I first heard of Sandile Shezi in July 2015 when he, his mentor and business partner George Van Der Riet, and associates of the Global Forex Institute were holding a free one-day class at the Protea Hotel in Waterfront. The friends I went with didn’t exactly know what we were getting ourselves into but I was reassured it was to be worthwhile. And indeed, it was worthwhile. I was, and even more now, familiar with forex (foreign exchange) trading and the money-generating possibilities entailed. The main attraction, however, in that class seemed to have been the then 23-year old black South African kid who was running the show. I realised later that I had walked past him casually while entering the venue of the class, thinking to myself: “This dude really dressed up nicely for this ‘small event’.” I even walked past an extravagant Mercedes outside, thinking it belonged to the old white man who will be conducting the event. I was partially right in that the guy running the show owned the car, but I was surprised to learn that the well-suited “dude” owned it and that it was his company facilitating the event. It turns out that Sandile Shezi is a self-made millionaire, predominantly from his forex trading activities. He has built an incredible organisation, the Global Forex Institute, that serves to educate the masses about the financial market and how they can enrich themselves by trading currencies.
I was immensely impressed after that relatively short crash-course and I never forgot the name Sandile Shezi. Fast forward to 2016, I had the pleasure of being the Corporate Relations Director of the Entrepreneurs Society at the University of Cape Town, which put me in the fortunate position of getting to reach out to high calibre figures in business for the possibility of speaking at our events. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to touch base with Shezi and learn more about him and his endeavours. With a lot of planning and coordinating, Shezi pulled through and me and my great team delivered a successful event, like no other for a UCT society/club. The event was well received by the many students who flooded the venue. In closer examination, what really makes Shezi appealing is his extraordinary success as a black youth. He was the average age of the students in attendance, yet even without a university qualification, he has managed to build something scalable and impactful while making wealth for himself. I’m remined by the sentiment he shared with us in that beginner’s class: “Rather have a dream without a qualification than have a qualification but have no dream.” Undisputedly, Shezi is an outlier. And like all outliers we want to know exactly what circumstances led to his success…
He was raised by both parents whose profession was teaching and came from rather humble beginnings. He looked up to individuals who came from little or nothing and built wealth for themselves, such as Sandile Zungu (of Zungu Investment Company Ltd.). From an early age Shezi realized that there had to be more in life than the disadvantaged circumstances he was born and raised in, in a township near Durban. At 15 he had his first shot at business by selling muffins at school. His business acumen prevailed when he decided to expand his operations by having distributors across different school campuses around town – a distribution strategy that had him earn about R2000 per day. After the muffin business, he tried his luck with selling clothes door-to-door – an endeavour not as successful, but one that taught him a hard lesson in sales – handling rejection.
In his high school years he set out to find out more about the wealthy individuals he looked up to and learn what strategies they used to succeed. What he picked up from his independent research was that most of them, if not all, had shares in multiple businesses – which created multiple streams of income for them. This is where he discovered stock trading. Fascinated by how one becomes a shareholder, he read books, attended seminars, completed short courses, and spoke to experts to learn more and be properly informed before venturing into the turbulent seas of the financial market. He created an investment account with Standard Bank and traded online. This proved to be a springboard for him to learn about the different markets one could trade in, whether it be commodities, property, or equities; but what intrigued him most was the currency market. In the simplest terms, forex trading is the over-the-counter buying and selling of currencies – relying on the rise and all of currency prices in order to make a profit.
One can make decent earnings from forex trading, but it takes large sums of trade capital to realise the possibility of significant returns. Shezi must have realised this while at university and made a high risk decision that would alter the course of his life. His parents handed him his tuition money for the year and within a heartbeat he poured it all into his trading account. I guess we all have those moments where we face big decisions that we know will change our lives – sometimes we win and sometimes we fall flat on our face. As fate would have it, Shezi’s risky move was a jackpot and proved to be a point of no return for the young go-getter. By 23 he was one of South Africa’s youngest self-made millionaires.
Shezi understands that there is a lot to trading than just opening an account on your internet browser and speculating between currencies. To fill this knowledge gap, he and his mentor, George Van Der Riet, started the Global Forex Institute (http://globalforexinstitute.co.za/) which aims at providing affordable, effective Forex training that works, to the masses. Global Forex Institute empowers the mass on doing the same thing that he did and educating them about Forex. Apart from GFI, Shezi also has runs his foundation that does work to improve the quality of people’s lives through education, and is in the early stages of launching his insurance company that is sure to shake up the local insurance industry.
Whatever Shezi ventures into, he has a tunnel vision on what he wants to achieve and strives to achieve by all means necessary even in the midst of criticism and cynicism from those who question his credibility. In a radio interview with DJ Sbu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NgQVedxdZQ) he replies to those who have negative things to say about him by asserting that his bank balance is increasing regardless of their opinion.