Pepe Minambo says he has been through many hardships in his life and he uses them to motivate others into finding their purpose in life
His given name, Pepe in French and Spanish means wise and mature. It is also a short version for Joseph while in his traditional lingua, Minambo represents a strong rope that never breaks. However, Minambo who has lived in Kenya since migrating from his country, Congo, 16 years ago says he did not discover his strength until he was pointed to it.
“I was a pastor and an MC at an event and I was contented doing that until one day, a speaker at a church event pointed out that I could be greater,” he says. “I went through severe identity crisis not knowing myself or my worth,” he says. Life in the 20s was a series of adventures and wild dreams.
At 30, he ‘woke up to reality that he needed to get his life together’. Now, as his 40s knock, he says: “I realise life is more about people and relationships, not always about me, quoting global motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, ‘You can get anything in life as long as you help as many people get what they want.
Today, Pepe mentors others, including jail convicts and believes the further he pushes people to building their dreams as builds his. Growing up, his father, now deceased, although senior in government and wealthy was unavailable to direct him and mould his character. Naturally, his mum cared about school fees, clothing and feeding the family.
He says: “I was lucky when at 17, I became a Christian and believer in Jesus.” Pepe first came to Kenya in 1996, but settled in Kenya in 1999. His pursuit of theology never bore fruit as he reckons: that one Dr Ken Blue, a motivational speaker and Pastor from San Diego, Vineyard Church ‘disrupted my life’.
In 2003, Dr Blue came to teach church leaders to use their professional skills. Pepe was a full-time pastor at the same church and emcee in the one-day training. As he summarised the speaker’s speech, Dr Blue was impressed and strongly encouraged Pepe to pursue his public speaking talent.
He handed Pepe a syllabus and $100 (equivalent of Sh6,000 at the time) with instructions: “Go down town and print for yourself business cards reading, motivational speaker.” The thought was foreign to him and Pepe never printed the cards, but instead paid arrears of his power bill.
The next week, Dr Blue called and this is when Pepe considered the suggestion. “I started asking around if it could be done,” he says. His cue came through a friend who worked for Pan-African Life Insurance who told him that talking to people to sell products was tough, whereupon, Pepe saw this as his first speaking point. He went there and introduced himself to the manager as a motivational speaker.
The manager wanted to know his charges and in keeping with Dr Blue’s instructions, he answered: “I have none.” Pepe says, To this day, the greater blessing in life is for others to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself,” a gift Blue offered him.
The manager’s question: “Are you ready for this weekend?” came as a surprise and upon getting home, he memorised different statements, jokes and quotes. Pepe says his first engagement opening a door and networks of friends. In two months, Pepe had spoken to clients in 20 companies.
He soon registered a company and launched it as instructed by his overseas mentor, inviting past clients to Voyager Beach Hotel. Unknown to him, launches took place at no cost. His testimony was that 200 people paid Sh1, 500 to listen to him and remain his loyal clients to date.
The 2004 launch was successful resulting in elderly 80-year-old American woman and director of the company overseas, inviting him to speak in Washington DC. He interacted with many from Mauritius, Zimbabwe and many other nations, expanding his networks and now runs the Pepe Minambo Academy with over 215 students having graduated. The academy charges Sh30, 000 for three months.
It currently has 197 students; the first graduation will be next month in September In 2009, Pepe wrote his first book and in 10 months through different speaking engagements sold well over 10, 000 copies.
As he sets to launch his tenth book on October 12 he concludes:”It is not enough to be good when you have the ability to be the best, it is not enough to be very good when you have the ability to be great,” he says. Glance Box