At 21, Zareef Minty Works Harder Than Most

At 21, Zareef Minty Works Harder Than Most


Vital stats

He’s been named one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian; he’s a former chairperson of the Black Lawyers Association Wits Branch and the Student Discipline Committee, as well as a former treasurer of the Law Students Council; he’s also a motivational speaker, owner of a clothing and talent company called SMB (self-made billionaire), author, talk-show host and general whiz kid.

Oh, and he was also the national youth president of the Patriotic Alliance (PA). Meet Zareef Minty (21), a final-year law student who has done more in his young life than most people three times his age would ever dream of. We asked Minty what drives him and how he manages to do it all.

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1. Manage your time efficiently

I have an electronic diary and I use it. It’s always up to date because I refuse to be late for anything. I never miss a deadline either. I may be a student now, but I know that I’m unlikely to succeed in business in the future if I don’t deliver on time.

2. Prioritise

Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. Choose what is important in your life. What are the actions and commitments that will enable your vision to become reality? When you know what they are, take steps every day to move yourself closer to your goals.

3. Choose to make a positive impact on the world

I was 12 when I spotted someone begging for money on the side of the road. I knew that I never wanted to be in that position, so at 16 I started a clothing brand. I’ve always been a great networker and I contacted celebrities like Kenny Kunene, Nicky van der Walt and Lee-Ann Liebenberg to introduce the brand to them. They started wearing my gear and promoted it in a way I could not have done.

4. Do things differently


I spent two years working on my book, Empire, which aims to help young people become financially savvy and adept at self-branding so that they can reach their full potential.

Then I discovered that monopoly publishers and distributors were going to claim 70% of the profits from the book sales. I followed the example of DJ Sbu — I self-published, and I sell the book through my own distribution channels on social media.

I also sell it through Exclusive Books, since I achieved a better deal. The book has sold more than 9 000 copies, making it a South African bestseller.

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5. Learn to network

I have spoken to many students in poor areas around the country and I was shocked to discover how few know anything about the concept of networking. This places them at a terrible disadvantage.

It’s something that successful people do from an early age, and I would like to see young South Africans being taught the value of making connections with people.

From when I was very young, I believed that whatever you want to became, you have to attract it to yourself. I got close to people I admired and asked them to mentor me.

6. Get an education

That’s the most important thing for every young person in this country. I know I will diversify in my career, but I have the safety net of a law degree for the rest of my life. To cease being job seekers and rather become job makers, we need to be educated. That is the key to moving South Africa forward.

Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.