‘A YOUNG ENTREPRENUER’ FROM CONQUERING THE SKIES TO BUSINESS ON THE GROUND WITH NIGEL SIKALA

17th June 2021

Young people are making waves in Africa and as young as we are at Checkoutafrica it is always intriguing catching up with the ones setting trends and pacemaking. We caught up with Nigel Sakala, a 25-year-old Zimbabwean pilot-turned-businessman who is making waves in logistics and cyber-security, based in South Africa.

Nigel at his young age has hit the ground running and founded SBNT Logistics which focuses on renting out trucks and logistics equipment, BSN Trading, another logistics company that mainly focuses on the transport of
goods and World Response Cyber Security, which caters for many individuals and corporations in Europe and South Africa.

We caught up with Nigel to talk about his business journey, attaining goals and success.


Q: It is interesting to note that you were a pilot for British Airways before you started SBNT, what made you leave?


NS: Personal growth.
What really pushed me to leave being a pilot was that I felt that there was more opportunity for personal growth away from that industry and it was in business that I found that opportunity to learn more daily and grow as an individual.


Q: What motivated you to go into business, more specifically the logistics industry?

NS: The ability to do what I want with my time. At school I always wondered why we were required to go to school at 8 a.m. When my classes
started at 12 i always felt as though that was time wasted when I could have used it on other more beneficial things outside of the schooling environment. The moment i realised all this that changed my life. However, when I got cut off financially by my mother, it was at that moment that I learnt that my life rested on my shoulders and that no one else would come to help me. I come from a very dysfunctional family, and it was that moment, when I had plans to go to the United States to further my air schooling that really forced me to fend for myself.

Q: You mentioned getting cut off financially, how did you manage to deal with that and reach the stage where you are today?

NS: I sat down with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, and I told her about the situation on the ground. I said ‘Look, this is what has happened, and I only have R300 000 rand to survive off. Things are not looking good.’ She was very supportive, and it was at this time that I thought of buying 4 cars to get into the Uber business. I bought 4 because I knew that just 1 would not be able to cover all my expenses and the
sort of life that I wanted to live… hahaha. I soon learnt that even 20 Ubers would not be enough for the life that I wanted to live, and it was
only after talking to one of my uber drivers that I learnt that with the money that I had saved up for 4 more Ubers, I could buy a second-hand truck. At the time, I did not know what I would need a truck for or how I would use it. I bought the truck, and it just grew from there.

Q: You currently have 3 companies, SBNT Logistics, BSN Trading and World Response Cyber Security. Could you just walk us through what each of them does?


NS: SBNT is a company that I started with my brother-in-law. I was hoping to go into a venture with him, but after a fallout over consistency I decided to end that business relationship. SBNT focuses on truck rentals.
BSN Trading is the second Logistics company, but it focuses mainly on transporting goods and other logistics work. BSN is not only focused on Logistics but also does Construction work, like road works
where we have done several projects in different provinces in the country.
World Response Cyber Security is a cyber security company that is focused on the new age that we have entered and help companies protect their data from cyber-attacks.


Q: How do you manage all these companies that seem to do different things?


NS: Time management is very important. I make sure that I focus on the most important activities that are aligned with my goals and make sure that at the end of the day, I achieve my desired results. I am also driven by the belief that I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I heard Jay-Z say this in an interview when I was 16 and it completely changed the way that I viewed myself and how I worked. It is this philosophy that allows me to work on all three of these with minimum effort and maximum results.
“You can walk and chew gum at the same time.”


Q: With the advent of Covid-19 we have seen a rise in entrepreneurship and the youth wanting to start businesses, what would your advice be to them?

NS: My advice to youngsters would be:

  1. You do not have to wait – too many young people believe that they must wait till a certain
    age or have a degree to start a business. This is not true; you can always work on something
    else at the same time as you study or work.
  2. Your friendships are very important, they shape who you are and where you end up in life.
  3. It is ok to be called broke, uncool, weird and all these other terms that many of them run
    away from. Young people are young, and they do not need to try and live a life that they
    cannot maintain to impress others.
  4. YouTube is not all funny videos. Many things that we call boring, like learning
    communication skills or business lingo are the very things that you need to succeed in life.
  5. Do not work for money alone. Money is so much sweeter when you make it doing what you love, and this is something that so many people do not understand.

Q: Moving from the business side of things, are you involved in any charity work?


NS: Yes, I am. I have done some charity work with Treenance Children’s home as I believe that the future lies with the youth.

We genuinely enjoyed this inspirational chat with Nigel Sakala and definitely look forward to see what the future hold for him.

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Written by Kevin Mwenye

Journalist and media practitioner.

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