Friday, December 6, 2013

Our Nelson

For many years since the battle of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson was the most famous Nelson.   His statue may stand tall in the center of London but his stature compared with Our Nelson is small.   Our Nelson needs no statues, needs no streets named after him, and needs no international airports that bear his name.  Our Nelson will be remembered simply by his name that stands for resolve, courage, caring, kindness, and integrity.

Lord Nelson won one battle, Our Nelson won the world!

For me as a white person born in South Africa in the early 1950s who came to America as a refugee in 1975, Nelson is a heroic symbol that at first in my youth was someone I was told to be terrified of.   We were fed propaganda on the radio (SABC) how there was a “swaart gevaar” (a black danger) and that Nelson was the leader of the swaart gevaar.  Note South Africa had no TV so we never really saw a picture of the Swaart Gevaar, it was simply the radio giving us subliminal audio messages of our impending domination and doom.

At Wits University where I studied there would be graffiti saying “Free Mandela”.   A mocking engineer struck out Mandela and wrote Energy.   I simply went through life as dumb late teenager with raging hormones.   In 1974 I attended the Wits Business School and met Chief Gatya Buthelezi of the Zulus.  That was a guy who really scared the crap out of me. 

South Africa under white rule had Bantustans or homelands and these chiefs were puppets of the Apartheid regime.

Nelson would have nothing to do with acquiescing to yoke of Apartheid like Buthelezi and the other “Paramount” Chiefs.    Nelson had the resolve and courage to hold out for real freedom for his people and all people.

I left South Africa after joining a chemical company as a young manager having gained my MBA.  I made the “mistake” of promoting a black worker into a “white man’s” job.   Interestingly that job was as a crane operator to remove sulfur laden solid waste in the desulfurization of synthesis gas at an ammonia plant.   Very similar to the hazardous sulfur laden solid waste I have often discussed about Al Gore’s Gangrene Bloom Boxes.

I caused a strike by the unionized white workers when I refused to demote the Black worker out of the job they claimed was reserved for whites.  The management of the factory (British and Harry Oppenheimer owned) would not support me or the black worker.  I resigned my job and went directly to the US Embassy in Pretoria to get my papers to come to the US.  My Dad was a US citizen so that was pretty quick and easy.  I had given up on South Africa and simply feared an impending blood bath.

Nelson avoided that blood bath I and so many others feared.  Buthelezi and the other “Paramount” Chiefs would not have avoided the conflict if they had the power of the “Presidency”.  I also admire F W De Klerk as a man who is blessed with resolve, courage, and integrity.   F. W. De Clerk knew that Nelson would do great in his “white man’s” job of President of the Republic of South Africa.

I have no clue what happened to the black worker who I promoted to be a crane operator in the sulfur removal pit.   After 38 years I cannot even remember his name.  I knew he could do that job well but we never found out just how well he would have done that job. He simply was never given the chance.

Nelson, you proved that it is content of one’s character not the color of one’s skin that matters in doing the job well.  Nelson you are my beacon to give me the resolve to continue to tackle the well-connected gangrene crowd that are ripping us off blind in the green energy space.   They are the Gotyas of Green Greed.   Nelson your example of courage is awesome.   Nelson you stand taller than Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square near South Africa House, you stand as Our Nelson way up there in heaven.  God Bless You.

A Footnote Nelson did resemble Ali as a young man.  Both were boxers and both are examples of courage and both are champions of the world.


  1. Lindsay
    Well written. My RSA history is a little different. Please keep your "resolve to continue to tackle the well-connected gangrene crowd that are ripping us off blind in the green energy space." You have reinforced my resolve to create new mobility and change "apartheid" land planning.

    1. I will keep the resolve to make sure the gangrene crowd are full exposed like the statue of David that was banned in Pochefstroom

  2. Thanks for this, AND for your sacrifice, Lindsay. I continue to be challenged, on the periphery because of the myopic, short-sighted cadre in charge. I'm hearing lip service again, and more platitudes of placation, because I won't believe any of it until I see the dollar signs go up in my checking account. Anyhow…

    You should have heard the rage in the room by all the marginalized groups during the public comment section CPUC General Order 156 Supplier Diversity Hearing back in October of this year. After a few speakers, I couldn't stand it anymore, especially when those who needed to hear all these comments left the room.

    After the hearing ended, I was not only successful at engaging the Keynote Speaker, Stuart Ishimaru, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,, but I was also extended an invitation to make contact with the first female African American CPUC Commissioner, Carla Petersen. I have already made formal contact with Carla Petersen, and have an appointment with her on 17 December. Afterward on the 20th, I'm pitching my IP to a Director of International Investments at Chevron's Energy Solutions.

    What's even better is, thanks to CPUC President, Michael Peevey offering allowances to those of us who were not formally included on the docket for the public comment portion of the agenda, at the last minute, he allowed me to share the following with the forum--he also accepted receipt of my business card after the event ended--and because of a faux paux he made, I took the opportunity to drive my Kimgerly brand home--nope, the man won't be forgetting me anytime soon:

    I would like to thank all here on the panel, especially Governor Jerry Brown who contributed to signing SB 43 into law. Prior to SB 43 becoming law, many of us have been relegated to the periphery. And if you can indulge me, I have a lot of ideas on how to out think the box.

    My comment has to do with locating information about researching the possibility of local hybrid renewable energy projects under the SB 43 auspice. Specifically, around any new opportunities that can potentially bid into the current procurement models under an RFO. And so, if I may ask a rhetorical question…

    I understand the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently proposed rules to allow crowd funding under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. My question is, what do these rules mean for small scale (<100MW) investments in renewable energy companies, projects not strictly focused on solar or wind, and co-ownership in under-represented communities?

    I understand Carla Petersen issued the following at a webinar this past week, "We are currently developing a product in an open proceeding, and alsocommunity energy options are being developed due to recently passed legislation---so, how can we leverage off of some of these drivers?" Do you think she heard me?

  3. Kim

    Good for you! You deserve to be heard and you deserve to be paid for what you do. The CPUC has some might big answering to do for giving Bloom Energy and its customer $257 million of SGIP money that was intended to lower carbon emissions when in fact it more than doubled them. The Bloom Coffins also have solid toxic and hazardous sulfur containing waste. Tell the CPUC this when you meet with them. I have told the CPUC staff to issue a real SGIP report this year that tells the truth how Bloom has been Greenwashing. Colin Powell, John Doerr and Al Gore are criminals and have committed crimes against people as well as nature. They shall soon see the long arm of the law of thermodynamics coming to get them. They simply are greedy when I am greeny

    1. Ja ja. I'll be sure to put Bloom on my docket. And encourage Carla Petersen to contact you, too. I have to be hopeful that she will actually hear me on many well-intended, wasteful matters.

  4. I hope that Nelson's Statue feels at home alongside Nelson's Column in London.
    There is more than one Mandela statue on London. Poor rich poor Muhammad (ALI)

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  6. As a former marginalized South African and now Officially Recognized Black or Coloured South African with experiences similar to Lindsay, I take my hat off to Madiba. I hope that his Legacy continues and that the ANC Leadership enhance his approach and ideology, and doesn't get replaced by another 3-letter acronym - the EFF.

    But, history has not been shown to be kind in Social Revolutions..

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