Author lends a hand to overcome adversity
6 Dec 2019
Story by Nonhlanhla Bakasa
Inspirational speaker and banker Zenzile Rens (35) has turned a tragedy that happened to him when he was only two months old into an autobiography titled From Adversity to Greatness.
An accident left Rens with facial scarring and resulted in having his left hand amputated.
Rens says he was bullied and called names in school due to his impairment and that left him feeling shattered and worthless.
“I had to change my BSc IT degree I had enrolled for in my first year, to a BCom Economics degree because I was using one hand and wasn’t coping at all. Simple things such as CRL + ALT Delete sometimes irritate me to the core,” he says.
However, he managed to pull himself out of that dark space. When he saw other people going through what he had, he knew he had to do something to help them out.
“There were many people allowing their shortcomings in life to stop them from realising their dreams, but also seeing young people giving up on life thinking nothing of great value can come from them. I knew that by sharing my story many will see light through my journey, thereby gaining hope and strength to keep going through adversity.
“I couldn’t bear seeing others going through what I went through on my journey toward achieving greatness in adversity, hence inking my thoughts to provide my own blueprint which will become their guide in their journey.” Rens says.
The book, which Rens has been working on for four years, is targeted at anyone aspiring for greatness in their lives or anyone working towards a dream. “The book is an autobiography walking you through a journey of an inspirational, courageous burn survivor who overcame life’s greatest challenges and achieved the impossible. In the book practical lessons are shared to help navigate life’s challenges,” he says.
He shares how one can turn their life around from a point of chaos using what he calls the three Rs – “to recover, restore and rebuild”.
Rens’s life journey can be seen as one that “epitomises a great hiker going for a great hike. It is a journey of small successes which have led to big achievements” according to Lebogang Sebogodi (35) who was at the book launch.
“In all this Zenzile has remained humble, determined, focused, and most importantly, he has inspired all those who have observed his journey. When everyone thought he could not have it, he shot through the adversities in his life and proved that it is not how you start that matters, but it is all about the journey you take towards achieving greatness,” says Sebogodi, who is a compliance officer from Roodepoort.
Lebohang Nyandeni (22), the founder of Start-Up Entrepreneurship Academy, says he would recommend the book as “It speaks directly to the hearts of young people that are going to be our leaders tomorrow. This book on its own is proof that God is and he has granted every one of us potential to be great. If Zenzile can write a book with his situation not being his conclusion, then clearly we can draw some source of inspiration from it.”
Even though the book is self-published, Rens says he took measures to ensure its quality. “I worked with [Answers Consultation] publishers to ensure professional and quality work is produced.”
Rens says even though “the journey to being an author is not that easy, especially with legal and financial constraints, [it] was very fulfilling knowing that I wrote a whole book using only one hand and did not concern myself about destination, but wanted to enjoy the journey of birthing my very first book”.