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Solo Artist And Entrepreneur K.O On Embracing Limitations

Ntokozo Mdluli, better known as K.O, got his start as a member of hip hop act Teargas. Today he is a successful solo artist and entrepreneur.

GG van Rooyen




Even though I was a performer, I wanted to do something more

I wanted to create a platform that would give other local artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. That’s how Cashtime Life came about — it’s a management company and a record label.

It was really just a management company at first (and we still view it primarily as a management company) but it also became a label in 2014 because we realised the importance of owning what was produced. It’s important not to relinquish control of your intellectual property.

Being at the head of a business has forced me to grow as an individual

When you run a company, there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made. Moreover, a lot of these sacrifices go unnoticed. It’s a humbling experience, but it also gives you an opportunity to grow. I’ve learnt some very tough lessons. I’ve had my share of failures, but thankfully I was able to learn from them and apply these lessons to other ventures.

Related: 10 Inspirational African Entrepreneurs

I’m not a businessman. I am an artist

Because of this, I realised the importance of partnering with someone who had real business acumen. I have a partner named Thabiso Khati who is the CEO of the organisation. He runs the day-to-day aspects of Cashtime, which allows me to focus on the creative side of things.


If you want to be successful, you need to be true to yourself

It is important to be authentic. There can be only one Dr Dre, Kanye West or Steve Jobs. And no one cares how well you can impersonate someone else. You need to tell your unique story. 

A good reputation is priceless

You need to be conscious of how you present yourself and always treat people with respect. When it comes to my work, I always try to engage sincerely with people and put real effort into my work.

No one is great at everything

We all have our limitations and shortcomings. As mentioned, I depend on my business partner a lot when it comes to running Cashtime Life. What’s important is to make up for your shortcomings in other areas. What unique skills and abilities do you bring to the table? In what areas are you invaluable? You need to find that area where you can offer real value.

Related: Silulo Ulutho Technologies Tackles Tech Target Market

Social media is becoming an indispensable tool

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or trying to build a personal brand: Social media is important. It allows you to tell your story. No one can afford to ignore platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

Everyone is now a publisher

We’re not just passively consuming content these days. We are now creating it as well. There are people out there with 40 million Twitter followers who have tremendous power when it comes to promoting products or services. You need to look at how you can leverage technology to create your own audience and extend your sphere of influence.

I have a motto I live by

Those who matter do not judge, and those who judge do not matter. I always keep this saying in mind. You will inevitably find those individuals who are negative and judgemental, and it’s important not to let them get you down. That said, it is also important to be honest and realistic about your limitations and take legitimate criticisms to heart. Nobody is perfect.

GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mpumelelo Dlamini

    Jun 8, 2016 at 14:15

    Nice one K.O I am inspired

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton



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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton



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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton



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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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