Shaping Tomorrow Together: A Journey of Hope, Curiosity, and Unity

Max Gomera's inagural talk with UNDP South Africa team

February 2, 2024

Mr Maxwell Gomera, the new Resident Representative of UNDP South Africa, addresses the UNDP South Africa team

UNDP South Africa

As we gather here today, embarking on a new chapter with UNDP South Africa, I am inspired to share a vision—a vision deeply rooted in the belief that tomorrow is worth fighting for. Our narrative of development is about the future, about hope, and fundamentally, it's about doing this together.


The Future: A Canvas of Curiosity

Let's start with the future. History teaches us that the world as we know it has been shaped by the curious minds of those who dared to question the status quo. Consider a young Isaac Newton, who, upon being struck by an apple, didn't simply brush off the incident. Instead, he pondered why the apple fell downwards, not upwards. His curiosity about the world around him led to the fundamental principles of gravity that we understand today.


In the same vein, we must foster a culture of curiosity. The future of South Africa, and indeed of Africa, lies in questioning, exploring, and innovating. Our team's curiosity will be the engine of change, propelling us beyond accepted norms and into a realm of endless possibilities.


Hope: Reimagining South Africa’s Narrative

On my flight here, a conversation with a fellow passenger struck me profoundly. It mirrored the resignation many feel towards societal issues— a sentiment that 'it is what it is'. But if we accept this narrative, how can we aspire to change the lives of millions in South Africa? Indifference enables extremism, facts check it. 


Consider New York and Johannesburg, cities with similar crime rates, yet perceived very differently. This highlights the power of narrative. We need to craft new narratives of hope, showing that tomorrow is indeed worth the struggle. It's about making the young men and women on our streets believe in accessible opportunities. This is the hope we need to instil - a belief in a brighter, inclusive future.


Unity: The Strength of Togetherness

Perhaps most crucially, our journey is about unity. It's about recognising that there is no 'me' without 'you'. Our path is one of shared destinies, where kindness and empathy are not just virtues but necessities.


We've often prioritised the investor's economy at the expense of the people's economy, focusing on conditions favourable for investment while sidelining the immediate needs and livelihoods of our communities. Our goal is to bridge this gap, to create an economic system that fosters growth and simultaneously strengthens the GDP of the Poor.


Building Our Team: The Foundation of Our Success

None of these ambitions can be realised without a strong, united team. Building this team is my priority because a team that is curious, kind, and collaborative is unstoppable. Our diversity is our strength, and our shared commitment to making a difference is our bond.


As we move forward, let us be the team that dares to question, that brings hope where there is despair, and that stands together in the face of challenges. Let's be a beacon of what it means to solve not just for South Africa, but for Africa. Our continent is on the brink of a new era, and together, we have the power to lead it into a future defined by equality, sustainability, and prosperity.


I invite each of you to join me in this mission. To be curious about the world, kind to each other, and united in our purpose. Together, we can shape a tomorrow that is not only worth fighting for but worth believing in.


Thank you.


Max Gomera