DJ Sbu: Failing is not failure

2014-01-12 06:00

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DJ Sbu kept at his studies and is now pursuing an MBA.

He is one of South Africa’s best-known radio and TV personalities, but 21 years ago, DJ Sbu was a devastated teenager who had failed matric.

DJ Sbu, whose real name is Sbusiso Leope, wrote matric for the first time at Pretoria Central Secondary School in 1993.

“I embarrassed myself and disappointed my family in the process. I felt bad after realising I had failed matric,” Leope told City Press this week.

“Look, I was actually a smart kid at school. I was vocal, and loved girls and a good time.

“Even though I never drank or smoked, I still loved ubumandi [partying]. Me and my friends would hang out on weekends, leaving our school bags at home until Monday morning.”

Leope decided to go back to school – to do it properly this time. In 1994, he repeated matric.

He enrolled for extra lessons and spent his afternoons in the classroom rather than at home or hanging out with friends.

The next year, the news was better: Leope passed with enough credits to study electrical engineering at the Pretoria Technikon.

He failed, took a transfer to what was then Wits Technikon – and failed again.

“It was then that my parents asked me to decide what to do as they could not afford to pay for my fees.”

He secretly got a job, working as a salesman for two years in Joburg and then returned to technical college to get his diploma in electrical engineering.

He says: “For those who made it, congratulations. For the students who didn’t, it is not the end of the road.

“Get up, be strong and do your best to get that knowledge. Don’t be afraid. Just do it.”

For those pupils who are planning to return to school and try again this year, they will be in good company.

Leope is heading back to the classroom again. He’s hoping to complete an MBA within the next 18 months.

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