Are you a mosquito?


Mosquitos are small. But they have a big impact. Just ask anyone who has spent a sleepless night swotting at the darting midgets!

You and I are a bit like mosquitos. Far better looking and less annoying (let’s hope☺). But no less capable of making an impact.

Late last week I attended a presentation given by a previous member of the National Planning Commission in South Africa, Mr. Elias Masilela.

The presentation was to a group of unforgiving attorneys at a top law firm in South Africa. Its purpose was to talk about South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) for 2030 ( and how it is to be implemented. A plan that with its aim of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030, had a lot of us excited when it was first launched, but with the passing of time and seemingly limited action on the part of government, seems to have lost its lustre.

After all, a good plan is merely that. A good plan that only becomes a reality when action is taken to implement it.

At the presentation, Mr. Masilela, predictably faced questions about our governments’ intent (or lack thereof – depending on who you speak with) to implement the NDP. These questions are absolutely valid. After all, the South African government is a key stakeholder if the NDP is to be successfully implemented. And it is a favourite ‘bug bear’ of attorneys (myself included) to note that we have a myriad of world-class plans, policies and laws in South Africa, but that we seem to more often than not fall short in their implementation.

But Mr. Masilela replied with an answer that has stuck with me. Government is not the only party that must seek to understand and implement the NDP if it is to become a reality. Indeed, “[g]overnment begins in the home, grows into the community, expands towards the city, flares toward the province, and engulfs the entire land” (quote from the NDP).

If we are to achieve the future we want, it is up to each of us to be a mosquito. To:

– read and understand the NDP: what it seeks to achieve and how (even if just the executive summary which can be found here –;
– commit to the NDP (if you believe in what it sets out to achieve) and in so doing, in our personal and professional lives seek to ensure that we are part of the team working towards making the plan a reality; and
– hold ourselves, our government and all our institutions accountable for making the NDP 2030 happen.
“Be daring, be first, be different, be just. If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” – Anita Roddick, Founder & former CEO of The Body Shop International

I would love to hear back from you on your views regarding this post. Whether you agree or think I’m writing a whole lot of hogwash..

Best wishes until the next post (with further updates about our home project still to follow),

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