The Importance of Partnerships

Nothing will get you further in life than a great partnership; be it a partnership in love, in business, in travel or even a partnership in ideas. As much as we sometimes believe that we can do things on our own (which we often can), it’s always that much better with friends or people we trust to support us. No one makes it out of this life without the help of someone who either just sees or believes in the potential that we have.

I remember in my matric year, I applied to further my studies at just about all the major Technikons at the time, in the hopes of finally becoming a Graphic Designer. I remember going to the Wits Technikon for an assessment to study Fine Arts; we were given a drawing to do that we would be judged on to gain entry into Wits. I remember the day I got the letter to say that I didn’t make it like it was yesterday… I remember going back to Wits to ask why I hadn’t been accepted and how the lecturer there said that I just wasn’t talented enough. My world crumbled. I remember thinking… ‘What do you mean I am not talented enough? what does this mean for me and my future?’. Sure, my parents couldn’t afford to pay my tuition fees anyways, but I had a plan. My plan was to get a loan and a job so that I could take myself to school. I already had a job interview lined up at Pick ‘n Pay where my mother worked as a cashier.

With all hope gone, my last option was to get this job that would enable me to save enough money for my first year at least then I would take it from there. I remember hearing an advert on YFM at the time, saying something about a graphic design scholarship and that to qualify; one should write an essay detailing why they were deserving of the scholarship. Now I had to prepare for that submission, planning what I was going to write about came easily to me – I remember that to be the one time my English lessons actually came into play. I wrote the essay on the first day and I edited it the next day – this was so I could spot any mistakes with a fresh mind the following day. I had to re-write the final essay on a clean piece of paper and make sure that it was submission ready. Even though I only had R7.50 to my name that day, it was the perfect amount to take a taxi to Rosebank, that however meant that I would have to walk at some point to get back home.

I decided that I would take the taxi from Alexandra (where I lived) to Rosebank and that I would walk back home (with the hopes that it wouldn’t rain). I made sure that everything was in an envelope and that I too looked presentable. I also made sure that my application was received first thing in the morning so that I would have enough time to walk back home; it was about a 12km walk from Rosebank back to Alexandra, that’s a good two hours of walking and dreaming about how this opportunity would help kick off my career when I got it. I remember walking with the biggest smile on face knowing what would be possible with this scholarship – I got the scholarship. It was one of the greatest moments of my life – that moment changed everything for me.

13 years later, I had a conversation with DJ Fresh. The very person who had awarded me the scholarship to study 13 years prior, was now giving me the opportunity to pay it forward through the Marvin Scholarship which he agreed to help fund. DJ Fresh has always been that guy, the one who not only sees and believes in potential but who is always willing to help if he can, he has proven that time and time again. I honestly wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. Because of the help and support I got from DJ Fresh I don’t only believe in paying it forward but I am able to do so by opening more doors for other kids, I wouldn’t have been able to do so if it wasn’t for him. I believe that my story illustrates how working together can change and impact so many more lives.

This week I will be speaking in New York for The Meeting of The Young Minds Business Conference because DJ Fresh gave me a chance, an opportunity. I hope that there will be more kids who I take to school that will spread their wings and change the world one day. It truly does take a village to raise a child and the results are beyond amazing.