The Education Ambassadors SA Team caught up with Thabo Maleka (25) – Marketing professional and consultant. Read his inspiring story below.
Thabo Maleka, born 1989 on 17 July, originally comes from Dennilton, Limpopo, in a small village called Marapong. After completing matric in 2007, Thabo made sure that he got himself to university. He started in 2008 at the University of Johannesburg, studying a degree in marketing research and marketing communication.
Due to financial difficulties, he had to make sure that he finds a way to make money while studying, because he had to pay for his own fees, rent, food and support his mother who was unemployed. Within the first month of his first year, Thabo got himself an internship at a branding agency in Rosebank, Gauteng. He did that for about 8 months and then got himself another internship at a turnkey marketing solutions company in Boksburg. The money that he was making from his internship was not enough – firstly because he was only there for about 2 or 3 days a week and because he was still learning. To make more money, he also did promotions at varsity and sold 2nd hand textbooks to students. He still was not making enough money, so he had to find another way.
Thabo then joined the taxi industry. He started out by assisting at the rank (Bree taxi rank, in central Johannesburg) by being a queue marshal. This only happened for a few weeks. He then became friends with a certain taxi driver and this taxi driver hooked him up by asking Thabo to assist him whenever he wanted to take a break (which was on weekends and whenever he had other stuff to do). From there on, Thabo started to drive that taxi most of time, during classes, weekends and school holidays. He worked on the following routes: From Bree taxi rank to Aucklandpark, Cresta, Westdene, Sophia Town, Windsor, Fairlands, Honeydew, etc. During holidays Thabo also did long distance trips to Durban, Newcastle, Maritzburg and Lady Smith.
As a taxi driver, Thabo used the very same routes that were used by his fellow school mates (which wasn’t really a cool thing), but many people started getting used to it. To the extent that they would hire him for trips and even wait just to get onto his taxi whenever they saw him. Thabo was well respected by those who knew him to be a hustler and someone who would always make way to get what he wants and to make a better life for himself.
Despite all of the above, today Thabo Maleka is a respected marketing professional and consultant who specialises in marketing communications, stakeholder relations, government relations, sponsorship and endorsements, branding and much more. He strongly believes in the development of young black South Africans and this is something that is close to his heart.
Watch Thabo’s Inspirational Video below and feel free to share.