SA’s top economist Dr Iraj Abedian warns Cape maritime high school pupils against ‘culture of instant gratification’.

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Dr Iraj Abedian, of South Africa’s top economists who is CEO of Pan-African Capital Holdings as well as Chairman of Amsol board of directors, flanked by three of about a dozen Simon’s Town School Lawhill Maritime Centre matric pupils who who received awards in recognition of their academic performance at the school on Thursday.

Cape Town: 14 October 2018

South Africa’s youth would be well-advised to learn to be patient in their pursuit of success both in their school and tertiary level studies through to their working lives while steadfast in their ethical conduct,  Dr Iraj Abedian, one of South Africa’s top economists told dozens of foundation level maritime studies pupils in Simon’s Town.

DSC_7835 (2).JPGHe was the main guest speaker at an awards event at the Simon’s Town School Lawhill Maritime Centre on Thursday evening during which top pupils were given recognition for their excellent performance in their maritime school studies and related performance during 2018.

Prior to addressing guests and pupils at the event, Dr Abedian assisted in handing out a number of awards to the top performing pupils.

Later in a speech titled: The Road Ahead in the Age of Disruption, and lasting about half an hour, Dr Abedian enumerated four of what he described as some key factors of success through hard work drawn from his own personal professional experience and which he said the pupils would be well advised to note and heed.

These were, he said: “commitment to excellence, patience, (a set of) clear core values and commitment to ethical practice, and a conscious embrace of uncertainty with enthusiasm.”

According to Dr Abedian, disruption was a constant and it needed to be embraced in the pursuit of success, and success, he said, was ‘not a destination but a journey’ requiring patience complimented by a conscious effort towards proper ethical conduct instead of a desire for instant gratification often characterized by bad behavior.

“In every corner of our lives, we see disruption. Disruption is not always bad. Very often it’s good, but the way we interpret it, we make it negative or positive,” he said.

Dr Abedian said the pupils had every reason to be grateful to their parents, the school as well as all those that supported them during and an important phase of their education journey, the foundation phase.

He said: “The acquisition of knowledge is a necessary condition for success. As if often said, success is not a destination but a journey, a journey of incremental accumulation of successes. In this journey, commitment to excellence is an important companion.This has to be a benchmark of your professional life.

“In addition to hard work and commitment to excellence, the next contributing factor to success is patience. I say this with a great concern in how today’s world of rampant pressure for instantaneous gratification, and unbridled pursuit of rapid accumulation of wealth in particular, as well as the ostentatious public display of opulence of wealth remains a great concern,” he said.

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SHARING NOTES: (From Left) Mr Odwa Mtati, Projects Manager at South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Ms Nthabiseng Tema, senior manager, Corporate Affairs at South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) chatting briefly with Dr Iraj Abedian shortly before his main address of the awards event at Lawhill Maritime Centre on Thursday.

Dr Abedian said South African society currently was suffering from the latter culture of instant gratification and dominant to which was a penchant for corruption and fraud, as evidenced, he said, by a daily litany of corruption and fraud stories emanating from both the country’s private and public sectors as well as civil society.

For Dr Abedian’s full remarks, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – a long term supporter of the Lawhill Maritime Centre mainly through bursaries for mostly disadvantaged children keen on maritime studies at foundation level – joined several other entities, individuals and families this year in granting tertiary level bursaries to two pupils of the school in recognition of their excellence school performance.

The recipients were final matric year pupils Thabiso Rantsho and Sinazo Viti.

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REWARDING EXCELLENCE:  Two recipients of SAMSA’s first tertiary level bursary awards at Lawhill Maritime Centre on Thursday evening: Thabiso Rantsho (Left) and Sinazo Viti (Right) flanked by (far Left) Ms Nthabiseng Tema, senior manager, Corporate Affairs and (far Right) Mr John Phiri, senior manager, Human Capital.

Presenting the SAMSA awards, human capital senior manager John Phiri who with Corporate Affairs senior manager Ms Nthabiseng Tema presented the awards, warned the pupils that discipline in their studies was also a key determinant factor to their success as the maritime sector, but particularly seafaring, was not for the fainthearted.

According to Mr Phiri, several former student and cadets that SAMSA sponsored in the past were now sitting at home without jobs due to lack of discipline he described as  characterized by an undue and misplaced sense of entitlement.

For Mr Phiri’s full remarks, click on the video below.

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Cape’s Lawhill Maritime Center celebrates it’s first female Master Mariner alumna

Cape Town: 10 May 2018

A Simon’s Town maritime studies foundation school, Lawhill Maritime Centre, settled atop a hill overlooking the harbor below, where the memorial statue of Just Nuisance stands to sunrise, is besides itself with joy this month, and all with good reason.

The news had brokenNicole that one of its former pupils, Nicole Gouvias, now aged 27, (pictured left) had gone on to formally obtain her Master Mariner’s licence in April 2018, thereby becoming the first ever South African female from the school to achieve the top honor in big ships sailing.

And for Nicole, 27, it was not just an entry level licence, but an internationally-recognized Master’s Certificate of Competency (Unlimited) which means she is qualified to command a ship of any size in the world’s oceans.

STS Lawhill Maritime Center has been in existence since 23 years ago, providing 15 to 17 year old students with specialized knowledge and skills  in maritime and other fields in their last three years of secondary schooling.

It is the only school in the Western Cape offering two maritime subjects; Maritime Economics and Nautical Science.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – the country’s agency statutorily charged with, among other things, promoting South Africa’s maritime interests – is among a handful of institutions in both the public and private sectors that has consistently supported the school over the years, mainly through bursaries for youths from previously disadvantaged communities expressly keen on maritime and related studies.

This past week, the school visibly excited about Nicole’s historical achievement, particularly in a maritime sector field where far few women have not only qualified but also thrived as sailors.

To date, South Africa, even though forever a maritime country with a coastline of some 3200 kilometers and an Exclusive Economic Zone measuring some 1.5-million square kilometres over three oceans – the Atlantic to the west, the Southern to the south and the Indian Ocean to the east – has produced a disproportionately low number of female Master Mariners than males.

In fact, the first ever three black female Master Mariners with unlimited licences only emerged in the last three years.

For Nicole, according to the STS Lawhill Maritime Center this past week, her achieving the qualification was a fulfillment of a long held childhood dream of becoming  a ship’s captain one day.

Maersk-container-vesselShe is now one, and is currently serving as Chief Navigation Officer on board container vessels within Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping line.

“She joined Safmarine as a cadet immediately after completing her studies at Simon’s Town School (which she attended from Grade 1 to Grade 12) and graduating cum-laude, from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

“She received the internationally-recognised Masters Certificate of Competency (Coc) in April this year. Doing so was the final step in achieving her dreams of being in command of a ship, as its Master or Captain. As Chief Navigation officer she is currently second in command on board vessel,” said the school in a statement.

Her former educator and currently still a tutor at the STS Lawhill Maritime Center, Mr Brian Ingpen as well as the school’s administrator, Ms Debbie Owen, share their views of the great achievement for Nicole and the school in the following video.

Meanwhile, Nicole, who was away at work overseas this week and therefore not available for an interview, was reported to have attributed her success to her tutors as well as the many retired sea captains who inspired her during their visits to the school.

She told the school: “I always enjoyed the stories told by Captain Schlemmer and the other retired shipmasters and it made me want to go out and make my own stories.

“Having the opportunity to do the maritime subjects at Simons Town School also made University chartwork exercises so much easier.

“I benefitted enormously from the constant words of encouragement of my maritime educators and the time Captain Schlemmer took to help me with chart work helped me be the person I am today,” said Nicole.

According to Lawhill Maritime Center, while Nicole’s career has taken her to many parts of the world – with Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Portugal, China, USA. Argentina, Madagascar and Australia among her favourites – one of her goals is to see more of her own country, South Africa.

“A passionate animal lover, Nicole also enjoys spending her time caring for abandoned animals on her smallholding outside Stellenbosch,” said the school

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DSC_4762 (2)Footnote: Simon’s Town is home to the harbor located statue of Just Nuisance – South Africa’s only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. According to Wikipedia, “He was a Great Dane who between 1939 and 1944 served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon’s Town, South Africa.”