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Siya Xuza inspires at Nedbank’s #Talks4Success in Johannesburg

I am so full after attending Nedbank’s #Talks4Success event on Tuesday night. No, not from the popcorn that they served us, but from the great advice and inspiration that we received from the amazing speakers that they had.

For this particular instalment of #Talks4Success the speakers were Siya Xuza and Thubelihle Ngcobo who have both achieved some great milestones in their careers. Today I’m going to share some of the gems that Siya shared with us and on another post I am going to share some of Thubelihle’s gems.

Check out THIS video to learn more about Siya.

Lessons from his talk:

  • Darkness is an opportunity to create light. – Siya started off his talk with a picture of the planet earth as seen from space and went on to explain that while Africa has been described as the darkest continent on earth, we should see the darkness as an opportunity to create light.
  • Success starts with curiosity. – He went on to tell of the first time he saw an aeroplane during the first democratic elections as a child in Umtata. The aeroplane was distributing pamphlets on the election process. Seeing this aeroplane sparked his curiosity in things that fly.
  • When you’re curious about something, find more information. – Many times we brush off our curiosities without finding answers to our questions. Upon seeing the aeroplane at age 5, he went on to read further and found that there are objects that go even beyond the sky. He then decided that he wanted to go to the biggest planet, Jupiter.

Siya Xuza

  • Ask questions on how you’re going to get to your destination. – He asked himself how to get to Jupiter decided to experiment with building his own rocket and making his own rocket fuel.
  • Don’t give up. You might just be close to your dream at the point of failing. – All 77 of his attempts at launching his rocket lead to explosions instead, but he kept on going until he finally successfully launched a rocket at age 17, breaking a world record.
  • Stay humble. – Eventually his discovery of a cheap alternative to making rocket fuel won him a prize and he went on to study at Harvard in the US. In 2008 a tiny planet next to Jupiter was named after him by NASA. Upon returning, his mother said to him “even if you have a planet named after you, always remain down to earth.”
  • During the Q&A session at the end Siya also reminded us to put our values over money and that in so doing our values will make us money.

Last night had me questioning so many of my goals and how I am going to go about achieving them. While the thought is overwhelming, I know it is not impossible. Thanks to Siya, I relearned that the sky is not the limit.

Article written by:

Richmond Sajini is a musician and media entrepreneur in the public relations, television, radio and retail spaces in South Africa. He studied Public Relations and Communication at the University of Johannesburg and has worked on brands such as Coca Cola, Tsogo Sun, Heineken as well as the South African National Roads Agency. He has been told to shut up many times by people who don’t understand that he is in love with the sound of his own voice. For this reason he decided to start his own blog where he would share his thoughts and experiences without inhibition. Visit his blog, and follow him on Twitter @richmondsajini.


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