Billionaire businessman Suleiman Shahbal, who is also one of Kenya's representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly, has made a name for himself as an established entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest people in the coastal region.
Many who see him now believe that he came from a well-established family, but that is not the case as he had to rely on a scholarship to finance his education.
In September 2021, Shahbal while explaining the importance of treating everyone with dignity, shared a story of how he was mistreated by one of the prefects at his former high school, only for him (the prefect) to come searching for a job at his company several years later.
According to the businessman, while he was in form one at Nairobi school, his parents couldn't afford to get him a new blazer, therefore he acquired a second hand coat and modified it in line with the school's requirement.
Nairobi School is known to be a high-end institution, therefore, him not being able to acquire a new blazer made him a subject of ridicule from one of the school prefects.
File image of Suleiman Shahbal in high school. [Photo:Courtesy]
"When I was in Form 1 at Nairobi School, I could not afford a new school jacket. I, therefore, got a second-hand blazer from my fellow student, put a new badge and yellow hand stripes on it. The next day, I put on my self-made school jacket and stood at the parade where I was approached by a prefect.
"He called out my name and started making fun of me. He asked where I got the second-hand blazer. He knew I could not afford one. I was young and I felt humiliated as that was his intention. I put on a brave face and explained myself," he narrated.
While Shahbal did not indicate how their relationship was after the incident, he noted that the two met again 30 years later when the prefect sought to be employed at his company.
He notes that he gave him the job and implored his followers to focus on the future, rather than what happened in the past.
"Fast forward, 30 years later, that same prefect came to me asking for a job, and I gave him one. Moral of the story? It is not important where you come from, it is where you are going," he divulged.