Trading an apron for a tuxedo: How a Nando’s waiter became a self-made millionaire at 21

Trading an apron for a tuxedo: How a Nando’s waiter became a self-made millionaire at 21

- Thembokuhle Shongwe went from working as a waiter at Nando’s to becoming a self-made millionaire by the age of 21

- And it was all thanks to a well-dressed man who entered the Durban Nando’s he worked at

- Now, he gives other aspiring entrepreneurs the keys to be successful

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Shongwe came from a lower-middle class family- his parents were not rich, and neither was anyone else in his family. But, he knew he wanted to make a good living for himself.

From a very young age, the young entrepreneur always found ways to make some extra cash. He sold sweets in primary school and vetkoek at Nongweleza high school.

Shongwe dreamt of pursuing a higher education qualification, but he could not afford to attend an university or college.

So, he opted for a job at a local Durban Nando’s, which is where he met a man who would change his life forever.

A forex trader named Jabulani “Cashflow” Ngcobo came into the Nando’s restaurant Shongwe was working at. The young waiter noticed the man was well-dressed, adding he could tell Ngcobo was living a good life.

When Shongwe went to visit Ngcobo’s office in Sandton, he found out he was a trader. Ngcobo then introduced Shongwe to forex trading, which was where Shongwe made his first million.

However, the journey from waiter to millionare was not easy- Shongwe had to make major adjustments to his life and he at times lost all his money.

“From having a 9-5 job to almost sitting in front of the laptop almost the whole day, I was used to only having the amount of money that was paid to me on a monthly basis, to suddenly having the possibility of making that same amount of money within a matter of days was amazing to me”, he said.

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And, to make things even harder, greed stepped in. Shongwe said when he discovered he could make money fast, he became greedy.

“I became greedy and wanted to make more every day and it isn’t always possible, I’d lose all my money and then had to start all over again. My mind had to make a lot of changes, yet still remain the same. I had to remind myself of the humility I was taught to have while growing up, in both general and financial terms. I still had to be that guy that worked in a restaurant and knew how to budget and spend his money wisely. I now can hopefully say I am a good spender regardless of the money I can make”.

The young millionaire said Forex trading is far from a walk in the park, but with the correct strategy, he managed to get the hang of it, IOL reported.

Shongwa’s advice to other traders starting out it to find a partner and a great mentor.

“Try their best to get a trading mentor as well as a trading “buddy” so that you will teach each other and learn from each other’s mistakes. If they are being given contractual agreements they shouldn’t sign them before legal help, to avoid any complications. And if within that particular trade company if they are given a broker, from within the company must also make research on the information received.

Shongwa added traders should know there is always a risk- things may not go as planned since there was no guarantees one would make a profit.

The self-made millionaire has his finger in many pies, including logistics, construction and soon the media space.

And, besides being a trader and entrepreneur, Shongwa is now also an author. His book, The Last Man Standing launces on 26 May.

The book focuses on the journey Shongwa had to become a millionaire, touching subjects such as trading, entrepreneur and financial concepts which aims to help new entrepreneurs reach success.

“My book also shows that anything is possible. I hope the book will change youth mid-set and encourage them to create wealth. I want this to be a movement and not just a once-off book”, Shongwe added.

The former waiter advised people who want to become a millionaire to learn from other millionaires, adding that’s what he did.

“If you want to become a millionaire, you have to learn from a millionaire”. That’s how I started; reading books by other millionaires in order to learn from them. It changes your mindset and the way you see finances and opportunity”, he concluded.

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