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Six Years a Hostage

Freedom is an attitude.

Stephen McGown was abducted by Al Qaeda in North Africa while riding a motorcycle from London down to South Africa in 2011. He was held for five years, eight months, and released towards the end of 2017. He held the record for being the longest-held surviving Al Qaeda Hostage in the world.

Since his release, he has become a sought-after keynote speaker for schools, forums, and corporations both locally and internationally. He wrote a book called “Six Years with Al Qaeda,” which won the South African book awards and the adult non-fiction category, and the book was subsequently turned into an international movie.

The overlying theme of his talk is the importance of Self-awareness and Self-ownership. He believes if you know who you are, your strengths and weaknesses and what defines you, nothing can stop you from having an exceptional and fulfilling life. He was kidnapped as a tourist without the skills to survive; all his learnings were self-taught through trial and error.

His keynote includes the importance of perseverance, maintaining a positive attitude, finding value every day, teamwork, communication and simplicity.

Talking Points

Freedom is an Attitude

Stephen's talk is a story about resilience and overcoming adversity amidst harsh weather conditions, a different culture, language and religion. He talks about making important decisions, about the importance of acceptance and communication. He shares the concept that Freedom is an attitude.
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