Daniel Mubake

Picture of Daniel Mubake

Daniel Mubake was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and grew up with his parents and eight siblings. Life was good, Daniel went to school and spent time with family and friends.  That was until life in the Congo dramatically changed for the family in 2001 when the war began.

"The city where we lived, was becoming very dangerous as a result of the internal war. One evening my Dad said something on the radio that made him a target. We felt our safety was at risk and we were forced to flee the country to Tongogara refugee camp in Zimbabwe," Daniel said.

"While life was not easy in the camp and we knew it would not be forever, part of my daily life was structured around attending school. My parents have always valued education. There have been moments where we had little money but we would always have a school uniform and books".

While in the refugee camp, Daniel’s family applied for humanitarian visas to Australia. In 2005 they were granted visas to be resettled in Australia.

"I still remember Mum and Dad saying "We are going to Australia"and we were like "What? Where is Australia?" Daniel said.

"It was our first time on a plane for us kids. We were excited and just couldn’t wait. We were all dressed up; my dad had suits made for us. We were so happy to finally wear our suits, because they were made especially for the trip to Australia".

"I was 12 years old when we arrived in Australia. That whole time we were in Zimbabwe, we couldn’t wait to leave. We knew we were going somewhere, so when we finally got here we were like "this is it!"My parents didn’t worry about anything after that".

"I really loved growing up in Adelaide. I got to know lots of people because everyone seemed to be connected, and I thought that was amazing. Adelaide is the place I have lived the longest, so I feel very connected to Adelaide. It’s home".

This feeling was confirmed for Daniel when he travelled to Kenya in 2012 to visit family.

"I visited Kenya on my own to explore, because my view of Africa was different. I was surprised. I had planned to stay for two weeks, but I only stayed a week because I couldn’t wait to get out of there. That was the moment that really confirmed Adelaide was home," Daniel said.

"After we left the Congo we never saw our family, we are now starting to reconnect. While in Kenya I met my mum’s siblings for the first time. It was really strange because my aunty looked just like my mum, but sounded very different. It was like meeting strangers but knowing they were family".

In his final year of his Bachelor degree Daniel started his business, Swift Delivery and Removals in Adelaide. 

"When I came back to Australia from Kenya I felt a real sense of responsibility and was thinking about my purpose. I felt I was destined to improve people’s lives so I started my business. The initial idea was to start a group of businesses to encourage young Africans through work. That’s the reason why I couldn’t stop because it is something that resonated with me," Daniel said.

The business, in its third year, currently employs four people with backgrounds from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I look back and I am really glad to have gone through the experience of setting up and running the business because it has basically shaped my character," Daniel said.

For Daniel the next chapter has brought him to Sydney where he is currently undertaking a Masters of Commerce, majoring in Finance and Banking.

"After graduating from my undergraduate degree I spent two years trying to further explore my purpose. Today I feel like I am destined to do things around the lines of finance," Daniel said.

For Daniel there is a key moment since arriving in Australia in 2005 that has stuck with him.

"When my mother graduated from university with a Nursing degree it made me believe that anything is possible; if my mum can do that at that age, what can I not do if I put my mind to it? This would not have been possible if we were still in the Congo or Zimbabwe. That was a confirmation that Australia really is a land of opportunities, and our ambitions are the limit," Daniel said.

Where to from here? Daniel has some ideas and the future sure looks bright.

Read other refugee stories.