Hard work and determination help a shack dweller to get his BBA

He is a silent worker, quietly tidying away tables and chairs and cleaning toilets, without objection. Don’t be fooled by appearances however as Zola Ntilini (28) has just successfully completed his BBA qualification and will graduate from Regenesys Business School in April. This shy shack dweller has ambitions and will go far.

Encouraged by a friend to come up to the big city of Johannesburg from the Eastern Cape, Zola left his mother and family and moved to Jozi. “My father would bring us nice clothes, food etc so I thought, Jo’burg is the place where things can go right.” His new neighbour found him a job working in operations at an educational institution and he was tasked with manual labour. He impressed management and was given a permanent post.

After three years of being a muscle-bound handyman, Zola met two business school facilitators who took him aside and encouraged him, “You have been working here, now you need to study something here.” Looking at his hands, Zola says, “I wanted to study but I had that fear. What are they going to say? What if I fail? What is this ops guy thinking? Are they going to laugh?”

In 2012, he registered for a Higher Certificate in Business Management (HCBM), which he completed successfully. Having run a barber shop, sold sweets, eggs and vetkoek at soccer tournaments, Zola also ran a small business selling blankets and knew he had ambitions to be an entrepreneur.

His hard work has paid off, Zola Ntilini, is a new Regenesys BBA graduate. The sky’s the limit!
The step after his HCBM was to tackle a Bachelor of Business Administration. Working very long hours meant that this was going to be a difficult task. Zola’s time was scarce but he studied for an hour or three each night to ensure he got the qualification and passed in the top half of his class.

His ambitions now include running his own business one day. “I want to have a house where I can live with my family and also drive a nice car,” he says and advises others who are scared to try to improve their lives, “Keep knocking, that door will open.”

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