When I was seven years old, I was in a tragic car crash. This crash impacted and directed my life in so many ways. Dealing with the loss I faced was challenging but I never lost hope. My empathetic approach to life and business is founded on my personal experience.
A Season Of Grief
My family was driving home from a church camp in 1997 when our car was hit by a drunk driver. The accident killed my pregnant mother and my six-year-old brother Matthew. My dad and I survived.
What can one really say about such loss? Language is essentially useless in the face of such tragedy.
What I can say is that having my dad there to help me through that next year was absolutely critical. We clung to each other as we processed our losses. I honestly don’t know where I would be today if my dad hadn’t been there with me through this time.
In the days following the accident, close family members were also there for us, showing us tremendous love and support. I remember that they brought us many cooked meals, and helped in any and all ways they could. When there’s a disaster or great loss, you see the immense value of having good and supportive people in your life.
Moving Forward After Dealing With Loss
After that seismic event as a child, my dad and I moved forward with life as best we could. I continued with my schooling in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where I enjoyed playing water polo, tennis and hockey.
I lived in a small town, and most of my time outside of school was spent with family and friends. I loved spending time in the bush, especially at Matopos National Park.
During my last year of high school, I lived with my gran and granddad. My dad (who had remarried) had moved to South Africa to better support us (most of you will know all about the struggles of Zimbabwe in recent decades).
Sadly my granddad passed away while I was living with them. I managed, however, to stay strong and write my final exams. Based on those results, I was accepted into Rhodes University in South Africa.
A University Experience Interrupted
I began studying towards a BCom degree majoring in Economics and Management at Rhodes University but was excluded from university in my second year after performing poorly academically. It was only when this happened that it dawned on me how I hadn’t truly dealt with and recovered from the trauma of my childhood.
I don’t think anyone can truly understand how much a mother’s love helps to guide us until it’s no longer there. This is something I’ve reflected upon often.
I have, however, read that the first seven years are vital to our future growth and development as human beings. This fact has given me strength and comfort. I carry my mother’s and brother’s love with me daily, and it empowers me.
A Time To Heal
My time off from university turned out to be the period during which I really healed and learned to love again. Losing someone close to you can sometimes hurt your ability to love others – and yourself. I believe that if we’re not careful, the pain of such loss can rob us of our full potential.
During my year off from university, I also spent three weeks in a rural village in Zimbabwe on a mission trip. We assisted with the building of a local primary school. That experience really grounded and humbled me. I learnt so much about hard, honest work – and about compassion – from the people of that village.
Heading back to university
Going back to a university was a challenge to say the least, but I was going back full of hope, humility and faith.
I worked hard, and at the end of 2013 I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. For me, that degree represents the moment in my life when I changed for the better, when I decided to work and fight for who I truly was and wanted to be.
Furthering my qualifications
After obtaining my degree, I furthered my education by earning the following two qualifications:
- Administration of Deceased Estates through UNISA, awarded with distinction
- Administration of Estates through SAIT, also awarded with distinction
I also became a member of the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa.
Finding My Purpose And Vocation
I am someone who loves people. I also love to serve my community. These two passions, coupled with my economics training, are what led to my becoming a fiduciary specialist. When meeting with bereaved families, I realised that I wanted to help to carry their burden.
For this reason, Marsh Fidelity was created in 2020. It had humble beginnings. It began with a 10-year-old laptop, a desk and the internet but most importantly, it began with the vision of making an enduring difference to all of the clients that Marsh Fidelity serves.
I feel a profound connection with those who are suffering with deep loss. Helping clients write wills and administering the estates of the deceased is incredibly personal work, and it requires a lot of understanding, patience and trust.
I know that this type of work I will be doing for the rest of my life.
Outside of my work, I enjoy marathon running, cultivating bonsai trees, being part of a church, and spending time with loved ones.
Family is a really big part of my life. My wife, Hannah, whom I met in 2017, has played a major role in shaping me to become the man I am today. Her love and support make me the best possible version of myself.
Hang In There
I want to encourage anyone who has recently lost a loved one or is struggling academically to not lose hope. There is always a way, and there is always hope, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Surround yourself with good people, work hard, persist, and have faith.
Please know that you are here for a reason. You have a lot to offer the world that only you can give.