“Good Oke” David Beckham Inspires South Africans at Sandton Summit

British football legend David Beckham has blown South Africans away at a summit in Sandton where he spoke about the importance of team work.

Speaking in Johannesburg today, the former Manchester United and England football star said that football was his number one passion growing up in a household where his dad was a big Manchester United fan.

David said he never pursued professional football for the fame or money, but because he loved it.

Interviewed on stage at the Discovery Leadership Summit by TV sport anchor Thomas Mlambo, David said “my greatest achievement, is my family. My proudest achievement is being captain.”

He said that as a leader you have to put yourself in the front of the firing line.

“I’m not a natural leader,” he admitted. “What I did was to work hard because I had to protect the team.”

It was five years ago, he said, that he decided he didn’t want to be a “face of things, I wanted to build and own things.”

He acknowledged that “working with great people and great brands led me to doing great things beyond football…”

He said success is all in the team and that “I have grown to enjoy business. Hard work, commitment and the team around me makes me.”

Speaking about his position on the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), David said: “I could just stay as an ambassador of the organisation doing the minimum but I want to do more.” He created the David Beckham Unicef 7 Fund last year which is committed to helping the world’s most vulnerable children over the next 10 years.

And speaking about his wife, former Spice Girl and fashion designer Victoria, he told the South African audience: “She’s the boss.”

Beckham says he enjoys returning to South Africa where he feels “the warmth and passionate spirit of its people.”

Members of the audience tweeted comments like “what a great guy, humble and gorgeous”, “reminds us that great leaders make a difference because of great teams” and “what a good oke – genuine, family man who is doing good work with UNICEF.”

The Summit, at Sandton Convention Centre, is known as the pre-eminent global thought leadership event on the South African events calendar. This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring Minds’ – about thinking beyond conventional boundaries.

The aim of the event is to provide a platform for some of the world’s most brilliant thinkers to share their leadership strategies.

This year’s thinkers include, amongst others, Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric; Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post and Thrive Global; and Pravin Gordhan, Finance Minister of South Africa.