Last year the Republic of South Africa hosted The Mr South Africa pageant and Mister Habib Noorbhai (HN) was crowned Mr South Africa 2016-2017.
Mister Habib shares with 263Africatv journalist Tapiwanashe Rubaya (TR),about his (Habib Noorbhai) legacy as Mr South Africa and his 365 days of The Heart project.
TR: At what point or moment in your life did you realise that you wanted to enter Mr. SA?
HN: I have been following the Mr South Africa brand for the last few years and had realised that it is not about modelling; Mr South Africa was in search for a model male and I entered to not only learn and grow but to also see how I can use the platform to evoke sustainable change. Ever since, Mr SA has been more than just a platform.
TR: You are also very much an academic, tell us a little more and the value your education has played in producing the calibre of person you are today ?
HN: From a very young age, my Dad, Mom, Sister and Brother have encouraged me to study and learn as much as I can. “It is not knowledge which is dangerous but the poor use of it”. When I ventured into university, specifically at UCT (2012 – 2016), we were taught to challenge beliefs constructively. Merging what was known in the health and science fields and the values learnt from a young age, provided me with a distinct insight and perspective of how I see South Africa and the world. As such, education plays a very important part in the person you become since childhood. Education is like a road, and we must walk as much as possible on it in order to explore where our potential can venture into.
TR:Tell us a bit about where you are from and your life growing up?
HN: I grew up in a wonderful suburb in Johannesburg called Homestead Park for 20 years. I still have very fond memories of my childhood and teenage years growing up there. I grew up in a working class family, with both my Mom and Dad working very hard to put bread on the table. It was not easy for all of us but we persevered, we had patience and we worked hard. I have been fortunate to have been exposed to a wide variety of activities outside of school (sport, public speaking, the community, religious classes, etc). These early years are imperative as I believe it had laid the dynamic foundation of who I am today and the activities I do on a daily basis. I have also made quite a bit of mistakes growing up but I learn from these and became stronger and wiser.
TR:You have an amazing philosophy of 365 days of heart. Tell us more and how did that develop?
HN: Everyday since I moved to Cape Town in 2012, I or our NPO team conducted initiatives for others on a daily basis to either help them or administer change. When I was also awarded the Mr Heart title on the Mr SA final night, it showed that people had taken note of the work I’ve done and I didn’t realise the impact it made. I was fortunate to have realised this and as a consequence, decided to start a initiative called #365heart which inspires others to do the same. Each morning, I post a theme for that day on social media and encourage others who follow me to do the same. Verily, I have learnt that I am now the country’s ambassador and role model to the youth. When one works hard to achieve something, it’s not the end, you have to work harder to stay there. And each day from now, I will be working very hard to help South Africa become a better place. The other aspect that inspired this initiative was the 100 days of Random Acts of Kindness that I had conducted during my journey as a contestant. I found this so enjoyable (although challenging), I didn’t want it to stop. I am now glad that I can still continue in some sort of way through the #365heart campaign for my one-year reign.
TR: So Tell us how do we join the #365DaysofHeart?
HN: Each morning when I post a theme, do something that day for someone else or the community that fits that theme and use the #365heart hashtag. Post on social media to inspire others and tag your friends to do the same together we are stronger!
TR: What legacy would you like to leave behind for the generations to follow?
HN: We are on this earth for a very short time. We need to spend most of our time out of our comfort zone evoking sustainable change in the lives of others. There is no better feeling than changing someone’s life, even if it is only for one day or one random act of kindness. Your life is a message to the world, make sure it’s inspiring and leave a legacy behind. Laugh, live, love and make a difference.
Halala Afrika, Halala!
TR: Who or where do you draw your inspiration from?
HN: Nelson Mandela: he has taught us to forgive and forget, lead with diplomacy and that you can bring people together through education and sport.
Mahatma Ghandi: “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Bruce Lee: “If you place limits in everything you do, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits, there are only plateaus, you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
Professor Tim Noakes: He has taught me to challenge beliefs based on truth and science. Above all, his humility and kindness is exemplary and for me, that is what separates him from all scientists, not just his intellect.
TR: For the up and coming Mr. South Africa’s and young men that look up to you, what advice would you give them?
HN: Enter Mr South Africa for sincere intentions and good reasons. Enter because you want to create change in South Africa and not for personal limelight. Many doors open automatically when you do community work for a long time because you become a selfless person and by doing selfless acts of bravery, many doors automatically open. When we try to force doors to open, it will either jam or remain shut. When entering, know that it will be hard work, you will be tested both mentally and physically and be taken through various challenges. Patience, drive, passion, tenacity, pro activity and consistency is key.
TR: What do you want to be remembered for as the Mr. South Africa, when your reign as ended?
HN: As an ordinary guy, who did extraordinary things for his country.