African Renaissance Festival 15-16 August 2019



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Lunga Ntuli - Hard Work Opens Doors

Lunga Ntuli, Sports motivational speaker and author

We were told that you cannot concentrate or think straight with an empty stomach. Guess what; we have used the very same hunger to dream big. It the same hunger that made us persist, the same hunger that made us study, the same hunger that made us to work hard, to trust God. But more importantly we were not merely hungry for bread, we looked beyond flesh and got hungry to succeed and to inspire other people. We were aware that we had no choice in how our story begins but how it will end is totally up to us.

There are four key lessons that I have taken in my journey and especially in 2006 when I worked as a car guard and saw many people writing me off. The one thing that I had at that time was faith and a dream.

These lessons are: Firm: We need to be firm when it comes to our dreams and goals. In actual fact in
order for us to overcome the stumbling blocks in life we need to be stubborn. When I was told that if I study sport studies I will not succeed, I had to keep on being focused and guess what, in my third year of
study, I won a national award for promoting women's sport in the country.

Attitude: We need to have a correct or right attitude. When I spoke about making a name for myself in the media industry my friends laughed at me. A few months later I was a soccer columnist in the local newspaper, that was not enough and my name ended on the back page of Isolezwe.

Years later I worked for the companies as a senior football writer, and as a sports journalist for both the Sunday Times Zulu edition and Backpage Media. You may walk with your friends, talk with
them, laugh with them, play with them but never make a mistake of thinking like them.

Relevant: We were told that our goal needs to be realistic and I want to cut that off today and say to you, what you need is to be relevant. When you are realistic you will not make history. When I wanted to self
publish my first book on a zero budget while jobless I was told I needed to be realistic. What saw me launching that book, which was dubbed the first ever sport motivation book that spoke about valuable life lessons, was because I was relevant. My goals were parallel to my efforts. My will to succeed was deeper and that is why today I have published three more books, including best sellers. It doesn't matter where you come from or who knows you, just continue grinding at your goal and eventually someone will see you.

Expectations: When I was doing grade 11, I almost committed suicide. This came after I had realised that I had failed the term and was scared that I would lose my cricket scholarship. I thank God I didn't but the motive behind it all was the same, I was going to disappoint my parents, my teachers and my coaches had I lost my scholarship.

It is important that you put yourself first, that you do things not too please other people or other people's
expectations of you.

I want to close by saying, you were never born to be the next somebody, you were born to be you − the first and only. Look up to them but don't strive to look like them. You are unique so go out there and show the world what you have and never be satisfied by being compared to others. Make your mark, make your trend, and make your own history.

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