David White - A Visionary And So Much More-Imtiaz Sooliman
David White - A Visionary And So Much More-Imtiaz Sooliman

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David White - A Visionary And So Much More-Imtiaz Sooliman


As a mentor in BusinessFit I am constantly meeting extraordinary people and hearing their amazing ideas of how they aim to make a positive contribution to the economy ... and help move South Africa forward.

Most days, I feel I have the best job anyone could ever wish for ... and then, on top of that, there are extraordinary days where spending time with the "entrepreneurial elite" - the gladiators of innovation and change. These are the visionaries.

A short while ago I met with one such visionary. The mighty Imtiaz Sooliman himself. He was in Durban for two consecutive days to spend time with his family.
This is unusual, because Imtiaz is constantly travelling. We met at Gift of the Givers Durban office. There was no shortage of energy points and discussion flowed as we shared our passion for transformation, human preservation and development.

It felt like one of those meetings that was pre-ordained, my own free time due to the last-minute cancellation of a meeting. I did not know I was to hear one of the most exciting and positive messages and entrepreneurial ideas I had heard in a very long time.

Late the evening before, Imtiaz and I spoke on WhatsApp. I was on a conference call with the South African Chamber of Commerce (SACC) in London, where BusinessFit has a seat on the executive. The SACC executive team were discussing and considering interesting and inspirational speaker options to help SACC members in London keep abreast of important and motivational initiatives happening in South Africa. My suggestion was that Imtiaz share his story with SACC members how Gift of the Givers came about, and of the magnificent work he and his team of capable, determined South Africans do around the world.
It's hard to comprehend that Gift of the Givers, since it started in 1992, has done rescue work in 43 countries, and delivered value of R2.8bn.

I met Imtiaz at the Standard Bank KZN Top Business Gala Evening in 2018. He was awarded the KZN Top Business Personality Award, and shared his story about Gift of the Givers' inspired beginning. He was instructed by Sufi Spiritual Master Muhammad Safer Efendi in Istanbul, Turkey, to set up the Gift of the Givers organisation. He remembers this moment exactly, and recalls that the message from the Master came to him at 10pm on Thursday 6th August 1992.

Wonderfully significant is the instruction he received to serve in this new capacity was given in Turkish, a language Imtiaz does not speak, but he understood exactly what the Master said, and immediately turned his life's thoughts and actions to the call to serve humanity.

After listening to Imtiaz for 30 or 40 minutes, the lives of those present were changed forever. He is a giant among men, and an example to all what passion and purpose can achieve. But there was so much more we learned from Imtiaz as he shared stories of the magnificent work South African rescue teams do in crisis situations across the world.

South Africans are known internationally as hard working, committed, and pioneering "make a plan and make it work" people. In rescue situations, everyone is more relaxed and confident when the South African teams arrive. Although involved in rescue situations worldwide, in recent years much attention has been focused on providing support in South Africa. This includes rescue services in the Knysna fires, drilling for water and providing people and animals with food in Sutherland, and saving Grahamstown and surrounds from being wiped out by a devastating drought earlier this year.

At our meeting we spoke about Imtiaz's new vision: to restore public hospitals to effective and efficient "Healing Centres." He said his vision came at 4.30am one morning, and by 5am he had "down-loaded" in his mind the full blue prints on how to lead, structure and secure the future of medical treatment in South Africa. The vision came just a few weeks ago, and since that moment he has spoken to CEOs from medical aid companies, the many influential leaders from the medical and business communities. He said people hearing his transformation plan were 'blown away' by the vision's simplicity and clarity.

The man himself will be the bearer of the micro details of the process, but he will not mind me sharing that he knows the transformation of our public hospitals is possible based on three important aspects. First, the confidence he has gained through the work Gift of the Givers has done in 43 countries; second, the connections he has made in his years of working in the medical field, and the way international doctors and medical staff are drawn to the humanitarian work associated with Gift of the Givers; third, his faith in God and people's ability to "dig deep" and rise above seemingly paralyzing situations. Imtiaz said where people are stressed and situations urgent, they reach deeper into their faith and this is where transformation and improved health and circumstances become achievable.

Through the influence of Gift of the Givers, he is able to draw international doctors to South Africa to support the humanitarian crises of our public sector hospitals at low cost. This will have the effect of lowering costs of government and medical aid expenditure...where funds not applied to doctors' fees will be able to be used to upgrade facilities, and to pay forward into other hospitals requiring attention. Imtiaz, a highly competent medical doctor himself, understands that as much as 60% of healing comes from patients being in a healthy and comforting environment.

Hospital administration is the key focus in the transformation process, and Imtiaz saw in his vision, himself and a core team working on one hospital first, then flowing with the momentum and experiences learned, to all other government hospitals in South Africa.

His compelling presence and passion, coupled with his amazing 'personal experience' stories, transforms and revitalizes people. 

For more information please contact Tel: +27 (0)31 767 0625
E-mail: info@businessfit.co.za
Website: www.businessfit.co.za

David White - A Visionary And So Much More-Imtiaz Sooliman

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