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TRIBUTE: Five important things we can learn from Bob Collymore

By Charles Bazenga | Jul 2nd 2019 | 3 min read

Man is mortal. There is a time to be born; there is a time to live during which you enjoy and suffer, and there is a time to die. Robert William Collymore passed through all those stages at high notes. He was born in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana 61 years ago where he lived for about 16 years then joined his mother in the United Kingdom. He schooled in the UK, hustled for a while as a commuter train announcer, an insurance underwriter and a telecom clerk. He rose through the ranks in various telephony companies until he became Kenya's Safaricom Public Limited Company CEO.

From his life below are some of the lessons one can draw;

1. Limitless

Man is limitless. Bob couldn't get admission to Warwick University due to funding ineligibility. This upset him but didn't deter him from pursuing greatness. The youthful Collymore went on to enroll diploma at Selhurst High School. Armed with just a diploma, Bob managed to diligently hold key executive positions in telephone companies around the globe. He managed to execute his tasks and responsibilities admirably. All this was possible due to his; "can do" attitude, open-mindedness, razor focus, and willingness to take risks. He is a perfect example that a human being can go as far as they think.

2. Global Citizen

Born in Guyana, raised in Guyana for 16 years, bred in Britain, working across the globe, Collymore is a perfect definition of a global citizen of immense cross-cultural exposure. This is a demonstration that one can pursue greatness anywhere in this world and not necessarily in their home countries. To be able to achieve this as Bob did, one needs an open mind, flexibility, adaptability, and discipline.

3. Humility

Despite all his achievements/accolades, Bob lived a humble life. He understood that arrogance and pride ruin success; he stayed humble. This was evident in the TV interviews he gave and public lectures in the universities where he was invited severally to offer mentorship and hope to students. Many times, riches/affluence take away the humility in a human being; Bob was not that type- he was approachable and straightforward.

4. Warrior

Painful as battling cancer can be, Bob was always calm and collected. It is until last year when he took sick leave that the public knew that he was battling cancer of the blood. He wore a brave face, a smile, and a firm face when undertaking the business; you couldn't tell that the man was suffering. This teaches us that pain is temporary; there's nothing wrong with pain, when it comes, learn from it, it'll show you things that nothing else can.

5. In everything give thanks

The reasons to be thankful are a lot more than the reasons to wallow in self-pity/burn in resentment. He may not have lived a perfect life (no one does), but he seemed to appreciate the gift of life and the people he met. This is evident in the way Safaricom PLC scaled greater heights under his leadership; it is a demonstration of personality that comprises of; aggressiveness, focus, and thankfulness/content.


Bob lived and lived well. He ran the race and finished well. He put up a good fight. May God rest his soul in peace.

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