Speaker encourages students to embrace their potential

Adam MacInnis
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STELLARTON – Buhle Dlamini didn’t want to go on stage.

Buhle Dlamini speaks to students at the NSCC campus in Stellarton on Owning the Future. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

A schoolboy in South Africa, he had won a fairly prestigious science award and an official was coming to his school to present it to him, but he was determined he would not stand up in front of his entire class.

When his grandmother, who was raising him, asked him why, he said it was because of his tattered shoes. He didn’t want the other kids to tease him.

She said not to worry about that and offered him hers. As might be expected the shoes were too long for the boy.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “We’ll sort it out.”

She stuffed newspapers in the ends to make them fit and Dlamini put them on his feet.

Frustrated and feeling sorry for himself he started to cry. His grandmother put a quick end to tears though.

“Stop that right now. Stop feeling for yourself,” she said. “It’s going to be you on the stage not all the other kids you’re comparing yourself too.”

Those words stayed with Dlamini all his life and it was part of the message he delivered to students at the Nova Scotia Community College recently.

As long as we compare ourselves to others we fail to realize our potential, he said.

“Embrace who you are so you can embrace who you can be,” he told those gathered.

His message centred around reaching potential. Everyone wants to do something meaningful with their lives he said but somewhere along the line people trade their dreams of making a difference to making a living. That doesn’t have to be the case, he said.

A phrase he picked up in the United States from African Americans and likes to incorporate into his presentations is “Be who you be.”

“This is a powerful statement,” he said. “You need to embrace who you are, but not just stop there but embrace who you can be.”

He said people need to be proud of where they came from and embrace the gifts they’ve been endowed with.

“We spend too much time feeling for ourselves,” he said. “We spend too much time comparing ourselves to others.”

He said it’s important to realize we can be who we are meant to be.

”I’m not mincing my words there – be who you’re meant to be because there are some things that we’re not meant to be and as much as we can try if we’re not meant to be that we’re not going to be.”


About the speaker:  

Buhle Dlamini is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur. His company Young and Able has been thriving in South Africa and he has had multiple speaking/training engagements across the globe over many years. Buhle, his wife Stacey and their three other children recently moved to Pictou, Stacey’s hometown, and are making the county their new home.

He is the Platinum Winner of 2011 South Africa's Future 100 Entrepreneurs Award for being one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in South Africa as well as being a winner of the 2012 Endeavor Excelerator Entrepreneurs Award.



On Twitter: NGNewsAdam

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College

Geographic location: South Africa, United States, Pictou

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