Eastern Cape-born motivational speaker, Abongile Mangala, says young people should never allow their hardship to deter them from achieving their dreams.
And perseverance, he said, is the key to success.
The 24-year-old, who is based in Durban and has a weekly motivational slot on Ukhozi FM, is currently touring the country promoting his debut motivational DVD titled the Lift of Life.
He has also appeared numerous times on SABC 2’s Gospel Show hosted by the multi awarding singer Rebecca Malope who has become synonymous with gospel music.
Abongile is well known for his unique and casual way of doing inspirational talks and on this debut DVD, he tackles everyday issues which affect people.
He told Vukani he grew up in the dusty village of Bizana just few kilometres outside Lusikisiki and that while growing up he had been shy but whenever he spoke, people would tell him he had a talent for motivating others. But, he said, he never took it seriously or thought he had the potential to be a motivational speaker, let alone know what motivational speaking was all about.
After he matriculated in 2009, he hustled for a job but he could not get permanent work.
He said it was in 2012 that he opted to volunteer at Nkonjane community radio station and the management quickly recognised his talent and gave him an afternoon drive time slot.
He used the radio platform, he said, to hone his motivating skills and in 2013 he moved to Alfred Nzo community radio station where he hosted a motivational show.
“In 2013 I entered a competition where Ukhozi FM was looking for a motivational speaker. Out of 500 people who entered the competition, I emerged victorious.
“To be honest, to work for a radio station that purely caters for Zulu-speaking people was a challenge on its own because I was Xhosa-speaking but I persevered,” he said.
Mr Mangala said the station management gave him unwavering support and said the aim was to attract Xhosa-speaking people to the station.
He told Vukani that through his DVD, he aimed to revive hope in those who had thrown in the towel and remind them that there was always light at the end of the tunnel.
He said he knew that young people who grew up in villages and townships often faced mammoth challenges, but they should never let their daunting challenges deter them from turning their dreams into a reality.
He described his DVD as source of strength and and emphasised that young people should never resort to crime to make ends meet as that was the coward’s way of dealing with issues.
“When I did my first talk on Ukhozi FM, many listeners were not happy. Some even questioned me, why was I doing motivational speaking on a radio station that caters for Zulu people.
“Some said I should be doing my talks on Umhlobo Wenene which caters for Xhosa people and others wrote horrible comments on my Facebook page,” he said.
When he informed his parents that he actually wanted to be a motivational speaker, his father in particular, was not supportive and he was sceptical about his career choice.
Nevertheless he persevered and showed his parents that he was destined to do motivational speaking.
He said recording his own DVD had been a major achievement for him and that he was currently working on his TV show and planned to write a book.
He did not, however, want to elaborate on the details.
“I’m gratefully to people who afforded me an opportunity and I am where I am today because of them.
“ I m hoping that in 2018 I will be releasing another motivational DVD,” he said.