Getting accepted into any university is a huge achievement. Managing to get into a prestigious institution like Harvard University in the United States is a milestone many dream of but few get to experience.
Now musician Zakes Bantwini is one of the few who’ll live the dream of so many. On 26 May his media-personality wife Nandi Madida posted a congratulatory message on Instagram celebrating his 40th birthday and his Harvard acceptance.
"What an incredible b-day gift! So proud of you! Being accepted at Harvard University is an incredible milestone. Happy 40th b-day to my husband, my best friend, my confidante, my heart! I LOVE you[sic]," she wrote to the father of her two children.
Zakes will be studying the business of entertainment, music and sports at Harvard Business School, and it seems this year is truly a special year for him. "I'm turning 40, I'm going to Harvard, my Love, light & Music album turns 10 years, I’m launching an international dance label ALL ELECTRONIC MUSIC. This is indeed a special Day [sic]," he wrote in a post.
Speaking to DRUM, Zakes says he’s always been passionate about education, hence his qualifications from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and GIBS Business School. “If you look at the entertainment and sports industries, you’ll find they’re run by people who have never been on stage or kicked a ball before.
"The people who make decisions that affect us don’t really know the things we need and go through because they don’t have that experience. We need to sit in the boardrooms where these things are discussed. Because of that, I wanted to study and do it at one of the best institutions in the world – so, I shortlisted Harvard," he says.
"I spoke to a friend who studied this course before and it blew my mind because it will help me acquire the necessary skills I need to implement all the plans I have for the next decade and beyond," he adds.
Zakes has always been passionate about the business of the entertainment industry, and now he’s started something that will take care of the business side of not only artists, but athletes as well. Talk about a man with a plan!
It’s no secret Zakes is a hands-on family man – so with this next step, he plans to leave a legacy for his loved ones. "I’m going to be the first member of my family to study at Harvard, I’m convinced I’m the first person from KwaMashu to do so too, and the first musician in Africa. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave behind – that even people who were born in the ghetto can achieve big things," he says.
"I think it’s important to broaden our horizons as people not only in the entertainment industry, but in sports as well. We are one people, that’s why we’re even looked after under the same ministry in government. It doesn’t really get better than Harvard, and if you study with the greats, you become one too – I want to bring that to Africa and help pave the way for everyone who will come after me.
"There are only 50 people who are selected to study this programme at Harvard per year – that’s very encouraging to me, knowing that we too are represented in those spaces."
We ask Nandi, who can’t stop gushing over her hubby, how she feels about his accomplishment. "I am beyond proud of him, he is truly a reflection of what it means to come from many hardships and still achieve greatness," she says.
"I know he’s always wanted to inspire young people from the township, to show them you can achieve what you desire as long as you stay focussed. He’s managed to do so much against all odds, and I know he wants to give back and do a lot for his people as many continue to be robbed of great opportunities. I’m excited for his future as an executive and musician," she proudly tells us.