Alumni Feature: Kwazini Zulu
Kwazini Zulu... a transformational speaker by calling... an enterprise consultant by trade... a driver of socio-economic development by mentorship. He is passionate about building businesses and helping individuals unlock their leadership potential that this generation requires to flourish.
His motto: “Whatever your hand does, do it with all your might. There is no thought, no wisdom nor action in the grave where you are going.”– Ecclesiastes 9:10
Being a proud South African – he was born and raised in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal where his mother, who was a single parent, had to make mind blowing sacrifices to ensure that him and his sisters could obtain a good education. Kwazini’s life transformed in 2012 when he had a spiritual experience with God that lead him to stop abusing alcohol and drugs. From there on, he found a sense of purpose and knew that he was born to positively impact the lives of others.
Kwazini’s first encounter with the Enactus brand was in 2014 where he spent a whole year, avoiding Enactus students who were attempting to recruit him every chance they got. At that time, little did he know that Enactus was an incredible platform that would give him immense fulfilment through using the power of entrepreneurial action to impact lives. In 2015 they finally forced him to listen in on a discussion and surprisingly he found the Enactus cause rather challenging. All this was during the Enactus University of KwaZulu- Natal Recruitment Week and he did not waste time to join the organisation thereafter.
As a natural born leader, he had the opportunity to assume a number of roles in the Enactus UKZN team over the years, from being an active general member in two flagship projects; to working in the publicity & marketing portfolio; becoming a project manager of a flagship project and then in 2017, elected executive president of the team. Under his term they led 150+ students spread across 4 campuses. Kwazini encountered a lot of challenges during his tenure that gave him many sleepless nights. Some of these included: lack of short- and long-term strategic vision, shortages of resources to successfully execute team projects, poor member retention and a massive skills gap across all levels of the organisation. He added that his character and weaknesses were challenged many times within his role in the executive.
His God-given purpose and mission in life is his primary source of motivation. However, it is always the hope on the faces of beneficiaries during a site visit or the energy of the team members who are inspired by their actions that always reminded him why he joined the organisation in the first place. In addition he said that he was fortunate to have a team that shared a great passion for the organisation and having a strong executive. Ultimately you are only as strong as your executive and team members… The mentorship and support they got from faculty advisors, alumni and their business advisory board members was great and helped them to succeed with their turn-around strategy implementation.
After he exited Enactus in 2018, he found an entrepreneurial venture called Kulisha Group. “Kulisha” in Swahili means to ‘nourish and enable growth’. It is an enterprise consulting firm that provides leadership and business solutions for SMME’s and non-profit organisations. He was also recently selected by One Young World (OYW) as one of the South African delegates at this year’s summit hosted in the Netherlands and has since become one of the OYW Ambassadors where they are custodians of leadership and societal impact representing young people from South Africa and all around the world.
One Young World stages an annual Summit where the most talented young leaders from global and national companies, NGOs, universities and other forward-thinking organisations are joined by world leaders, acting as the One Young World Counsellors. At the Summit, delegates debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for the pressing issues the world are faced with. The aim is to find ways to collaborate and share best practises on initiatives around the world.
Kwazini first learnt about One Young World (OYW) in 2016 at the global Unilever Future Leaders League in London (United Kingdom), where he and two of his colleagues represented South Africa and the continent. The winners of this business competition would automatically qualify to attend the prestigious OYW summit with an all expenses paid trip as one of the prizes. After achieving only the semi-final position, he refused to accept the missed opportunity and made it his mission to research far and wide about OYW. This was because his colleagues were selected that same year to form the South Africa delegation in Canada, Kwazini vowed to work hard towards making it to the OYW one day. And two years later, the opportunity presented itself again by invitation and he applied through a rigorous process. He was fortunate to be selected.
However, it is through Enactus that he found his passion for social business and youth development. According to Kwazini, the organisation has provided him with the right kind of experiences and equipped him with a wealth of diverse skills necessary to explore business gains. His greatest value is the rich experience which is impossible to acquire in classroom only. Enactus honed his skills, e.g. problem-solving, effective leadership, communication, strategy formulation, project management and customer servicing, to name a few. Moreover, the network and like-minded associations that he got to be introduced to through this platform, went a very long way in adding value in his business and in his personal capacity.