Radio and television (TV) personality Gugu Mavuma's life reflects this dictum because at 30 years of age he has achieved the kind of recognition that his peers can only dream about.
Born in Gaborone in 1983, Mavuma lived most of his life in the city and sometimes in Lobatse. "I was a sporty child growing up, I played all kinds of sport - from tennis to football - and even though I was shy I was also part of the school's drama and traditional troupe," he points out.
He is quick to describe himself as a go-getter and one who grabs every opportunity thrown at him with open arms. "Ever since I was small, I have not let anything pass me by and after completing my junior school I started working as a waiter at some restaurant because I wanted to earn my own money; so I started being responsible at a tender age," he says.
Even though Mavuma was involved in a lot of school activities, this did not however get in the way of his studies as the young man did extremely well and later proceeded to University of Botswana (UB) after completing his studies at Gaborone Senior School (GSS) to pursue his Degree in Social Sciences. Mavuma tells Arts & Culture that he knew he was destined to be on TV when he mastered imitating top South African presenters, including the likes of Dosto Noge who always graced his television screens.
"I remember telling my father that I wanted to be on TV as soon as Botswana Television (Btv) started and in 2001. I went for Meribo auditions where I was competing for the job with other hundreds of hopefuls who came to try their luck, but I made the cut and was shortlisted with Bonnie who I suppose outshone me and was chosen as the presenter," he says.
Not being chosen did not discourage the determined Mavuma who again went for another set of auditions but this time Btv was looking for continuity presenters. He was among the chosen ones and this is how his career in television started at 21 years of age. "I started becoming popular and more people could recognise me as they always saw me on their screens," he says.
As an opportunity grabber, Mavuma grabbed the chance to also work at Mascom as a customer care executive, juggling school with two jobs was not easy for him but he tells Arts & Culture that he managed all three well and none of them suffered. His presenting job ended and in 2004 he was again called in for another TV job to host a show called Coca Cola Cool Cash Show for 10 weeks, the young lad did so well that he was soon called again to host another show called Coca Cola Cash for Numbers.
Being a TV personality came with perks for Mavuma as he landed side jobs as a master of ceremonies (MC) and guest appearances at different functions. At 24 he was approached by the owner of the then biggest night club in Gaborone to be the manager of Lizard Lounge, he decided to leave Mascom and focus on the club and while he was still there he heard about auditions for a new lifestyle programme which was looking for presenters and he went to try his luck. Yes, lady luck must have been smiling on him as he made the cut to be the new male presenter of Prime Time Life.
"I do my homework and research very well so before I went for auditions I already knew what the role entailed, I am that guy who can be thrown into the lake right now but instead of being terrified, I would rather find out how deep it is," he says.
Mavuma presented the show for three years till he joined Pro-vision Media, a company where he did marketing and voice-overs for radio and TV. He then again was approached to be the producer and presenter of Miss Botswana - the build up which airs every time before the big pageant to show how the contestants prepare for the grand finale. The talented Mavuma then again became the presenter of a magazine show called Bonang.
In 2011 Mavuma decided to spread his wings and ventured into radio where he made Gabz fm his base home. "I have always loved Gabz fm and I feel I can grow there and I bring an element of today's yesterday's youth in my radio presenting. I don't knock on doors I break doors; so I went to Gabz fm and they decided to give me a chance and see what I am capable of, so far so good as I have been doing stand-in's for Zimba and Otties and hopefully - God willingly - I will have my own show soon," he says. He looks up to former South African president Nelson Mandela who epitomises every thing he believes in.
Mavuma also heads his own company, which he started in 2012 called Ethol-Jones Investments that deals in distributions and events management. The company is the parent company for his other projects, namely AJ Promotion, which aims at promoting and nurturing local talent. He will be launching his magazine this March called Evidence Magazine, a youthful spiritual lifestyle periodical.
The cherry on top of a cake is that Mavuma is now a born again Christian who lives by the Word of Christ, this was evident when he embarked on a journey last year to visit the popular prophet TB Joshua in Lagos, Nigeria. "I knew I had to change my bad ways after surviving over 15 accidents and these days I don't walk by sight anymore, I walk by faith," he said.
When asked whether he has plans of returning to TV, Mavuma tells Arts & Culture that it's all up to God: "When God opens the door, no man can shut it."