“I waited in the shadows for someone to notice me: ‘Hey, please give me a chance, I am creative and a hard worker.’ I had no idea that I could make mistakes, but then I actually concluded that if I wasn’t making mistakes, I was still waiting for a rescue team and no one was coming to save me. To the 19-year-old me, I’d say: ‘Dream big and do not fear failure, failure is just assurance that you actually tried something — you’re out of the shadows, you’re living’. Learn and grow from your mistakes. The only way from rock bottom is up!”
Civil engineering technologist Refiloe Mathibe is currently a long way from rock bottom. Thanks to her mentors, she learned early on that it was important to set and write down goals, and she’s been steadily working towards them ever since. “My biggest mistake was believing that getting a degree was all you needed to be successful, but I have learned that one has to be intentional in designing your own successes in life.”
Passionate about green buildings and infrastructure, waste management and renewable energy, Mathibe is on a mission to leave the world in a better way than she found it while working towards a clean, healthy and green South Africa. She is aware of her purpose on this planet, and what’s even more awe-inspiring is that she’s got the self-confidence to declare she knows she’s not here by chance.
“I want to live a full life and leave empty. In other words, live a purpose-filled life. Not knowing when my final or last day will be allows me to be appreciative every morning I wake up.”