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Veli leads by example

Veli believes that it is imperative to plant the right seeds in the minds of your children so that when they are older, they remain grounded people.

Veli Ndaba was born and raised in Soweto and currently lives in Johannesburg South. Veli started from humble beginnings as the last born of three other siblings. He describes growing up as a very exciting experience where he learnt a lot about respect, humility and understanding his situation, which he highlights was a key part of his upbringing and who he is today as a husband, father, neuroengineer, author of five books and leadership coach.

He emphasises: ‘My mom and my aunt used to stress to us that we should not compare ourselves to other people because you are you; always understand your family’s situation and your situation.

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‘This is one of the most important things I learnt from my family,’ added Veli.

The pioneering voice

Growing up, he was always ambitious. ‘I always wanted to be something, but I never knew what that was,’ said Veli.

He said his upbringing was quite normal. He went to school and when he matriculated, he went to university where he obtained his national diploma in mechanical engineering. After graduating, Veli joined the world of work.

However, over time he often had the question, ‘Is this really it?’ lingering at the back of his mind.

Veli then went on and completed his Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) in Management Science yet the question remained unanswered. He took it a step further and obtained a diploma in project management and then worked as a project manager, however, somehow that question would still pop up.

‘Listening to that voice became very important to me. We all got those inner voices talking to us but because of the noise around us, we end up not heeding those voices and calls,’ he said.

Climbing up the corporate ladder and changing organisations, the neuroengineer soon realised he was chasing the same thing but in different places and that question kept coming back to him until he left the corporate world to become self-employed and help organisations and people become the best versions of themselves.

The answered question

Veli has been married for 24 years to his wife, Nompumelelo Ndaba and they have two sons, Ntokozo (24) and Sanele (21). ‘My wife and sons have kept me grounded in my thinking and my pursuit for excellence because I believe it’s much better to be an example than to simply offer advice,’ expressed Veli.

He highlights that an example is much more powerful than advice because, with examples, you are what people can see. ‘We live in a world where people carelessly dispense advice,’ he added.

Being an example inspired Veli to build his empire and when he started impacting peoples’ lives, the question stopped coming to him. ‘I am home with what I do and if anyone had to ask me ‘is this really it?’ I would proudly say, ‘Yes, this is it’.’

Intrigued by the brain and what drives human beings, Veli found his purpose in transforming minds from mental darkness to mental light.

Veli and fatherhood

‘Being a father means so much to me; it means I get to be a good example, I have to be responsible and I must be a guide.’

Fatherhood to him has been a journey of being a mirror to his sons. He strongly believes in setting an example instead of simply issuing instructions as a parent or adult. ‘I grew up without a father so I never had someone to look up to hence I ensure, as a father, I am present in my sons lives so they can have a role model, a protector and someone they can look up to,’ said Veli. Fatherhood has given Veli something more to live for.

He first became a dad 24 years ago when his wife gave birth to their firstborn son, Ntokozo. ‘Ntokozo means ‘joy’ and that’s how I felt being a father for the first time,’ expressed Veli.

It was an exciting time for the young dad; his focus began to change from himself to his son and family. He emphasizes that fatherhood helps shift your focus and it certainly helps you become more responsible.

Three years after Ntokozo was born, the couple had their second born, Sanele. ‘The addition to our family gave us reason to be happier and that is what fatherhood is.’

He described the experience as exciting and an answered prayer. ‘A child serves as a reminder that it is not only about you and they bring warmth to a home. I always look forward to going home and spending time with my family,’ he added.

Although there are many joys of fatherhood, there are frustrating parts of it too. Veli speaks about becoming sensitive to wanting your young ones to have ambition and to have that drive and the burning desire to make it in life especially when you think about where you come from because you only want the best for them.

‘However, when your children do not do their best like you expect them to do, it becomes frustrating but you must remain patient and supportive.’

The importance of a father

According to the neuroengineer, children need to have an active father or father figure in their lives as it keeps the child grounded, it instils a sense of discipline, a sense of courage and strength. ‘I speak to my sons about handing over whereby they have to now take on certain responsibilities and learn various life skills such as cleaning the pool or changing the light bulb as examples, so they become independent men.’

To strengthen the bond between him and his sons, Veli invests time to connect with his boys through various sporting activities or simply making them tag along everywhere he goes. The bond was established when his sons were very young, where he would ensure he attended all their soccer games and taking them with him to the gym or even going to the shops.

Veli hopes the seeds he has planted in his children will continue to grow and be fruitful in their pursuit of life because what he has planted aligns with his own purpose which is transforming minds for the better.

A child serves as a reminder that it is not only about you and they bring warmth to a home

Text: DESNAY PETERSON. Photo: Maria Studio

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