Founder Story : Who Is Simba Wakatama?

When I was a young child growing up in Zimbabwe, my family used to call me sekuru Simba. Sekuru is a shona word which means grandfather or elder. They called me sekuru Simba because I was wise; always questioning things, always trying to understand the things around me. My full name is Simba Zivai Wakatama, it translates to Power, Knowledge/Wisdom, They Travel. My names are my prophecy, and I live them out every day. This is who I am.

Do you ever think deeply about your life purpose, where you came from, why you are here? For most people that is as deep as one thinks. I think as deeply about that as I think about the shape of a pop can, the thread of a string, the curve of a paperclip. My favorite question is why. Not why is something made the way it is, but why we want it made in the first place. My attention to detail has also given me tremendous social insight; I understand the way people think and behave quite intuitively. This is why my first security job position was as a supervisor for up to a 24 people team at the Pan Am Games. I notice things that few people do. My logic is simple; a question is like a dot. Ask enough questions and you have a lot of dots. Answer those questions and you connect dots that people don’t see. We call that wisdom, and that is literally my middle name.

To question everything all the time is rather pointless if nothing comes from it.
~I said that . . . Yes I just quoted myself

Knowledge without action is as useless as a flat tire. That is why I am driven to do one thing and one thing only. I am a builder. That is how I apply my knowledge. It’s no surprise that I am a Mechanical Engineering student. I love to build companies, products, people, relationships, musical pieces etc. Since I was a kid I built things; making lava lamps from pop bottles and raisins, and fans from old race car parts. Then when I was in grade three

I started a business by mistake. I was selling toys from potato chip bags I got in bulk from the neighboring country (Botswana: check the map). The headmistress did not like the fact that “someone was soliciting on school grounds“, as she stated in our school assembly. In my defense entrepreneurship was all I knew. My grandfather grew up in a village, and later founded the top market research firm in the country, with around 1000+ employees.

My lavished background did everything but teach me humility and the value of money. Don’t get me wrong, I was brought up to be extremely polite and respectful. But it took the collapse of a nation for me to really learn some of lives important lessons. That nation is Zimbabwe, and so we moved to Canada hence the name Wakatama. No more life of luxury, and the Zimbabwean banks took most of our money too. It was in those nights of having no food on the table and no electricity from a skipped bill, that I learned these lessons:

  1. Humility
  2. The value of money.

But where I am and what I do is not who I am. So we bounced right back up as a family (not to the same level, but much better) and I started my company while working night shift and completing my degree in the day. I attribute that to my first name; the power to push through.

It is clear that I love to learn, but I also learn quickly. One of my greatest skills is my ability to learn a bit of many things rather than just a lot of one thing (which I have also done with music). I have become a provincial bronze medalist fencer in three months, I play the drum kit, hand drums, various percussion, piano, rugby, soccer. I’ve won numerous speaking competitions with no formal training. I DJ, produce, and master music. I have also composed an entire score for a full concert band. When I am passionate about something, I learn it well. Its that passion that inspires others to achieve their dreams.

I built this company to build people up, because sometimes the difference between success and failure is inspiration. So I chose to inspire people with my story and with my brand. So tell me, who will you inspire today?

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Originally published at volocollective.com on November 15, 2016.