Business Magazine

The Power of Words: Context Vs. #Content

Posted on the 31 October 2013 by Brawilly @therealbrawilly

This blog was inspired by a conversation I had with a colleague. As we discussed, the importance of energies and self-actualisation – being in tune with yourself and realising your higher purpose in life. I had an “AHA Moment” as Oprah would say, I realised that I am bound to everything word I say and every word I say will instantly play a role in the kind of life I LIVE.



Recently, there was a “National” outrage over a statement the President made during an address to the Gauteng ANC Manifesto Forum at Wits University validating the implementation of e-tolls. President Zuma was quoted as saying “We can’t think like Africans, in Africa, generally. We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It’s not some national road in Malawi.”



President spokesman Mac Maharaj later claimed that the media had quoted him “out of context” and blown his statement completely out of proportion. Mac Maharaj even went on local radio station Power FM on Eusebius McKaiser’s show apologizing to the Nation and withdrew the Presidents statement.

Context vs. Content:  According to Mac Maharaj’s statement Zuma meant and said:  “With regards to road construction, Gauteng has built many kilometres of new 8-10 lane freeways built at a cost of about R20-billion. This is more than our national roads budget for one year. The roads are to be tolled to pay back the money we borrowed to build the freeways. Our policy is that users should pay for extra government expenses.  In addition, the President then made the example that it was also not fair to expect Gauteng roads to be compared to roads in other towns such as Pietermaritzburg or national road in Malawi as this was Gauteng, the heartbeat of South Africa’s economy and an international city of commerce and business.” See more at

Gwede Mantashe also added ““It is not about e-tolls. It’s about the world class infrastructure that you find in Gauteng because the province itself is striving to be world class … They want to be like Singapore, a one-city province.”  See more at

The lesson here is that whether the president’s statement was blown out of context or not – the power was in the words he used. Content: the same “content” (words) can have various meanings if put in a different context. That’s why content is extremely significant. Think of it as the “same situation, different place” kind of scenario.

Reactions and other interesting views (tweets) to President Zuma’s statement:


  The power of words has the ability to change a mess into a message.




Through your words, you are sending a message out to the universe and the universe responds. It’s so powerful that by a simple change in  your vocabulary and uttering positive words over negative, you could change the way you think and ultimately your thoughts manifest in your life. Think before you speak.

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