this knowledge to consider investment opportunities in some of Africa’s less known countries as well as some of Africa’s star performers.

• Snapshot South Africa
(100 presentations to corporate, investment, business clubs and school audiences celebrating our progress since 1994)

Steuart begins with his well-known “dinner party” story that inspired the writing of the first book “South Africa – The Good News”. He follows this by taking your audience through a visit to the Apartheid Museum, Zonderwater Maximum Security Correctional Centre; a night “clubbing” and staying in a bed and breakfast in Soweto; and finally attending the FIFA World Cup. The talk is designed to inspire South Africans on how positively the country has changed in just 16 years. It is suitable for both conference and after dinner occasions.

• Schools Talk: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
(60 presentations to universities, schools at speech days and in class rooms)

“Do you do talks at schools on South Africa’s good news?’” Steuart was recently asked by an 11th grade school girl. “There are many of us here (she attends an independent co-ed school) who are passionate about this country and its future, but our parents are advising us to seek our careers elsewhere!” A week later he presented to the 11th graders and their parents. The presentation includes a 10 question test on “How well do you know your country?” The learners generally do better than their parents! He tells a number of stories which relate to how he came to write six books on South Africa’s progress and South Africa’s future, of a visit to the Apartheid Museum, Zonderwater maximum security prison, a bed-and-breakfast in Soweto and watching South Africa host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In broad terms he covers our economic, political and social prospects and how we compare internationally. In particular he deals with crime and concludes with a debate on “should I stay or should I go”.

• Employee Volunteering in South Africa
(15 presentations done to select corporate audiences)

With the recent publication of “Employee Volunteering in South Africa – A Best Practice Workbook” Steuart is well-positioned to talk about the business case of employee volunteering, as well as the “what, why and how” of implementing a successful employee volunteering programme in your business. Steuart talks of the extensive research done in compiling this book as well as the many practical examples of what corporates are doing. He provides insight into a range of measurement tools that will enable organisations to successfully manage employee volunteering so that it both delivers to the business as well as the communities that your organisation serves.

• Safety and Crime in Safe South Africa
(12 presentations done to corporate, university and school audiences)

Steuart edited and published the book “Action for a Safe South Africa” which included the recommendations of eight working groups: Healthy mothers, resilient children; Peace in the home; 7-24: Opportunity of youth; A sober South Africa; Recovery and resilience; Unsafe in any hands; Multiplying the power of one; Second chance. Steuart believes fundamentally that making South Africa safer requires social mobilisation around the prevention of the causal factors giving rise to crime. He also understands what the authorities are doing in respect of enforcement and the government’s crime prevention strategy. This presentation deals with many of the measures and statistics that contribute to the so called “Cycle of Violence” in South Africa. Delegates will gain a much better understanding of the crime situation as well as a clear perspective on how they as ordinary individuals can contribute to making South Africa safer. Far from being sombre this presentation is inspiring and will give the attendees a sense of real hope.


Steaurt’s coffee table books, containing some 25 chapters on South Africa’s remarkable progress (all written by prominent, well-known commentators) are available in hardcover and softcover and make superb gifts to delegates.

• South Africa – The Good News (2002) and South Africa — More Good News (2003)
South Africa – The Good News (2008)

Whatever else, this book will describe Africa as you have never seen it before.

Unlike the countless books that try to explain what went wrong in Africa, Africa – The Good News looks at what is going right. It gives voice to Africans (and non-Africans) who have a different story to tell to the commonplace one of hopelessness; it tells the tale of the dream becoming reality.

2014 Pocketbook: Steaurt’s pocketbook, published in 2005 and updated in January 2008, contains 27 of the most important chapters in the above books – summarised with user-friendly tables, diagrams and cartoons.

• Action for a Safe South Africa

Action for a Safe South Africa is the answer to the question that burns on the country’s collective consciousness: How can we make South Africa safe for us and for the generations that follow? Founded on a model that focuses on the prevention of crime rather than the enforcement of the law, this book brings together many of our country’s foremost authorities on the social issues that underpin the cycle of aberrant behaviour in our society. In so doing, this book empowers all of us as South Africans with the knowledge and tools needed to contribute to change and make a real difference.

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