Calvin Mathibeli's Story: From Garden Boy to Millionaire

Name: Calvin Mathibeli

CEO/Founder: Calvin and Family Group (CFG) 
Age: 31
Nationality: South African

Educational Background 
▪︎ He has a Diploma in Taxation and Accounting from Durban University of Technology 
▪︎He also has a Public Administration degree from Mancosa

The company owns over 10 business subsidiaries and employs over 1,000 people.

Background Story:

He was born on 4th may 1988 and comes from a childhood filled with hardship and poverty, yet he refused to let his circumstances define him.

At the age of 13, he was doing people's gardens over the weekend to pay for his school uniform.

To further support himself and his family,he explains: “There was a lady who was a pig farmer in our community who would fetch the food thrown out by one of the larger supermarkets in order to feed her pigs. I would help her pack the food and in return, she would let me take the food that was still reasonably good. We had no food at home, so this was a blessing. I would get home, boil it up and my family could then have dinner.”

He also sold oranges to contribute to his single mother’s income.

He completed his secondary education and enrolled at Durban Institute of Technology to pursue a career in Accounting.


In order to fund his studies, accommodation and living costs, he spent his days as a student and the evenings as a businessman selling cell phone accessories at The Wheel in Mahatma Gandhi Road, Durban, after identifying a market demand in the evenings.

He would walk from Durban south beach to the Tech every day and saw an opportunity to service the needs of tourists in the area who often required cell phone repairs or accessories such as charges, batteries, covers, etc. after the main shops had closed."

He decided to gamble with the R500 savings that he had to buy stock and persuaded a store-owner to give him a small space to set up shop.

His business focus changed when one of his cell phone repair customers, impressed by his initiative, offered to mentor him in township property development.

"With the little money I had saved I started to buy and sell land in the township areas. After I acquired enough capital, I started to buy and then develop the land prior to selling," said Mathibeli.

In 2005, he established Calvin and Family Group (CFG) with a focus on the real estate property development.

During this time Mathibeli invested all his profits back into his business and was operating out of the boot of his car as well as from spaza shops.

In 2008, he opened his first office and his business has since grown to become one of the leading property developers.

The company has over 10 years experience in the property development and construction industry, specialising initially in residential development, and later branching out into commercial, retail, industrial and civil development. They have also started building low-cost housing and schools. CFG has further diversified into other sectors such Security Services, Project Management, and Printing and Marketing.

In August 2016, they entered the hospitably division, by opening the Unique Lifestyle Cafe at The Square Boutique Hotel in the upmarket area of Umhlanga.

In the same year 2016, he launched the 5 000 jobs in five years campaign. This will be achieved by forming partnerships with small businesses in every corner of every township. The group has already invested over R4 million (USD$ 270,000) into this initiative and will continue to do so until the goal is reached. They are effectively providing a much-needed cash injection into the small businesses, whilst ensuring they are effective enough to hire and train people

Calvin and Family Group (CFG) entity owns over 10 business subsidiaries.

▪︎Black Pride Media
▪︎Unique Lifestyle Café
▪︎Calvin and Family Plant Hire
▪︎Urban Infrastructure Consulting
▪︎Calvin and Family Security
▪︎Unique Communications
▪︎Calvin and Family properties 
▪︎SA Precast Concrete
▪︎Wear Armour & Safety (PTY) LTD
▪︎Afri Foods
▪︎CFG Minerals 
▪︎Ecosmart Cleaning
▪︎The Levels Resort and Spa

What advice would you give an African trying to pursue their dreams despite the conditions around them?

▪︎I realised early that success is a choice, it’s not about luck.When I started I didnt have the money to start a business, but I had a vision

▪︎Saving money and constant improvement was key because “tomorrow is an opportunity to do better than today”.

▪︎Start small but dream big, you must be willing to work hard because the journey of life in business is never easy. What I have gone through is not easy. If you want to be successful, you must walk every step because each step prepares you for the future, so that when success catches up with you, it must come when you are prepared, it must never overwhelm you,” he said.

▪︎Young people must look for business everywhere and not only rely on government tenders as they are erratic with late payments.

“Don’t wait for government to make opportunities, tell your story your own way, do not expect anything to be done for you, work hard and work smart,” he said.

For more information: http:


--- Source: Mind Your Own Business - MYOB



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