Whose life will you change?


Sibusiso Vilane chats to the Purple Group team about risk, perseverance, opportunity, self-belief, and always looking out for the next big thing

Whose life will you change? A question South Africans should all be asking. In a country facing serious social disparity, we need to find alternative ways to inspire each other and encourage success in the face of adversity. The future is bleak for many of us. If you are privileged enough to get a matric and maybe even a degree, jobs are scarce, unemployment is rising, and industry is facing new challenges every day.

I have often wondered what I can do. How do I influence and change someone else’s life? I could donate money and pay for an education, I could try and assist someone to get a job… but after a session this morning at The Purple Group, I realised it is also just about opening your ears and hearts and showing a genuine interest in people – all and any people you come into contact with. Look to identify a talent or a passion, and at least just point it out. Help someone see what perhaps they haven’t seen in themselves. You might just start a ball rolling that could end up in the most impossibly awesome place.

Sibusiso Vilane was a game ranger and took a guest for a bush walk one day. This guest noticed a talent in him. And he urged Sibusiso to be the first African to summit Mount Everest.

Sibu laughed initially.

“Me? An African? Summit a mountain? I have no interest in that. I have no abilities to achieve this,” he said.

The guest was adamant… and it got Sibu thinking. “Why not? Africans have an amazing ability to tackle the perceived impossible. Let me be an icon and prove this to the world.”

The first African to summit Everest…  it had a certain ring to it, and that set Sibu on his way.

On the 26 May 2003, seven years after he started climbing mountains in the Drakensberg, the first African summited Mount Everest. Sibusiso Vilane became an icon in our country and a role model for all South Africans.

Sibusiso says that the best lesson he learnt from this experience is that what keeps teams together is a common goal. If you have a definite end goal, your team can weather any amount of storms along the way. He also believes that to succeed, you must take risks and stay motivated.

So next time you see a talent in someone… don’t walk away wondering what if… tell them, open your mind and your mouth and let’s try to inspire some life-changing experiences.

A colleague at CN&CO, Kurt Solomon, won a trip to Hong Kong five years ago. A person on that trip with him noticed a passion and an innate ability in Kurt to pull people together and inspire communication. That person was Carel Nolte. He offered Kurt a job and they now co-own a business together. So you see, it’s possible. But first you have to open your mind and your mouth.

Follow @jozidougall @sibueverest @purplegroupppe @emperorasset @kurtsol89 @carelnolte

Josie has a brilliant marketing bran, an infectious laugh and a heart of gold. Strong problem-solving skills, diplomacy and getting things done are among her many talents. She is also a brilliant mum to three gorgeous children.