MORE often than not, dancehall sensation Soul Jah Love has been caught “off-side” hogging the lime light over drug abuse, unprofessionalism and violent behaviour.
By Wellington Zimbowa
But hold on, the musician has his own way of speaking to the hearts and situations of many, the down-trodden and the high-heeled.
From the troubled life of a broken family, eventually being orphaned at a tender age, the fighting spirit of young Glen Dhliwayo saw him shoving his way to become a graduate electronics engineer, entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and versatile youth leader.
And Soul Jah Love’s song Ndini Uya Uya is just the propelling force behind his meteoric rise, as it reminds him to be humble.
“The song Ndini Uya Uya eloquently speaks to my situation. Growing up in a broken family and being orphaned at a tender age made life a bitter pill to swallow for me.
“I had no permanent custodian hence moved from one relative to another. This was very disruptive even to my education as I had to attend about eight schools for my education.
“I lacked that proper upbringing like counselling and guidance, emotional support and general support on life and career choices,” said the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) graduate.
Dhliwayo recollected with disbelief his unexpected rise as he narrates about his once segregated life.
“I keep on asking myself am I Glen who had to push mountains to finish high school and go to university.
“I tell myself it’s not my ability but the grace of God and this makes me more sincere with my life,” he said.
“I was in Form 4 in Highfield and as a brilliant student I had scooped five prizes but alas, unlike other students whom I had outpaced, there was no one to cheer me.
“My late mother’s friend later had to fill in the gap but that settled on me heavily,” said Dhliwayo.
He even surprised all and sundry in the Sadc Essay Competitions while in Form 3 after he scooped the first prize in 2006.
The star in him would never dim, even in the darkest moments of his life.
Dhliwayo scooped eight As and two Bs at Ordinary Level in 2007, and wrote his A’ Levels in 2009 at Mazowe High School. He majored in science subjects.
Unfortunately, a good A’ Level pass could not assure him university education as fees turned out to be a major obstacle, forcing him to stay at home for two years.
Far from dampening his spirits, this experience might have ignited that entrepreneurial drive in him in a bid to self-finance his studies. He now sells an assortment of beauty wares such as deodorants and necklaces.
Describing himself as an “addict of money saving”, Dhliwayo says the small profits of selling women’s beauty products bought through an aunt based in South Africa and augmented with saved travelling allowances from his frequent trips as a student leader saw him through university.
He even did more, assisting 20 orphaned pupils in various schools with school fees, a project which won him an award with Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust, a youth leadership organisation.
Dhliwayo, who once contested for the Highfield parliamentary seat as an independent candidate, has trained in various leadership and human rights courses. He has two philosophies to share.
“Leadership is not position-based, but is by influence,” says the outgoing Zimbabwe Youth Council board member.
The other one is that one should never despise anyone and should find time to chat up anyone even strangers as this can unlock invaluable networks and opportunities, factors he says has helped him on his way up.
On the literary scene, the man teamed up with fellow writers, Cynthia Hakutangwi and Arthur Marara among others to pen an inspirational book, Success Within Reach, which is yet to be launched.
Not yet feeling cozy with life, Dhliwayo will soon be taking a temporary break in leadership endeavours to pursue a Master’s degree in Communications and Information Systems.