Disaster management, a tale of heroes, and a place in history

Post authored by Maurice Kande, academic coordinator at Gravitazz Institute





Fifty years from now, who do you think the world will remember the most between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates?

If you take the time to browse ‘tech-related’ blogs on the internet, you will surely notice the amount of admiration dedicated to Steve Jobs and his past work with Apple. Yes, surely, he was a ‘god within the technological world’ and he brought a new public presentation style now copied by millions of fans around the world.

On the other hand, Bill Gates , who is also a ‘genius’ in his own rights, has also established a strong reputation as a techie inventor through the ‘Microsoft software’.

Here comes the repeated question:

‘Fifty years from now, who shall we remember the most between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates?’

The response to this question pretty simple: ‘Bill Gates’.

And It is not simply because one had a longer lifespan than the other one…but because of the way Bill Gates has turned his personal ambitions around to become a philanthropist.

History tends at most to honor and vilify individuals for the way they made humanity feel. Historians usually remember individuals by ranking them according to their past actions or behaviors. And surprisingly, the people who had the greatest impact on our feelings and emotions tend to hold the highest ranks. Let me explain it with few examples:

Adolf Hitler holds the highest ranking among vile individuals who lived through the 20th century. He holds that ranking, not based on his political or strategical skills,but because of the way he made us (past and present humanity) feel. His role in the extermination of the Jewish people and in the destruction of Europe has left an emotionally sour taste to this day.

Mother Theresa (1910-1997) never invented an extraordinary invention. But we are likely to remember her more than Alexander Bell (1847-1922) who invented the telephone. The reason behind a higher ranking given to Mother Theresa is triggered by the way she made us feel in the midst of disasters caused by poverty. Martin Luther King ( 1929-1968) only lived for 39 years, never invented a technological tool, and has an American national public holiday dedicated to his life. History highly honors him for his stance against disaster caused by racism and segregation. He brought the message of love against hate. World presidents and leaders came to pay their respect to Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) on his funeral. In 2013, he had left the presidential office for about 15 years; he was retired from politics. The way he made us feel in his fight against disasters caused by apartheid (segregation), has led several countries to build monuments in his honor. Nelson Mandela did not invent any technological tool. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is regarded as the ‘easiest name to remember’ within the list of all American Presidents who filled the oval office. Though he passed away about 150 years ago, people remember for the way his courage made us feel in his stance against slavery.

My list could go on over and over again….

Disaster risk management is not just about tactics. It is also about humanitarian actions. It is also about the way we make people feel in the face of hunger, war, racism, economic troubles…Working as a disaster risk management practitioner is also about giving hope and love in the face of natural and men made disasters. It goes beyond the call of ideas and has led more than many to stand for humanity against destruction.

Bill Gates is currently working at helping people through his philanthropic works. That’s why history will easily remember him in the next 50 years…

The next time you stand at working towards saving or helping people facing societal disasters of any nature, be convinced that you are building history for the way you will make people feel.






About the author: Maurice Kande works at the Gravitazz Insititute as the academic coordinator and believes in ‘acting towards saving and helping humanity’.

The Gravitazz Institute is currently offering short courses in disaster risk reduction management from the 3rd to the 7 of April 2017 in Johannesburg (South Africa). If you wish to enroll with us online, please visit our registration portal at the following link: ‘registration for April courses’

Alternatively, you may send an email to :info @gravitazzcontinental.com or at: maurice@gravitazzcontinental.com for more info.



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