African Independent Magazine - June/July 2018 - Issue 03

Page 1












08 FOLLOW WINNIE Paul Modjadji talks African youth and unrelenting courage


Charmaine Taylor’s Legacy Collection jewellery


MODERN AFRICA African Independent talks to the executives of the Southern Palace Group about their journey so far and their vision for the future.


Business class for 12% less. Make The Capital Hotels & Apartments your destination to access the comfort and convenience of premium accommodation for up to 12% o the best available rate when you book online. Spacious, sophisticated and centrally located, you'll be perfectly positioned to shop, dine and recharge right in the heart of it all. +27 (0)11 290 9700 SANDTON | ROSEBANK | MENLYN | CAPE TOWN | UMHLANGA




Technology pg 20 Fashion pg 34 Entertainment pg 38 Art pg 48 Design pg 50 4

Entrepreneurs pg 54 Food pg 58 Environment pg 62 Finance pg 64 Sport pg 66












Petroleum Agency SA encourages investment in the oil and gas sector by assessing South Africa's oil and gas resources, and presenting these opportunities for exploration to oil and gas exploration and production companies. Compliance with all applicable legislation in place to protect the environment is very important, and rights cannot be granted without an approved Environmental Management Plan. Explorers must prove financial and technical ability to meet their commitments in safe-guarding and rehabilitation of the environment. Preparation of Environmental Management Plans requires public consultation and a clear demonstration that valid concerns

will be addressed.

Petroleum Agency Agency SA, SA, Petroleum based in in Bellville, Bellville, Cape Cape Town, Town, based is responsible responsible for for the the promotion promotion is and regulation regulation of of exploration exploration and and exploitation exploitation of of oil oil and and gas gas (petroleum) (petroleum) resources. resources. and

Contact us us to to find find out out about: about: Contact Onshore or or offshore offshore exploration exploration -- Onshore opportunities opportunities Permits and and rights rights -- Permits Availability of of geotechnical geotechnical data. data. -- Availability

+27 21 21 938 938 3500 3500 +27

editor’s note

Young, gifted and black

African News Agency Publishing ANA CEO Grant Fredericks ANA COO Mark Keohane Editor Saarah Survé Assistant Editor Walter Hayward

“To be young, gifted and black, Oh what a lovely precious dream To be young, gifted and black, Open your heart to what I mean...” Nina Simone’s lyrics play in my head as I write this letter. Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the civil rights movement. On a recent trip to Washington (an active centre of the slave trade), I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum takes you on a journey from slavery to present-day America, and shines a spotlight on the contributions that Africans have made to America’s history. Millions of slaves captured in Africa died on their voyage to America, and in America itself. Fast forward approximately 200 years to the Jim Crow laws in the late 19th century, the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and Black Lives Matter in present-day America, and we see a continuous


Head of Design Warren Uytenbogaardt

history of overcoming. Through these trials and tribulations, and with South Africa’s similar history of slavery and apartheid, we can be proud to be young, gifted and black. I am inspired by the stories of the 40 young Africans that we feature in our third edition of African Independent, our youth edition in line with youth month in South Africa. Their journeys, challenges and successes excite me. They are making waves in industries such as technology, fashion, entertainment, art, design, business and sport. Read their stories here. Africa’s future is in good hands. Saarah Survé

Design Tariq Cassim & Sheeth Hanief Group Head of Sales Kyle Villet Sales Manager Mandla Mangena Illustrators Lynn Maree Financial Manager Lisa de Villiers CA (SA) Printer RSA Litho Distribution MDA Distribution African Channel Distribution Office Manager & Subscriptions Susan Ball Published by ANA Publishing Physical Address 5th Floor, Newspaper House, 122 St Georges Mall, Gardens, 8001, Cape Town Postal Address PO Box 23692, Claremont, 7735


Telephone +27 (0) 21 488 4911 Websites

Paul Modjadji

Dancer, choreographer, writer, author, social developer and entrepreneur.

Nadia Kamies

UCT Creative Writing Masters Programme graduate and doctoral candidate at the University of Pretoria.


Nontando Mposa

Fashion and Beauty Editor and Top of The Times Editor at Independent Media.

Kirtanya Lutchminarayan

Master’s in Biological Science and works as a project officer at WWF South Africa.

special column

Paul Modjadji is a dancer, choreographer, writer, author, social developer and entrepreneur.

Follow Mama Winnie – actions before words Africa is the youngest continent on earth – an accolade that will continue to be ours well into the the 2050s, according to UNICEF. The continent is currently home to over 600 million young people. As South Africans step out of Africa month and stride into Youth month, I am reminded of Frantz Fanon’s eminent observation that “every generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it”. As I ponder on the words “youth, African, today”, I am flooded with conflicting emotions. Chief among them are excitement, pride, anxiety, exasperation, and dare I say, a hint of antipathy. During Africa month, the Breaking Down Borders Africa Youth Summit, a pan-African youth platform promoting youth collaborations, partnerships and networks, gathered young leaders from across the continent and diaspora under the theme of ‘African Youth: building our legacy’. While the calibre of our speakers and delegates confirmed the enormous talent and accomplishments of young


Africans, an unsettling picture of another sort emerged. It became clear during the gathering that young Africans are still forced to confront challenging political-economic and socio-cultural landscapes that in many ways seem fixed in time. Most influential leaders are far from youthful, with the exception of a handful of identifiable young people who pushed their way into spaces previously unreachable for the young and radical. So I wonder if change is possible from the inside. Could this conundrum be a result of the pressing challenges that have plagued the African continent for so long? Challenges like inaccessible education, youth unemployment, exploitation of workers, corruption, and abuse of certain groups within society. I question whether those in power, young and old, who were once beacons of radicalism have lost their way as they have been assimilated into the very systems they claimed to challenge from the outside. Are the cushy titles and glossy benefits too much to resist when being offered a seat at the table?

Some say such adaptation to new environments is simply a natural human response to change – but what of the fighters silenced after being absorbed by the very structures they made their names opposing? The youth of today must ask if our destiny is to “adapt or die”. Are those truly the only choices on offer to Africa’s “change makers”? Or is there a way of seeing past individuals and stand-alone organisations and instead demanding change in the system? Today’s African youth confront systems and cultural practices that give them a false sense of change and power when the reality is that those spaces do not allow them to actually dismantle systems of oppression and exploitation. How long is long enough to overcome the ideological woes of our past and present realities and begin to drive real change? Can education for girls, action on youth unemployment and poverty eradication move beyond mere sloganeering and secure solid commitments from policy makers individuals, government and institutions who share the same ambitions? As we celebrate Youth month in South Africa, I cannot help but wonder what our generation’s true legacy will be. I am inspired by the number of young people making progress in spaces that are traditionally closed to young people. Bogolo Kenewendo is Botswana’s cabinet minister for Investment, Trade and Industry at the age of 30. Then there’s Kenya’s 35-year-old award-winning photojournalist, politician and activist Boniface Mwangi, who carries the hopes and dreams of his country’s youth. They are but two striking examples of young people breaking through the glass ceiling. Young, educated and extremely competent. As we access these spaces from which we were previously barred, I can only hope that our legacy will build on Mama Winnie’s. One of unrelenting courage and a stern resolve not just to speak, but to act.



Exclusively in beauty institutes & spas.

Call Orleans Cosmetics on (021) 701 2900 for your nearest stockist.

Modern is at the core of 10

cover feature

Africa SPG’s vision

Investment may enrich, but ownership enriches growth and drives the type of change at the heart of the Southern Palace Group’s business philosophy. 11

Lucas Tseki

Chief Investment Officer & Director Tseki is the co-founder of the Southern Palace Group and served as the Chief Executive until January 2018. Tseki is a non-executive director of SPG’s various associate and subsidiary companies. Prior to joining SPG, Tseki gained extensive management consulting and business turnaround experience with leading global consultancy firm Accenture. He has performed both management advisory and operational enablement work at leading blue chip companies in South Africa and the United Kingdom across various industries, including logistics, FMCG and retail, telecommunications, construction, and hospitality. Tseki attended the University of the Witwatersrand.


cover feature

Ulrico Davids

Chief Operations Officer & Director Davids has a strong history of successfully managing business units, strategy development and implementation, operational management, and project management. Davids is responsible for implementing key strategic projects, coordinating the business and operational strategy at group level and within the assets acquired, business diversification and business recapitalisation. He also serves on the boards and executive committees of various SPG subsidiaries. He attended Stellenbosch University. 13

Leslie Ntloko

Chief Executive Officer & Director Ntloko’s background is in multimedia and communications and before joining the Southern Palace Group, he was the Group Executive at SABC Radio and worked as the Brand and Business Development Manager for Appletiser SA. Ntloko served as the Southern Palace Group’s Executive Director and attended Fort Hare University.

Investment may enrich, but ownership enriches growth and drives the type of change at the heart of the Southern Palace Group’s business philosophy. The story of SPG is an inspiration of black ownership because ownership means accountability and responsibility


and, ultimately, an operational future that aligns tangibles with philosophy as well as vision. “Ownership allows for our decision-making to be the determining factor in terms of our business assets. Our biggest motivation in the past

few years has been to successfully transition from investment to ownership,” SPG’s Chief Executive Officer Leslie Ntloko tells African Independent. “We were very circumspect in terms of our investment. We, as a leadership, took direction from our Executive

cover feature Chair Sello Mahlangu, whose business principles emphasise integrity, an acknowledgement of legacy and also an essential appreciation of growth to ensure a healthier modern South Africa in which black business leaders, through ownership, can effect change.” In June, Ntloko was among a select group of South African business leaders to accompany President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Department of Trade and Industry to the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Canada. The invite was a compliment to the ethos, integrity and legacy of what SPG Founder and Executive Chair Mahlangu has built and the executive team he has empowered. Ntloko, Lucas Tseki and Ulrico Davids represent a dynamic executive leadership designed to ensure the strategic implementation speaks to the strategic vision of the company. “We are all very hands-on in our investments,” says Ntloko. “We also believe in unlocking value by active participation in our investment companies. We deploy in positions, when necessary, as this allows for knowledge gain and also the transfer of skills. It is one of our differentiators.” Davids, the Chief Operations Officer, joined the Group from Transnet, while Tseki, the co-founder of the Southern Palace Group, served as the group’s Chief Executive until January 2018. Tseki’s new portfolio is Chief Investment Officer and his new position focuses on exploring and implementing new investments to further consolidate and grow the Southern Palace Group’s investment portfolio. “We are blessed to have Lucas’s knowledge of the company since inception, and Ulrico’s experience across many different sectors makes for a very strong operational presence when it comes to those assets we now own,” says Ntloko. SPG’s assets include Concor, which was formerly Murray & Roberts Construction as well as Genrec. The Executive’s vision is of a modernised Africa, but to modernise means to build infrastructure, and to influence change it was imperative that it had to be more than investment. It had

to be about ownership; hence the rebirth of Concor and Genrec, as a fully black-owned South African business, whose employees have the skills, knowledge and expertise to position the company as an industry inspiration within South Africa, the African continent and globally. “We have always sought an international reach while strengthening our South African presence, and recently our international partnerships have extended to China and Europe,” said Ntloko. In 2017, SPG became the first ever black-owned South African company to associate with the Springboks in the capacity of an associate sponsor. The company also aligned with the South African Rugby Union’s bid to host the 2023 World Cup. “Springbok rugby is a legacy brand in South Africa and a powerful unifier in everything that is and can be good about our country. It was our first sponsorship in sport but it was one made because of a belief that rugby was transforming and would only continue to transform to reflect the excellence and aspirations of all South Africans,” said Ntloko. “Siya Kolisi, leading the Springboks to victory against England with a team rich in cultural diversity, was a glorious moment for our country’s young democracy. It was a victory for all who rightly believe that transformation, in whatever guise, doesn’t compromise excellence. It is true to our sport and it certainly is true to business.” Modern Africa is at the core of SPG’s vision. Africa is rich in pulse, passion and people and SPG wants to be at the forefront of adding to this pulse. “Investment speaks to individuals. Ownership has the power to positively change the lives of so many more, especially the youth of the country. We grow people, we empower people, and we want to influence a sustainable future for all South Africans. “We have several education and skill programmes across our businesses, which are very diverse,” says Ntloko. SPG’s portfolio includes

infrastructure, construction, recycling, automotive trading, manufacturing, steel, logistics as well as technology and properties. The acquisition of Concor and Genrec, and the diversification of SPG, will expand the potential for steel and infrastructure development projects in the energy, water, mining, health, education and transport sectors.

SOUTHERN PALACE FOUNDATION The Southern Palace Foundation (SPF) is a non-profit organisation. The Foundation values care, leadership, accountability, transparency and integrity, and being practical in incorporating these into our work. It means being part of a solution to address critical and scarce skills shortages in the country by empowering previously disadvantaged youth, and working together with the community to eradicate poverty and promote inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development. SPF works together with corporate clients and government to enhance the skills of disadvantaged individuals by empowering them with education so that they are active citizens and contribute to economic development solutions that result in positive social impact.Through its stakeholder partnership, it commits to support disadvantaged youth who are excelling academically; support initiatives that develop up-skilling in schools; raise a minimum of R2.5 million per annum to reach the set objectives; create awareness campaigns for critical and scarce skills in the country; and create a pooled database for graduates with critical and scarce skills for our clients. 15

cover feature

SPG History and track record Overview of the Southern Palace Group


L eading black industrialist company differentiated by: • 100% independence • Pan-African presence and global exposure

2 3 4

Been in existence for almost two decades

Established track record and respected name in the market

Multi-sector exposure in: • Steel product manufacturing and recycling • Infrastructure • Automotive trading and manufacturing • Real estate • Technology and telecommunications • Logistics and supply chain

SPG Timeline

Acquisitions over the years Maxiprest tyres Roadgrip Afrityre


Scaw Metals Group Canvas and Tent


Reinhardt Transport Star Nissan Huawei

Thomas Tyres Altech Radio Afrit

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011




2014 2015




Backing the Boks

Text: Mark Keohane. Photography: Marc Shoul

Social responsibility


Murray and Roberts Genrec Safari Investments 58Fleet


SUBSCRIBE TO THE AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY FOR EXTENSIVE NEWS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT African News Agency(ANA) is Africa’s first multimedia News-Wire syndication and PR Wire service. ANA is a commercialised, digital content generation and syndication service providing the very latest and breaking news information and developments across all spheres of politics, business, current affairs, lifestyle and sport coverage from the African continent and globally. Catering for government departments, organisations , businesses, digital and traditional publishers, television and radio broadcasters as well as content providers and media outlets on the African continent and worldwide. ANA has not only filled the gap left by the closure of the South African Press Association (SAPA), but we have also greatly improved the service offering at a greatly reduced price. ANA is staffed by a senior team of experienced journalists in South Africa with a network of stringers on the rest of the African continent, supplemented by international news feeds from our syndicated partners including but not limited to News Agency of Namibia(NAMPA), News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), The Washington Post, The Associated Press(AP), Germany’s DPA, China’s Xinhua and many others. Insert the following URL into your browser to view our Free-toView-Public-Facing-Press Release Wire for the latest Press Releases. Subscribe to ANA now for access to the latest news from the African continent and globally to reach audiences in sub-Saharan and Francophone Africa. For more information and a tailor-made option please contact : Shaun Kemp Head of Sales and Marketing Office: +27 214884415 Cell: +27 82 4555 800 Email:

Lindiz van Zilla Editor-in-Chief Tel: +27214884411 Cell: +27 845572350 Email:

top 40 under 40


Technology pg 20 Fashion pg 34 Entertainment pg 38 Art pg 48 Design pg 50

Entrepreneurs pg 54 Food pg 58 Environment pg 62 Finance pg 64 Sport pg 66

Text credits: Lee-Shay Collison, Elske Joubert, Farah Khalfe, Levi Letsoko, Sonwabo Macingwana, Saarah Survé. Photo credits: Aqeelah Harron Ally – Abdul Malick Ally; Banele Khoza – Bernard Brand; Gabriella Esposito – Lucia Petschnig; Julian Kubel – Cailin Tobias; Khanyisela Dayi – Essy Productions; Khoisan Shoes – Bonga Mene; Kim Jayde Robinson – Marx Makhado; Llewellyn Devereaux – Kyle Brown; Matt Manning – Johan Nieuwoudt ; Proverb – Kaya FM; Ricard Payne – iLearn; Thabisa Mjo – Mpumelelo Macu; Tumi Voster – Mark Pass. 19

top 40 under 40

Going places An interview with Velani Mboweni

They say necessity is the mother of invention. This was definitely the case for Velani Mboweni, co-founder of LULA – a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform that focuses on the convergence of public and private transport. Asking how the idea for LULA came about, Velani says, “In 2014, whilst studying at the University of Cape Town, I was low on cash and wanted to visit my friend on the other side of town. Too broke to take a cab, I dreadfully realised that public transport was my only option. However, how would I navigate the maze of taxis, trains and buses? How would I pay for them? How could I just get to my friend’s house without worrying about it too much? That state of being broke, disorganised and anxious lead me to create a shared platform for mobility to provide transport that is convenient, accessible and reliable.” LULA’s core offering includes providing mobile and physical


ticketing for passengers and operators. It also serves as a data and analytics platform to help improve the efficiency and operations of transport companies, and uses an automatic fare collection system to help combat fare evasion. “In a nutshell, LULA makes commuting from A to B safe, accessible and convenient through intermodal shared transportation across rural and urban environments. Using mobile technology, users are able to pay for transport through their phones through a real-time ‘scheduleless’ experience, whilst operators are able to make sense of their operations through data insights and telemetry at a fraction of the cost.” Velani’s journey of starting LULA was by no means an easy ride. Challenges ranged from changes in concept to difficulty signing up operators and clients. However, through strategic partnerships, the road to success became easier. “While working on LULA in

2014 – primarily doing research, sketching, modelling and market sentiment – my co-founder and I officially registered the business in 2016 by tapping into what little savings we had and with help from our parents. Since then, we’ve gathered investor interest, partnered

with the largest bus manufacturer in South Africa, showcased our work to heads of state and business people at the African Economic Platform, signed on three modes of transport, built Africa’s first intelligent and integrated bus made of 97% local content in partnership with the CSIR,

RAW Industries, Gauteng Province and Busmark. We are also in line to have approximately 200 vehicles on the platform by the end of 2018.” When asking Velani if there’s any significance to the name, LULA, he says, “LULA means ‘easy’ in isiZulu. Funny enough, the journey

has been anything but easy. Our full name is actually Lula Loops – easy loops – which is meant to symbolise a community of unique paths (routes) converging to create ease of access to transport.” Since its inception, the company has achieved recognition and a 21

top 40 under 40 number of accolades. The African Union recognised LULA as one of five innovations shaping Africa at the 2017 African Economic Platform, held in Mauritius. “This recognition served as a validation of our dreams and efforts. It gave us strength to carry on despite the challenges we faced. This has enabled us to go places and people would comment, ‘Hey, didn’t I see you in Mauritius? You are the guys with the platform who are going to solve my transport problems!’” We asked Velani how important the role of technology is in shaping the African landscape. “Technology is a critical tool, however, with great power comes great responsibility. We’ve heard all the facts about mobile penetration and Africa’s ability to leapfrog in development, but rarely do we speak about the responsibility that rests on individuals and institutions to harness technology for inclusive development.”

He goes on to say, “In harnessing technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we should think of the new jobs and opportunities that will arise rather than dwell on the fear of what will be taken away. “Fortunately, the beauty about living in a world with many problems means there are more opportunities to try and solve them – technology will make it possible and that much more exciting through collaborative efforts.” For Velani, technology can also be leveraged to narrow social and cultural divides. “Africans typically resent each other and understand their neighbours from biased, myopic perspectives that seek to divide us. However, with the proliferation and penetration of digital platforms, specifically user-generated content, covering every corner of the continent, the narratives continue to change. “Our understanding of each other has become broad and exciting whilst our cultural divides have been

“In a nutshell, LULA makes commuting from A to B safe, accessible and convenient through intermodal shared transportation across rural and urban environments.”


mended – instead of hearing about drugs, genocide, and oppression, we now hear of Nollywood, tech capitals and youth mobilisation for government. Technology will bring us closer to Uhuru a lot faster than political campaigns ever could. That’s something I look forward to!” And, lastly, what advice does he have for other young Africans looking to start their own businesses? “There is no perfect circumstance to begin. Take what you have, and what you need will find you on the way. Regardless of your industry, be committed to lifelong learning – always read and write. “Lastly, your idea is not what sets you apart, your execution of it and the ability to create value is. So take time to execute tasks daily as your success is a culmination of repeated actions, not overnight luck. Play to your strengths and partner for your weaknesses. Nothing worth having comes easy, something that comes easy is not worth having.”

QUICK - FIRE Q&A WITH VELANI • What book are you currently reading? The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a business when there are no easy answers – Ben Horowitz • Who or what inspires you? My parents and grandparents because of their resilience, consistency and ability to overcome adversity. I also draw inspiration from Strive Masiyiwa and Elon Musk. Lastly, the moon – because it does not matter how many dogs howl at it in the evening, it continues to go about its business. • What’s your greatest wish for Africa? To achieve unity in diversity where we collaborate in culture, trade and ideology. Most importantly, may we own and develop products locally from raw materials to professional services.

Gary Meyer, Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Condriac

Nadeem Juma, Co-founder and Chairman of AIM Group, Tanzania

top 40 under 40 WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Condriac, Gary Meyer (34), reveals his entrepreneurial secrets

Born in Pretoria in 1984, Gary Meyer’s passion for communication tools sprouted while messing around with the family computer. He was instantly intrigued by the tools available for finding and building virtual friendships. The techno-revelation caused a passion for applying technological solutions to different problems. This obsession stuck and led to the search for problems to solve by applying the appropriate technology. Right now, that space is marketing technology, automation and machine learning. Meyer studied to become an accountant, but decided to stop in his third year. He spent more time off campus hustling for odd jobs and writing business plans than attending lectures. After returning to Joburg, he found an unpaid internship at an ad agency, where he learned an enormous amount about perception, value and trend-spotting – concepts he still uses today. A few years later, Meyer met a Canadian marketing manager for Apple. From that serendipitous meeting, he was lucky enough to work with the Apple brand in South Africa for three years. The opportunity taught him the significance of brand equity and the undeniable connection between building quality products and good advertising. It was during his time at Apple that Meyer realised his passion for marketing and decided to take the plunge by founding Condriac, an integrated data-driven and digital-first agency. Starting the company stemmed mostly from noticing how little attention was being paid to online

advertising by the industry. Condriac was effectively a digital agency before the term even existed, and this has been one of the major driving forces of their innovation. Meyer started with zero capital and found a small forward-thinking company which he convinced to put him on retainer in their first month. The retainer was a few thousand Rand which barely covered even his rent – but he had gotten lucky and signed his first client – a big personal win. From that one client, he managed to convince the next client to sign with him, and the next and the next. Today, after all the hurdles and challenges, Condriac has three branches; a head office in Johannesburg, one in Durban and one in London, and is currently rolling out two more expansions. You dropped out of university in your third year. An age-old debate is whether young people should go straight into the working world and gain practical experience, or study at university. What are your thoughts on this? That’s a great question. I think there are a few answers to that, and it largely depends on what field of study you intend to pursue and what career path you hope to follow. Academic subjects like engineering, law, architecture or even literally rocket science require a university education as an accelerated learning track. What I mean by that is you could probably become a great engineer after 20 years practical experience (with no university training) or you could compress a huge volume of learning and be a competent engineer after your 4-year graduate degree – kick starting your career.

This isn’t true for all vocations, though, and my issue with tertiary education lies in disciplines where a degree is simply a checkbox item for a job in that field – finance, business management or marketing for example. In what ways do you think dropping out of university has benefitted and helped you get where you are today? Dropping out of university was the first major risk and deviation I’d ever taken. Up until that point I’d followed the approved and expected path as set out by my parents and my own expectations. It was a terrifying thing to do, but it was also the hatchling jumping from the nest moment for me. I jumped and I didn’t fall, which gave me an enormous confidence boost in my own ability and self-confidence, and my ability to manage change as an adult. How does Condriac enhance a digital-market savvy culture for South African businesses? We’re primarily a data-driven agency; a huge part of working with all of our clients is highlighting how digital marketing can provide business insights. We need to show our clients the extent of what is possible within the realms of digital and we endeavour to do this every day. What are your thoughts on ‘influencers’ and ‘trendsetters’ in the marketing-sphere? Are these valuable options for companies looking to expand their brand? Honestly, I think that boat has sailed. Influencer marketing was hailed as the next big thing in marketing 5-6 years ago. I’m sure if it had been handled differently, it could have been that, but it was so new and 25

so different that the industry treated it as a tool rather than a channel, and as a result influencers have either lost credibility or have an over-inflated sense of purpose. These days, the cost of an influencer seldom justifies the return – the problem is the number of marketing managers who are only now catching up with the idea of influencer marketing or it’s become a checkbox on a marketing plan. Where do you get your entrepreneurial spirit? In my experience, there are two types of people who start businesses. One group are people who see a problem and think “I can do better”, the other are people who make terrible employees and realise that the only way they’re going to hold down a job is if they’re the ones making the rules. I’m part of the second group. What would you attribute the success of the business to? And what does success mean to you in a personal and business capacity? Preparation. When opportunity knocks – and it always does – you had better be ready to grab it. You’d be surprised at how many people

place at the right time and we had the necessary skills set to make it happen. By being ready for that opportunity when it came knocking and being able to deliver on what we promised we could do has been one of our greatest selling tools. What are the business’s most notable accomplishments to date? We’re a small company, but we routinely beat competition who are bigger, have been around longer and have far fancier offices than we have for some of the biggest brands in the world, and I value this more than any award we could ever earn. That being said, I am particularly proud that we’ve been nominated as a finalist for the Top Empowerment Awards in 2018. We’re a diverse company with people from all creeds and colours – it’s reflected in the type of work we produce for our clients, and it’s great to be recognised for that. What would you consider your greatest challenge? I’m no stranger to failure, and a number of my previous business ventures didn’t quite progress as well as I’d wanted. The key takeaway is perseverance, as well as

business plan and seed funding. How do you balance your work-personal life? I leave work every day at 5pm and I switch off my phone. In 10 years of business, I can count with one finger the number of times that a crisis has been so severe that it couldn’t wait for the next day. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. My family, and the family of everyone in the company, comes first. No exceptions. How do you blow off steam and relax after a busy day? I love cooking, so most evenings I’ll spend an hour in the kitchen feeding my family – I get a huge kick out of that. After dinner, my partner and I usually spend an hour or so dissecting our day, she’s an excellent sounding board and advisor and this lets me offload the day and begin relaxing. What are your thoughts on South Africa’s digital marketing industry? You’d be surprised at how advanced we are in comparison to the rest of the world. With the exception of the US and parts of the UK – we’re producing content and results that

want to help you succeed in your new business, and given the slightest decision-making power, will give you the opportunity. Your job is to be ready for that and not drop the ball. I measure my own success by the amount of free time I have. I recently became a dad and was able to take off almost three months of leave. That’s gold to me. Condriac designed and ran social media for M-Net’s Carte Blanche Oscar Trial channel programme, how did that initiative come about? Opportunity. We were in the right

relentless drive. With the creation of Condriac, I fully enveloped myself in the entrepreneurial mindset and committed 100% of my time and effort into creating an agency I could be proud of. I’m happy to say that I am incredibly pleased with the agency that I see today – as well as my amazing team who’ve helped make it all happen. Building the company with zero capital – while it’s great to look back and say, “Hey, we did it all ourselves”, it could’ve been done much faster and far more efficiently with a proper

other agencies are 4-5 years away from. I think that’s something to be proud of. Any advice for young people or students struggling to break into the marketing sector? There are so many free training programmes and courses you can do online and in your spare time. These teach you practical skills that any digital agency in South Africa will find valuable. Get your Google AdWords certification and do a few coding courses and I guarantee you won’t struggle to find a job in this industry.

“I measure my own success by the amount of free time I have.”


top 40 under 40

NADEEM JUMA (34) Co-founder and Chairman of AIM Group, Tanzania

Harnessing the power of mobile technology, Nadeem Juma has transformed the digital landscape of Tanzania. At the age of 19, he established an international school in his home town of Dar Es Salaam and has since created tech and business solutions for giants like Vodacom and Barclays. Now at 34, Juma coowns one of the leading new media agencies in East Africa. After studying business in the UK, Juma returned home in 2003 and launched his first startup, the Dar Es Salaam International Academy, due to a lack of quality education in the area. A year later, he and his siblings founded E-fulusi Africa through which they developed and deployed the first mobile-banking platform in Tanzania. Today, Juma is the co-founder and chairman of AIM Group, a full service digital agency with a marketing and communications division and an R&D unit that focuses on product and service development. The company represents 20 top African and international brands ranging from Coca-Cola to NMB – one of the largest banks in Tanzania. AIM also runs Mkito, a popular music app in East Africa. “The key thing that we’ve been able to pull off is that we’ve evolved from being just a digital agency to being a more strategic agency. We provide strategy to a lot of our clients in terms of how to roll out their product and services in the market,” he says. “This has really shown how a local entity, having local context, is able to understand brands and what consumers want a lot more.” One of AIM’s biggest ventures to date has been the Electronic Know Your Customer (E-KYC) platform – a mobile app that allows operators to register SIM card users seamlessly. Before 2015, registering for a SIM card in Tanzania was a time-consuming process, taking between 48 hours to seven days to complete. With E-KYC, the process now takes around five minutes and agents have since tripled their SIM registrations. They are also able to record socio-demographic data, which allows them to offer their customers other valuable products and services. So far, seven million customers have been registered on the E-KYC platform. In 2016, the Africa Youth Awards named Juma among the 100 Most Influential Young Africans for his dedication to economic and social development in Tanzania. He says that AIM’s goal is to become a Sub-Saharan company with a diversified range of businesses. “Education and technology is our foundation and our core, but we’re going to look at diversifying into different areas and industries, and really try to become a powerhouse in the region.”


ER 27


INNOVATIO for disabled people Inventor and founder of Senso, Zuko Mandlakazi, tailors a revolutionary bracelet for the visually impaired and deaf community, that is aimed at providing a new kind of assistance.


top 40 under 40



ER 29

top 40 under 40

Mandlakazi started researching solutions after seeing his aunt face hearing disabilities.

When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things, when you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people. According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people, or one in every ten, will suffer from disabling hearing loss. Zuko Mandlakazi is the founder and inventor of Senso, an early stage start-up company tasked with creating sound assistive tools for people to be more present and alert to life-saving sounds. It is an innovative product in the form of a bracelet that picks up sounds and communicates these to the user through vibration and colourcoded LED lights. Senso is aimed at serving the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Mandlakazi grew up in Qamata, a remote rural village in the Eastern Cape. After graduating high-school, he studied accountancy and worked in the banking industry. How did the idea of the start-up come about? Did you see a gap in the market? My aunt has always been hard of hearing, she lip reads to fully


understand what people around her are saying. In the family, we’ve always had to talk extremely loud when talking to her. When my aunt started visiting her children, my cousins and I realised that their apartment did not accommodate her condition, so we were always concerned for her missing out on life-saving sounds as she was always alone during the day while everyone was at work. To solve her problem, I started to research devices she could use, but those that were available were too expensive and intrusive; a surgery where a speaker is inserted in a

thinking about the millions of people faced with the same challenge as hers. In the early stages of Senso’s development you turned down an investment worth R500 000, what prompted this decision and how has it worked out for you? First, it was my gut feeling, that 50% equity was worth way more than R500 000, and two, we were deep into R&D at the time. For me, it felt we were way too early in our journey to give away a 50% equity stake. This has worked out for us mainly because if we had given that stake, we would’ve made ourselves equal

“It is an innovative product in the form of a bracelet that picks up sounds and communicates these to the user through vibration and colour-coded LED lights.” person’s inner ear. I knew that my aunt could never afford the device and she would certainly hate having an object inserted in her ear. In the beginning of our R&D, when our proof of concept delivered some basic functionalities to the difficulties faced by my aunt, I started

partners, which would’ve meant that we would have to report and seek approvals for every little change before we implement. This could’ve been fatal for Senso in terms of paperwork processes, report write ups, meetings just so new changes are explained and why we were no longer going to

top 40 under 40 implement the old ideas. At the time, this process had the potential to stall creativity, intuition and flow of learnings which could’ve been our downfall at that stage. We’ve also learnt that during R&D stages, changes happen so fast and the speed, or lack of, to respond to changes is what can build or destroy the startup’s potential. What would you consider as your greatest challenge? The high demand of skilled industrial designers in the country today makes it highly expensive to access skilled industrial designers. This challenge delayed our product development efforts by eight months, and in the records of our main incubator this was viewed as a lack of performance. To address this challenge, we teamed up with VQ Designs, founded by Vusi Qwabe. This collaboration has proved to be the best thing that could happen to us at Senso. The quality of reiterations has been amazing, the failures we’ve gone through are incredible data and learnings for us and the collaboration continues bearing fruit as we approach product launch. You have worked with mLab Southern Africa, SABS Design Institute and The Innovation Hub (Africa’s leading Science Park) for technical assistance. What are your thoughts on collaboration? Any other collaborative partners? For me, it’s been amazing to see how collaboration has really revolutionised how business is done today. I’ve seen how some of the biggest consumer electronics brands, with a history of fighting over patent infringements, join forces and collaborate. In our context, a few years ago, I remember reading an article on how “collaboration is the new currency”. This proved to be true for us. We would’ve run out of the little resources we had and possibly quit our R&D efforts if it hadn’t been for collaboration. Now, the collaboration that really moved us forward is the one that the SAB Foundation paid the SABS Design Institute to collaborate with us in our early stage R&D. This

is the collaboration that enabled us to produce Senso’s proof of concept cost effectively and fast. Because we’ve been developing our product and our systems with the global community in mind, we’ve had to collaborate with companies based in Switzerland, Sweden and China. We personally visited these companies in their respective countries and what we’ve since accomplished together has been special. What are the business’s most notable accomplishments to date? We were invited to exhibit and give a talk on smart cities at the Eureka Innovation week in Sweden. We participated at the Pioneers Festival in Austria. We were invited to Switzerland for The Venture Leaders and we also participated at the international pitch battle. We completed our early stage seed funding round. Funds were raised by the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award, The Innovation Hub and Multichoice. Where do you see Senso in the next few years? According to the World Health Organisation, the current production of assistive hearing devices meets less than 10% of global need. I see Senso making a profound difference to those that are currently not served by available sound assistive devices. I see Senso becoming a global game changer, being a device that’s accessible to the poorest of the poor, who are in need of sound assistive devices, but aren’t accommodated by devices that are currently available in the market. I see Senso being an alternative for the Deaf Pride movement. This is a social and conscious movement of individuals who refuse to use available devices because they’re intrusive and seek to suggest that there is something wrong with being born deaf and this is something that technology can fix.

30 SECOND BIO: Favourite quote: “Every human being has genius-level talent. There are no chosen ones.” – Sean Carter Favourite book: Misbehaving by Richard H Taylor Favourite destination: Shenzhen, China Favourite city: Johannesburg Favourite tech gadget: Senso, the peace of mind that comes with the device is out of this world. Ideal day: As part of the team, I get to spend a great deal of time doing analysis of data gathered throughout the design and manufacturing of our product reiterations. In between, I get to do all the things I don’t have someone else doing them. Biggest inspiration: All the women who carry their children on their backs while manning a fruit and vegetable stand. I first saw this with my own mother and I’ve seen this mainly in Bree and Noordt taxi ranks in Kliptown, and I know there are millions of other women doing the very same thing across Africa. To me, all these phenomenal women represent people who are swimming well in the river that’s meant to sink them. 31

top 40 wiGroup was founded by Bevan Ducasse in 2008 when he was just 24 years old. The company’s first transaction went live on 08/08/08. This year, wiGroup is celebrating their 10th birthday. We asked Bevan about the most significant lessons learned over the span of these 10 years, and what advice he has for other entrepreneurs venturing into this uncertain, but thrilling space. Top 5 lessons learned over the years: 1. Imagination and curiosity are critical for business success, as this is where everything starts 2. Failure is guaranteed. Make sure you accept, learn, and grow through these experiences 3. Never settle for good when you can pursue great 4. Leaders raise leaders not followers, and it’s the only way you won’t bottleneck your company’s growth 5. Creating a space for people to thrive makes an exponential impact

BEVAN DUCASSE (33) Founder, wiGroup

Andy Hadfield is the opposite of conventional. As a digital native, he constantly challenges ideas, business models and traditional ways of thinking – whatever it takes to create, drive and build innovative businesses that have impact. He’s headed up since 2015. Forgood is a social impact platform that connects people who want to make a difference to the causes that need their help. As the biggest volunteering platform in South Africa, Forgood connects individuals and corporates with registered causes in a way that builds sustainability and enables businesses to track their impact. Through its various streams, Forgood reaches over 300 000 people every month and remains accountable to both the businesses and causes it supports. Andy is also involved in cross-sector innovation: The Real Time Wine & MyBEER apps built a retail review community for the wine and beer industry. He was also responsible for creating FNB’s first Facebook presence, did a major overall of the bank’s consumer site, and created a world-class e-commerce system that lets consumers get FNB products in under 10 minutes.


Advice to entrepreneurs starting businesses from a young age: You’ll need bucket loads of resilience. Don’t look for the one thing that will make you successful, it’s about the small things you learn and do every day rather than one large choice. Have the courage to step out and make things happen daily, and get yourself and your team 100% aligned with your vision.





top 40 under 40


Craig Wing has a number of accolades to his name. Not only is he a qualified engineer with a Masters degree from Wits University, but he also holds an MBA from Babson College in Boston, USA. He has developed a software programme, using image-processing technology, to help partially sighted children enhance their vision. He also project developed an online platform to create 50 000 websites (one every 10

minutes) and filed two patents. Craig started a cleantech non-profit in Silicon Valley, California. After his stint in San Francisco, he returned to South Africa where he took up the position of Head of Small Business Marketing at Google SA. Today, Craig is a partner with FutureWorld International, helping African companies align corporate culture and business strategy to an exponentially changing world.

Michael Zahariev is an entrepreneur who has founded and grown three prosperous tech startups, based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, at the age of 26. He has perfectly positioned himself to effectively service multiple industries and help them grow by granting them access to advanced consumer statistics and big data. Since B Online was established by Michael and his business partner Luke Calitz, it has grown into a full-service

digital agency, servicing a number of different businesses by allowing them access to the digital assets they need to succeed. Michael has gained international recognition; B Online has partnered with one of Europe’s biggest e-commerce platforms, which have shown continued support for one of his latest ventures called HiCarByeCar, a tech platform matching car sellers and dealers to ensure that sellers get the best price.

Michael and Kyle co-founded Augmentors in 2015 – the first ever Blockchain-based augmented reality game in existence. In 2016, they appeared on Shark Tank South Africa, where they were funded by Vinny Lingham and Gil Oved. Augmentors became the first deal on Shark Tank to be done by Bitcoin. Because of Michael and Kyle’s vision and passion, along with the assistance of experts, Augmentors raised $1 million (±R12.5m) during

a token sale, which ended in February 2017. At the time, it was the most successful token sale ever conducted by a mobile video game project and it was also the first token sale conducted in South Africa. They are pioneers in the gaming sphere, building a game that uses cuttingedge augmented reality and blockchain technology to create a brand new game economy and ecosystem. This way of building games means that players can have true ownership of the assets within the game.

Jack of all trades

MICHAEL ZAHARIEV (26) Founder, B Online


Founders, Augmentors 33

top 40 under 40 AQEELAH HARRON ALLY (28) Founder, Fashion Breed

What started out as a blog and creative outlet, Aqeelah Harron Ally has managed to grow Fashion Breed into a sustainable, profitable and highly influential personal brand that has only grown more powerful over the years. In the fast-paced and everchanging world of digital media, she credits the longevity of her success to her sheer passion for creating quality content and being in-tune with her strengths and weaknesses. “I find joy in going the extra mile; it’s less crowded there and leads to better things,” she says. For Aqeelah, being an influencer means more than just the fame and the freebies but rather, it’s about building an empire. To gain credibility as an influencer, “you have to be in it for the right reasons,” she says – “and you have to be honest”. Being honest with her followers starts with being honest




with herself. While Aqeelah values the input she gets from her fans and creates content for them, she strives to stay true to her vision by doing what she feels like doing, even if she knows sometimes the engagement is going to be low. On her role as a modest fashion influencer, she says she has found a ‘sweet spot’ between being a hijabi and being a ‘normally-dressed’ woman. “I don’t know any other Muslim influencers who do that, but I have many readers in the same boat.”

While social media has made acquiring popularity and influence so easily accessible to almost anyone with a smartphone, Aqeelah identifies her quality content as another core factor that differentiates her from the rest. “For example, phone pictures get way more likes and engagement than professional-looking pictures that take much more effort to create. Instagram users don’t always appreciate that quality, but I refuse to let that change my approach. I WILL post DSLR pictures and edit them for days. That’s where I don’t budge on giving the people what they want! “The only way I need to differentiate myself from everyone is to be an amazing content creator all round, and stand out in that sense. I could get a team, but I want to be a creative, not just a socialite or person with Insta-fame and nice clothing.” Describing her signature style in three words, she says: demure, feminine and unapologetic and is “kinda loving everything” when it comes to current fashion trends.

QUICKIES • One African country you’ve never been to before that you’d love to visit? Morocco • What’s your favourite on-the-go snack? Cashew nuts! • Series you’re currently binge-watching? Marvel’s Defenders.

top 40under 40 THABISA MJO (30)

Founder, Mash T Design

Head Designer and Founder of Mash T Design, Thabisa Mjo breaks down the meaning of youth month and her passion for storytelling in its diverse forms. Born in the Eastern Cape, Mjo’s enterprising spirit has catapulted her into the world of design in which she is brilliantly carving her own space. Her inspiring journey was not smooth-sailing, however, she has managed to apply fundamental creative thinking in embracing the highs and lows she encountered. “I am grateful for the freedom to be who I believe I am being called to be. Storytelling is one of my greatest passions,” she says. After graduating from AFDA in Production Design, Mjo bolstered her experience by actively being part of various projects. She furthered her studies by taking up a course in Interior Decorating and Architectural Drawing with Inscape Design School. Despite her previous accomplishments, Mjo describes

the establishment of her company, Mash T Design, as one of her major breakthroughs. “I started my business while I was still in film school. One of the things I did to survive was to purchase secondhand clothing, dry-clean it and then resell it at a reasonable price,” she says. Mjo faced countless hurdles when starting her own business, but she had to be extremely courageous to

overcome them. “When I started out, I had no cash flow, no clients and no sales. I had no direct access to the market – and these are some of the challenges that I had to confront head-on.” Since the establishment of Mash T Design, the company has been breaking new ground. After partaking in a design competition, the company designed and produced a pendant light that is inspired by the popular Xibelani Skirt known as a Tutu 2.0 light. The product has been well received across various design platforms, including the 2018 Design Indaba, where it was recognised as the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. Mjo is very hopeful about the future of South Africa, as well as the continent as a whole and she believes in being an active contributor to that future. “We aim to create meaningful work that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives. To use design to effect change,” she concludes.

MZUKISI MBANE (28) Fashion Designer

When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design? I’ve always had a huge passion for fashion, however, I grew up in the townships and automatically went on to study BCom Accounting. Only in my final year when I took a break to experiment with fashion, I realised that I didn’t want to do anything else. How was ‘Imprint’ born? Originally the brand was called Swagger Diariez, which I created as an experiment. To my surprise, the media and the market bought into it, giving me local and international exposure. I decided to change the name to something that reflected more of what the brand stood for and where I was heading. And from the fact that fashion imprinted on me, and the fact that you can never not remember Imprint once

you are exposed to the brand – it’s an imprint. Our tag line is “leave a mark” for a reason. Is social media an important tool for your business? It is the biggest and best marketplace and makes it so easy to test a product and get feedback. Find your market and start selling without geographical limitations. Social media also pushes fashion designers to be more creative. What does success mean to you? It means that I no longer have the need to convince anyone, including myself, that what I do matters. It means following your dreams and making it work against all odds and being part of something bigger than myself. What do you like most about being a designer? The joy of seeing how my work makes people feel. 35

top 40 under 40 UND


JULIAN KUBEL (36) Founder: Butan Wear

Passionate about sketching and creative activities at an early age, Kubel excelled in arts at school. Just like many of his peers, he also had a deep interest in the mechanics behind airplanes and automobiles. “I was never an analytical thinker until I developed a talent for science

in my final years of high school,” says Kubel. After numerous successes as a mechanical engineering student, Kubel decided to dive directly into the world of fashion by founding Butan Wear and being the main creative force behind the clothing label. Despite facing various setbacks after launching the company, Kubel went through setback after setback before making Butan Wear the success it is. “From time to time, I’ve even found myself persuaded to act against my ideals, but thankfully I’ve naturally always found my way back to a righteous path.” Butan is currently on a mission to explore potential markets for its products. The brand has recently launched new designs, which incorporate traditional Japanese influences with modern styles. On the future of African youth, Kubel feels optimistic about his future, as well as that of many other young South Africans. “I think I’ve picked up this optimism from the energy I pick up from other young people. “South Africans are fighters, we are a strong and determined nation. I believe that we will soon reach our full potential.”


Blogger and Influencer

The face behind the blog, Influenced, and lifestyle influencer Sarah Langa describes herself as ambitious, curious, modern and fashion-forward. She is inspired by people who are unapologetic and unique in the way they embrace and express themselves. In the saturated realm of influencer marketing, she says the key is to maintain a consistent brand image. This way, the role of being an influencer becomes ‘second nature’ and you won’t have to constantly keep up with short-term trends or fads. Having been an ambassador for Woolworths, Witchery, Vince Camuto and Brutal Fruit, to name a few, she always tries to align herself with brands with whom she shares an audience. “Collaborations are all about speaking to the same type of people with one voice,” she says. But by the same token, having a brand control every move you make can also make or break your image. “Power dynamics are very important in the world of influencer marketing,” she adds. QUICKIES She is proud to be part of a group of • What’s your ideal African influencers who have managed to perfume scent? Dior establish and commercialise an industry “Miss Dior” and Chanel “Gabrielle” that didn’t even exist to local audiences a • Favourite type of few years ago. holiday destination? As a content creator, her main Any vacation away at objective is to connect with premium a city destination with brands on a global scale and engage with lots of history, fashion, them in an African context, to the benefit culture and art. of both parties.


She believes the personal nature of influencer endorsements have transformed the way consumers respond to marketing. “People are relating to brands through other people, which has proved to be more effective than any other marketing tool that has been used traditionally.”


Merveillance® expert Anti-wrinkle skincare with Daylily Oléoactif®™ helps to combat the appearance of deep wrinkles and loss of tone.


Call Orleans Cosmetics on (021) 701 2900 for your nearest stockist.

African Film Revolution African Independent talks to film producer and director, Ernest Napoleon, and actor and producer, Winston Ellis about their work and future projects.


top 40 under 40

ERNEST NAPOLEON (35) Film producer and director

Your film, Going Bongo, is the first international film made by a Tanzanian, and the first-ever East African film accepted by iTunes. How does that accomplishment make you feel and do you think those achievements are paving the way for other African writers and producers? I think it’s a big step for a Tanzanian film to get accepted in the international arena. Tanzanian films are not known to travel very far other than a handful of neighbouring Swahili speaking countries. It’s a big achievement and will hopefully pave the way for others to carry us even further. It would be great to one day be nominated for something like the best foreign film Academy Award for a Tanzanian film. Your second film, Kiumeni, won two awards at the 2017 Zanzibar International Film Festival. That is a big accomplishment. What does winning those awards mean to you personally as a writer and producer, but also to the audience reached by the film? I have never considered myself a writer. It is something that I have learned on the way. As an actor and a producer, I have read a lot of scripts from all over the world. Through that, I was able to pick up what makes scripts good. My first scripts were



horrible and I think I needed to get that out of my system as part of my training. So winning an award as a writer was something special to me. At least I know that now I am on the right path as a writer as well. The film also reached a very wide audience and resonated with the non-Swahili speaking audiences and people from other parts of the world. Cinema and television have the ability to comment on a variety of social issues. This was in fact one of the motivations behind Kiumeni. Would you say that’s an important aspect of your work? Yes, I think it is important for filmmakers to produce work that is a reflection of our societies and humans in general. Even though our first aim is to entertain and that is a hard enough job. I think if you do it well and have people reflect on an issue in the process then that is the holy grail. More black filmmakers are coming to the fore in an industry that was previously white-male dominated. How does this affect the global film industry in general? I think we will be able to hear and see stories from all over the world and not just the “white-male dominated” world. This is going to enrich our cinema-going experience and stories that we can tell. It is simply awesome to be able to produce all these alternative stories from all over the globe. In South Africa, we’re seeing that the local film industry is on the rise. However, it’s still very much subdued. What do you think it will take for South Africa to become a global player in film and television? I think South Africa needs to focus more on seriously supporting local producers who can create projects that would bring South African stories to the world. Many years ago, there was a film called Tsotsi that proved to the world that South African stories can travel. I personally grew up with Sarafina, another South African movie that traveled far. I think with right stories and production, this can be repeated. There is no reason why a developing country like South Africa should not have movies in Cannes and competing for Academy Awards every year. We just need to shift the focus from being a ‘location destination’ to being a ‘story destination’. What advice do you have for aspiring black filmmakers? I think my main advice would be for them to always be ready because this is the business of talent and opportunity. So, when you are presented with an opportunity, you need to be skilled enough to take it with both hands as there may not be another one around the corner. Having said that, I think this is the best time to be a black filmmaker as more minorities are ‘invited to the table’. 39

top 40 under 40

WINSTON ELLIS Actor and producer

How did you get into the film business? It was while on holiday on a beach in Cyprus one night, I thought I was alone, so began working through my martial art forms when I was approached by a Chinese gentleman who then introduced me to Phillip Ko, a martial arts film director and actor from Hong Kong, who was there along with Jackie Chan locationscouting for an upcoming film. After a brief conversation, I was invited to join them in Hong Kong, where I would appear in my first movie role in a film called Cyprus Tigers. That was the start of my film career, almost three decades ago. Would you say it’s more difficult for people of colour to get a foot in the door in the film industry? I would say it has been very difficult for people of colour to be given the opportunity to work in this industry. Things have become better in more recent years, but I believe there is still some way to go before we are treated as equals. What specific challenges have you faced in trying to make a name for yourself? I have found that in my early career the roles offered to me were stereotypical. I played the role of either a bodyguard or a bad guy. These types of roles offered very little dialogue and exposure.


You’ve worked with a number of prominent A-listers and have starred in major blockbuster films. What has that been like? I have been blessed to have worked with some of Hollywood’s finest over the years and this experience has taught me so many things as an actor, and allowed me to grow as one. Are you drawn to any specific film genre? I have a wide range of film genres that I really enjoy, however I am drawn to drama, action and true-life stories. You’re an actor, producer and martial arts champion. How do you manage to balance it all? Balancing being a producer and a martial artist is not hard for me at all. I no longer compete so that allows me much more time to concentrate on my career. However, I do still train regularly. This helps me balance my thoughts and control any stress. If there are any three takeaways/lessons learned as an actor over the last few years, what would those be? 1. Don’t be afraid to take chances and realise your self-worth 2. Be true to yourself at all times and never be complacent 3. Never speak about any project until you’ve signed on the dotted line and you’re on set filming Any interesting projects on the way? I am working on multiple projects in various stages, taking place in multiple countries. There is a major project called Let No Man Know, of which I am both an actor and a producer. The true tale of Tom Molineaux evolves from the unparalleled brutality of a southern American tobacco plantation to the aristocratic decadence of 19th Century London. The story portrays the rise and subsequent fall of Tom Molineaux, a former slave and would-be contender for the English bare-knuckle crown. The other film I’m working on is called Karma. When two best friends, both unbeaten fighters in the same training camp, are offered a chance to fight in the UFC, the fine line between loyalty and rivalry is exposed, a raw nerve that forces the two men to finally understand what they are really fighting for. Any advice for up-and-comers in the film industry? My advice to any upcoming actors would be to practise your craft daily. Set yourself realistic goals and follow them. In this industry, you will knock on many doors before finding the one, unless you are one of the lucky few, so be focused and prepared. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail!

top 40 under 40

KIM JAYDE ROBINSON (27) MTV Base presenter

Not a lot of people are aware that you have a degree from Stellenbosch University. Tell us more about your academic background. I studied at Stellenbosch University and received an honours degree in Social Work. My education is the reason I will always stay grounded. I worked for the Western Cape Department of Education, counselling teens who were dealing with teen pregnancy, abortions and attempted suicide. It was a very hands-on practical education in the real world! I’m reminded every day how blessed my life is when I think back on the lives my clients led. What was your ‘big break?’ I think my “big break” was being chosen as an MTV Base presenter. That’s the job that changed it all. It was all through the power of social media – via my Instagram account – that one of the talent managers scouted me. What does it mean to be a woman in your industry and what are the challenges? I don’t think there’s ever been a more exciting time to be a woman in entertainment. Considering the historic #MeToo movement, we finally have a voice – and people are listening! The challenge will always be that we are objectified and sexualised because of how we look and dress. People are often

surprised that I have a tertiary education, for example, when they hear I used to do modelling. In the end it’s all about being comfortable in your own skin. How important is social media in your industry? Social media could possibly be one of my most important tools! It’s how I discovered my voice and how to create content and interact with my followers. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be. What is your biggest social media no-no tip? Don’t be fake. Followers can see when you are posting for the money or for attention. They know what genuine, authentic content looks like – so respect them and yourself enough to just be you. What piece of advice can you share with our readers? This industry already has a Bonang, a Minnie Dlamini, a Somizi – it doesn’t have a YOU! Being authentic will always make yourself stand out.


QUICKIES: • What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Check my phone • What will you always find in your handbag? Roll on and lip gloss • What’s your biggest guilty pleasure? Anything Kardashian-related 41


top 40 under 40 Mpho Maboi is going for gold! She plans to host a Women in Sports event that is aimed at helping young women kick off their sporting career: whether as a sports player or sports reporter – anything goes! What drives Mpho is to see the industry open up to more women who are struggling to ‘make it’ in this maledominated sector. Have you always had a passion for sport? Yes, because I started playing sports at a very young age. I was an athlete at school and I grew up around a father who supports Kaizer Chiefs and enjoyed watching matches with me. What have been some of your biggest challenges and successes? I enjoy challenges. So there’s not one specific one that I would say still sticks to mind. But I must say that motherhood is an everyday challenge, because no day is ever a replica of anothers. I always feel a sense of success when I’m recognised for my work. When I’m trusted with the task of hosting an awards show or live TV or doing talk radio. For instance, I became the first woman in 37 years to host the SABC Sports Media Awards solo. That’s a huge win for me. To have other women want to be in the sporting arena because of me is a point of success. For me, it’s the moments that put a smile on my face that make me feel successful. I try to live in the moment as much as possible.


Entertainer, Non-Executive Board Member, Flight Centre





Sports presenter for the Fresh Breakfast Show with DJ Fresh and a reporter for the upcoming 2018 Soccer World Cup

Undoubtedly one of the torch bearers in South African hip hop, Tebogo ‘Proverb’ Thekisho is readying himself to go full circle in transitioning from an entertainer to an accomplished businessman. After exploding onto the scene as a hip hop recording artist, Proverb has wormed his way into many South Africans’ hearts as a radio DJ and host of the popular talent search programme, Idols. “My vision for myself is to build and hopefully leave a legacy for my children to continue. It is imperative for South Africans to recognise the tremendous opportunity we have to rebuild our country,” says Proverb. He is currently shifting his focus to carving his way into the business world. With a few enterprises in the pipeline, in a surprise move, he was appointed to the board of Australian travel company, Flight Centre, as a non-executive member. “The industry that I’m in is very brutal and short-lived. Achieving stability and longevity is a challenge that one must confront year-on-year. One must constantly reinvent, re-strategise and manoeuvre accordingly. I learn from those who’ve managed to achieve longevity and from those who haven’t – to pick out valuable lessons.”

Nadia Kamies Kamies is an occupational therapist and graduate of the UCT’s Creative Writing Masters Programme. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pretoria. Her research interests are identity, representation and memory.

A History of Authentic South African Jazz Escaping the confines of township existence, the Sekunjalo Delft Big Band proves that jazz is still a powerful genre for expressing freedom. Nadia Kamies explores the struggles band members have overcome, how performing has uplifted their lives, and how music still manages to liberate. Delft is a sprawling township on the outskirts of Cape Town right next to the airport. Ironically named after one of the prettiest cities in Holland, the township is notorious for crime, drugs, and violent housing protests. Ironic, too, because the name Delft and that of the different sections of the township (Voorbrug, Leiden, Eindhoven, Roosendal and The Hague) indelibly stamps on the space of the legacy of Dutch colonialism. The community is a microcosm of the larger challenges of living in a postapartheid space where the promise of 1994 has not been realised. Established in 1989 as the first mixed ‘coloured’ and ‘black’ township, unemployment is at 43%, far higher than the national average of 26,7%. Plastic bags swirl around in the wind, people and dogs mill about on the streets, and informal traders eke out a living from their meagre stalls. Symphony Way leads into Blikkiesdorp (or Tin Can Town) where people wait for houses while their children attend schools behind


barbed-wired. Within the Delft community, though, is a rich musical tradition of Christmas bands, Malay choirs and Cape Town’s annual coon carnival. This heritage can be traced back to the music of the slaves and indigenous peoples, blended with Dutch ballads and further integrated with the African choral traditions fostered by the Lutheran missions and Salvation Army. The most famous example of this, Enoch Sontonga’s Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, came to symbolise the struggle for African unity and liberation in South Africa. Minstrelsy, which took hold after McAdoo’s American Jubilee Singers toured South Africa at the end of the 19th century, is still evident in the coon carnival. But it was jazz that would influence and shape most black music - mbaqanga, marabi and kwela fusing with rock and pop, according to social historian, David Coplan. In his book In Township Tonight!, he observes that by “the 1920s and 30s,

the churches, schools, clubs, drinking houses, parties and dance halls of the black locations were producing a new generation of performance professionals”. This integration of music and audience alike “gave birth to an authentically South African jazz”. As the National Party set about institutionalising racial segregation in the 1950s, they bulldozed “black spots” like District Six to make way for “whites-only” areas. As clubs and halls were destroyed, jazz was gradually deprived of its diverse audience. Despite censorship, musicians continued to use song lyrics to comment on social issues, spreading the sounds of resistance on the radio, in community clubs and halls and shebeens. Passive resistance and anti-pass campaigns characterised the 1950s, but amid the aggression and brutality of the struggle, the arts flourished. In the early 1960s, the late Hugh Masekela with his band, The Jazz Epistles, helped to establish a

guest column

strong culture of jazz amongst urban ‘blacks’. However, ‘black’ performers had to choose between discrimination and limited careers in South Africa or going into exile abroad. Musicians like Dollar Brand, Miriam Makeba and others, eventually left, disillusioned with conditions in South Africa. Many ‘black’ South African performers achieved international recognition and were able to broadcast anti-apartheid messages to an audience that the musicians left behind could not reach. Music continues to play a vital role in the development of our communities. The Delft Big Band was started in 2008 as an afterschool project aimed at vulnerable youth by the Department of Social Development, who approached trumpeter Ian Smith to be the music

director. Starting from scratch without any previous formal music training, and playing on second-hand instruments, the band has gone on to perform internationally and recently made their third appearance at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Since 2011 the project has been mainly funded by the Survé Family Foundation. Now known as the Sekunjalo Delft Big Band, it has evolved to include an academy where the band members pass on their musical knowledge to the next generation. A management committee provides an opportunity for band members to take responsibility for their lives and future, and ongoing workshops address personal development. The journey has not been without battles as the members of

the band strive to overcome personal struggles of poor education, drugs, and unemployment. In many cases the money they earn from gigs is the only income for their families. Music has been the conduit for so much more in their journey – discipline, perseverance, teamwork and the opportunity to break the cycle of dependency. Jazz, born out of a need for freedom of expression during slavery, colonialism and apartheid, continues to affirm the validity of our music culture. Its success is due to the combination of many different forms of South African music, and the Sekunjalo Delft Big Band musicians, like many in similar projects across the Cape Flats, continue to spread the sounds of resistance. A word from the band: 45

guest column What does being in the band mean to you? As a co-ordinator of the Sekunjalo Delft Music Academy and trumpeter in the band, I feel I have achieved a lot. If it wasn’t for this project, I wouldn’t be where I am today, due to the gang-infested area I live in. The band has kept me away from all the negative things that happen in Delft. What is the best thing about being in the band? The best part is being part of a team that has become my family. I have also seen so many places as a band member. How has the band changed your life and that of your family? Because of the band I got to put food on the table. Being part of this project has made me a better person in many ways, including studying further. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I’d like to be fully employed by the band because of the impact it had on my life and I’d like to add more value to the lives of the youth on the Cape Flats. What advice would you give to a young musician in Delft? Don’t be scared to be committed to a project that will add value to your life in many ways, like it did with me, not only as a musician but in opening other doors in your life. Practice as much as possible and don’t give up.


Miles Stewart, base

trombone & sousaphone

What does being in the band mean to you? I’ve been in the band since the day it started and it means so much to me. What is the best thing about being in the band? The rehearsals – because then we get together and enjoy the music we work on. How has the band changed your life and that of your family? This band made our family members want to hang out with us and they have supported us through everything. My life has changed tremendously in terms of character, life and work skills. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I see myself working at a school, teaching music and playing in the Sekunjalo Delft Big Band. What advice would you give to a young musician in Delft? To all the kids out there: follow your dreams, learn your talent, read as many books as you can because knowledge is power. It doesn’t matter which background you come from, success is there for everyone.

Lorenzo Blignaut, trumpet What does being in the band mean to you? It means everything to me. I have learned all the basics of music and I would call it my music home.

What is the best thing about being in the band? Just being able to play music and, of course, the fun we have with each other. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I see myself still being part of the band and working as a full-time music teacher for the organisation. What advice would you give to a young musician in Delft? My advice would be, if you don’t love and feel music inside of you, then it’s not meant for you. Anything is possible if you work hard and love what you are doing.

Godwin Blignaut, trombone

What does being in the band mean to you? I am living the life of a musician and making a living out of music. I get to see places and meet people of diverse cultures. I can look forward to a good future because of my youth activities. What is the best thing about being in the band? The band and board members have grown like a family. It is part of our daily life to communicate and see each other and deal with new challenges – whether it is a gig plan, transport, or preparing for a teaching session at the academy. How has the band changed your life and that of your family? I come from a musical background and the band has completed what we have worked for. The band has contributed positively to my attitude to life, education, the music industry, financial sustainability and support for others. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I would like to work fulltime for the band and organisation, focus more on my instrument and learning to play the piano and saxophone. What advice would you give to a young musician in Delft? Music is one of the best tools to conquer the community ills in Delft. Music has helped me to develop many avenues in my life, especially in terms of discipline, work ethics, teamwork, and being positive.

Photography: Ian Landsberg

Tevin Dreyden, trumpet


on today UND


drawing cars. I had no interest in cars, so I started off with houses and fashion drawings, and it grew from there. How did growing up in Swaziland influence your art? In Swaziland, the society and my peers at the time were quite adamant about gender roles and I never conformed to these even when I tried. I knew it wasn’t me. I secretly kept a journal and was able to be emotive without anyone knowing. My peers were worse than the adults because we were almost evaluating each other and the pressure was constant. Luckily, I was misunderstood and I liked being on the margin and that’s how it all began.

Did you always want to be an artist? I wanted to be hairstylist at 5 years old, but that was too alternative for my parents and they basically said, “no”. Luckily, drawing came to me and now [an artist] is the only thing I want to be. What sets you apart from other artists? I am involved with the whole process, from creating to marketing the work. I have developed an audience that is supportive of my interests. At this point I am dealing with the ‘Self’ and bordering issues. I cannot speak of an era I did not witness or of which I have only heard. I am commenting on today.

image and story credit

Khoza was born in Hlatikulu, Swaziland in 1994. He studied there until Grade 9 and then moved to South Africa. It was only in matric where he began having formal education in design. The following year, he enrolled at LISOF – Fashion Design School and Retail Education Institute. He studied fashion for a year, but then left to pursue Fine Art at Tshwane University of Technology, where he attained a BTech in Fine Art. During his second year, Khoza started exhibiting and after graduation, he began lecturing. How did you get into art? I used to watch my cousin and brother draw and thought it was interesting. At the time they were

Photography: Bernard Brand

Since speaking to artist Banele Khoza in February, Khoza opened his first solo exhibition with SMITH gallery, called LOVE?, and a solo exhibition at the Zeitz Mocaa. The latter runs until September 16, 2018.


top 40 under 40 What materials do you work with? Acrylic paint and inks, fineliners, charcoal, my tablet and cellphone. What is your process when creating your art? I go through phases while creating; there is a season for paperworks, then a season for painting on canvas. I also have moments when I do not want to reflect and [instead] watch a model in my studio. I am always sketching or taking notes on my phone – which keeps me sane. As someone who has been a part of a number of exhibitions and who has won numerous prizes, what advice would you give to emerging African artists trying to make a name for themselves? You need to believe in yourself and what you are trying to do. Be realistic about your route, if it means getting another job to fund your dreams that’s what you need to do, otherwise your ideas will not be refined. Make use of most opportunities too, and if others are mentally draining or not in line with your creativity, avoid them. Also, enjoy alone time. That is when you get to reflect and create. Do you think there is room for innovation and/or a new art form on the African art scene? Yes, the world is changing and there are new inventions almost everyday. These conversations could lead to unique, new art as there are new materials available. Who specifically are you hoping your art will speak to? What kind of impact do you want your art to have on people? My art speaks to a wide audience, for which I am grateful. Complete strangers are able to respond to the work without knowing the context. That has been my wish and I hope it educates people. I read that you lecture Drawing and Art Theory at Tshwane University of Technology. At the age of 23, what is your relationship with your students? How do you engage with them? I don’t think they ever realised that I was their age or younger, but

because of my experience in the industry there was a reciprocation of respect. My intention was to give them the core basics for leaping into the industry, while also focusing on the business side of the arts, which wasn’t offered to us. Can you tell us more about your solo exhibition that was at SMITH? LOVE? was my third solo exhibition and my first solo with SMITH. My exhibitions are titled contextualising the period that I am in, in my life. After Lonely Nights, I was closing that period. Mentally, I wanted to connect and basically immersed myself into dating and that came with complications. I started questioning people’s intentions and realising that we are guarded as a society, on different pages. I realised that one has to let their guard down and love wholeheartedly and life might just surprise you.

“I cannot speak of an era I did not witness or of which I have only heard. I am commenting on today.” 49

top 40 under 40

If the (Khoisan) shoe fits… Khoisan Shoes, a unique African female footwear brand, is owned by Cape Town (read KhoiTown) locals, Natalie (32) and Tarryn (31) Temmers.

“Our brogues are made of leather soles and lining, and covered in beautiful African (Sheshwe/Chitenge) prints. These are the types of shoes we wanted to wear, and couldn’t find, so we made them,” says Natalie. The sisters are currently busy with their first range called Halau (‘hello’ in Nama). “Our business is purposed on being part of bringing the story of the Khoisan into the present age. “We want the shoes to reflect the Khoisan story, a story that expresses creativity, vibrancy, ingenuity, and community. Khoisan is part of our heritage and so we see ourselves as part of the modern day Khoisan.”


top 40 under 40



We caught up with the sisters to ask them more about their brand and their journey thus far. What would you say is the essence of the Khoisan brand? We value culture and heritage. We are proudly African. Do you see a need in the market for Khoi-inspired apparel and if yes, why? We are definitely finding that there is a space in the market for Khoisan-inspired apparel, despite this not being the reason we started this brand. We do however see a need for educating society about the Khoisan culture and heritage. To have quality goods and services associated with Khoisan people. Today, there’s a current seeking for and acceptance of, our history and ancestry more than ever before? Why do you think that is? We found that our parents’ generation were not always keen to speak about their heritage. Perhaps because they’ve been through a system that stripped our people of their identity and made them believe that they were just a group of “half bred people”, a miscellaneous group derived from the relations of a white and black person.

This is possibly why we now find many coloured people seeking the truth and feeling the need to celebrate it through a means of expression that suits them. For us, it was footwear design. What have been some of your greatest challenges in establishing the brand and bringing your product to market? Finding a great manufacturer – we’ve been through a few and finally found one that is a great fit for us, quality and cost wise. Funding – thus far we have been self funded and are in the process of sourcing funding. What has been some of the most exciting times? The first pair made by our current manufacturer – the elation of seeing a dream finally realised was such a special time for us. All the small victories shared with our family, friends and colleagues and seeing how it in turn inspires and incites others to pursue their dreams. What’s next for the brand? We plan to sell at three major local craft markets in South Africa later this year. The markets will allow us to have direct access to potential customers and to engage them.

QUICK - FIRE Q&A What’s your biggest wish for Africa? My wish for Africa is to be an example of a healthy community, family and business to the rest of the world. For Africa’s values of faith, community, respect and generosity to be evident in all we do. That Africa will take back her value that has been stored up in others and what others say about her. But for a full realisation of how beautiful, powerful and gifted we have been made to be. That we will stand up with that knowledge and truth and be true leaders, leaders who serve. That we would live by the principles of Africa and less of those from the West. If you could have dinner with any three people – alive or no longer with us – who would they be, and what would you be serving? My Ma – Sophia Holtman, Steve Biko and the woman at the well from the story in the Bible. I’ll be serving my mom’s lamb curry and roti. My Ma – Sophia Holtman, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Dr Reuben R Richards, the author of Bastaards or Humans: The Unspoken Heritage of Coloured People. I’ll be serving a Thai green curry with jasmine rice. What would you do with an extra hour in your day? Read or sleep! Take a walk on the beach. 51

South African Charmaine Taylor grew up in the dark days of apartheid and witnessed the release of former President Nelson Mandela. She watched his path to becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. Taylor always had a passion and vision to promote the message of forgiveness and peace that Madiba shared, and in 2012 her vision came true. Taylor creates jewellery that is made from the original Robben Island fence that secured the prison where Mandela was imprisoned. She shares her story with African Independent of how her proudly African jewellery brand Legacy Collection came about. Tell us a little about yourself, your background and experience that led you to creating the Legacy Collection? I am a girl that has lived in many cities and always reinvented herself. My dad is a minister of the church, so I moved around a lot when I was younger. I have always been open to doing something new. When I finished school, I decided to get a degree in marketing. When I finished my degree, I went to London for a few years and learnt a lot about the fashion industry (I worked at the head office of Armani Clothing) and children’s television, where I worked on a team who created the new release for the iconic Postman Pat. I then returned home to South Africa, where I became more and

Repurposing the past Jewellery embedded with South Africa’s history – Charmaine Taylor incorporates pieces of the Robben Island prison fence within her art ensuring Madiba’s legacy prevails.

Text, styling & art direction: Nontando Mposo. Photo: Siphephile Sibanyoni. Model: Nandipha Gumede.

design more passionate about supporting local. I worked at a children’s clothing company called Naartjie clothing and four years later, I started my own marketing and graphic design company called Love Design, where I still did in-store signage and all print marketing for Naartjie clothing. I ran Love Design for about six years and then decided to start something different. That is when the Legacy Collection was born. Is there a story behind your jewellery pieces? If so, please tell us a little about the stories you narrate with each piece? Yes, there is a story behind each piece. I always want to create jewelry that draws attention, and that the person wearing each piece would be proud to want to tell the story of why they chose to invest and wear the Legacy Collection. I love keeping the original form of the fence in its straight uniform rectangle and often in an X-shape (symbolising our right to vote). As the fence structure runs, that is how my designs often turn out. I am also very drawn to the shape of Africa so a lot of my artwork, pendants and earrings are shaped in this form. Each piece has the raw element of the fence. The raw fence is very unique, inch to inch. I call this the DNA of humanity, as we are all created unique and often shaped by the journey and weathers of life, just like the rusted Robben Island fence. Your designs are meticulous, unique and well thought after, please tell us a little about your design style? In my first range I wanted to keep the fence as it was as much as possible. So I am well known for my straight square or uniform designs. I always ensured through the whole process that I use an original piece of Robben Island prison fence. I keep the original texture as much as possible as this is what makes the collection unique. I also name each piece after our road to democracy and the miracle of the peaceful day of our first democratic vote. Each piece also gets a unique serial number and a certificate of authenticity, and I donate 10% of profits to local education

Vision necklace: Long 80cm drop necklace. With one piece of raw sealed Robben Island Fence at the bottom of the necklace.

projects, which I am extremely passionate about. As a designer, where do you draw inspiration from? I am passionate about giving back and am also an environmentalist – so I often draw inspiration from upcycling or recycling. I am inspired by other environmental and human rights designers and models who are carving the way to more ethical and conscious buying. Tell us a little bit about your latest collection? I have two new collections on the go. With the Legacy Collection, I am concentrating on the African continent, so I am making gorgeous new Africa necklaces, earrings, bangles and cufflinks. I have also created a separate division of the Legacy Collection called Inspired Freedom, where I am creating stories within large earrings. I have a few beaders who I have employed and we weave them together. How will you be spending Mandela Day? I will be working with the Lalala Project, creating art and jewelry with their kids, and doing another activation at the V&A Waterfront. I will also be attending the Nelson Mandela annual lecture, which will be with Barack Obama in Johannesburg.

What does the legacy of Madiba mean to you? I am so proud to be a South African and to say that I lived in a time such as this. Having lived in the old South Africa as a young girl and watching Nelson Mandela take power with such grace, and lead a country into a peaceful democratic election. He tore down walls locally and internationally. His quotes and influence still shape and speak to many people and countries going through similar struggles. He is the reason why I am doing what I am doing today, my inspiration is drawn from his pain and also his victory. I am creating something beautiful from a rusted deteriorated past. There is beauty in scars, which is symbolised in the rusted texture in my gold and silver designs.

CELEBRATE MADIBA’S CENTENARY WITH THESE INITIATIVES: 10th anniversary edition of Ihlombe! honours Madiba’s centenary – Visit www. for more information.

Habitat for Humanity’s ‘100 homes for 100 families’ – Visit za/100homes/ to see how you can get involved.

Forgood’s 100 opportunities for Mandela Day – Visit and have a look through the list of opportunities on offer.

The Relate Trust’s special Mandela Centenary Bracelet – Visit https://www.relate. for more information. 53

top 40under 40 LONWABO (36) & LUVUYO RANI Founders and directors of Silulo Business Incubation

Founders and directors of Silulo Business Incubation, Lonwabo and Luvuyo Rani, say that when founding their business, the vision was always to cater to marginalised and disenfranchised entrepreneurs. Now, at the ages of 36 and 43 respectively, the brothers – through their hard work and dedication – have made their vision a reality. Why, in your opinion, is there a need for accelerator and incubation programmes, especially in Africa? Africa has a huge need for these

From a very young age, Voster developed a passion for working with brands when she was afforded an opportunity of being part of a youth marketing agency. In that role, she was required to do extensive research and form very strong perspectives about brands targeted at her age group. The bug hit her instantly! Her interest in the role grew with time and inspired her to pursue a degree in marketing communications. “I knew I wanted to continue working within the marketing and branding space. Somehow being able to work on my own ‘Tumi Voster’ brand also came in handy in teaching me about marketing,” she says. After securing an internship to shadow a brand strategist at the Creative Counsel, Voster used the opportunity as a stepping stone to catapult her career to even greater heights by not only understanding the working world in general, but the agency environment. To complete her degree, Voster

kinds of programmes because of lack of infrastructure and a platform for small businesses to go to for support. It is a community where entrepreneurs can come together to compare ideas and share their stories in order to maintain growth. It is a need that we see in South Africa, in townships and in Africa as a whole. You started off by selling computers from the boot of a car and have since grown in leaps and bounds. What has been the key to your success? It’s based on the space we are in. We are pioneers in providing technology opportunities for township and rural areas. We have deliberately chosen a unique market. Businesses have been afraid to operate in this space because of crime and lack of infrastructure, but we took the risk. It


Marketing Manager, Universal Music & 5FM Presenter.

had to put her television presenting career (which she had started at the age of 15) aside. The sacrifice paid off. “After finishing my degree, I went back to entertainment. For three years I was

is also about the impact. We’ve trained and skilled many young people in ICT training and afterwards, they are able to find employment. We also give former employees franchise opportunities. Starting and maintaining a successful business is hard work. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? It’s all about hard work and having a passion for what you do. Give it your all. Focus and have discipline on what you are building. Networking and a positive attitude.

off-the-scene because I owed it to myself and my single mother to do well in varsity, which I did.” While studying, Voster developed an interest in radio and had a stint at UJ FM – the campus station – and that’s where her career in radio took off. She landed her first professional spot on the regional youth station YFM before moving to 5FM. “Education provides one with options. My advice to young people is to make sure education is the foundation of everything they do. Stay educated, because that will be the key to your future,” she says. Voster is currently juggling her role as marketing manager at Universal Music, as well as hosting her weekend show on 5FM. “I am so inspired and happy to be a part of this generation. Even though our challenges are different from the youth of 1976, we have a generation of leaders amongst us! Young women who head up powerful positions in companies.” 55

top 40 under 40




Founder, The Genie Group

From raw eel to dried viper; from licking one’s own sweat to rubbing lemons under your armpits - for centuries avid partygoers have been searching for the most efficient hangover cure. Now, a product has been launched in South Africa that not only aids in curing a hangover, but can be taken to actively prevent the pure feeling of dread after a night out. Enter, Lohocla - “alcohol” spelt backwards. Lohocla, the first anti-hangover shooter, was founded by university students after a hectic night of partying. This shooter, mixed with still or sparkling water, works by reversing the effects of alcohol on the body. It contains all natural ingredients, like Ginseng, Vitamins B12 and B6, turmeric and sage. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company. I am an inventor, wealth coach and mentor. I’ve always been attracted to problem solving and my fondest childhood memories are playing video games, building Legos and puzzles. My mother always reminds me that before I started playing with a toy, I used to take them apart in order to understand them better. I have a passion for the formulation and building of really exceptional ideas, and I’ve buildt the philosophy of The Genie Group on this. I call it a human company. I love teaching people and helping them ignite their hidden potential. What is the company ethos? The Genie Group is a holding company built on the philosophy “Create Magic”. We believe that everyone is born with something they can contribute to humanity. We


were not born to pay bills and die, but instead to express the gifts and magic we were endowed with. It is often said that if you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs. I was able to observe that people will hop from company to company their whole lives looking for meaning only to find joy when they started following their own inclinations and building on them. At The Genie Group, we don’t see employees, we see people with ideas. No one applies with a CV or a resume, but with an idea that they aim to build upon with the aid of other people, while using their skills to contribute to other ideas. As a result, people are motivated, contribute to something greater than themselves and are able to access already built networks, funds and skills within the team. We are strict about not calling quits, but seeing every idea to completion by allocating enough time, energy and resources to each one. This is how we create magic. The only prerequisite of this is that they teach someone else after. The model automatically solves youth unemployment in the long term. Where did the idea of Lohocla originate? Lohocla is the world’s first “antihangover shooter” and the first idea turned product we’ve brought out. I came up with the idea in my final year of Economic Science at Wits University in 2012 after a hectic night of clubbing and with classes the next morning at 8am. It’s safe to say I was seriously hungover and I knew that this was not the first time nor was it the last time.

I had a “eureka” moment and researched what was in the market, only to find pills and bad looking products that didn’t solve the problem and weren’t at the place where I needed them to be. I decided that I was going to complete my studies and not go into corporate, but dedicate my all to this idea. It was crazy, but years later one of the biggest products to come out Africa, Lohocla exists. What has the uptake of your product been on the market? The product has done exceptionally well, attracting interest from Europe, the US and Asia and investment from Switzerland. People have appreciated the premium, exclusive look and feel of the product and we just launched on the local market with plans to scale and begin exporting as the year progresses. We wish to build the brand over a few years and exit to a bigger beverage/ liquor conglomerate. What, according to you, are some of the current societal problems and how can we best solve them? My passion is for developing countries, where major problems remain low self-esteem, unemployment, hopelessness and a constant bombardment of products/ services that only work in more Western countries. The best way to approach these issues is for the youth to help solve them themselves, because we were all called to be leaders in areas of our gifting, especially in Africa, with the world’s youngest population. It’s only natural that the next wave of immense growth will come from the developing world.

top 40under 40 RICHARD RAYNE (38)



CEO, iLearn

Richard Rayne launched iLearn when he was only 21. Today, the company employs 70 people and has offices in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. Richard is also the Africa regional learning expert of the Entrepreneur Organisation, having previously held the Learning Chair board role of the Cape Town chapter for four years. What would you say have been some of the biggest challenges of starting a business so young? One of the biggest challenges early on, was gaining credibility as a 21-year-old when selling to corporate clients with little track

record. There were often opportunities where I presented to boards of large businesses, and I wonder if I would have been more successful in later years. The way I overcame this, was to focus on building a brand and instead had two sets of business cards, i.e. Business Development Consultant and another Managing Director. How important is quality education for the South African economy? The argument of quality is appropriate to any industry. You get what you pay for and the quality of education is measured by the learning impact on the individual and perhaps the result of being able to gain more meaningful, credible employment. South Africa has one of the highest, if not the highest, unemployment rate. What can be done to put a dent in this staggering figure? I believe the economic reality is that without a growing market, there

is less chance of creating employment opportunities and resolving the unemployment issue. In South Africa, our unemployment problem, is also exaggerated by the poor schooling system which is not equipping people with the requisite skills to become employable. I look forward to a South Africa where there is more supply of skills than perhaps demand making it a fiercely competitive environment which in turn drives up the quality of education. Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? Key advice to anyone considering starting a business is to learn first how to run and build a business from either working in a growing business or aligning yourself to an incubator, business coach or entrepreneur training programme. You can avoid the many mistakes, a lot of them I made, that are typical in building and growing a business.


Founder, SkillUp Tutors

What, in your view, is the role of the youth in building and assisting South Africa to be an influential part of the global community? The youth of South Africa need to question everything that is the way it is currently. South Africa has a lot of ladders to climb in the global community, and we’re not going to climb it by doing things the same way we always have. We shouldn’t accept that we have one of the worst education systems in the world. What inspired you to pursue opportunities in this sector? I often tell people that I didn’t start an educational company because my education was perfect. I was fortunate enough to go to a resourceful school, get into engineering at the University of Cape Town and ultimately get on track to where I wanted to go. Imagine having one


of the top five education systems in the world in the next ten years, or being one of the safest countries in the world? That’s where we need the youth – they have to fundamentally question their position in the global community. What are the dangers of not highlighting the hardships that come with entrepreneurship? I think it is often perceived as easy because you only ever hear about the entrepreneurs that have reached certain newsworthy milestones. The most difficult thing is that it always falls on you: every decision, motivation and daily effort. What does Youth month mean to you as a young South African? I believe the youth in South Africa are bred differently. On the one hand, a large part of suffering,

violence and neglect falls on the youth. It is the youth’s burden to carry when fear, uncertainty and lack of opportunity rule society. On the other hand, South Africa is filled with opportunity. People who see barriers as opportunities, are often some of the most hardworking, determined individuals.

top 40under 40 FEZILE DHLAMINI (26)

Founder, Green Scooter

Being rejected several times by the likes of Uber and Taxify, Fezile Dhlamini decided to create opportunity out of adversity. He founded his own e-hailing service called Green Scooter, a company that uses low-cost, hi-tech electric scooters. Fezile bought 20 scooters from a company in Sweden and plans to launch his business in Johannesburg in September 2018. We chatted to Fezile about Green Scooter, his challenges, successes and plans for the future. Where did the idea for Green Scooter come from?

Motorcycle taxis, also known as bodabodas, okadasin or motos, are a popular form of transportation in Africa. However, in Rwanda these ‘motos’ account for 80% of traffic accidents. Peter Kariuki realised that something needed to be done to ensure safer transportation. As a child, Kariuki taught himself how to code and being one of East Africa’s greatest developers, he worked on finding technical solutions for Africa’s transportation sector, and thus SafeMotos came to be. SafeMotos, known as “Africa’s Uber” helps customers find safe motorcycle drivers. Through a report card rating system, riders can give


The idea for Green Scooter came to me while I was using public transport. I was concerned about how much more commuters had to walk to complete their trip. So I began exploring different vehicles and ended up finding the Zbee scooter, manufactured by a Swedish company. Green Scooter is more than just a ride-sharing and e-services platform – this is going to be an amazing business that will, among other things, help with job creation by bringing a micro-factory to South Africa. We also hope to expand across the southern hemisphere over time. What would you say have been some of your biggest challenges and successes? My biggest challenge is funding. It has not been easy to start a business as a young, black person. I have spent a lot of time and kilometres driving to various government departments and parastatals pitching and seeking direction to get funding for my business (which has a proof


of concept). I would like for the government to re-explore how they fund ideas and the mantra of these many incubation programmes which do not seem to have many successors. My biggest success to date is securing a contract with and interest from Swedish company, Clean Motion. I really do appreciate the trust they have in me and my vision. I’d like to challenge the South African government: if a foreign company (that has never been to Africa) can see the potential of such a business, why can’t they? Where do you see yourself and your business in five years? In five years, I would like to see my ideas radically transform society – financially and environmentally. I foresee a number of offices in key African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, as well as South America, as I have seen the problems faced by emerging markets and the potential that can be explored.


Founder, SafeMotos­(Rwanda)

feedback on their drivers – thereby ensuring that taxi drivers operate safely and adhere to the rules of the road. A smartphone with the SafeMotos app is given to drivers and this app records their driving speed, GPS and gyroscope information. Drivers and customers are also given helmets with chin protectors for safety. SafeMotos is partnering with Rwanda’s ICT Department to find a way of implementing the existing technology to help ensure overall road safety. 57

top 40 under 40 GABRIELLA ESPOSITO (25)

Baker & entrepreneur

Gabriella Esposito is as sweet as the desserts she loves to bake. Her food journey began as a child, and food has always been a big part of her upbringing. Gabi’s father is a chef and owns Giovanni’s Deli World in Green Point, Cape Town. But her real food journey began while on her gap year. Gabi came across the bakery Ladurée, where “they make the best macarons known to man,” she says. “I said to myself: if I can make a macaron, I can do anything.” After 16 attempts, she got the little French dessert right, and was inspired to start baking.




top 40 under 40 Has food always been a passion of yours? As I have gotten older, food has become more of a passion. I like baking and enjoy the science of it. I like the precision. In the past year, I’ve found a lot more enjoyment in cooking, because it’s the complete opposite – throwing ingredients into a pot and seeing what will happen. How has growing up in an Italian family influenced your food journey? I am fully South African, and proudly so, but having an Italian upbringing, naturally sparks a flame and a passion for food. Our whole family is very into food. My nonna (grandmother) taught my dad and my dad taught himself, and my uncle is a co-owner of Giovanni’s. You completed the Two Oceans Half Marathon this year. You’ve previously entered fitness competitions. Would you say that you are quite health conscious? My health journey started a very long time ago. From three-years-old I was a dancer. My dancing years were some of the best and worst of my life. I started to have very negative body image issues. I went gluten-free at age 12 and didn’t even know what that meant. About five years ago, when I started understanding health and fitness, I was able to train and eat a balanced lifestyle, and maintain a good weight. How does that translate into your cooking? I eat for my body and my skin.

Jessica Sepel has an incredible outlook on food – you can have a glass of wine, pasta, dark chocolate… She encourages you to eat the food you like to eat and those that complement your body. I follow her way of eating, but if I am entertaining, I go to one of Ottolenghi’s books, which is mainly plant-based. What was the idea behind your business Skinny Scoop? While at college, I started competing in fitness shows. I used to take my personal trainer treats, and one of them was protein ice cream. He loved the concept and saw the business potential. We finished our studies and launched Skinny Scoop in 2015, after eight months of planning. There was a need for something healthy and natural, but that also satisfied the sweet tooth. You recently decided to sell Skinny Scoop. What was the thought-process behind that decision? Without wanting to sound negative, South Africa is a difficult country in which to own a business, especially in Cape Town; one of the most expensive cities in the world, where we earn the smallest salaries. Selling a frozen product is also difficult, because you have to deal with machinery that could break down. With Skinny Scoop, which has no preservatives or stabilisers, this can be a disaster. You need capital to deal with these kinds of problems. We found a buyer, in November last year, who was not only passionate, but also understood the health business and had corporate experience. They


also agreed to take on all of our staff – one of our conditions. I still do Skinny Scoop’s social media. What’s next on the cards for you? I’m going back to my first love – food photography (what I studied). A friend of mine, Megan Daniels, who is a food stylist, wanted to start a food magazine and approached me to do the photography, styling and recipe development. We started Eat Magazine South Africa, an online food magazine. What does success mean to you? If you can wake up in the morning and genuinely be excited about what you are doing, you’re successful. I don’t think it has to do with money. How do you unwind? With a nice big glass of red wine. I’m Italian, so, I’ll blame it on that. I love to cook. Coming home to cook a meal and having a glass of wine is my ultimate favourite thing to do. What message would you like to give to aspiring women entrepreneurs? I think that there are so many qualities that we, as women, are lucky to have. We are very prone to think with both our heads and hearts. My advice is to never lose that spark. Have that extra bit of passion and care, be emotionally attached to certain projects, because it does shine through. Go to meetings and look the men, who won’t talk to you because you’re a woman, in the face. Be stern and assertive with them, but not disrespectful.


1 cup gluten-free oats 1/2 cup Xylitol 1/4 cup coconut oil 1 egg (can sub for a chia or flax egg if vegan), lightly whisked 1/2 cup almond butter 40g protein powder of choice (we use a natural vanilla whey protein) 2 tbs coconut flour 1 tbs desiccated coconut 1 tsp ground cinnamon, optional 2 blocks dark chocolate, roughly chopped, optional 1 tsp ground cinnamon, optional 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line or grease a baking tray. 2. P lace oats, Xylitol and coconut oil into a saucepan and cook on a low heat until coconut oil has melted and Xylitol has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 3. Once the mixture has cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. 4. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool completely. 5. Enjoy with a cup of tea, coffee or skinny hot chocolate! 59

top 40 under 40



Innovator Matt Manning is known as a pioneer in the food industry and creator of unique pop-up dining experiences. After doing his time in London’s Michelin star kitchens, Matt relocated to South Africa in 2012 where he spent time on his friend’s couch before securing the position of Sous Chef at La Colombe. Although Matt has always been passionate about cooking, he is also inherently entrepreneurial


MATT MANNING Private Chef and Creator of One Ingredient and Private Kitchen

and knew there must be more to his journey. After a number of years at La Colombe, Matt decided to venture out alone as a private chef. Inspired by South Africa’s amazing produce, he decided to create a series of monthly pop-up dinners, and ‘One Ingredient’ – his signature dinners – was born. One Ingredient showcases the versatility of a single ingredient across five courses, each

paired with a wine from a premium wine estate. Since the successful launch of One Ingredient, Matt has been invited to cook for premium brands such as Tom Ford, Remy Martin, Siemens, Roger Dubuis and Whirlpool. Matt does it all: from designing the menu, sourcing the ingredients, preparing the food, securing the wine farm, marketing the dinners, taking bookings, and ultimately cooking.

business focus

Thinking a century ahead

Inspired by sustainability, LOUIS XIII launches the ‘100 Years’ campaigns to help bring attention to global warming As our environment becomes more vulnerable each year, sustainability and climate change are two focal points within the larger discussion on global warming. African Independent speaks to Ludovic du Plessis, Global Executive Director of Louis XIII – the most exclusive spirit on earth – about the company’s campaigns to help inspire a more sustainable future for the next generation. Louis XIII recently launched a campaign called 100 Years in collaboration with the singer and producer Pharrell Williams. Can you tell us more about the campaign? LOUIS XIII partnered with Pharrell on this innovative project due to a shared dedication to issues pertaining to the environment. The original song is a creative expression of the delicate relationship between nature and time, and the effect humans have on their environment. Each decanter of LOUIS XIII represents the life achievement of generations of Cellar Masters, so LOUIS XIII must always think a century ahead. 100 Years premiered during a private listening party in Shanghai in November 2017, where Pharrell presented the song for one time only. The exclusive performance was recorded onto a record made of clay from the chalky soil of Cognac and stored in the cellars of LOUIS XIII in a state-of-the-art safe that is only destructible if submerged in water. If sea

levels continue to rise at such an alarming rate due to climate change, scientists project that in 100 years, a significant portion of the world’s land might be underwater. The only way to guarantee this original piece of music will be heard again in 2117 – a century from now – is if we address the tragic consequences of global warming. If we do not change our way of living, future generations will never be able to hear this song. 100 Years: The Song We’ll Only Hear If We Care by Pharrell Williams will be out in 2117 but only if we care. You partnered with actor and visionary John Malkovich in 2015 where you created 100 Years: The Movie You Will Never See. Can you tell us more about this artistic work and what it represents? In November 2015, we made the announcement of an original film starring John Malkovich that envisions Earth one hundred years from now and will not be released until 2115. The film, directed by Robert Rodriguez, was inspired by the century of careful craftsmanship and patience it takes to create each decanter of LOUIS XIII Cognac. To ensure that 100 Years remains secure until its official premiere in 2115, one century from now, the film was placed in a state-of-the-art safe which will open automatically in 100 years when the timing is complete. One thousand guests from around the world received an exclusive invitation to give

to their descendants to attend the premiere on November 18, 2115, at the House of LOUIS XIII in Cognac, France. The focus point in South Africa, and across the world, is sustainability. How are you contributing to a more sustainable future? The central goal of 100 Years: The Song We’ll Only Hear If We Care is to raise attention for global warming and support the international effort to stymie climate change. LOUIS XIII must always think a century ahead, as the role of the Cellar Master is to set aside the finest eaux-de-vie as a legacy to his successors for the coming century. Our intention with this project is to be a flag bearer for this major issue of the 21st century. The project was devised as an artistic exploration of the way our actions today shape the world of tomorrow and we hope it will sensitise as many people as possible to be attentive to their actions. Preparing the legacy we will leave behind for future generations is an integral part of our brand DNA, and our involvement in the international effort to combat climate change is not only legitimate, it is imperative. Since each decanter is the life achievement of generations of Cellar Masters, LOUIS XIII must always think a century ahead, and the stability of our environment ensures not only the future of LOUIS XIII Cognac but also the world around us. 61

top 40 under 40




Co-founder and CEO of GiftedMom (Cameroon)

Alain Nteff is an award-winning social entrepreneur who developed a mobile app at the age of 20 to combat maternal and infant mortality in Cameroon. While visiting a rural clinic in 2012, Nteff was shocked to find that a large number of women and babies had died from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth or illnesses. When he discovered that most of these deaths were preventable had they received proper healthcare, he was determined to find a solution. At the time, Nteff, who was an engineering student in Yaounde, used low-cost technology to develop a mobile messaging app, which he named GiftedMom, and launched the platform two years later with his friend, Dr Conrad Tankou. Their aim was to improve maternal and infant health by reaching out to women across the country. GiftedMom is a free SMS and voice mobile platform that sends expectant and new mothers information about antenatal care. It also notifies them of their next antenatal appointment or when to take their newborn for vaccinations. With a population of 23.5 million, Cameroon suffers from one of the worst maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. Most of these deaths are easily preventable if mothers and children are treated by skilled health workers. Nteff says that the issue of maternal and infant mortality largely impacts women in rural areas, who have limited access to proper healthcare or are not knowledgeable about the importance of antenatal care during pregnancy. This is why


the GiftedMom app is so important, as it provides a vital communication channel between doctors and women living in rural areas. Thankfully, the service has yielded positive results. Nteff says that since 2014, GiftedMom has garnered 70 000 subscribers across the country and increased antenatal visits by 20%. Since 2014, the social enterprise has grown into a network of engineers, doctors and healthcare workers, and partnered with

international NGOs. They are also working with 50 hospitals across Cameroon, with plans to expand the service into neighbouring countries. Nteff is hopeful they will impact millions of women across Africa in the near future. Nteff and his team have received numerous awards and grants to bolster their work. In 2015, he was one of 60 young people between the ages of 18 and 29, to receive the first ever Queen’s Young Leader Award. The prestigious accolade, presented by HRH Queen Elizabeth, honours exceptional people from across the Commonwealth who have made a difference in their communities. In the same year, Nteff was named a Global Shaper and was the youngest person to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. And, in 2014, he won the Anzisha Prize, which honours innovative African entrepreneurs.

top 40under 40 ASHLYN MASHOENE (26)

Chemical Process Engineer, General Electric South Africa

After securing three scholarships while studying at the University of the Witwatersrand, Ashlyn Mashoene did not look back when pursuing her dream of being a chemical engineer. What drew you to the world of chemical engineering? My inquisitive nature within the science field and being fascinated by the process of converting raw materials into consumables are the two motives that led me to pursue a

career as a chemical engineer. What are some of the most important lessons you have learned on your journey? I’ve learned that life is not a paved path and that setbacks only exist to make us stronger and more resilient. As a young South African, are you optimistic about your future? I am! With free education in South Africa as an available option, the sky is the limit. If only young South Africans would put more effort


Environmentalist & inventor

Kiara has developed a unique superabsorbent polymer that holds hundreds of times its weight in water when stored in soil. The polymer is biodegradable, inexpensive and free of harmful chemicals, unlike the manmade materials currently used. The polymer, made entirely from waste products, improves the environment, increases the chance


Founder, Verdant AgriTech (Nigeria)

Nasir Yammama founded Verdant AgriTech in 2014. The company aims to support rural

for plants to sustain growth by 84% during a drought and can increase food security by 73% in disasterstruck areas. In 2017, Kiara was awarded the Grand Prize at the Google Science Fair, featured by both The Times and The Guardian on their top 30 Most Influential Teens lists, and invited by Forbes and TED to speak about her work. Using these platforms, and her role as a Worldwide Fund for Nature

farmers by using technology to ensure sustainable farming and increase food production. Fifty farmers thus far have been taught how to collect market and weather information, gain management skills and improve their financial acumen. According to Nasir, the reason he founded the company was to ensure that through the use of technology, smallholder farmers can sell more produce, make a profit and increase their standard of living.

into harnessing their creative spark and starting their own entrepreneurial ventures instead of only looking at using their educational qualifications to work for big companies. What, in your view, is the role of the youth in building and assisting South Africa to be an influential part of the global community? Looking at the high youth unemployment rate we currently face as a country, I believe the youth of South Africa must take it upon ourselves to formulate a plan of action on how to address this challenge. This can be done by cultivating within our youth a spirit of entrepreneurship and a strong sense of taking initiative about matters that affect us directly.

Student Ambassador, Kiara actively promotes the importance of protecting our environment through innovation. By the end of 2018, Kiara plans to successfully implement the polymer in her community and explore other solutions for agriculture worldwide. She also hopes to use her international platform to encourage other young girls to pursue innovative solutions to the challenges that their own communities face.



Nasir has many accolades to his name. He graduated from Middlesex University in London with a degree in information technology and business information systems. He also holds a Master’s degree in creative technology. He won a number of awards, including the British Council and Virgin Atlantic Enterprise Challenge in 2015. Nasir was mentored by business mogul, Sir Richard Branson, after which he managed to secure startup funds for Verdant. 63

top 40 under 40 AARTI TAKOORDEEN (37) CFO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Aarti Takoordeen is the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). With degrees in commerce and accounting, Takoordeen began her career at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and IT company Namitech, where she served as manager of business finance. Driven by ambition, the chartered accountant set her sights on something far greater, which led her to global IT giant Hewlett Packard, in 2004,

where she assumed the role of finance manager. After five years with HP, she moved to the South African office of Johnson Controls — a multinational technology and industrial company — where she worked as finance director for Africa and the Middle East. Takoordeen is dedicated to “breaking the mould of traditional finance professionals”, which is evident in her strategic leadership, diligence and innovative approach to business. Her impressive rise through the ranks did not go unnoticed and in 2013, she was offered the position of CFO of the JSE — making her the youngest CFO of a JSE-listed company at the time. In 2014, she won the Young CFO of the Year Award in South Africa, and in 2017, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum — an accolade that recognises eminent leaders from a wide range of professions around the world. As a YGL, Takoordeen will work with other leaders to resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges, and hopes to inspire future financial leaders on the continent.




top 40 under 40 A passion for numbers and the therefore, research is of grit to make a career out of it are extreme importance. Never some of the attributes that helped leave things half done. I Accvisory Solutions founder found out that failure is not Khanyisile Dayi achieve the the end of the world and you milestones she has managed to. can always re-evaluate your The path to following strategy and try again. one’s dreams is not a clearWhat is your vision for cut journey. Most people yourself, and South Africa, romanticise it by highlighting going forward? the success instead of the The vision for me and hard work and long hours/ my business is to be able to years behind an accomplished send youth from povertydream. What were some of stricken backgrounds (26) your career and businessto school and provide threatening mishaps? employment opportunities Founder, Accvisory Solutions One of my biggest mistakes to recently graduated youth. when starting my business was I want to help shape the not doing my research and not entrepreneurship hub of understanding my clients. I was not listening to what South Africa. My vision is that it becomes a country that they wanted and I did not take time to understand promotes education and empowers its youth and delivers on their businesses. This led to many clients cancelling these promises with less crime, especially towards women contracts and the business lost a lot of money in the and children. process. As a young South African, are you optimistic about What are some of the most important lessons your future? you picked up from those experiences? Yes, I am very optimistic about the future. The youth of I learnt to get to know the client first, research today is very determined and driven; people are educated, their business and the industry that they are in. and others are starting businesses. We acknowledge that our Knowledge is power, preparation is key. Whenever backgrounds don’t determine where we can go and what I do something or deal with a client, I need to know we can achieve. We are not only creating opportunities for each and everything about their business. Everything ourselves but for the country, therefore, I believe that we are that I do needs to be done with utmost excellence, headed to a very prosperous future.



The Honourary Joy Kenewendo is the youngest cabinet minister ever appointed in Botswana. Prior to becoming Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, she was appointed as a member of parliament by former President Ian Khama. Kenewendo has previously worked as a trade economist in Ghana’s Department of Trade and Industry, being no stranger to the ins and outs of her current ministry. She has a passion for women and youth empowerment and founded Molaya Kgosi, a programme that aspires to raise up female leaders and mentors. The minister is passionate about alleviating poverty, reducing inequality and propelling development, not only in Botswana, but across the African continent. She holds an Master’s in International Economics from the University of Sussex.



Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (Botswana) 65

For bringing

BASEBALL to the people Gift Ngoepe has brought an American pastime to South Africa’s attention, introducing a new sport to the people.




top 40 under 40


Gift ‘Mpho’ Ngoepe’s Major League Baseball (MLB) dream started at the age of three when his mother moved from northern Limpopo to Johannesburg, where she started as a domestic worker at the Randburg Mets Baseball Clubhouse. A sport quite similar to baseball, Ngoepe played cricket in the clubhouse’s living room, using a dustbin for a wicket – that was where his passion for baseball developed. A few years later, the Randburg Mets adopted him as a tyke and taught him how to play catch and swing a bat. He became their mascot, their water boy and their batboy, and later their most gifted young player as he climbed through age divisions ranging from T-ballers to adults, becoming the only black player at the time. In 2008, he was spotted at MLB’s European academy in Italy by the Pittsburgh Pirates who have

groomed him for his debut in 2017 after playing in the minor leagues for nine consecutive years and 704 games. He became the first black African to ever play Major League Baseball and recorded his first career hit, a single off Cubs’ starting pitcher Jon Lester. In November 2017, he was traded to Canadian Major League side, the Toronto Blue Jays, and then New York-based affiliate Buffalo Bisons where he currently plays minor league baseball. The athletic infielder has played close to 800 games in less than a year of starting Major League Baseball. Ngoepe isn’t just committed to joining MLB again, but wants to get more South Africans involved in baseball and put African teams on the map. In March 2018, he visited South Africa, promoting the sport and encouraging the youth to participate.

• Made history by being the first black African to play in the Major League Baseball (MLB) • Represented the South African baseball team at the age of 15. • Became the first black South African to sign a professional baseball contract in 2008. • Currently the first and only African player in major and minor leagues • Featured on Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans 2016 list. • Played nine years of his professional career in minor leagues before making MLB debut at the age of 27. • Was recognised by the Minister of Sport and Recreation at the 2017 National Sport Awards for his achievements and inspiration. • Has played in three World Baseball Classics representing South Africa. 67

top 40 under 40 In March 2018, he visited South Africa, promoting baseball and encouraging the youth to participate.


top 40under 40


Dubbed as South Africa’s fastest man, gold medallist Akani Simbine expresses his gratitude for being able to represent the country at some of the world’s biggest stages. What does Youth month mean to you? Youth month represents a time for the youth to remember the hardships of the past, how young people believed in themselves so much that they took matters that affected them into their own hands. It serves as a reminder to

believe in our dreams. What has been your biggest lesson thus far? I learnt the importance of staying positive in every situation and completely applying myself to my professional commitments. Are you optimistic about the future of South Africa? Yes! I am inspired by a lot of young people who are achieving amazing things. As the youth, we seem to be believing in ourselves more and striving to achieve even more.


Kagiso Rabada is a South African international cricketer who plays all formats of the game. Rabada, who is known by the nickname KG, is a fast bowler and plays domestic cricket for the Highveld Lions. By January 2018, he had topped both the ICC ODI bowler rankings and the ICC Test bowler rankings at the age of only 22. He made his debut for Gauteng in the CSA Provincial One-Day Competition against Border in December 2013.

He represented South Africa’s side for the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. As South Africa won the tournament, he was their best bowler claiming the 2nd most wickets (14) in the tournament. He also claimed the best figures of the tournament, which led him to being dubbed “the fastest and most feared bowler in the competition”. He made his Twenty20 International debut for South Africa against Australia on 5 November 2014.


Damian Willemse is a South African Rugby player and plays the position of fly-half for the Stormers rugby team. In 2014, he was selected to represent the Western Province rugby team at the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week held in Pretoria. He started all three of their matches, helping them to three victories. In 2015, Willemse was selected in the Western Province squad for South Africa’s premier high school rugby tournament, the

Under-18 Craven Week. The fly half was included in the South Africa Schools squad for the Under-18 International Series, involving their counterparts from Wales, France and England. In 2017, he earned five Junior Springbok caps in the World Rugby U20 Championships in Georgia and won bronze finishing in third place, and was nominated for the Junior Springbok Player of the Year and SA Rugby Young Player of the Year.

Professional athlete

International cricketer

International Rugby player 69


Southern Africa meets South-East Asia Opportunity abounds for enterprising Africans even in exotic places which share no history with our continent, writes business development consultant Navine Christian. Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma has scaled the heights of academia in Vietnam, South-East Asia. I first met Nkhoma on Skype while researching Asian universities. In February 2018, we met informally in Ho Chi Minh City, leading to a tour of his ultramodern university a few weeks later, where he is professor and Head of the School of Business & Management. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology International University (RMIT) is an Australian university which ranked similarly to some of the top South African universities. RMIT University Vietnam is registered separately as a university and retains


systemic links with the mother institution. It is not surprising therefore that Nkhoma’s work is highly regarded in Australia and South-East Asia, considering his pioneering work over the past decade. Nkhoma credits his success to the strong educational ethics of Malawi’s first independent government, which, since 1963, actively promoted a British model of education. His father, who moved from Northern Malawi and eventually settled in the Southern part (then Nyasaland), motivated young Nkhoma to achieve academically. He attended Dharap Primary School and Liwaladzi private secondary school.

His tertiary studies were completed in the UK at the University of East London, where he also began his lecturing career after completing a doctorate in Management Information Systems (Information Security). He has since held teaching, research and leadership appointments at Al Ghurair University and University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, before moving to RMIT University Vietnam. The enthusiastic student from Southern Africa has become a globallyrespected academic with specialist expertise in higher education in a developing country. In Southern Africa, Vietnam is not

international well-known and is usually associated with the American War which ended in 1975. Since then, the country has converted from a centrally-planned to a market economy and seen consistent annual growth of 6% since the 2000’s. Rapid economic growth recognised the need for modernisation of tertiary education and, in 2012, changes to the Higher Education law enabled institutions to decide on their own number of enrolees, the content of their programmes, introduction of new programmes, as well as joint programmes with reputable international universities. Nkhoma found himself in this environment of dynamic change when he settled in Ho Chi Minh City. RMIT offered him a platform to strategise and manage Vietnam’s leading private and best equipped university, which is already well underway towards becoming paperless. Virtually all learning uses digital devices and platforms; seminar rooms are booked by using snapscan technology, all furniture has been designed for laptops and tablets, complete with power and internet access. Digital writing boards are connected to large screens within rooms, board-work is saved and communicated digitally, academic articles are made available electronically, ideas are shared digitally with groups, lecturers and stakeholders, Wi-Fi is everywhere. Other than in administrative

unique teaching methodology. Over the years, Nkhoma has worked tirelessly at documenting the limitations and successes of the “digitally blended” educational model, the likes of which has not been seen in Southern Africa. He explains that learning is viewed as more than simply remembering details; it primarily endeavours to solve problems. In commerce, RMIT’s learning model is designed to address the challenges faced by commerce directly, through direct interaction with business. Companies are requested to share their problems with RMIT students, who then work on solutions. Where possible, cases are writtenup for future educational purposes. Companies benefit from exposure to fresh, theoretically-informed

“Vietnam offers opportunities for adventurous Southern Africans to engage this high-growth economy.” offices, no paper or books are visible. To an educational traditionalist, it may seem impossible for students to learn effectively with their heavy reliance on digital technology. Nkhoma informs that lecture theatres are no longer used as often owing largely to RMIT’s

perspectives and their recruitment decisions are often simplified by meeting innovative young people while they are still studying. Through his interaction with Professor Grandon Gill, an expert in the case-study method and a Harvard University

graduate, Nkhoma has refined the administration and development of the case by using digital technology. It is clear that effective learning at RMIT requires good memory, understanding of theory and practical application of digital technologies, within an industry context. Having adjusted to Vietnamese life and travelling frequently around the Pacific Rim, Nkhoma’s time with his family is valuable. His wife (Clara Nkhoma) is also an academic at the same university and coordinating work schedules with the timetables of his three children (Tadala, Tupochele and Temweka) is challenging. His parents, now retired, are still in Malawi which, regrettably, he is unable to visit as often as he would like to. While Vietnam does not fall within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) alliance to which South Africa subscribes, the country offers opportunities for adventurous Southern Africans to engage this high-growth economy in dynamic ways. South Africa hosts a full embassy in the capital Hanoi, which already assists hundreds of our teachers there. In time, academics and consultants will see opportunity for trade and investment, as our understanding of Vietnam improves. Nkhoma’s ground-breaking work in academia and business has begun to build a bridge between Southern Africa and one of South-East Asia’s tiger economies. 71

final say

Kirtanya Lutchminarayan has her Master’s in Biological Science and works as a project officer at WWF South Africa

What a time to be alive! We are living in an age where the realities of pollution, deforestation and changing climates are not just concerns for our planet, but are stumbling blocks in our everyday lives I can easily list the challenges linked to environmental degradation using scientifically accurate jargon, but I also find it more impactful to associate with experiences – ordinary experiences that provoke deep thought. When I think back to my last walk in my neighbourhood, I remember not being able to keep count of the amount of litter on the sidewalks, let alone do anything about all of it. In the past month I’ve never been more grateful to open my taps, developing a reverence for water more than ever before. And then a few years ago, I experienced looking directly into a burnt-orange sun while children played outside in face masks, as recommended by daily pollution safety level warnings. I quickly learnt that in China this is a reality. I have always been a lover of nature and people, and aim to leave places and people somewhat better by my actions, so it breaks my heart that our world is in this situation. Yet many of us have become so accustomed to and conditioned by a world where the environment is almost an after-thought of every decision that is made and whilst not justifiable, this has been understandable, given social and economic pressures that continue to


plague developing nations. With a sustainable development agenda that is increasingly required to facilitate meaningful and longlasting change, it has become more critical than ever before to enable a food, water and energy secure life. These basic services are intricately dependant on nature, which should also tell us that caring for our environment might not be so elitist after all. Compared to fiscal crises being among the top global risks in terms of impact in 2014, extreme weather events and water crises are now listed among the top five in 2018, according to the World Economic Forum. Bringing this home to Africa, our continent will be the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, yet our carbon footprint is nowhere near that of the major offenders worldwide. I’d say we’ve barely had as much of an opportunity to develop to that extent, given our complex history amidst other things. Despite this, we seem to have arrived at a critical time, the time for Africa to rise. It should come as motivation that in Africa, ±60% of the population is below the age of 25. The youth are our most diverse population and the largest living generation.

This immediately lends itself to harnessing what comes with it, that is the innovation, purchasing power, influential landscape of interaction, entrepreneurial spirit, awareness, emotion presenting the opportunity to rise to the occasion of all that Africa boasts and can embody. We also need to bear in mind that the human capital we possess need not be a degree, but should embrace the richness of our indigenous knowledge and community partnerships, that when acknowledged, can truly benefit our people and planet as it once did. WWF South Africa once asked me what role this generation plays in creating a better world. My answer was, “by developing a connection between people and nature, asking questions and seeking answers, being active citizens, finding a passion and living it, engaging in civil society and diverse spaces, we simply need to challenge norms in order to achieve a more equal and prosperous future. What makes our future so bright is the spirit of our youth who stand against injustice in all forms. The fact that there are people working devoutly for minority groups, encompassing equality, health and safety of fellow humans and our environment, means there is hope.” Let’s not ignore the wealth of emotion stored in our population, a lot of inherited trauma, anger, fear and fight. I’ve seen this palpably on our African soil alone. We’ve got this promising balance of cultural resilience, a richly biodiverse environment, and a lot of grit. It is necessary that we use this wealth to make a real change. We are individually and collectively transitioning from being passive occupants to active citizens and moving from a pursuit to an expression of growth. I can’t put it better than the Global Freedom Movement founder, “The truth is, you can change your thoughts and actions much more readily than anyone else’s and a willingness to do so is indicative of a certain level of maturity; regardless of age. It indicates responsibility being taken for one’s life — and one’s impact in the world”.

Africa’s Cloud is Liquid. TM

Cloud computing accelerates every aspect of your business but it only works as well as the infrastructure supporting it. As an official Microsoft CSP partner, only Liquid Telecom can combine enterprise-grade reliability and performance from Microsoft Cloud with an award-winning fibre network. So now you can access tools virtually anywhere on almost any device. Whether you’re working online or off, from your computer, tablet or phone, we have your business covered with Microsoft Cloud. Contact Liquid Telecom today on 080 1111 636 or to see how we can accelerate your company along your digital journey.

Building Africa’s digital future

Liquid Telecom trademark notice. “Liquid Telecom”, “Liquid“, “the Liquid Telecom Logo” and “Hai” and “the Hai logo” are registered trademarks ® of Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Limited and its affiliates and “the Liquid Telecom Africa Cloud Logo”, are trademarks ™ protected by law of the same company (altogether the “Marks”). All rights reserved. You may not at any time or for any purpose use the Marks or the name “Liquid Telecom Group”. © Copyright Notice. Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Limited 2017. All rights reserved.