The Cape Flats is often perceived as an area filled with violence, gangsterism, crime and substance abuse. But for others, it’s a place filled with loving people and a strong sense of community.
There is a misconception that those who grow up on the streets of the Cape Flats are destined to become gangsters, end up in jail or be dead by the age of 21 owing to financial or social circumstances.
But the truth is, this all boils down to the outlook of an individual. There are plenty of success stories of people who came from humble beginnings on the Cape Flats and ended up running successful businesses on their own. All it takes is the right mindset to turn your situation around.
Calvin Fisher, owner of Pandabomb, a digital production house that specialises in photography, videography and social media marketing is a proud example of someone who changed his life while growing up on the Cape Flats. He put together five lessons life taught him which helped him become the owner of his own business with a wealth of experience behind his name.
1) Always believe in yourself: While trying to simply make life work, people will tell you that you can never do what you set out to achieve. Don’t believe them. Believe that voice in your head that tells you that you can.
2) Always keep learning: Even if you don’t have the means to do a diploma or a degree, find short courses and classes that you can do. Watching online videos and tutorials about the skills you’d like to learn can help you immensely. These days, YouTube covers just about everything you need to know about anything you want to be successful in. You’d be surprised by how much you could learn from them.
3) Always set a goal: It can be a big one or a small one, but always strive towards something. It can be a promotion, the start of a new project or simply perfecting a new skill – just make sure there’s something to strive towards. Setting goals for yourself will also help you keep your mind in check.
4) Fuel your passion: If you enjoy writing, but your everyday job isn’t that, write anyway. Or do photography, draw, paint, learn about the stars – whatever your passion is, feed it. Set aside time every day to just do this. Not only will you get better at it, but it will also give you time to focus on something that you truly love doing.
5) Surround yourself with good people: There will be moments in your life when you need the support of others. It could be to celebrate your success or help you when you fall, but you will need a group of people whom you trust and who believe in you. For Calvin, learning about life and success was certainly more of a challenge than it may have been for many of his peers from more affluent areas. Against the odds, he experienced the benefits of applying valuable life lessons and so avoided the numerous negative temptations surrounding him, allowing him to rise above the stereotype of a Cape Flats youngster. Today, he is a successful businessman, running his own firm, and servicing many large, well-known brands, in particular those in the auto industry. Truly living the lessons he identifies is proof of what is possible with the right attitude and the desire to succeed.