In real life, it’ is a struggle. It is an ongoing battle you have to fight day-in, and day-out. And you don’t have to win every day, you only have to pick yourself up more times than you were put down.
That’s winning at life, in my opinion. Life isn’t just something you figure out at one point and then you get to live the rest of it in peace and winning every time. It is rather something you have to figure out day by day, all along figuring out the people around you, and figuring yourself out so you can get to live another normal day. If you find yourself in dire straits, in a situation you find it hard to get out of, you just have to push through it. I know it’s easy to see this from position of advantage, privilege. I don’t have your problems. I don’t know you. But you just have to take it for what it is. To win at life, you don’t have to win once and win good, you have to try to win every day. If that fails, just get yourself back together and try it again with a different strategy, because the alternative is horrible.
I remember my high school life being a scorned child who never tasted real love and that time of BANTU EDUCATION, where English was only read in books but not spoken as a language. The good thing is, I loved reading, even the tiniest paper written in English, I will pick it up and start reading (whether well pronounced or not) it was for me to know as I will be reading on my own for myself. I had a great English teacher who always inspired me with his comment by saying “Jane can speak and understand better English than most of you in this class” he will further say, if you can be like Jane and start reading English magazines and papers you can better yourself and that inspired me most, considering we were in a rural area where we either speaks Nothern Sotho or Tsonga. We had a very string head master, who introduced corporal punishment for any bad action you do at school which was not of the school good conduct.
I was always looking for attention, do something to be recognized, my presence to be felt and to be given some attention either in a good or bad way. The good part was that, I will be doing something bad to get that attention but turning to be a good thing in the end. I was smart in class, all I needed was to be recognized and appreciated, that made to draw some attention in a way to say “hello, this dark girl is also part of this class” can you see me? The punishment of being naughty was, your name to be written in a list of the student who will debating against each other on a certain given topic. Since I was known I was “better” in English compared to others, my name will be listed under Afrikaans debate, of which I had no clue or idea how to speak a single word except read the books given from school. My way out of this, I will pick every Afrikaans piece of paper, pick any work in every piece and make a sentence, not knowing what that sentence mean but I will go in front of the audience and start saying every word collated, since the words would be in Afrikaans, the student will be clapping thinking I was indeed good in Afrikaans whereas in a true sense, none of the words meant anything or relevant to the topic. IT IS TRUE THAT, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT IN THE WORLD.FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT…this was my zero ground where I started. I might have failed to speak the Kings and Queens language then BUT I have recovered from my failures.
It is easier to recover from failures when you are living on purpose. Your purpose is your reason for living, the values and beliefs that drive you to be more of the person you want to be. If you aren’t clear on your purpose in life, you are like a ship without a rudder, your direction controlled by the randomness of the current. When you are unclear on your purpose, failures seem more catastrophic and debilitating. When failures occur within the context of pursuing your purpose, they become learning moments for growth and maturity.
Winston Churchill said (I quote), “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Tell yourself, “I’m not a failure. I failed at doing something.” There’s a big difference there. My English teacher (May his soul rest in peace), used to say to ask us what were our future plans and what we see ourselves in future, most of my classmates would say “Nurse, Teacher etc and I used to say, I am going to be a very rich woman with lots of money and lots of businesses. I used to be laughed at because at that time, we had no career guidance and the only career one could think of was either teaching or nursing so my dream sounded funny and impossible. We were the group of students who were lucky to have what we called Junior certificate which allowed one to go to training center to do their nursing or teaching course of which most of my friends took that route as I continued to finish my matric. After my matric, with my situation at home and that of my parents, as much as I wanted to continue with my studies, I had a choice but to go find a job. My first job I had to work in a church as “Bathroom/toilet” cleaner, my job was to stand by the bathroom doors and watch as people go in and out and check if there was no mess, if any mess to make sure It is cleaned for the comfort of the next person. While working there, I registered with UNISA, though I had no idea how I would afford the fees with such little salary. I remember when I was called to come write an entry test, my friend and I went there together to write, when the results came out, I passed but I had no money to register, my friend failed the test, and she had money to register. That was the most painful day of my life BUT the good thing which came out of that, when the school called, they used my current job phone number to give me the good news (as there were no mobile phones then), that is how church realized I had matric and gave me the opportunity to be trained to work on a sound desk and produced preaching audio tapes, to duplicate, using a type writer to label the title of the preaching of the day and sell the tapes after church. I was trained to use a video machine to record the sermon and print copies to be sold.
This was the door opening of my life, the first video I produced was for one preacher who visited South Africa, the late Dr Schambach (may his should rest in peace), who was so impressed to learn that, 2 weeks ago I was the bathroom cleaner and today I produced the most beautiful video of his preaching and this landed me an invitation to Washington to go produce more of his video in his crusades, this came with all expenses paid. There goes Mnyamane, USA here I come to my own Hero Cloud. From that moment, my vision was very clear and my purpose and determination unstoppable. When some of the congregation heard my story of how I got to be working at the tape ministry and how I started, a couple from Austin Texas were touched to hear how I wanted to continue with my studies and only had matric and offered to bring me back to study computers in one of their computer schools in Austin Texas which is where I got my diploma in computing. When the church started having problems in paying salaries, I had to apply for a position for a course coordinator as Wits Business School. Imagine Jane, with only matric and bantu English and only 6 months computer diploma wanted to be the course coordinator of the MBA’s and the P&DM’s? isn’t that too ambitious?
To my surprise, my application was responded to and I was called in for an interview. When I got there, I was sitting amongst the candidates with suits and big CV’s and I had a 1 pager CV. As they were communicating while we were waiting for individual to be called in, I could hear how they speak, the language, what they studied, their travel experience etc, oh Jane, what are you doing here? This is not school debate? As I was still seating it was my turn, guess what? I was interviewed and there was no need to wait and pretend I should wait for a call, I was told there and there, the job was mine. Guess what? The job entailed where I would be required to sit in a class and listen to the lectures and see the students reactions if enjoying the lecture, the reason for that was because I have to approve each and every exam prepared for the students based on my observation if was relevant to what the students listened and learned, if not scrap it and advise the lecture to prepare what they preached in class and what the student understood, interesting isn’t? telling the lecturer with possible PhD what and what not to do? I, Jane Maluleka, the bathroom cleaner?
It happened that I called my English teacher and told him about my position and shouted his praise and said “I knew it, I knew it” you were destined for greater things, your persistence paid off. For that I do believe that there is a hero inside everyone and to be a hero in real life, you have to act selflessly and put others before yourself, forget about what you studied, what your middle name is, I can and I cannot do that, clean the bathroom if you can, make that tea for everyone with your PhD if you can and in everything that you do, do it for yourself and the best way you know how, become the type of person who isn't just waiting around for the BEST opportunity to come by because you have your certificates and degrees. My journey taught me so many things which happened to humble me, to understand the true meaning of self love and the attraction of good love by portraying that selflove, to understand and mingle with the ones the world has turned their backs from because they are labelled as second-class citizens. Trust me there is no 2nd class citizen, God created us in the same image and love us the same all we have to do is to focus our mind from the ground and look up where the sky would be our limit. i.e. FROM ZERO TO YOUR OWN HERO CLOUD.
One of many things that always help us getting through these times is remembering that we have the ability to choose and control our thoughts and everything really starts there, this is based on keeping the right mindset. In every end, there is a beginning.
As we speak today, that Zero Hero is about to open her own public school and by God’s grace with good funding, my other Zero Hero’s would be making a mark in their lives by being part of my adventure as we both share and speak the same language. www.springhillcollege.co.za This is the beginning of my Hero Cloud. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; what matters is what you choose to do from here. You too, can do it......Keep moving!