Not everyone can say that they started their first successful business at just 16 years old. Not everyone can say they’re a radio host and a best-selling author. Not everyone can be rated on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Not everyone can win a reality TV contest focused on leadership skills. Then again, not everyone is Zareef Minty.
Leaving his hometown of Klerksdorp in the North West Province to pursue an LLB degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, Zareef knew he was destined for great things. The youngest of three siblings, Mr Minty has always enjoyed the concept of breaking the conventional and disrupting the paradigm.
Shattering the myth that people from small towns are more relaxed and content with what they are doing and what they have, Zareef was led by his ambitious goals and dreams. He’s constantly innovating, changing and developing. “Regardless of where I grew up, I knew that I wanted to be impacting the lives of millions positively,” Minty reveals.
One of his career highlights was making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, a remarkable feat for a young South African Muslim, and one that we can all be proud of.
In the midst of his entrepreneurial pursuits and promising legal career, Zareef makes time for this passion; philanthropy. He works very closely with Reach for a Dream and has also established his own charitable venture called the Build-A-School Foundation. This education-based initiative aims to build three schools by 2022. A recent partnership with Islamic Relief has fueled his enthusiasm to add as much value as he can through humanitarian work. “Their organisation truly changes lives and assists our brothers and sisters all around the world,” he states.
Named by Mail & Guardian as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans, Zareef has always believed that his purpose in this world is way beyond him. “It’s to inspire and change the lives of millions,” Minty is confident that if we change the mindsets of our youth, we can make a change to the world.
Islam is at the core of Zareef’s entire life. His principles and values are aligned to those of Islam. He faithfully mentions, “Many don’t really understand that God is everything. The role that God plays in our lives is incredible. Everything comes from him.”
Zareef’s most rewarding moment occurred during his television appearance on One Day Leader (of which he won season 4). It was his involvement in building a beautiful playground for underprivileged children in Kaya Sands that was most moving for him.
The 25-year-old says that his proudest achievement is his educational platform, The Generational Wealth Education. “I believe my proudest moment was that second when it hit me, thanks to God that I finally created something sustainable that will change the lives of millions of people someday. Insha-Allah.”
Wise beyond his years, Zareef says that the fear of failure is something that limits many of us. He advises that we need to get rid of that fear and build confidence and validation from within. Shedding his own fear, it was after being rejected by 19 publishers that Zareef was able to release his book, Empire. His self-belief never allowed him to give up and led to one of his biggest dreams come to life – having his book published and sold in Exclusive Books stores. During the first month, it became a national best-seller in South Africa. “Anything is possible if you believe in your abilities and talents,” he notes.
Zareef’s life motto: “Choose happiness. We underestimate the importance of actually being happy. Being happy with yourself, being happy with your journey, and being happy with your own life.”
The best-selling author is greatly inspired by his mentors. He’s also inspired by people like Cristiano Ronaldo because of his level of excellence and determination. “I am a huge fan of his humanitarian work too, especially with Syria,” Zareef goes on to say.
His favourite Quranic verse: “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (Q. 94:5-6).
He believes that in the remembrance of God, any hardship will be alleviated. “Every difficult moment will pass, and if you work hard and are extremely consistent, any difficulty can turn into an opportunity to dominate,” Zareef expresses.
Zareef finds that ‘success‘ is subjective. It means different things to different people. “For me, success is happiness. Success is convenience. Success is leaving a legacy for generations to come,” he explains.
Every year, the young lawyer sets 500 goals for himself. One of his major aims for the next 7-10 years is to delve further into politics and become the Minister of Education someday. He previously gained experience in the field as the National Youth President of the Patriotic Alliance.
He advises other budding humanitarians to “know your ‘why’”. Acknowledging why you’re doing something keeps one consistent and focused. While difficulties do arise and rejections from potential sponsors and donors can be demotivating, Zareef encourages do-gooders to be consistent and remember the end goal: benefitting hundreds of people and bringing ease to their lives. Insha-Allah.
The trailblazing entrepreneur is grateful for everything. “Every single thing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to wake up in the morning, I am grateful for having a bed to sleep on. Having clothes to wear. I’m grateful for mercy and for understanding. I’m grateful for wisdom and for my parents.”
His greatest life lesson is to be humble and grateful.
Zareef is an avid believer in the value of Proudly Muslims of SA, adding, “I think it’s absolutely beautiful and incredible. We need more platforms to motivate and inspire our people. Thank you to PMSA for developing this platform.”
He isn’t concerned about being personally remembered by society, but hopes that the good work he does will. Zareef would like to help millions of people in the world. “I want what I establish for our people to be remembered, and for it to be extremely sustainable, so it helps even more people with time. Insha-Allah. It’s such a beautiful blessing to have the ability to bless others.”
At his youthful age, Zareef Minty has achieved so much more than most of us would in a lifetime. With his unstoppable passion, earnestness and energy, his faithfulness and trust in the Almighty, and admirable tenacity to make a positive impact on the world, Zareef has only one way to go from here… straight to the top!