SHINING AS PART OF OUR DNA
A very beautiful and abundantly blessed morning to all.
Warm greetings to the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, the Board members, and the old girls here with us and those listening online, the teachers and staff and all the members - I say SHINE!
Thank you to all of you for the privilege of sharing a few words with you on this very auspicious occasion. I am deeply humbled as this place is very dear to my heart.
Inanda Seminary turned a fearful, low self-esteemed depressed girl into a confident, visionary, life impacting leader that I am today.
Note that I did not say PERFECT, as none of us are but I am certainly able to impact the world and the industries that I operate in for good because of Inanda Seminary.
I am a qualified lawyer, practicing as a media and entertainment lawyer, I have worked in the business of the film industry for more than 20years, I have been a television executive producer, a CEO of a public entity organisation, a COO of a group of financial services companies, a builder of multiple businesses and more importantly a wife of 22 years and a mom of a 20yrs old and 18yrs old boys.
All of the above, has not been a walk in the park and I have been able to navigate it all because of the seeds that were planted in me in the 5 years that I was here at Inanda Seminary.
So, the words I can share with you to plant the same seeds that were planted in me will take up too much time than we have for in this program.
For this reason, I would like to make a public request to the leadership of the school if they would allow me to come back and share more with you at some other time in future, even if it is by way of virtual talks.
I am here to publicly commit to giving atleast 3 more online sessions even if online when the new year starts. I promise to also not come back alone but with many more members who have walked the same journey as you and have gone on to impact nations, if the leadership of the school allows us, we can arrange a virtual platform to share our respective stories with members. Such a platform will ofcourse also be open to you matrics, who will already be out there taking the world by storm!
If we were to set up such a platform of members, current members, and old girls – how many of you think you would benefit from it?
With the time that I have today though allow me to challenge you to do just ONE thing! JUST ONE!
And this ONE THING is a GAME CHANGER as you will hear me explaining it.
Having said all the things I have done in life, still standing before you is a 12 year old girl who walked through these gates ushered in by Bab Gwala, a short grey bearded man wearing a white safari suite with a cane in hand – which to think of it he never used it but somehow he always carried it in his hand and that was enough to keep us in the straight and narrow.
5 years later I drove off these gates thinking I am all grown up and I know everything there is to know about life.
In between the day you walked in through these gates and when you will walk out in a few weeks’ time – you will agree with me that a lot has happened.
A lot of growing had happened.
A lot of good and lot of not so good and maybe even a couple of uglies here and there have happened!
Not all was perfect and rosy as you have figured out for yourselves but here you are!
Here you are still standing, still breathing, still in purple and gold – not dead, not expelled.
THAT my dear fellow member counts for something.
Many wish they were still here sitting where you are sitting. But they are not.
Whether for reasons within their control or reasons outside of their control.
Bottom line they are NOT here. Some are still alive and may have regrets, some their family’s financial circumstances meant they could no longer continue, whatever the case, they are NOT here, and you are.
So fellow members this here is the first thing I would like you to pause and soak in.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let it sink in is that YOU ARE HERE RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT.
Put behind what has happened and soak in the privilege of being here this very moment. Seize this very moment. Do not for a moment take it for granted.
It is a privilege to be grateful for and an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands.
Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with oxygen that many (especially post COVID) no longer have the privilege to take it. Take that deep breath, say a few words of gratitude, even if in silence.
None of us are here because we did everything right or we deserved to be here, we are here simply because of the grace and mercy of God over our lives.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning.
Great is Your faithfulness.
1 Corinthians 2:9
It is written:
‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him.”.
It is the same grace and mercy that will keep you even as you walk out these gates into a life you have not even imagined.
So matrics you may think you have done all the growing up ngoba vele and in the eyes of grade 8’s, seningama Qoqo but in fact – you are only getting started!
There is a lot waiting for you out there. You are only getting started!
How are you going to do it all – you may ask?
You will hear many tips, advice, speeches, long and short but after all set and done - WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
You will be bombarded with statistics of high unemployed graduates etc etc
What will matter the most are the choices YOU make and the actions YOU take!
In our speeches we will tell you one constant thing which I am sure you have heard a million times…
SHINE – SHINE WHERE YOU ARE!
That is what I was told when I walked through these gates 35 years ago and all of us are standing here to tell you the exact same thing.
Because that’s the DNA of uMemba.
We Shine kukuhle. We shine kukubi.
We shine in the day, we shine in the night, sometimes we shine ngohalf because we are going through seasons of darkness – but STILL we shine!
Hey we shine even in the middle of the storm!
So shining is just who you are.
You will never be able to escape it – one thing you can guarantee for yourself after today is that for as long as you have a tag of being uMemba – you have the capacity to choose to SHINE wherever you are!
It’s a choice that is there for you to take – if you so choose!
Now not all shining is the same, there are many different things that shine but they don’t shine the same.
The Sun and the Moon for example – they both shine but they don’t shine the same and they don’t shine the same way 100% of the time.
And so, it shall be to you.
You will not always shine the same but if you choose shining you will - SHINE.
Think of the Sun and the moon, they both form part of our solar system but they do not shine the same.
The Sun is a star, it is in the center of the solar system, and it gives out heat and light of its own which is responsible for life in this earth.
The sun is kind of like the Centre of attraction, the most popular form of shining, everyone loves it, everyone is happy to see it, hey even some people worship it.
You will also walk in this kind of shining at some seasons of your life, when you are “ms popular”, you have 10 000 followers on Facebook and a million views on Tik Tok etc, you are finishing your degree in record timing and so on but remember always that this is not the only form of shining and even this shining has its downside too.
Darkness is always lurking in the background – as it may be around your life.
I’m here to remind you today that there is also the kind of shine that shines even in the dark.
The Moon shines in the dark. Not out of light of its own.
Did you know that the moon shines because it reflects the light from the sun?
The sun is the center of the solar system, it is standing in one place yona and everything else circles around it.
On the other hand, the moon rotates around the Earth.
The rotation by the moon around the earth is not a perfect circle by the way.
It is wobbly but it is consistent. It just keeps rotating.
As it rotates, we get to see it shining differently at times. In certain times the moon shines in full, other times it shines in half other times in a tiny eclipse shape but nevertheless it keeps rotating, even if imperfectly and it stay shining.
Fellow membas we stay shining because we keep “rotating”.
Even if we are not the Centre of attraction, even if the likes on our posts do not point to us being the most popular, even if the degree we hoped to study for you did not get enough points to study – we do not stop.
These may be the times that we are half shining or quarter shining but shining WE ARE!
And so, you too can choose.
Here is something else that is interesting although the shape of the sun does not appear to change from day after day like the moon.
It can happen that we see a cloudy day, or its raining and we think the sun is not shining but if you are on an airplane flying above the storm, you find that the sun is in fact shining above the clouds.
So, there is that kind of shining too membas. The shining that happens in the midst of the storm.
You will find yourself shining in this kind of way too in life sometimes. When life will feel like a storm all around you and your family.
When this happens REMEMBER THIS – your DNA is to shine, to shine even in the middle of a storm.
Even if like the moon, your shine is not as bright for certain seasons of your life but know this for sure - the shining in you can never be taken away from you.
Life will throw you situations that are meant to steal your shine, remember your DNA, your DNA just like the sun and the moon is to SHINE.
molested, abused, and bullied as a child,
depressed and suicidal as an adult,
bullied, and attempts made to tarnish my professional name as a CEO – in the media for that matter! Those were the worst moments I will share with you another day!
lost both of my parents to COVID within a few days of each other
I can go on and on…
We have all had our unfair share of shine stealing moments in life and each of ours will be different…
When this happens, the temptation is always great to dim your SHINE.
A reminder to all of us today is to hang on to ONE TRUTH – CHOOSE TO SHINE.
You may not feel like you are shining by the way, often emotions will have nothing to do with it, it’s going to take making a stubborn choice:
Your bank account may not say you are shining,
The number of your Instagram followers may not say you are shining,
What others are saying about you may not say you are SHINING
BUT remember this truth…
Even as others see rain, high above the clouds – where only few people can see, the sun is shining and shining beautifully above the storm.
You are that SUN.
You are that, Moon.
Darkness will always lurk in the background – Stay Shining
You will make mistakes – Stay Shining
Not everyone is going to like you - Stay Shining
You will not have everything figured out all the time – Stay Shining,
Your journey won’t be as straight and easy as your fellow classmates … Stay Shining
HOW??? YOU MAY ASK….
Refuse to allow perfection to steal your joy - It’s never going to be perfect. Instead….
It’s going to be harder than you think – yes it will BUT you will get stronger, and it will be worth it in the end.
You will have to do boring stuff and do it over and over again – and you are not going to feel like doing most of it all the time.
Do you think Serena Williams enjoyed hitting 10 000 balls each day as part of her practice? I’m sure not!
I’ve concluded that in life those people who succeed are those who are willing to stick to doing the boring and necessary things consistently enough to ultimately distinguish themselves from those who are not willing to do the same.
I read this quote the other time that said
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an Act but a habit”.
Show me your habits and I can predict whether your life will be a success or not.
So, make friends with the idea of doing boring yet necessary things long enough….and you will stay shining.
Dear Class of 2022, I can personally assure you of this:
The rewards for your diligence are going to exceed your expectations.
You are going to change lives.
You are not going to sit around waiting to be employed.
You are going to create jobs and employ communities.
You are NOT going to join the club waiting for government and leadership to solve the challenges facing our nation.
You are going to come up with solutions that leaders of our time have struggled to solve for generations.
You class of 2022 are going to stay SHINING WHERE YOU ARE
Because THAT is just who you are.
Ms Zama Mkosi