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I grew up in the township of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa. My mom could not afford to take me to university and we struggled, so from a young age I knew I had to make a plan.

I remember at the age of 11 how my mom gave me a packet of sweets to sell during break and I started employing my friends to sell for me as well. From then on I could play during break while they sold the sweets for me and I made more profit.

In the next year I expanded to selling ice-cream on the streets of the Johannesburg CBD and this is where at the age of 17 while in high school I started my first formal business, and saying my resources were limited is an understatement. I was a young boy from Spruitview armed with a dream that was bigger than my reality and the R2000 seed capital at my disposal.

My first business, Csonke, was a web development company that became one of the largest black-youth-owned new media companies in the country at the time. Csonke merged with Krazyboyz where I met my current business partner Veli Ngubane in 2007 and from that encounter AVATAR was born in 2012, with Veli as my partner.

The business now compromises of 7 other agencies within it and operates in 3 cities servicing mainly large scale brands in South Africa and internationally. We are on a path to create an African owned agency network to rival the large established multinationals. In my world, making a profit is not only monetary. Taking the lead from a quote by Henry Ford, “A business that only makes money is a poor business”. I profit from seeing the few people I employed years ago, grow to over 100 people and making a difference in our society. I profit from the joy of my agency being trusted by brands I have respected for years.

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Tecno Brand

I am highly inspired by my sister who is a nursing intern and doing her duties to help others during the Covid pandemic. 

I look at my sister and see a REAL-LIFE HERO who I respect along with her profession. My sister rarely has time to show her own pain and always tries hard to make the patients happy. Whenever her patients are going through some pain, she has always tried to comfort them, not only during this Covid pandemic, but throughout the years. She is a strong woman, who never gave up. Her life is going to evolve and become even better as she has just begun her career and I pray she will jump all the hurdles in future. For that reason, she is my real hero and I feel proud to say that she inspires me.

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As a child my dream was to be dentist. My dream was to give each and everybody a smile. Many people fear smiling because of their dental formula, colored teeth or even lack of any teeth. So, I always promised myself I would make their dreams to smile come true.

When I completed my secondary school my mum had other plans. She wanted me to do animal heath which was not my thing. 

I didn't get a chance to do that, but I got a chance to do nursing. Even though it was hard for me to accept it, I still believed I had a chance to be what I wanted.

Being a male nurse was kind of stressful for me especially the stereotypes I got from people: "males can't be nurses, that’s the work of the ladies", "you will spend your whole life changing diapers" as they would put it. 

That never killed my dreams, I made sure I came out the best nurse in our class to prove them wrong.

After school I was able to get a job even though it didn’t pay as well as I thought it would but treating and taking care of people fulfilled my ambitions.

Getting to see them smile after recovery and just saying a plain "thank you" always makes me fill glad I did what I did.

Through my four years in nursing, I learnt that making someone smile does not necessarily require a nice set of teeth or good dental formula but a kind heart, passionate soul, and endurance. 

I am lucky to have done some saving and now I can further my studies on oral health and become the dentist I always wanted to be. I know my dreams are valid and I am STOPPING AT NOTHING till I get to where I want to be.

My favorite quote is: "Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn" by Harriet Beecher Stowell. 

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My name is Habib Zakawanu Onoruoyiza, from Kogi State, Nigeria. 

I am 26 years old and here is my story into the photography world. 

Photography, simple and sweet as it may look, requires a lot to arrive at that sweetness. 

The bedrock of all good photographs we see today starts from the mind, sight and creativeness.

Let me take you down memory lane of my journey to photography in Kogi central.

Before 2015 in Kogi central, what we now see as photography today was not what people viewed it as. 

I took it upon myself to change the narrative about photography. Photography is a profession, why treat it like a roadside job. 

I started the photography evolution with my friend Shehu, just as I finished my BSc, so I had all the time to explore it. 

To ignite a passion of photography in them, I started taking images that were not familiar to the ones my people had been seeing. 

I started with documentary photographs of people and places in the land, beautiful landscapes, and street photographs. 

These aroused the feelings about photography to my audience.

To increase more awareness and passion for it, I decided not to seclude myself just around the Kogi central axis, but to venture outside. 

I attended my first ever Abuja International Photo festival, where I met lots of creatives and received a lot of mentorships from well to do creatives around Nigeria.

Coming back home with tons of knowledge, I continued to instill a passion for photography to my audience in Kogi. 

Now the question is, am I being appreciated? No. Sad, right?

My colleagues from other parts of the country are all doing amazingly well and are really being appreciated. 

I remember when I had no money to buy a camera and I had to travel all the way to Kaduna to meet a photography enthusiast called Mr. Sani Suleiman to borrow his camera for use.

This is a Hausa man that I got in contact with through Twitter. He loved our work, and we became friends. While we have many well-to-do men in the Kogi central axis, Mr. Sani Suleiman is the one who supported us.

In the beginning of my photography journey, the good people of Kogi central created social awareness for me to be able to get tools for photography.

The awareness turned out to be sour to my career which almost killed my passion for photography. 

Then, I photographed the campaign for the present senator representing Kogi central although not on contract. I had issues with my camera, so I made a public plea for assistance. 

Natasha Akpoti, the top opposition to the Senator then, willingly helped but along the line, everything turned out to be political and I had to step down just to have peace of mind. 

This alone taught me a lesson not to engage any political affiliation to creativity unless it has been contracted and signed. 

This killed my spirit and enthusiasm towards photography, I went sick for days and stayed off the social radar for months. 

After a year of rehab, I had sprung back into photography. 

I saw crime and illegal activities, but I chose the better side by engaging in something that will be of pride to the land. So, I see no reason I should drop the zeal to do more because of some people or a group of people. 

Today we have lots of photographers in Kogi central doing amazing things, but we also have hundreds of wannabees in the region. 

The most amazing part of it all is that the photographers we have are all literates and well-articulated to compete with the outside.

I am a happy man because I managed to change the narrative around photography.

The transition and evolution was a success.

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#StopAtNothing

I remember the tale of how I had stumbled upon an oratory contest online.

It was a friend that actually told me about it a day to the deadline and I had to upload a video before the deadline.

I felt it was too sudden, I couldn't make a new video and for a moment I felt I should just brush off the idea.

But, few hours before the closure, I quickly uploaded one of my videos speaking at church and the week after, I was stunned to see that I had been selected to go through another selection stage which was to last for 1 week with us delivering 3 speeches in 3 days.

A part of me kept feeling that I wouldn't get through.

I guess those thoughts even made me to fall sick during that period but yet with that sickness, I drafted, memorized and presented my speech.

Few days later, the results were out, and I was among those selected for the finals.

It all felt surreal. We had to go to Lagos for the finals.

I was in Aba, Abia State and I didn't think my dad would support that, considering the expenses and all.

I told my mum about it and she in turn told my dad and the next morning, my dad called for a meeting and consented to sending me to Lagos.

I was beginning to see God in all this. Things that naturally would have proven to be an obstacle were all dealt with, and everything was just miraculously happening in my favour.

Long story short, D-Day came, and the finals commenced.

We were asked to debate on the topic, “Africa is more innovative than the west". Well, you and I know how controversial that topic is.

Still, God was faithful. My teammates and I were arguing for that motion and won that debate, so we qualified for the solo speech stage.

The solo speech commenced, and it got to my turn. My performance wasn't as topnotch as I expected it to be. There and then I made a little prayer for us to be given another chance.

Few minutes later, the moderator walked in and said that we'd be taking it all over again.

I made my presentation again, this time satisfactorily and when the final results were announced, I came out as the champion and bagged the Orator of the year title.

My motto is that no one should sleep hungry and I will Stop at Nothing to ensure no one does.

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#StopAtNothing

Sometimes, I sit down and just laugh. People often wonder why I laugh but had they understood the reason; they would join me. 

Life is full of adversities and a lot of people may always want to benefit off you. 

It is a precarious situation especially in our dear country; the hustle, the zeal, the determination to succeed has geared people to want to feast on others. 

For all the adversity I have faced, I may have decided not to continue, to quit and to stop fighting but I continued, kept fighting and pushing hard, always thinking that success is nothing but a reality.

The hurdles became more real when I lost my dad in my final year in school. I had to deal with the thwart in my dream to further my education and achieve more in life. 

After school, I had no option than to start work at an uncle's poultry farm in exchange to pay for my master’s fees but after many months of effort and hard work, the whole story changed and I had no option but to quit working with him and I went back to the streets. 

The streets taught me the necessity to learn some vocation and photography chose me. 

With photography, I had a lot of challenges. I initially used my phone to take shots, but a time came where I needed camera so badly. 

I rented a camera to keep the struggle alive and uploaded my works on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

On this path, I came across a man who had interest in art and he decided to help me by renting me his camera for free to shoot and since then, the fire kept burning to pursue this dream. 

From this path, I was able to pay for my Master’s degree.

Therefore, despite the failure and disappointments, all I did was to dust myself and continue the struggle. 

I always say to myself that a lot of people were some miles away to their success, but they gave up, they got tired and could not persevere to the very end. 

Had they pushed one more time, they would have succeeded. The reaction and narrative for success and failure is the same, just that the former laughs and the latter cries. 

To have a great name, to be recognized, to be acknowledged will start with great and continuous efforts characterized by dedication, commitment, perseverance, foresight, and intelligence, that I have come to understand in life. 

These are the characteristics of great people in the likes of Aliko Dangote, Mark Zuckerberg, Nelson Mandela and many more. 

Life was not a bed of roses for them but today they can never be forgotten in the history books, and I believe that is how it will also play for me. 

Therefore, for every individual who has never given up, who has continued to struggle and survive, life will flow you to the stream of success. 

Just the way I have kept hope alive, I believe I will become the Dangote of my generation and the river of my success will never dry. 

Keep pushing hard for success is achievable.

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#StopAtNothing

Giving is indeed the greatest act of grace. It was an eventful and emotion filled day because the comfort of sitting at home and not worrying about the next meal is extremely important but not everyone has that privilege.

So, I decided to help the people who need most at this time of Covid-19. Seeing them break down as they received rations and medicines, was heartbreaking. 

I am extremely grateful for the people who believed in me, and we will continue to help as many people as we can!!

I would like to extend my greatest appreciation to all my family that came on board and contributed together with us in extending help to the needy more so those heavily impacted by COVID19.

I have reached thousands of families residing in villages, cities and managed to support them with essentials during these times of distress.

I provided food, medicines, water each single day. There are many families who lost members during this tough time, so my duty was to provide at least two meals to as many people. 

I will continue to do good deeds after Covid 19 is over. 

The number of food packets we distribute increases daily and I hope this act will be able to bring a little relief and joy in the hearts of the recipient families. 

Since childhood I had a strong desire to help people and share happiness as well as celebrate with everyone irrespective of caste, race, and religion.

I felt their pain and realized that my true calling in life was to help the poor, share happiness and celebrate with them. 

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her, it has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.

My motto is that no one should sleep hungry and I will Stop at Nothing to ensure no one does.

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#StopAtNothing

I remember only wanting a football for all my birthdays because practicing football skills has been my passion since I was a kid. 

My first step into my football journey began with my school under-8 team. 
I went on to play for school, college and made it to professional football clubs. 
I was moving in the right direction and was on my way to fulfil my childhood dream of being a professional footballer. 

Sadly, life took a tragic turn when I suffered a career-threatening injury during one match. 

I turned this setback around to focus on practicing my skills as a football freestyler. 

After hours and hours of perfecting my skills, I've been able to make it my full-time profession. 

I went on to break a World Record after years of practice. Everyone would have settled after breaking a world record but my Stop at Nothing attitude helped me break my own record again and set another one. 

Last month I was invited to West Bengal, to judge the Junior Football Championship. 

After more than a decade as a freestyle athlete, I have now taken the task of spreading the culture and the sport to the masses by running a football freestyle academy in three places in Mumbai. 

That is my way of giving back to the community.

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#StopAtNothing

My life started from the ghetto area of Lagos where I met a lot of terrible things and people who were ready to teach me the bad ways of life. 

I never yielded because I believed I will go to school and become great in life even though we were poor. I lost my brothers to malnutrition and kidney failure due to no money to pay for hospital bills. 

I never stopped going to school and believing in myself. Finally, I got into a private university.

At 200 level I lost my dad and my uncle was not ready to sponsor me so he threw me out of his house and I was homeless without money. 

I slept in the street of Egbeda for a week in Lagos thinking how I was going to pay my school fees. 

I still didn't give up because for me to be in this school is not by mistake and because I was determined to stop at nothing to succeed. 

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#StopAtNothing

I had a building construction business which was doing very well. In 2014, the turnover of my company used to be 2-3 crores. Then suddenly my business slumped after coming to the market. 

I was broken, thought all day long, what to do now. Used to spend time with friends, so that my mind wouldn’t wonder. 

If someone did a small job, which one would he do so that the prestige would remain intact? 

In 2017 my older sister Pooja Chauhan, who helped me out a lot called me and said: “Brother, you need to come to my house, I have to talk to you about something”. When I got there, she asked me: “What has happened to you. Why don't you do any work?”. 

I said: “Sister all my business is over, tell me what I should do?”.

Then my sister told me she would give me whatever money I wanted to get back on my feet. 

My passion was ignited and started manpower work in main construction field and today in 2021 my company employs around 3000 people. I have also started building flats that sell out before construction ends.

That's why I would like to thank my elder sister for supporting me all the time.

Success can be achieved only through struggle and hard work. #StopAtNothing, just keep trying.

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#StopAtNothing

My journey to becoming an artist began in 2017, when I started photography after seeing my friend capture great pictures from his mobile phone. 

I don't remember how or when this interest became a hobby of mine. 

For 2 years I enjoyed doing photography and consumed a lot of photography content which exponentially developed my passion for it. 

I remember falling in love with the process of creating something with the smartphone camera. 

I then, in the second week of school, emptied my bank account and bought photography gear.

Before I picked up a smartphone camera, I was very shy and timid. As I was shooting my way through the process and garnering a love for the art form, I started taking macros, I committed to sitting down every weekend for four hours to just photograph.

My growth moment is when I realized that the gear was not the thing that was holding me back from creating great work. 

I devoted every hour of my free time to improve my Art. I did dozens of shoots, countless hours scouring the web for tutorials on lighting, etc, and everything photography-related, and then went out and applied the lessons.

I Stopped at Nothing.

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