Ndabe Kweyama: “If you live life with fear and trepidation, that’s what you get.”
Ndabe and his family have faced more than a fair share of challenges over the years and perhaps his spine of steel and sharp mind were forged by fire. Whatever the reason, Ndabe is one of the most strategic and positive thinkers we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He exudes positive energy by the barrel-load and words spill out of his mouth at a machine-gun pace.
The Kweyama family were forced to leave KwaZulu-Natal after internecine violence destroyed the family business. They came to White River because his mother’s family lived here and Ndabe was enrolled at Uplands Prep. He switched to Penryn College for his high school years then earned a Media and Brand Design diploma at Boston Media House.
Ndabe credits an older cousin for exposing him to the business world and providing vital mentorship that opened up Ndabe’s rather rudimentary, linear view to what is possible in the wider scope of the financial world. ‘Think Big’ was the lesson he learned. He’s paid his dues and established a successful career for himself first at PricewaterhouseCoopers then with Ernst & Young in Johannesburg.
But corporate life isn’t for him and as his ambitions evolved, he accepted that he is the entrepreneurial, innovative type and established a media marketing company with a partner in Fourways. So Blue Its Black is based in the trendy Design Quarter and Ndabe, living in Sunninghill, thought he was made. Until a death in the family returned him to White River mid-2016 and he found opportunity here, with a local marketing consultancy contract.
Not one to do things by halves, Ndabe is building a house in Kabokweni, an area he rates as the biggest secret business opportunity in the region. He questions why more local investors and businessmen ignore the value that can be found here. But then, Ndabe has more questions than hot dinners about why South African’s think like they do. He believes our preoccupation with skin colour displays a lack of respect for science and ignores our common humanity. Constantly challenging his limits of understanding, the environment is one topic that gets him hot under the collar. It’s a critical issue and Ndabe is frustrated by the lack of understanding and attention that it gets.
Ndabe has a special mention reserved for his mother, Theresa. “She truly is the rock that holds me and my family together. Undoubtedly. Dad was great, but mom is the very air we breathe.” He describes her as self-made, totally disciplined and driven, an old school, no nonsense leader. “Sons and mothers have a special relationship,” he says. “No matter how badly I mess up, she never reaches the end of her rope with me.” Ndabe is deeply appreciative of her, acknowledging that his parents provided a loving home with everything he needed, protecting him from the world outside of their home and that 33 years later his mother is ‘still in the fight and never quits’!
An hour with Ndabe sent our brain cells into cyber space. He’s super bright and energetic and if he represents the 30-somethings generation, White River, and South Africa, has a bright future.
Best of all is that, having the choice to live the city slicker lifestyle, he’s chosen to set up a second home and invest time, skills and money in White River. We are fortunate.