“My life story is like a fairy-tale, when the odds were against me, I did not stop and believe I am supposed to be “average Joe. I pushed myself into this position through hard work and staying committed. I look back where I started and shake my head and laugh to myself when my employees call me “Sir” or ask me Morning Mr Greg, Tea or Coffee, but all this respect I earned did not come easy or overnight, it came with long hours at the office. It came with education; it came with staying with positive people that help me grow as a person. I believe everyone has a purpose in life; you might know it now but if you keep the good and let the bad things go in life, you too can change lives of people and more importantly contribute to the economy of our beloved Namibia.”
This is Gregory Benit Cloete (27), one of the few youths who worked hard and stayed focussed to enjoy the skills and knowledge they acquired today. Cloete is the eldest of four children. He attended school at Namutoni Primary School and became the Head Boy in his final year (Grade 7). He then completed high school at Concordia College where he also got into a leadership position as Deputy Head Boy. In 2008, he completed Grade 12 and obtained 30 points but could not further his studies due to lack of finances.
“I was raised by a single mother who at the time had to support all of us plus make sure she paid the bills,” says Cloete describing his teenage life as ‘interesting’ because of the things he had to do to find his true purpose. “I was involved with music, sports and staying in the gym. I was actively involved in the music industry; I went with the stage name Cash Flow and was in a group known as the German Boys (Hoeke Dollo, Noody Jay, Nash Jay and Myself). I had the chance to work with artists like Sally who featured us on an unrealised track called “He Ah Ah”. I worked with DJ Miclassa, who produced a number of tracks for us, I worked with Kanibal on a few tracks he produced. With the music I had the chance to travel and meet a lot of different people. I was one of the first group that featured on Boli Motseng’s “School Grounds” on NBC television, were we performed a song I wrote for our school (Concordia College).”
But with the music came a price, it was not always easy to make choices between the music and his school work, but he knew which was important, his education.
“For some reason my mother always believed that one day I will make her proud by being a positive contribution to our community,” he adds.
Cloete went on a job hunt right after school in 2009 when he realised that music would not be a good career choice for him. He also realised that it was expensive to book for quality studio time and the price of buying beats from good producers was something he could not afford. He started applying for every government vacancy and bought newspapers whenever he could to look for any vacancies available, but could not find anything.
“To avoid negativity I decided to keep myself in the gym while hoping for a job, and one day a friend I gym with at the time asked me if I didn’t want to become a bouncer (Club Security at Fashion Bar). I immediately said yes because I was in need of a job. I was later in for a surprise, working as a bouncer required me to live like a sponge, sleep in the day and work at night, and no socialising with friends, especially weekends, but I told myself how important it was for me to have a job. I needed to earn anything to assist my mother financially.”
After working as bouncer, Cloete got an unexpected offer from a well-known businessperson. He provided Cloete with his business card telling him that a young boy like him did not belong in a place like that. Admittedly Cloete thought he was just showing off, and he even threw his business card away but after a month or so, he went back to him asking him if he was not interested in working for him. Only then did Cloete realised his prayers were eventually being answered. He was employed at Ura-Field Namibia as a General Office Administrator where he learned a lot about office work. Not long after the company had to downsize, and unfortunately Cloete had to look for a new job.
He decided to do side work mainly IT related work, fixing peoples computers and installing windows. Not long after luck struck and he was finally called in for an interview at Abtrac, for a position of a Tracing Clerk. He was employed by ABTRAC with a starting salary of N$2500 per month. He worked in this position for a year helping her mother, her new born baby and also with pay for rent for a small room he rented with this salary. “My salary was not enough to keep my head above water and I felt demotivated most of the time because I could not better my life and the lives of the people I loved with the income I had. Instead of stopping I decided to work harder within the company,” he says.
Committed and giving all his best at work, Cloete got noticed and received a promotion to become an Accounts Liaison Officer. His duties were to deal with one of the companies’ big clients, Edu Loan, now known as Letshego Namibia. Within the next year he was promoted as a supervisor of the call centre having at the time to administer 15 people reporting directly to him.
Cloete also attended different management courses obtaining several certificates. When the company expanded in 2013 into Logistics, Cloete was promoted as a Trainee Manager for the Whole ABTRAC GROUP. After six months he was appointed Group Manager, his current position, reporting directly to the Group’s Management and supervising 120 people. “My job is to make sure all operations within the company runs smoothly within all departments, by employing the right people and making the right business decisions for the company to grow.”
Cloete encourages the youth to make the right decisions by not following the wrong directions. “Never lose focus in life, with the side shows of alcohol, IG, Facebook, Fancy cars and the common Sunday Session Lifestyle. Work hard now, always keep educating yourself, may it be practically or academically. I am always inspired by people who are not followers but trend setters,” motivates Cloete.