4 steps to scoring top marks

TOP GUN:  Motivational speaker Braimoh Bello says African children must take control of their futures. Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

TOP GUN: Motivational speaker Braimoh Bello says African children must take control of their futures.                                       Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

YOU can become a top academic achiever, a Bill Gates even, in four easy steps. “Four Ws”, according to motivational expert Braimoh Bello, will help you determine who you are, and set you on the path to transcending your circumstances and becoming somebody extraordinary.

Answer this

Where am I from? Why do I do what I do? Why am I here? Where am I going? These are the four questions Bello said he asked himself on his way to gaining three degrees, founding human development consultancy Beyond Tomorrow, and writing a book of the same name.

All of this despite losing his mother at age 11 and being raised by his unemployed father.

Wits Vuvuzela caught up with this honorary lecturer in medical microbiology in the Wits School of Public Health, to find out more about him and his work.

“The reason I speak to young people is because I got those degrees under very difficult circumstances. And that is my message. You should not allow your circumstances to define you. I know what those circumstances were… I know what those circumstances became, going from hardship to comfort.”

Answering the Four Ws helps you understand “why you do what you do”, clarify your purpose and understand the steps needed to achieve it, Bello said.

“It’s a simple message. You need first of all to think of your future. We need Africans to sit down and calmly resolve in their spirits that they can create their futures.

“It cannot be a subconscious thing, it has to be deliberate. It has to be conscious.

“In the way you talk. In the way you walk, and in the way you think.”

“You” factor

Bello said it was especially important for African children to work on the “you factor”, because too often “they did not have the pleasure of nurture, and thus had to rely on nature”.

Bello, who was born in Nigeria recalled that his mother’s death shocked his father into resigning from his job, leaving him and his five siblings to face financial hardship, struggling to fund their education.

From age 15, Bello worked part-time to fund his studies, eventually achieving honours and master’s degrees in medical microbiology from the University of Benin, before winning a scholarship to study at Wits for his PhD.

The 39-year-old Bello dismissed the idea of motivational speaking as a gimmick offering quick fixes.

“The motivation we do at Beyond Tomorrow is not pie-in-the-sky kind of motivation. Motivation should also tell you how to do it.”

Wits decries anti-homosexuality laws

Wits University has released a statement regarding the anti-homosexuality laws that have recently been passed in Nigeria and Uganda. The statement is reproduced in full below.




The University of the Witwatersrand notes with dismay and concern recent legislation in Nigeria and Uganda that criminalises women and men who express themselves through relationships other than those defined as heterosexual. It also decries the targeted violence that has accompanied this legislation in these and other countries.

While academic debates may focus on the extent to which human sexuality is a result of nature or nurture, or whether it is inherent to Western or African culture, the reality is that diversity in terms of sexual orientation is part of the recorded history of virtually all societies.

Tolerance and acceptance of such diversity has not been easily secured, but those nations that have afforded equal rights to sexual minorities alongside a multitude of other diverse identities can justifiably claim the benefits of an equitable and just environment for their citizens who live in, and actively contribute to an inclusive and productive state.

The University of the Witwatersrand values diversity and believes that its student and staff body should reflect a multiplicity of race, gender, socio-economic background, urban and rural geographic origin, culture, ethnicity, disability, religion, national origin and sexual orientation.

Indeed it believes that everyone has a role to play in furthering human development and that diversity can only enhance learning and the generation human knowledge. Such principles are the foundation of university policies and are underpinned by values enshrined within the constitution of South Africa.

It is the University’s view that recent legislation in Africa and elsewhere that seeks to criminalise sexual minorities, runs counter to these values and in addition contravenes key articles contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is apparent that these legislations are driven, not by a desire to address true criminality but rather are projected by an incomplete understanding of human sexuality compounded by an orchestrated campaign of hate towards vulnerable groups.

South Africans understand only too well the damaging legacy that hate founded on institutionalised prejudice can deliver and that while the seeds of hate are easy to sow, they can take generations to uproot once they have spread and taken hold. Leadership carries with it a huge responsibility, not least of which is protection of minority rights from the ebb and flow of opinion amongst the “moral majority”.

The University (that counts amongst its staff and students, thinkers from across the continent of Africa), stands with other academic institutions in urging leaders to reflect carefully on what they have allowed to pass and points out that history will judge harshly those who are responsible for imprisoning others as a result of whom they love.

We strongly urge that these laws be rescinded and encourage others who value the sanctity of Universal Human Rights to call for the same.”