In March 2016, Sipho Nkosi retired as CEO of Exxaro Coal. His credentials include being the former president of the Chamber of Mines South Africa, a non-executive director of Sanlam and of course one of the founders and the CEO of Eyesizwe Coal, which eventually merged with Kumba Resources and became Exxaro Coal.

This illustrious career was not born out of privilege – in fact, quite the opposite. Nkosi’s formative years were spent being educated in the rigour of church schools in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal (maybe auspiciously), under a South African Apartheid regime which was riddled with laws that dictated and limited what a black man in South Africa could achieve. However, as is the case with all high achievers, it was these very limitations, which fuelled his drive to succeed. So too an older brother, who was the first in the family to pass matric, and another brother who earned a law degree.

That journey, which culminated many years later in Nkosi founding Eyesizwe was important, in his words: “… so that my kids and my generation can know that as black people we could be CEOs, we can run successful organisations, and we can compete effectively with any other person in the world.”

Not surprisingly, his mantra is ‘Whether you’re black or white, you can make things happen.’ In this one-minute, 15-second extract from an in-depth video interview documenting Nkosi’s lessons, business wisdom and experiences, he speaks frankly about the necessity for business people to embrace the difficulties that are an inherent part of every day in a business career. Watch the full-length interview with Nkosi here.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.