RiA is presenting here the last interview we conducted at the AEF 2019. After Samaila Zubairu from AFC, Ricardo Machado from Aenergy, Romain Py from AIIM, Grant Henderson and Nacim Bounouara from DLA Piper, we discussed with Quinton Fortune from Manchester United. See main points discussed below:
- Electricity Issue in Africa.
- Perception of Solar in Africa.
- Football support for more Renewable Energy.
RiA (Q1): I’m here today at the Africa Energy Forum and I’m with a legend, Mr. Quinton Fortune. You’re here flying the flag which is great. Why was it so important for you to be at this event?
QF (A1): First of all, I’m here on behalf of Manchester United. I wanted to be part of this event. I heard about it and they wanted me to give a speech about my upbringing in South Africa. I let them know that my upbringing was a little bit different to my brothers in terms of electricity. Interestingly, I spoke to my brother this morning and it made me think of the experiences my family went through like my brothers and sisters in other parts of Africa in terms of not having electricity back in the day. In Cape Town, we grew up in a shack and to have light, they had to use a candle. However, when I was born, things changed so I was the lucky one. I can only relate that to my experience because having electricity and light helped me so that I could play football in the evenings. My mum was happy about that because she could see me play football right in front of the flat. As long as she could see me, I was fine and that was a game changer for us so I could play longer.
RiA (Q2): That’s so beautiful. You mentioned something that’s very important. You’re talking about the electricity issue you are having then and is now still in South Africa which is confusing. Why aren’t there more people like you advocating for more renewable energy, electrification or maybe is it a message people are not interested in?
QF (A2): It is confusing and quite unbelievable. Definitely, if I can help and support the cause of getting more electricity out to areas where kids don’t have it, of course I would be part of it. I saw the difference it made to children in education. They could study at night and I was lucky because I was born in a different generation so I can only listen to my mum about how it affected them and how it improved their lives. If I can do anything that can help a younger generation and be part of that, by all means, yes.
RiA (Q3): And what is your perception of solar energy?
QF (A3): I think it’s amazing. I think more people need to have it in Africa and if I can do anything to raise awareness and outreach, I would not hesitate to do so.
RiA (Q4): That would be very good if you can show a lot of support for renewable energy. We need more people like yourself to help with sensitizing people especially at the grassroot so that they are aware of what could be done. Importantly, in the community of football, there could be capital leveraged to raise awareness about such issues.
QF (A4): 100%, I’m with you there. It’s like anywhere in life; you have to make sure you’re connecting with the right people with the right mindset and a good heart as well. The plans can easily fall through if it’s not in the right hands especially back home. We have to make sure everything is put in place but I’m sure we can do it. I’ve seen the changes made already. I heard about the 8 or so ladies from Malawi that went to India to study Engineering, came back and helped the community. Can you imagine! If they can do it, imagine what others can do if they have the opportunity to come back to Africa and change lives.
RiA (Q5): So, I’m going to throw you a very controversial question. What’s up with Manchester United and what do you think of Manchester City?
QF(A5): Manchester City. You have to congratulate them. They were very good last season. They have a very good manager, but we are building. We have a very good manager now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Obviously, we’ll see what happens in the summer. We are definitely going to strengthen the squad and we’ll be ready to go at the beginning of the season. I can tell you that we’ll be much stronger, well prepared and looking forward to the new season. So that’s all I can say.
RiA (Q6): Very last question I couldn’t stop. For the African Cup of Nations, what is your prediction for the winner? Who would you pick?
QF (A6): Oh, my goodness! South Africa!
RiA (Q7): Thank you very much for that! It was a pleasure speaking with you!
QF (A7): It was a pleasure. Thank you!
Listen to the interview HERE
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