Ndosi Strategies presents our 2nd annual conversation on the exciting state of Africa and entrepreneurship through the lens of South Africa’s Next Generation. Hosted at LMHQ in New York. Sponsored by Brand South Africa. A special thank you to our panel of next generation leaders based in the US & South Africa– representing STEM, Agriculture, Media, Fashion, Public Service and Finance. Beautiful images by Isaiah Morris & Sisekelo Shange.
Growing up in Alex was interesting for me but I can imagine the fear my parents had for me. My father was an involved dad and I mean involved in every way possible. He never bought me All Stars because it was the kind of footwear thugs wore. Later in life I bought myself a pair after my first job and I found them overrated and cold — gave them to my little brother.
I can tell you that good people come from Alex.
Alex – This is where I am from and for the longest time I never fitted in because I didn’t look like the place where I was from. I found it hard to find a place in society because I looked rich while I was poor (understood that poor is relative as well). While growing up I was ashamed of where I was from not that it was a bad place but because of the disappointment of my friends when they eventually found out. I wouldn’t date girls from the burbs because at some point you have to invite her to your place (I know @khayadlanga would relate to this). This is the reason why when you first meet me you will know where I am from first before you know my surname. I can’t change where I from but I can change the perception of the place that I come from, I can tell you that good people come from Alex.
My father had a hair salon; yes I was one of those kids who had a fresh s-curl done for free on the first day at school. My father realized that the area we lived will/has bad influence in me. He found a computer school just outside of Alex for me to go to every weekend, this was around 1997. I thank him for that, because he is the reason why I am obsessed with the Internet and computers today. I became Head Boy at Summerwood Primary School then later went to Highlands North Boys School. After attending Highlands for two years I remember my mother sitting me down and asking me to move to a cheaper school Northview High School because she was pregnant with my little sister.
I understood the situation at home and at last I was going to a school that will also have girls, so I was happy. Another reason was that my dad’s business was not doing well and he started being sick, like for a long time. I was becoming a young man so this was a period when I was bit of a rebel. Around 2001 — I remember that day like it was yesterday, I just got appointed prefect at Northview High school and I remember that we were not on good terms with my father at the time, I was an angry man. (Like an angry teenager would be). I received the news that my father has passed on — my dreams died that day. He was my only hope for going to school at the time because I knew that my mother couldn’t afford it.
But, every valentines day is a reminder of what happened in 2003 — when I got the call from YFM telling me that I was going to school, that I got the Dj Fresh Scholarship to further my studies because my mother who works at Pick n Pay couldn’t afford a R25k tuition to do Graphic Design.
When you’re a child, you’re in the guidance of your parents and they make all your decisions for you – except pooping on yourself. The older you get, your parents try to instill some sort of responsibility into your life by giving you the power to make decisions and dealing with the consequences thereafter. Then, eventually, you get the hang of this decision-making business but even within that, there are different compartments that no one goes into explaining to you. So, you start off by blaming other people for your decisions or rather making excuses for whatever situation you end up in just to make yourself feel better. Most of the time, things like parents, upbringing, friends, alcohol, sex, drugs, peer pressure etc are the excuses we use for ending up where we end up.
“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you”. — J.K Rowling
Then you get older, you make more bad decisions because it’s part of growing up and you’re consistently discovering yourself and your limitations. Alcohol for me was the biggest excuse I used because it was legal and I would avoid rejection – Like approaching a girl you like at a club; I would rather do that while I’m drunk than sober. Now, alcohol teaches us quick about consequences than anything else because there’s something called a hangover that one has to deal with the next morning. Or if you’re an amateur, you’d end up blacking out at the club because you couldn’t handle your alcohol. You get better with experience, you learn that one needs to eat before going out and you know that you need to stay away from tequilas and not mix your alcohol. The sooner you get the hang of handling your alcohol and knowing your limitations, the sooner you can make better decisions knowing your limitations.
Ok, back to the “You are the world that you have created” — where you are now/today is the result of all your decisions combined. Whether you decided not to use a condom with that one-night stand and are now having a baby with a girl you don’t even like, it’s your fault, no one else’s. Whether you decided to drop out of school and not go back to chase your dreams because you think you are too cool for school, it’s your fault. If you’re not happy with your job and where your life is right now, it’s your fault. If you keep dating sluts/assholes, it’s your fault. If you are in debt – it’s your fault. All of the above, you were not forced to do but you chose to participate in it.
“At the understanding that life is not going to take you back. You are the world you have created. And when you cease to exist, this world that you have created will also cease to exist.” — Jefe (The Counselor)
In other words, from the friends that you have, partners you date, places you hang out at, movies you watch, place that you work at, to how you spend your free time, from reading books or magazines, to playing soccer to not caring much about your health. All the above contribute towards the world that you built or the one that you live in. Basically, it’s your fault and it’s your choice if you want to change it.