Vusi Thembekwayo wants to show you how to go from GOOD to GREAT.
Vusi is the CEO of a boutique investment & advisory firm in Africa, is one one of the top 12 Speakers in the World, 2020 Business Leader of the Year, and at the age of only 25 he ran a R400mn division in a R17bn multi-national and today is widely regarded as one of the most disruptive forces in venture capital in Africa. He was amongst the youngest directors of a listed company in South Africa and now serves on several boards.
As a child, Vusi would study by candlelight and would wake up early to get ready for school. He got his hard work attitude from his father who started his own business using their house as collateral to prevent them from being on the streets.
“The bank was about to repossess our house so my mother and my siblings had to move in with relatives. We stayed in a small back room and had to wake up very early, make fire and make porridge to eat,” he says. “One minute we had a home and were being dropped off at school in our father’s car and the next we were suffering commuting kilometers in taxis to school. That experience shapes how I look at the world and my understanding of risk. I understand that whatever it is you have, tomorrow it could be all gone.”
Tragedy struck at a young age for Vusi when thieves shot his father nine times then left him to bleed to death.
“This was a very difficult time in my life. My dad and I were best friends. We did everything together and went everywhere together. The only reason I wasn’t with him that day is that my mum was ill and I stayed with her at home when my dad was shot for his cell phone. South Africa has a violent past and that narrative continues to find expression in modern South Africa, we condone violence because we find a reason to defend why it’s ok to do it and we have a justice system that isn’t sufficiently punitive for people who perpetrate the act. We need to come together as a society to say no matter the reason it is not ok to take a life.”
Growing up as a teenager with a single mom, Vusi soon found himself in trouble, and at the age of 15, he was forced to take up public speaking in High School as punishment for misbehavior. However, his talent for talking was not there yet, and after being booed off stage he started working harder on his public speaking.
“The best way to get me to do something is telling me I can’t do it. When they booed me off stage I started working harder to get to where I am,”
Once he has found his strength his talent only got stronger and grew, by the age of 21 he was running a successful consulting firm, and at 25, he was the youngest director of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, a bourse turning over $1.3 billion a year. At the age of 29, he had already visited 21 giving presentations and talks globally while sometimes charging up to $8000 a time, since then he has done the same in New York, London, Paris, Lagos, Jersey, Guernsey, Rio de Janeiro, Dar es Salaam, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Colombo, Nairobi, Kampala, San Francisco.
He now holds shares in seven companies with a combined value of over $300 million, these companies are in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and Nigeria.
Living out loud – Vusi lives his life out loud and challenges himself to accomplish one terrifying thing every year.
Vusi Thembekwayo’s Inspirational Message.
“Everything worth having in life has its challenges, and you will get knocked down sometimes. You need to understand that failure is also part of the journey, you can’t run away from it. You have to decide whether to be defined by those failures or to be defined by how you overcame them.”