CAROL ABADE GROUP CEO OF EXP Ogunseye - Award-winning Nigerian journalist Rademan -
Long serving AVBOB CEO
Musana - A look back at the Ugandan elections
The Letsema journey
Hoole - New leadership at KPMG SA
WINNERS OF BEST COMPANY GHANA SA AWARDS 2015
All Danquah CC is the winner of the best company in the large companies category of the recently concluded 2015 Ghana Awards in South Africa. All Danquah CC is the brainchild of Mr. Kwabena Danquah, ranked the 18th richest person in Ghana in 2015 by Goodman AMC. He fell in love with South Africa during his first visit in 1999 and ventured into different businesses other than that of the steel industry he had refined to a growing success story in Accra-Ghana. His passion for architectural renovations of buildings soon became very profitable as he acquired buildings and turned them into commercial and residential units. He also ventured into a steel business by acquiring a factory in Vanderbijl Park which he registered as Comet Steel (Pty) Limited. All-Danquah's tranquil new Guest Lodge in Edleen, Kempton Park came to life in February 2012 as well as a cosy sitdown restaurant with ample space for 40 people. The Conference facility can host up to 60 delegates and caters for the most discerning of clients.
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All Danquah Head Office is situated at #2 Cypress Street, Cnr Willow Street, Kempton Park 1619, Gauteng South Africa. It is one of the leading Property Management Companies in the East Rand with properties covering three quarters of Kempton Park CBD.
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SA PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AWARDS 2016
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
10 Carol Abade: Group CEO of EXP 14 Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye: Award-winning journalist 18 Frik Rademan: AVBOB Group CEO 22 Revisit the Ugandan elections with Fiona Musana 25 Moneygram Foundation: Making a difference in Africa 28 Book Review: Rusty Bell 6
31 Can culture be a professional handicap? 34 Magnus Mchunguzi: Former Ericsson VP and Managing Director turned entrepreneur 38 Benefits of Immigration that SA could harness 40 Derek Thomas: CEO of Letsema Consulting 44 Trevor Hoole: KPMG SA's newly elected CEO 48 Strong Institutions stand between SA and Africa's bad habits 51 Papa Wemba: Musical King of the society of ambianceurs and elegant people www.theafricanpro.com
OF WE MEN AND WOMEN
he joke is told of a man who was on the receiving end of an earringing smack when he remarked “the continued hard stance taken by we men when it comes to gender equality is misplaced and revolting”. The audience obviously misheard his reference to his own gender, a mishap that makes his criticism appear chauvinistic. As this issue covers a quarter within which South Africa celebrates women’s month in August, the pages in this edition come with significant input and coverage of the fairer gender. Our cover story reflects on the views of Carol Abade, a woman reaching for new heights as she heads a pan-African advertising agency with a difference. You will undoubtedly be inspired by the award-winning Nigerian journalist Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, living evidence of dynamite coming in small packages. Her latest accolade was accorded to her in the United States of America where she was honoured by the Presidential Precinct alongside that country’s first ever female secretary of State, the impressive Madeleine Albright. Check out our discussion with Fiona Musana who reflects on the just
concluded elections in her native Uganda. Two women also feature in our coverage of MoneyGram Foundation’s work on the African continent. Rosemary Githaiga, Secretary of Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Co-op Bank) and Sabine Bauchau, Marketing Director for MoneyGram Africa signed a corporate social responsibility agreement where the money transfer company committed five million shillings to Co-op Bank’s education initiative. As in every issue, our regular female contributors pen their latest offerings; Wanjiru Waichigo Njogu reviews the book Rusty Bell while Chaitwa Mamoyo examines the impact of African culture on progression or regression within the professional work environment. Beyond the women, there are some contributions from we men. In my only opinion piece for this issue, I examine the ability and intent of institutions within South Africa and Kenya to tackle the devil that is corruption. Andreas Krensel, our immigration expert, delves into the positive impact of migration around the world and assesses South Africa’s level of embrace of this much needed phenomenon. Our interviews of male professionals feature Trevor Hoole (KPMG South Africa’s new CEO), Derek Thomas (CEO of Letsema Consulting) and Magnus Mchunguzi (former Ericsson VP now entrepreneur). KC ROTTOK Managing Editor of African Pro Twitter: @africankc www.theafricanpro.com
Publisher: The Proud African Professional (Pty) Limited Reg. Number: 2010/012428/07 10 Madison Square, 195 President Fouche Drive, Randburg Republic of South Africa Tel: 011 251 6325 www.theafricanpro.com Director: Carol Malonza – firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @mueni8 Managing Editor: KC Rottok – email@example.com Twitter: @africankc Deputy Editor & Content Advisor: Leah Maina Publishing Executive: Dumisani Hlatswayo Edition Writers/Contributors: Keith Kundai Wanjiru Waichigo-Njogu Chaitwa Mamoyo Andreas Krensel Thomas Salter Photography: Mzu Nhlabati www.creativenation.co.za Design: O'Brien Design Website: Drutech Media www.drutechmedia.co.za Advertising Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org To subscribe or contribute an article, email us at email@example.com All rights reserved. Excerpts may be used as long as this magazine is credited as the source. Longer versions of our content may only be used with the written permission of the Publisher. Neither the publisher nor the editor accept responsibility for any information from edition writers or contributors. Whilst we have taken care in preparing this publication, the publisher/ editor does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. The editor retains the right to edit all contributions. Advertisers are responsible for their material.
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GROUP CEO OF EXP
enyan-born Carol Abade is the Group CEO of EXP – a Pan African experiential marketing and sponsorship agency. After co-founding a company called Direct Marketing Communications, Abade joined forces with Group Africa Marketing to form EXP which now has operations in more than 19 African countries.
limitless untapped opportunities. This is the only continent where you will find deep fundamental cultural similarities colourfully intertwined with wide diversity of the continent. This makes the Continent unique in the variety of opportunities it offers.
Abade has driven the launch and operation of EXP in 15 countries over the last 20 years, and considers this to be one of her greatest personal achievements. Her focus is on driving the multidimensional aspects of experiential marketing and effectively applying these techniques from a commercial and social perspective, with the objectives of improving lives in communities in which EXP operates, and delivering on the commercial objectives of EXP clients through behaviour Change Communication modelling.
I believe in hard work and life balance as well. My philosophy has always been this; when you have a job to do, do it to the best of your ability.
Abade is combining her passion for improving communities and her expertise in social and marketing cause technics to drive positive behavioural changes in communities for the greater good of the communities. She believes that communication is key to delivering real change and improving living conditions by empowering communities. What makes you proud to be African? I think different qualities about being African excite me. We are lucky to live in a very dynamic ever-changing continent which presents us with
What is your philosophy when it comes to work?
In a leadership position my responsibility to ensure I move my team to where we should rightly be…. this means ensuring everyone is pulling in the right direction towards our destination…driving and pulling people is not always easy. Everyone has a different background and might be influenced by different phases in their lives which may immensely affect their ability to perform. This within the context of our continent, because more challenging as there are inherent external factors that sometimes compound the ability of a person to perform…there are infrastructure challenges such as commuter travel time; power outages; communication network breakages etc. There is a constant flow of external factors that you have to overcome on a daily basis just to get to work or get back home which demands increased levels of self-discipline as opposed to working in a jurisdiction that has well established systems.
How do you see the African economy faring so far with increased involvement of young leaders? Because we are on this constantly changing dynamic environment we learn to develop skills that enable us to survive, year in year out. And I think those skills are able to produce really strong leaders with the ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to circumstances. In some ways, some of the challenges that we go through are some of our biggest strengths. So when you look at the checklist country by country, we seem to fall down on some very basic things which I think can be fixed quite easily. And I think as young people start getting involved in policy issues and making changes, we hope it will drive the sort of spirit that we need to see to enable us to foster accountability and responsibility at the leadership level. What are your views on women empowerment? I think the term women empowerment suggests that we need to be empowered. Indeed, we are being left behind in terms of how many women are sitting as directors on company boards. Similarly, in terms of how many women play a role in government positions, as ministers or policy makers or even as presidents, it is clear that we are still being side-lined. But I still think that the word empowerment means we are waiting for someone to do something about it which is wrong. We shouldn’t be sitting around waiting for someone to effect changes that we ourselves should
“It is within marketing that you learn how to sell your ideas. You will be able to look for opportunities and gaps that need to be filled. If there is an unmet need, you will able to know how to provide for that particular need. So marketing does teach you some level of entrepreneurship and the creation of businesses through entrepreneurship means more jobs for the people of Africa. ….” be at the forefront of initiating. Having said that, women need to be given equal opportunities both in the private and public sector. What keeps you going in what must be a challenging leadership position? My upbringing has been very significant in this regard. I come from a very strong matriarchal family. The women in my family have all been very influential people. I am also a firm believer in doing what you are good at doing and becoming a specialist as a result. I think success is inevitable when you really enjoy what you are doing and are looking for ways to change people’s lives as a result.
Are there times when you felt you under delivered to your clients? 12
Yes, certainly. I think you learn to take your lessons on board as a result. You really need to be introspective and honest about the feedback that you get and accept that there are different ways to get results. There are certainly times in my leadership Journey that I could have made different decisions based on my knowledge and experience. And I have learnt through these mistakes. Now I seek ways to improve through a system of mentors and coaches and listening to what people say.
We want 1,000,000 signatures to submit to the AU that African citizens want more say on how their countries are governed. Add your voice to the campaign
Taking the pledge: http://myafricanunion.org/i-pledge
How can marketing help in addressing the unemployment issue in Africa?
Make a Difference #BeTheVoice for Africa
It is within marketing that you learn how to sell your ideas. You learn how to look for opportunities and gaps that need to be filled - if there is an unmet need, you will know how to provide for that particular need. So marketing does teach you some level of entrepreneurship, and the creation of businesses through entrepreneurship means more jobs for the people of Africa.
To learn more about SOTU visit www.sotu-africa.org Follow us on Twitter: @SOTUAfrica Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SOTUAfrica
Dumisani Hlatshwayo www.theafricanpro.com
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“In 2016, Ogunseye received the Presidential Precinct Young Leader Award at a ceremony in Virginia, USA that also feted Madeleine Albright, the first ever female Secretary of State in the USA…”
Award-winning Nigerian Journalist
luwatoyosi Ogunseye has over 11 years’ experience as an Investigative Journalist. She became the first female editor in the 41year history of The PUNCH Newspaper, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper, when she was appointed Editor of the Sunday title – Sunday Punch. A 2014 Laureate of the African Women in News Leadership Award given by the World Association of Newspapers, she is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that Sunday Punch is the best paper in the Nigeria every Sunday. In 2014, she became the first Nigerian to win the Global Journalism Community’s premier prize: The Knight International Journalism Award. Ogunseye, who sits on the board of the World Editor’s Forum, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; a Post Graduate Diploma in Print Journalism from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism; and a Master of Science degree in Media and Communication from the Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria. She is currently studying for a PhD in Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. A 2014 Fellow of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, she is an advocate for empowerment of young persons and gives self-development talks both locally and internationally. She also lectures at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. She has received numerous prestigious awards for excellence in Journalism
which include the Nigerian Academy of Science Award Reporter of the Year; CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Awards (Environment Category), Norbert Zongo Investigative Journalist of the Year; Norbert Zongo Press Reporter of the Year; Africa’s Best 100 Awards, Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (Nigeria Press Reporter of the Year), Wole Soyinka Investigative Journalism Awards (Health Category); Future Awards (Journalist of the Year); Thomson Reuters Young Journalist from Developing Country Award (Runner-up); as well as the Nigerian Institute of Journalism Distinguished Alumni Award.
I have been a journalist for 14 years. Three years ago, my newspaper decided to change editors because they felt new editors were necessary for the growth of the newspaper. All assistant editors, myself included, me were put through a selection process and three were selected; one for the daily newspaper, one for the Saturday newspaper and one for the Sunday newspaper.
She is also a recipient of the 2014 Junior Chamber International Award for Exemplary Leadership and Club Inspirati 2014 Excellence Award. In 2016, Ogunseye received the Presidential Precinct Young Leader Award at a ceremony in Virginia, USA that also feted Madeleine Albright, the first ever female Secretary of State in the USA.
From that perspective, I am very fortunate. I believe in being firm and kind and having respect. I still refer to the older people in the respectful manner that I did when I was a junior reporter. Of course we have occasional conflicts with colleagues, but I like to remind them that I am an employee just like them. The only difference is that I have more responsibilities.
How did you become a journalist?
How were you selected for the Presidential Precinct Award?
I didn’t want to be a journalist; I wanted to be a writer because I like writing. I actually wanted to study medicine but I was admitted for a bio-chemistry undergraduate degree. At 19, I started writing for a tabloid and since then I have written for various newspapers and established myself as a journalist. You were appointed editor of Sunday Punch when you were just 29, how did that come about and how are you coping with the job? www.theafricanpro.com
I manage 15 people in Lagos and various other staff across Nigeria. My work as a news editor prepared me for editing the Sunday newspaper. I work in an organisation where everything is orderly and structures are well spelt out.
The Presidential Precinct is an American leadership institute. I had the privilege of attending the institute as a participant in Barack Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) in 2015. I was informed about the award in February this year which came as a complete surprise. I asked myself, why me? I understand the board of the institute sat together and decided that I merited the award. The experience was something that money cannot buy. The
recognition I received sitting on the same stage as Madeleine Albright was priceless. I grew up reading her books about her and now here I was speaking to her throughout the night about an array of topics including women participation in politics, rule of law and democracy. She shared with me some personal stories which I found invaluable. Other than this award, you have received many other accolades, which one stands out and why? Two years ago I was honoured by the World Editors Forum which I found profound given that many editors came together and decided I was worthy of honour. I now sit on the board of the Forum which is very important for my career. I also take immense pride the two CNN Multichoice Journalist of the Year awards that I have won – one in the health category and the other for a piece on the environment. 16
Have you always been an achiever growing up? Not at all. I don’t think my success stems from genius but from passion and dedication.
How do you think journalists should handle modern day pressures such as producing stories with limited amount of time? I find that, journalists are very quick to make excuses for their mistakes. I think that if we keep looking for excuses we will kill this profession. Sadly, a lot of people are journalists because they couldn’t find anything better to do or because writing was their hobby growing up. If we can have a code of ethics - like doctors - we would make sure that mistakes hardly take place because if a doctor’s patient dies as a result of negligence, his licence is withdrawn. Mistakes do happen everywhere but they should be limited particularly in print media where a mistake is recorded for life. For many people, the newspaper is the truth; once it is in the newspaper it is deemed to be correct. That is the power and influence we have over people which shouldn’t be taken lightly. We should therefore devise mechanisms to help us cope with the pressures we face.
I do not hold other people to my standard because I don’t know where they are coming from and what experiences shaped their lives. I strongly believe that as journalist, the only thing you have that can speak for you is integrity. That is most important now that every person on social media is some kind of journalist. So what is the difference between a social media commentator and a professional journalist? For me, the professional journalist should have greater accountability and integrity which will enable traditional media to hold public officials to account.
I understand from discussions with people who know you, that you once turned down a cash gift from a Nigerian politician given to a group of professionals from different walks of life. Tell us about that.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I try to protect that power at all costs. If I accept such a gift from a politician, how would I be able to keep my impartiality when covering stories relating to him later. In addition, the total gift to the group was USD 100, 000; it was difficult for the politician to explain how they came across such an amount of money when we all know his monthly salary. He was essentially distributing the proceeds of corruption.
Ten years from now I should be getting closer to my dream of becoming the president of my country because I
love politics. I would be ashamed and disappointed if the narratives we are discussing now continue for the next 20 years. I hope to get the opportunity to lead a government parastatal and through that opportunity prove my ability to lead the country. I want to lead Nigerians because I believe that we have never had the opportunity of experiencing good leadership. Good leadership begets a great democracy with a better rule of law, better systems, and stronger institutions. Things are not as bad with the new president as they were when it comes to corruption. They are getting better. A good example of the transformation that can be achieved through better leadership is in Ghana where over a thirty-year period they have significantly reduced corruption. It doesnâ€™t happen overnight; all we need is good leadership to set us down the path to a better Nigeria.
KC ROTTOK (Images courtesy of O.Ogunseye) www.theafricanpro.com
Frik Rademan AVBOB GROUP CEO
“Another important thing is that you must know your business and your market as well as the people who work in your organisation. If you just sit in your ivory tower and think you’re going to succeed, you are going to find it very difficult…”
VBOB CEO Frederik Rademan was born in Brakpan and grew up in Welkom where his father worked in the mines. After high school, Rademan undertook the compulsory one-year military service before joining a local audit firm as a trainee auditor. “My parents couldn’t afford to pay for me to go to university so I needed to get a job while studying part time,” he told us while seated in his well-ventilated corner office of AVBOB offices in Pretoria. Upon completing a BCompt degree from the University of South Africa, and an articles contract, Rademan joined Anglo American Corporation as a senior profit analyst. Later, in 1982, he was approached by a friend to join AVBOB as a financial manager. He was so impressed by the work environment during his interview, that he decided to join their Bloemfontein industrial division. ‘What really impressed me was the people who worked in the company. It was a nice atmosphere. Back then, AVBOB was a fairly small company but I felt I could make a difference.’ AVBOB was established in 1918 after World War 1. When soldiers returned home they unwittingly brought a contagious Spanish Flu. Many people succumbed to the deadly virus and as unemployment was rife, many people were buried as paupers. It was then that a group of philanthropists decided
to establish a fund which was initially called AFRIKAANSE VERBOND (AV). This was a Burial Society (Genootskap) and it offered its members financial assistance when there was death in the family but it didn’t have the means to conduct funerals. In 1921, AV took over a bankrupt funeral undertaking in Bloemfontein which provided them with the resources to conduct funerals and the company was rebranded to AVBOB.The path to the helm of AVBOB was not smooth for Rademan. There were several corporate and personal challenges to test his will. In the mid 90’s when his wife Serah was diagnosed with breast cancer, she became critically-ill at a time when their two children were very young. With both his parents left behind in the Free State, he became mother and father to his children while holding down a senior job at a growing mutual assurance company. “Fortunately, my wife’s health improved and she eventually got well. This year we will be celebrating our 39th anniversary. Our daughter is a 32-year-old HR consultant while our son is a 29-year-old commercial pilot,” he beamed with the pride of a man who clearly enjoys his roles as a father and husband. Rademan is quick to point out that he never harboured any leadership ambitions. Only his consistent dedication and hard work saw him rising through the ranks. He got promoted to General Manager of Finance in 1989 and subsequently appointed Financial www.theafricanpro.com
Director and then Managing Director of the Insurance Division. He became Group CEO of what is now one of the fastest growing companies in Africa in 2011. When he joined AVBOB, the company’s assets were worth R35 million, but today they total R13, 3 billion. What sets AVBOB apart from its competitors is its mutual status. As a Mutual, AVBOB is owned by its policy holders and not external shareholders and surplus profits are converted into special bonuses and enhanced free funeral benefits which are paid to policy holders. Rademan saw AVBOB grow and was instrumental in a number of projects, some of which made a significant contribution to AVBOB’s balance sheet. Today AVBOB employs about 6,000 people, many of whom have served the company for several years. “I make an effort to send each and every employee in the group a birthday card. I must admit I don’t know the names of all 6,000 of them but for those whose names I recall, I make sure it is indicated on the card. Keeping our employees motivated is vital to our continued success.” Rademan spends a lot of time crisscrossing South Africa to meet his ever growing AVBOB family. He also attends most of the company’s CSR events – like when AVBOB hand over container libraries to schools in previously disadvantaged communities. “Container Libraries were identified as an area where we could make a difference in schools that are located in
previously disadvantaged parts of South Africa. We go about it by buying old shipping containers and converting them into libraries, each with approximately 3,000 books. To date we have stocked about 30 libraries, mainly in rural areas of the country,” Rademan revealed. Passion for what you do tops Rademan’s list of ingredients for success. Additional attributes that could easily be associated with him are loyalty and dedication which are evident in the fact that he has dedicated his working life to AVBOB. “Another important thing is that you must know your business and your market as well as the people who work in your organisation. If you just sit in your ivory tower and think you’re going to succeed, you are going to find it very difficult,’ he advised. Rademan went on to say that on certain occasions, he has found that it is important to stand with his employees
and not commit to purely business considerations. “It is important to be humanitarian, if your people fall, they need to know that they can count on you to pick them up. For me that is a balanced leadership style. You need to empower the people that work for you. When I give instructions, I step back and allow those instructed to do their jobs. I only step in when it appears that things may be going awry.” Rademan also advised that it is important to have certain control measures in place to steer the achievement of business goals. He noted that it is impossible for anyone to work without making mistakes and hence controls and good leadership are critical to limiting the negative effects of the wrong turns we will undoubtedly make as human beings.
Another thing he indicated he feels strongly about is women empowerment. This is demonstrated by the board composition where four women from different regions sit prominently namely LC Cele, VA Lawack, MPP Nyama and T Cooper. “I will not say that we have achieved our gender balance goals just yet but I think we are doing well.” When asked what he would you like to achieve at end of his term, Rademan points to the continuation of what has become a personal mission. ‘My vision is to maintain our Mutual status and to ensure that AVBOB is recognized as the undisputed pacesetter in the funeral industry.” Dumisani Hlatshwayo (Image courtesy of AVBOB)
ALI Media Fellowship Programme
Cultivating Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism
Celebrating 46 distinguished leaders in media and business from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa who will influence and strengthen the future of financial journalism in Africa
Issa Aremu, NPOM, mni
KC Rottok Chesaina
Fatima Abbas Hassan
Ekundayo Ezekiel Kayode
Lucy Nyasi Kilalo
Chidi Henry Lemchi
Akeem Olabode Mustapha
Noel Kazungu Mwakughu
Nation Media Group, Kenya
SABC, South Africa
Yvonne Buliba Okwara
Sunday Trust, Nigeria
Citizen TV, Kenya
BusinessDay Media Ltd., Nigeria
Financial Mail, South Africa
Media Trust Limited, Nigeria
CCTV Africa, Kenya
The African Professional, South Africa
Nation Media Group, Kenya
I’M Original Productions, South Africa
Business Day, Nigeria
Freelance Journalist, Nigeria
EnergyTimes Newspaper, Nigeria
Mail & Guardian, South Africa
Guardian Newspapers Ltd., Nigeria
Citizen TV, Kenya
Primedia, South Africa
Nation Media Group, Kenya
eNCA, South Africa
Kenya Television Network, Kenya
Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria
Primedia Broadcasting, South Africa
Freelance Journalist, Kenya
The Times Media Group, South Africa
Financial Mail, South Africa
Silverbird Communications, Nigeria
World Vision, Kenya
Nigeria Television Authority, Nigeria
Businessday Media Ltd., Nigeria
Nation Media Group, Kenya
The Media, Nigeria
The Vanguard, Nigeria
Freelance Journalist, South Africa
eNCA, South Africa
Mail & Guardian Africa, Kenya
GetBiz, South Africa
The Nation, Nigeria
ALI Media Fellowship
ALI Media Fellowship • www.alimediafellowship.org
The Star Newspaper, South Africa
Bloomberg News, South Africa
ALI Media Fellowship Programme is made possible through a partnership with Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa is a pan-African programme to build media capacity, convene international leaders and improve access to information in order to advance transparency, accountability and governance on the continent. www.bmia.org
Anchorage Ltd., Kenya
Business Day TV, South Africa
Executive Director of Africa Leadership Initiative’s Media Fellowship
“I think the performance of electoral commission was dismal. Their offices are a few minutes away from some of the polling centres that had to wait for hours to get ballot boxes. The chairman of the commission was quoted as saying that he wishes Besigye was not on the ballot. How can the referee express such bias against one of the teams?...” www.theafricanpro.com
Where in Africa do you trace your roots? I was born in Uganda and hold a Ugandan passport, grew up in Tanzania, went to school in Kenya and have been living in South Africa for the past 6 years. I guess you can just call me an African. What are your thoughts on new Tanzanian President Magufuli? I think Magufuli brings hope. What he is doing for Tanzania now is attracting new investors. His first 100 days during which he abolished lavish government sponsored parties led to people tightening their belts. He is also posing a challenge for people like the current Ugandan president and the ripple effect is being felt as far as Ghana and Senegal. How would you sum up the Ugandan elections? The ‘old man with a hat’ is reported to have received 60% of the vote followed by Kizza Besigye who got 35%, and the person that was expected to do better former prime minister Amama Mbabazi - got just over 1% of the vote. Mbabazi’s performance remains an enigma. He may have lost touch with reality and didn’t communicate the right message. Besigye’s message of change however seems to have resonated with the electorate and many thought he would win. It begs a bigger question of what really happened with the elections. According to a number of people the reported results do not quite tally. Were the opinion polls prior to the elections a true reflection of the results garnered by the opposition candidates? Opinion polls give us a gauge but they can also be biased. My sense is that people wanted to go and test the tide. The disadvantage for the former prime minister is that he was very closely associated to the current president. That could have had a really big implication. Kizza Besigye took a rather strong stance and had his movement defined.
What are your thoughts on the switching off of social media platforms during the elections? There were no signs that social media will go off prior to the elections. From the perspective of a revolution, it was great to see that within minutes, people were looking for ways to circumvent the shutdown. So by trying to suppress social media, they were actually uniting people. Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world hence I think the current regime is very disconnected from the citizenry. In addition, mobile money - which is highly depended upon by many - was shutdown which had economic implications. Many had travelled to their respective villages to vote and depended on mobile money to conduct important transactions. This did not send the right message in an economy that is already suffering and in need of foreign investment. As things stand, would you consider returning to Uganda? I met my father last week in Kenya and he asked me when I am coming back home. If I was to return ‘home’, it would be somewhere in East Africa but not necessarily Uganda. The element of cronyism in Uganda is troubling. In making that decision, I would consider what I know about the local environment as it is now and how I would fit in. That said, I have seen a lot of Ugandans including many of my family members, returning and doing really well. But I am still not convinced that I will have similar results, having been away for so long. What is your take on the number times that Dr. Kizza Besigye was arrested during the election period? It resulted in generating a lot of international attention on one person and had the effect of creating a sombre mood in people who are hungry for change. The head of police said that they are not arresting him but offering him protection. He was picked up every morning and brought home every evening. Isn’t that arrest? What does it mean? Does it mean you fear one person so much; that he www.theafricanpro.com
wields so much power and influence? There are so many questions. Looking at the election results, is it possible that Besigye, who is more popular in urban areas and less popular in rural areas, did in fact lose the elections? Let me paint this picture, about 21 ministers lost their parliamentary seats. What does that tell you in terms of politics? Were people very tired of the ministers that President Museveni selected but not Museveni himself? We also know that there were significant delays in delivery of ballot papers to places where Besigye is perceived to be popular. President Museveni may have won the elections but Besigye remains the most popular person from feelings on the ground. I think this election will make President Museveni think a bit harder as he governs towards another election cycle in 2021. What do you think of the performance of the electoral team? I think the performance of electoral commission was dismal. Their offices are a few minutes away from some of the polling centres that had to wait for hours to get ballot boxes. The chairman of the commission was quoted as saying that he wishes Besigye was not on the ballot. How can the referee express such bias against one of the teams? But then again a couple of people have pointed to the fact that he may just have been repeating what he was told what to say. The European Union issued a statement saying the elections were not free and fair, the president’s response was that he does not need lectures from Europeans. President Kenyatta received a backlash on social media for congratulating Museveni on this victory. Other countries that congratulated him include North Korea, Russia and Burundi. What does that tell you about how the international community views this victory?
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The MoneyGram Foundation was established to help millions around the world transform their lives. Because MoneyGram believes early education is at the heart of a better life - economic opportunities, healthier families, individual freedom and empowerment - the Foundation focuses solely on helping children around the world gain better access to educational facilities and learning resources.
Foundation has reached more than 150,000 children in 36 countries having distributed grants of close to $430,000 to educational programmes in eight African countries; Benin, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Additional grants are planned for distribution during 2016 and 2017 to empower even more African children with access to basic education.
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In April 2016, a mentorship program that will be managed by the Cooperative Bank of Kenya Foundation, and sponsored by the MoneyGram Foundation through a grant of five million Kenya shillings was launched
Sabine Bauchau, MoneyGram Marketing Director Africa(left) and Rosemary Githaiga,Cooperative Bank Company Secretary(right) holding the cheque to student representatives
“I would like to thank the Co-op Bank Foundation and the MoneyGram Foundation for their generosity. Investing in future entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, journalists, marketers, captains of industry - and anything else that we endeavour to become - will go a long way in not only helping our families and communities, but also creating a more prosperous nation....” with a view to benefitting 350 underprivileged high school students in Kenya.
The program will be run as weeklong workshops to be held in seven regions around the country and will be facilitated by Kenyan entrepreneurs, university students and social workers throughout this week. The 350 students are the top performers in the current scholarship program run by the Coop Bank Foundation and have been selected due to their performance. “I would like to thank the Co-op Bank Foundation and the MoneyGram
Foundation for their generosity. Investing in future entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, journalists, marketers, captains of industry - and anything else that we endeavour to become - will go a long way in not only helping our families and communities, but also creating a more prosperous nation. We look forward to putting into practice all that we will learn in these workshops. We also promise to make you proud,” said Salome Kagumu, Kenya High School student.
Jacqueline Lowe, President of the MoneyGram Foundation. “We wish to congratulate Co-operative Bank and their staff for the difference they are making in their community,” said Sabine Bauchau, MoneyGram Marketing Director for Africa, “MoneyGram is similarly committed to the development and growth of Kenya and Africa – and all the communities in which we serve.”
“We are proud and honored to help improve the quality of education for so many children across Kenya,” said
Sabine Bauchau, MoneyGram Marketing Director Africa(left) and Rosemary Githaiga,Cooperative Bank Company Secretary(right) signing the sponsorship agreement
These are noT learners, They’re leaders. Welcome to Gauteng’s City Region’s Smart Classroom. Here we champion innovation and creativity. Teachers are trained in leadership and advanced teaching practices to prepare the children for a digital age. This is about skills development for all our teachers. It’s about South Africans standing shoulder to shoulder with our global counterparts. Welcome to our classroom, welcome to the future.
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#Wiredfor Life www.theafricanpro.com
RUSTY BELL BY Nthikeng Mohlele
t is seductive and funny but also corporeal and moody with moments of intense, albeit controlled, rage. It is the story of one man’s insurgence against life as prescribed by unyielding social norms. J.M. Coetzee describes Rusty Bell as a “prose rich in texture, the final effect melancholy and comic in equal proportions.” Following the success of his first two books, The Scent of Bliss (2008) and Small Things (2013), Nthikeng Mohlele once again demonstrates his philosophical interests and heightened observation of human desires in Rusty Bell. Published in 2014, Rusty Bell engages with discourses of humanity and disillusionment in modern day South Africa. Mohlele questions the meaning of life through his protagonist, a 48-year-old corporate lawyer known as Michael - sometimes called Sir Marvin. Michael is a respected lawyer, husband to Rusty and father to Michael Junior.
Mohlele uses the memories of his characters to take the reader through a convoluted and intimate exploration of the
“Mohlele further uses this platform to engage with uncomfortable conversations such as rape. Michael’s initial lust for Rusty turns to friendly love, while her fondness for him develops into romantic love and desire. When her declarations of love, sexual desires and marriage fail to stir a reaction from Michael, Rusty pays him a visit whilst he is in the middle of a disorienting fasting period and forces sexual relations; a shocking discovery for the reader....” www.theafricanpro.com
plurality of existence - love, lust, pain, joy, laughter, tears, death, and all the complex emotions and processes that embody the living: life. Is this what life means? Is there more to life that these processes and emotions? Mohlele asks these questions through his protagonist. “When I was younger, twenty thereabouts, I pictured a very different future to the one I find myself in. It was not a world I imagined would simply fall into my lap. I, until my fingers bled, clawed my way up the treacherous mountains of this thing called life. If I had, in that climb for a view from the top, lost my footing and fallen, there would have never been anyone to avert my calamity. I climbed hundreds of precarious rocks, up heart-stopping boulders, unstable and deceptive, only to find thousands of others that seemed to stretch as high as the heavens, as far as eternity” (11, 12). Michael shares his dreams, hopes and fears with the reader as he pries deeper into the Pandora’s box of his existence. The author shrewdly investigates these theories and philosophies by oscillating between the past and the future, like a pendulum whose point of suspension is the present. Mohlele further uses this platform to engage with uncomfortable conversations such as rape. Michael’s initial lust for Rusty turns to friendly love, while her fondness for him develops into romantic love and desire. When her declarations of love, sexual desires and marriage fail to stir a reaction from Michael, Rusty pays him a visit whilst he is in the middle of a
disorienting fasting period and forces sexual relations; a shocking discovery for the reader. This leads to the conception and birth of Michael Junior inevitably changing the direction of his life. In a country with high records of women rape cases, Mohlele makes a bold statement with this narrative. Michael is unable to walk away from his son and the woman whose love for him is indubitable. He no longer has the luxury of engaging his body and mind in the deep private excursion of self-reflection and reclusion as he now has responsibilities as a father and Rusty’s partner. He lives this life successfully for a long period of time. But the subterranean need to understand humanity, and his addiction to certain human cravings threaten to crush him. Mohlele confronts the pressure of successfully performing masculinity in modern South Africa, and the psychological side effects that many may unconsciously be struggling with. What makes Rusty Bell an incredible book is the simplicity with which somewhat complex philosophical issues are presented. He teases out the vulnerabilities associated with masculinity in a nonchalant tone, without implying victimhood. Mohlele also recognizes the variability of masculinity and draws out ways in which men attempt to negotiate established rigid hegemonic forms of masculinity. He does this by engaging with sexuality, alcoholism, addiction, depression and high levels of stress among young men in modern South Africa. www.theafricanpro.com
The author further toys with the philosophies associated with the perception of self, and how the self interacts and intersects with life. The characters hold a mirror to society, questioning and challenging stereotypes and everyday living. What is life? Is it defined by the assigned and assumed roles of fatherhood and motherhood, men and women, workers, family life, or is there more? Ben G. Yacobi describes ‘The Human Dilemma’ as a state where human beings are caught between illusions of the meaning of life and the reality. In his article titled The Human Dilemma: Life Between Illusion and Reality (2013) he states, “The mind dwells in the subjective world of ideas and concepts, but physically one exists in the world of objective reality. This is further complicated by the use of reason and logic to guide the mind to truth, as [the mind] relies on language that is adequate for describing reality and [this] often leads to paradoxes.” Michael’s story in Rusty Bell does not pretend to provide answers to such deep questions; it just incites the reader to reflect on the questions by ploughing deep into the self and seeking the meaning of life beyond everyday mundane living and materialism. Mohlele invites you to take this journey with the protagonist. Rusty Bell leave no doubt that Nthikeng Mohlele understands the power words have to capture both beauty and pain.
CAN CULTURE BE A
HANDICAP? “Culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.”
ulture is a beautiful thing. It speaks to one’s roots and identity; “to the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.” If one wants to be a tad more intellectual on the subject culture can be defined as “the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.” I love and respect my own culture as well as that of others.
But what happens when your culture becomes the main impediment to your professional development? After all, with the advent of the global village, it is increasingly a luxury to work in a place that shares your exact culture. The culture you are raised in grooms you to apply certain language, communication and behavioural filters to yourself each time you express yourself. Here are a couple of easy examples from my own culture. • Be humble – Humility includes not announcing your own success; celebrating yourself or displaying www.theafricanpro.com
your achievements. A certain level of self-deprecation is generally expected. Allow me to illustrate this with a simple, actual example from my childhood. During my O Level holidays (soon after writing the national exams one gets delightfully long school holiday while waiting for the results), I was doing my mum’s hair while I slowly mulled over what my results might be. I was specifically thinking about my English language exam. I knew I had written an excellent essay. I was very good at the subject. I had never achieved anything less than an A or a first for English
Language in my entire academic life. My biggest worry was, in order to write my story (aka composition) in full, I had exceeded the word limit by two paragraphs. I was concerned I would be penalised by the examiner so I casually said to my mum, “I am really worried I won’t get an A for my English exam because my essay was too long.” The response was a soft spoken but disapproving, “who told you that you would get an A in the first place.” “No-one” I stammered. “I just thought I wrote very well except for the length.” “Be that as it may, you can’t tell people that you think you got an A.” This response was very firm and it was final. The question of my possible grade was never discussed again. Not even when the results were released and I, in fact, got a distinction for English Language. I listened to my mum, my aunts, my teacher and the community in general. I adopted the accepted the cultural definition and filter of “humility.”
career. A much older colleague, who is at a slightly lower level of seniority than I am, a director, and I met with a strategist to see whether his vision matched ours. After the meeting, the director walked the strategist out to the parking lot. While he was out, my colleague asked me what my thoughts on the strategist had been. I pointed out that there are spelling mistakes on his website (he asked me to show him), that he has not researched our company at all (now that you mention it…he said), that certain key elements we had requested were missing from his brief (which ones, he asked… I told him). When the director walked back in and asked what we thought, my colleague didn’t skip a beat as he relayed my views as his own almost verbatim. I didn’t say a word. I couldn’t say a word. Not even when he told the exact same joke I had told him in telling him my view. The strategist had inexplicably written “anus” on the flip-board during his presentation. Noone else had noticed at the time.
• Respect your elders – This one is self-explanatory. One is taught to respect their elders without question, even when they are wrong. One must never contradict or correct or inadvertently embarrass an older person in general and especially not in public. Such characteristics would and will still get you very far in any community that subscribes to my culture. A decade later, I find myself building my career in the corporate boardroom. I am always the youngest person at my level in the boardroom. It is a place where this kind of humility and respect for elders could be a fatal flaw. A place where failing to take credit for your achievement means someone else will take it…shamelessly. A place where you either step up or step out. I remember my first real realisation that this kind of humility would limit my
I sat stewing in a brine of respecting my elders (I couldn’t humiliate a person so much older than me) and being humble (ultimately I noticed those things and it didn’t matter whether anyone else knew, right?). And of course I had very little to say in addition when the director inevitably turned to me and asked, “Chaitwa, what did you think?” I was livid with myself afterwards. Even more so when I still managed to fall into a similar trap three or four more times before learning my lesson. This is just one example of many. I cannot even begin to mention the times when I have had to discipline, correct or do a performance reviews on people decades older than me and with far more experience. The first few times, I thought I would literally combust. I was so completely and unjustifiably mortified. Behaviour learnt over a lifetime is difficult to let go of or change. www.theafricanpro.com
You see, the trouble with the workplace is diversity. My cultural norms are not those of the person in the next cubicle or in the next office or on the upper floor. My idea of what is honourable and right may not be theirs. My idea of where the line between confidence and arrogance is may differ significantly from theirs. My definition of strong and weak may be nothing like theirs. Their filters are not my filters. But it is these very people that I must work with on a daily basis. They are the people who have to respect my knowledge on certain subjects. They are the people who decide whether to promote me or give me a raise. They are the ones I cannot afford not to impress. The magic trick is learning to balance my cultural norms with the characteristics that will allow me to advance in the workplace. I had to consciously make the decision to start taking verbal credit for my work. I had to learn to start immediately calling out colleagues who tried to use me to get ahead (Do this once or twice and you will never have to do it again. Playground bullies and boardroom bullies are no different). I had to realise that I have to embrace my authority and learn to wield it gracefully instead of shying away from it because if I don’t, someone else will pick it up and use it for me. Above all, I had to learn to be completely unapologetic about what I am knowledgeable about. The difference in the way my colleagues now treat me and defer to my opinion tells me that I am on the right track. What they don’t know is how much conscious effort it still takes me to bypass my many deeply ingrained filters. Maybe in a few years all this will come more naturally. It’s a continual learning process.
Magnus Mchunguzi Formerly Ericsson SA VP and Managing Director turned Entrepreneur
agnus Mchunguzi is a former Vice President and Managing Director of Ericsson South Africa. In this role, he was responsible for governing Ericssonâ€™s commercial undertakings across Sub-Saharan Africa, ensuring that the company secures profitable business, and providing the company's strategic business direction in the telecommunications sector in Southern Africa. Ericsson boasts a global market share of about 45 percent in telecommunications infrastructure and services and a similar market share in the region. Previously, Magnus was MTNâ€™s key account director responsible for MTN business in West Africa, primarily in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Congo-Brazzaville for a period of about five years. During his tenure, he oversaw the expansive growth of
telecommunications services in Nigeria, especially with MTN Nigeria growing from five million subscribers in 2005 to 45 million subscribers by 2010. Magnus earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Reading (UK). He is a Fellow of the third class of the Africa Leadership Initiative-East Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Magnus spoke to TAP Editor on Africa Business Radio. Having left Ericsson what are you up to now? I left Ericsson towards the end of June 2015 as I wanted to branch out. After 15 years, I felt it was long enough to be in one company although if you are in a big multinational that gives you an opportunity to work in different divisions, it is like you are working in multiple companies. I was looking at how the industry was evolving and felt that there is a greater demand in the end user area of services. My team and I build applications, distribute content, and provide platforms that enable users to enjoy music, games, content and financial services. You were born in Tanzania and have lived in South Africa and Nigeria, where do you consider home? I see myself as an African first, in the sense that I have had the chance to travel across the length and breadth of the continent. I lived in Nigeria for five years and previously attended school in Kenya. I have had the opportunity to build networks in Nigeria and Cameroon with
MTN as well as in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and across many other SubSahara countries with Ericsson and of course working in South Africa. So technology is basically your game? I studied computer science and I think I was among the frontrunners when the internet was beginning in the early 90â€™s. When I left school, mobile communication was kicking in and I was well positioned to be part of the professionals who were ushering in that form of telecoms. Since then, I have been in this industry. We are exposed to many aspects of how to run a successful business and in order to build strong relationships, we need to step up, take that knowledge, and use it to start companies. There is a need to build the right systems and processes so that companies can grow and flourish. With that in mind, we have built a company that develops content across different parts of Africa. Given the dire need for food in Africa, I am also working in agriculture running a farm in Nigeria on which we grow vegetables, and rear snails and pigs. Are you doing any business in Tanzania? Tanzania is home and I have been primarily involved in real estate which has been difficult to manage from here. In East Africa, I am part of a team of 20 colleagues who have an investment portfolio through which we are identifying investment opportunities in real estate, stocks and technology across the region from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda to Tanzania.
"I have been following his presidency with great amazement. I believe that change is necessary and every time we have a new leader, it gives us a chance to experience new vigour and dynamism that are necessary for change. Magufuli has hit the reset button of how the country is governed. He has looked at what works and who is benefiting from the delivery of services. We also cannot have a few living like kings while the people are getting poorer and poorer by the day....."
Do you think that the Tanzanian with great amazement. I believe that What is your assessment of the economy and the change is necessary and every time we Tanzanian elections were free and fair? I think we have to consider the have a new leader, it gives us a chance to challenges it faces? socio-economic as well as political experience new vigour and dynamism One fundamental aspect of the economy development of the country. There is no that are necessary for change. Magufuli is the currency. The Tanzanian shilling perfect system and you will remember has hit the reset button of how the has withstood the general decline which that even the US had a problem with country is governed. He has looked at has plagued many emerging markets George W. Bush and Al Gore in the what works and who is benefiting from (commodity countries) perhaps due year 2000. If a country that has been the delivery of services. We also cannot to less oil imports and cutting down practicing democracy for that long have a few living like kings while the on government spending. Mining is a has an imperfect system and faces people are getting poorer and poorer critical sector as long as it is serving such challenges, then we don’t expect by the day. Africa and Tanzania, need the nation. When you look at Tanzanite, we are the only producers but Kenya Tanzania to be perfect. There is a need servant leadership. and India are the biggest sellers. The to create the right leadership that is question ishason always been, how Magufuli is trying to show competition concerned with isthethedevelopment its I think Is it can a equal footing? to thewhat woman he is with financially?” the man head of theofhome.” for men to a producer society of a it not a greater of strength can you expect man face. to sit at is Is country that tois adapt the sole that if you haveshowing been voted by the harder people “How and the issues thatthethey in which woman be When home while you Iearn. Chai! happy not bea its main can seller? people, serve the people. He has gone product From that perspective am very and should be an equal? Women of today. resign oooo!” the gold price went up we didn’t see dealt withagreed the biggerwith issues my whichview with the outcome of the elections on“The the and minority significant benefits despite producing is the only way to change the country. Tanzanian Mainland with the exception The minority agreed with my that whether or not the guy was the Does the oft quoted biblical of the anticipated rerun of the elections For instance, in the finance ministry, is the mineral. These important questions view that whether or not the head of the home, the bills would still submission of the woman to betoaddressed to ensure in Zanzibar. The in which the tax collector losing revenue from needextend holding back from that guy was thedignified head of theway home, need to be paid and common sense we produce helpsI our our the port? In Health, are we delivering whatoutdoing the people of Zanzibar the man? maypeople, not the bills would stillhave needremained to wouldservices suggest one Inearning andanswers our economy. That we in thethat majorthe hospitals? the currency calm under theand circumstance deserves know the but I sincerely be paid common sense hope Perhaps, theisquestion wouldappreciation suggest that and the respect. one less should resign.” an not. economy that really ours. Civil Service, do people need to travel create our greatest I should be asking is - Is society earning less should resign. business class and spend money in fancy to resign for what the greater of is thethe conspiring to emasculate its men? Could Onyour the basis that the of man in question hotels? To me, we aregood seeing What is assessment Magufuli it be that in empowering women, we family? How is it being a good head of agrees with the majority, I suppose vigour and energy of new leadership in so far? forgot to empower men to deal with it? home to make the family survive on less the question at the root of all of this I have been following his presidency East Africa, not only in Tanzania. KC ROTTOK for me is, “Is a man’s manhood tied into whether or not he feels superior
to protect your manhood (read ego). Is it harder to be a man when the
B E N E FITS OF
T H AT SA COU L D
Image by Chris Kirschoff
hat do George Soros, Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, and Andy Grove have in common? They were all immigrants who made significant contributions to their adopted home - the United States of America. From Angela Merkel to Donald Trump, South Africa’s tourism numbers to Brexit, it seems that immigration and the migration of people is a very hot topic at the moment. The controlled large-scale European Union migration is likely to play a decisive role in the Brexit vote in June of this year. Closer to home the African Development Bank recently launched the visa openness index which measures the ease with which African citizens can travel to other African countries. South Africa ranks 35th out of 55. Namibia currently 38th - recently introduced the need to apply for visas for business trips at their missions abroad, a step that will
certainly not improve its ranking in the index. Ghana on the other hand will – from June 2016 and in accordance with an African Union directive – grant all visitors from other African countries a visa on arrival. South Africa is also making life easier for African business people by granting them a visitor’s visa that is valid for up to 10 years for stays of a maximumof 30 days per stay.
world. However, due to a failure in the long term and strategic immigration planning, many of these highly educated graduates cannot enter the job market and are therefore lost to the US economy. During her tenure, former Minister of Home Affairs Naledi Pandor contemplated granting foreign graduates of South African Universities the right to apply for Permanent Residence – a plan that will soon become a reality.
This eliminates the need to apply for a new visa on each visit. Both of these steps are to be welcomed. Visa openness generally encourages talent mobility and business opportunities, whilst restrictions make them more difficult.
According to a very recent press statement from the current minister, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) grants international student graduates with critical skills as pre-defined by the DHA, the right to apply for Permanent Residence upon graduation.
Talent mobility is promoted not only by short-term visa, but also by long-term immigration legislation. Due to their exceptional reputation, Universities in the United States attract the brightest students from all over the
This would go a long way in addressing the skills shortage in certain professions and keeping talent in South Africa. In addition, it would signal a more strategic approach by the DHA in exercising its role in the growth of the economy.
“According to a very recent press statement from the current minister, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) grants international student graduates with critical skills as pre-defined by the DHA, the right to apply for Permanent Residence upon graduation. This would go a long way in addressing the skills shortage in certain professions and keeping talent in South Africa. In addition, it would signal a more strategic approach by the DHA in exercising its role in the growth of the economy....” Australia boasts what is arguably one of the most strategic approaches to immigration in the world - more than one in four Australians were born overseas. Immigration is considered a vital part of growing the economy and the population. More than two-thirds of Australians think immigration makes the country stronger.
advantage”, says Peter McDonald, a professor in Canberra.
The Migration Council of Australia estimates that the focus on accepting skilled immigrants will result in the growth of its GDP by 1.2 trillion dollars by 2050. Only a minority of Australians think there are too many immigrants, compared to a majority in every other country except Canada.
I think that South Africans in general and the DHA are quite far away from the Australian view. Although the preamble of the Immigration Act states that immigration should support the needs of the economy, the birth certificate debacle last year was not reflective of this and many personal discussions with Home Affairs officials reveal a persistently protective attitude to immigration. However, the abovementioned recent announcement by the DHA signifies an important step into the right direction to attract and retain skilled talent.
According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection 190,000 immigrants will be granted permanent residence in 2016 with approximately 130,000 issued for special skills. “There is a recognition that immigration provides an economic
I am of the opinion that immigration policies and practices have the potential to position a country as investor friendly and attractive for skilled foreigners. With the exception of Mauritius, no African country presently uses its immigration policies as a positive differentiator. www.theafricanpro.com
Many African states still consider Visa’s a source of revenue. South Africa needs to actively begin discussing the positive effects of human migration and over time change the current, rather negative, perception. With the right immigration policy, South Africa could positively differentiate itself not just from its’ neighbours, but also from other countries in the world and position itself ahead of other African nations in the global battle for talent. I truly hope that the upcoming white paper on immigration due to be released before the end of 2016, will make proposals in this direction and open a progressive discussion on skilled immigration.
Andreas Krensel, IBN
CEO OF LETSEMA CONSULTING
etsema is a privately-held investment holding company with long-term interests in management consulting, third-party investment management and proprietary investments. In over 20 years with the group, Thomas has led each of the firm’s operating divisions. Thomas has a keen interest in the study of ‘Late Industrialisation’. To this end he has recently been growing Letsema’s proprietary investment portfolio, which includes the manufacturing of wax microspheres for the global cosmetics industry. His focus is technology that reduces the complexity of the production processes in certain chemicals. If successful, the technology
will have broad application in the chemicals industry. Under the mandate of a partnership agreement between Letsema and the trade union CEPPWAWU, Thomas led CEPPWAWU Investments (Pty) Ltd, also known as “CI”. This made CI one of the most successful union investment companies in South Africa. His consulting career included inter alia serving as a strategic advisor to the Director General and Minister of South Africa’s Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), where he worked on numerous projects of national strategic interest. Thomas serves on the boards of various private companies and is www.theafricanpro.com
Chairman of the Board of Transpaco Limited (a JSE-listed packaging company). Thomas holds two Master’s Degrees in Economics, from the University of London and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), respectively. He is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Africa Leadership Initiative South Africa, and both a member and moderator of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (“AGLN”). His moderating focus, over the last three years has been the design and delivery of a curriculum for young South African leaders, modelled on the successful AGLN programme. Thomas also enjoyed a season as the presenter of Think Big, a TV show screened
on SABC 3 in 2014 that focussed on promoting entrepreneurialism in South Africa. What was life before Letsema, and what did you study at school? I wanted to become a chartered accountant but fortunately or unfortunately that was not meant to be. I discovered economics in university and subsequently wanted to work in government. I joined one of the departments but only lasted four months once I realised that I had made a big mistake. Before being immersed in bureaucracy, I needed an apprenticeship that would guide my early career. In 1995, I joined my business partner Isaac Shongwe and we have been together ever since. He was trying to start a consulting business and I was young and willing to take risks. In hindsight, what he was trying to do seemed impossible but because I was naïve and lacked discernment, I believed anything was possible. What have been the highs and lows of your career and business? When I look back at my career, I embrace as victories the things that I failed at because - without being overly philosophical - I believe they gave me an opportunity to learn. In business although one would think that part of the benefit is the accumulation of capital, I worry that more wealth may not be a good thing; it sometimes renders you less human. So if you ask me a question about highlights, understand that my highlights are moments of misses and failure.
But to give a less philosophical answer, I am boy from the wrong part of the wrong part of town. Through education, I was lucky enough to meet Isaac and apart from being business partners, we are friends with nothing contrived or artificial. It is a big victory for me. That is not to say we don’t disagree, but most people complain about where they work and want something new whereas in my case, I hope for a further 20 years in this beautiful partnership that allows me so much freedom. We have built a great team and an institution that can serve apprenticeships which is important because in South Africa, you can make money and never learn your trade which is a real tragedy. Looking at the lows, like most professionals, I wish I had spent more time with family. My son is going away to university and there are times I wish I could have the little boy back. I keep wondering where all that time went. Another low would be moments where I may have been unkind to others or judged them inaccurately. In business, you have to make assessments all the time and being human, you are likely to make mistakes that may break others. What keeps you awake at night? The ability to continue paying the salaries of the 40 – 50 people we have in our employ - I would hate to tell someone, look we tried but actually the world is drying. I worry about commercial judgements, which contracts to go after and which ones not to go after in order to hold things together.
With these business challenges, how do you remain ethical? You have to love your business and not money. The love of money will draw you into a space where your ethics will be tested. We are not saints but we try every day to live according to our values. We do business our way which does not make us everybody’s favourite but we believe this will be beneficial in the long run. We have not paid a dividend in three years because we are not growing as rapidly or getting certain contracts that one would expect a brand of our strength to rope in. How would you describe the growth trajectory of your business? In consulting specifically, we have become more adept commercially and are becoming better competitors. We have had to rebalance our portfolio and spread our risk. As mentioned, we have been conservative with both bonuses and dividends. The business has come down by about 30% from its peak but I am ok with that because it has meant that we are a stronger, more concentrated firm. It is a situation of quality over quantity and have learned to seek strong staff for our business. We have ventured into the financial services sector which is proving to be a success as well as expanding our operations to Southern Africa. From a customer point of view, what makes you believe that you are delivering? I think genuine professionals know when they have delivered quality. The market affirms them and your client smiles when paying the cheque. We’ve been blessed in the sense that I don’t
“We are acutely aware of our need to develop black excellence in the professional context and within the ambit of non-racialism. We believe it will take fifty years to build a recognisable black management consulting firm given the legacy of apartheid that painted the black man unable to do more than carry wood. We work hard at that so that we can hand over to new generations once we are gone, an institution that doesn’t cut corners but espouses excellence in every sense of the word….” 42
know of any client that has said to us ‘we are not prepared to pay you because you haven’t delivered.’ In many cases, we have repeat business and customer testimonials that continue to expand our client base. What kind of recognition have you received? We won the Best Procurement Consultancy Project award in 2015 at the CIPS Africa Awards and the Best Service Provider Award in 2014 at the Transport Africa Awards. The TV show I hosted – Think Big – also won a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA). Late last year, I was also featured in Entrepreneur magazine.
What has been your contribution to the community? We believe in the catholic value of leadership because leaders change the world and conceptualised the African Leadership Initiative which we intend to make Pan-African. We also run the Young African Leadership Initiative which is often confused with Obama’s project by the same name both programmes focus on promoting ethical leadership and the development of community projects. I commit five weeks each year to these initiatives and Isaac commits four weeks. As the leaders of our organisation, it is a big commitment to not for profit work.
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Is transformation a key objective of the firm? We are acutely aware of our need to develop black excellence in the professional context and within the ambit of non-racialism. We believe it will take fifty years to build a recognisable black management consulting firm given the legacy of apartheid that painted the black man unable to do more than carry wood. We work hard at that so that we can hand over to new generations once we are gone, an institution that doesn’t cut corners but espouses excellence in every sense of the word.
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THE STEWARDSHIP ASPIRATIONS OF KPMG SA NEWLY ELECTED CEO
What does it mean to you that your colleagues at KPMG elected you to the position of CEO? Being elected – and through the democratic election process, which was the first time we had followed it – was a great honour.
I had decided to ‘throw my hat in the ring’ for the position as I was full of enthusiasm and confidence as I believed I could make some necessary changes that would help the firm adapt to the local business market – and flourish. Though, when the announcement was made, it was a very sobering moment with the realisation that our Partners had the belief and confidence in me to lead this firm. This continues to remind me, every day, of the responsibility that I have to them, our staff and the KPMG family in Southern Africa – but also as a business leader in the local market. What would you like to have achieved by the end of your term as CEO? I am in a positon, where the end of my term will also coincide closely with my retirement. Because of this, the question of stewardship is key for me and I want to leave the firm in a strong position. I want the firm to achieve a level of comfort within itself. Change is often the only real constant in business and – as our firm has gone through a number of changes over the decades – I think we weren’t comfortable within ourselves as we could be and I want to re-engender that confidence; just as our purpose is to inspire confidence and empower change within our clients’ businesses. I want us to be bold – to be an organisation that is confident, one that is not afraid
of facing the challenges of the local business market in South Africa and that continues to be profitable and happy. How would you describe your management and leadership styles? I am sensitive to the fact that how I lead influences more than my relationships with our Partners or direct management lines. I have a responsibility to set the KPMG culture; to empower a magnificent team of professionals and inspire them to do their best every day. People expect a lot of a leader today. They expect a leader to show visibility, they expect you to communicate and to be empathetic – to “be all things to all people”. This can be quite challenging. The reality is that if you don’t embrace your team, engage with them and enable them – by spending time with them on an almost daily basis – you are unlikely to get the most out of them. Having been a leader before – and in various roles throughout my career – what is interesting for me now is how much time I actually need to spend with people. What makes you “tick” or keeps you awake at night with respect to your position as CEO? The local business market currently is a point of great consideration for me, as I suspect it would be for any CEO in South Africa. There is no denying that the local economy is in a slump. While there are a number of factors and events that have all influenced the current state of the economy – the real challenge is that foreign investors and local businesses, alike, are less optimistic about the prospects of doing business in South Africa than they were a year or two ago. www.theafricanpro.com
Personally, I still have a lot of faith in and optimism about the country. I believe that all of us as South Africans are extremely resilient. But, we do need to reverse the effects of some of the crises that the country has been through in recent years. To achieve this, Government has become more supportive of local and foreign business, alike, by improving access to incentives and, decreasing the amount of red tape required to do business in South Africa. Similarly, businesses (whether local and foreign) are looking at reinvesting in the country, with a strategic outlook on long-term returns. Both Government and business need to be held accountable – as only then will we rebuild a sense of pride for all parties to belong to SA Inc. and really re-write the narrative on South Africa as a story of success and economic inclusion. The initiatives led by the Minister of Finance, the Treasury and business are already showing encouraging signs and early results. How do you take part in mentoring others? Mentoring is and should be an integral way of doing business and be part of every leaders DNA. Be a role model, be authentic and take a real interest in those around you. If you had to relate a couple of experiences, what would be the highs and what would be the lows of your working career? Certainly I have found the recent publicity the Firm has attracted a challenge to manage, particularly trying to put it into context.
I was never the person who grew up with a grand vision in mind, other than to be an overall success, to show my parents that I was able to achieve and that I could do well in business. But, I never had a burning ambition to run a company like Apple or to start a company like Google, for instance. Throughout my working career, I can’t say that I’ve had many lows. I began my articles at KPMG fresh out of university and over the last forty years of my career I’ve experienced incredible professional and personal growth opportunities. Becoming a Partner at KPMG in June 1988 was a highlight for me. Certainly, another key highlight for me was taking over and heading up the Financial Services group within the firm – and now the role of CEO. Over the years some other highlights would include achievements we’ve had on certain of our larger clients and being able to help them on significant transactions and to be part of what was exciting for them.
Overall, if I look back on my tenure with KPMG, being able to see how the firm has grown over this time is also a highlight for me. If I think back to when I became a Partner in 1988, I was probably the nineteenth Partner – and that was all we had at the time. Later we merged with Aiken & Carter and I think at the time Aiken had thirty eight Partners. We grew to about sixty Partners quite soon thereafter and today we have about 240 Partners. This just goes to show how sustainably our firm has grown over the years, how quickly things change and it’s been exciting to have been a part of this change. Apart from the two Universum awards, what other accolades has KPMG received recently? Internationally, we were also recently named Superstar for sustained excellence and All-Star Company on International Association of www.theafricanpro.com
“I want the firm to achieve a level of comfort within itself. Change is often the only real constant in business and – as our firm has gone through a number of changes over the decades – I think we weren’t comfortable within ourselves as we could be and I want to re-engender that confidence; just as our purpose is to inspire confidence and empower change within our clients’ businesses....” Outsourcing Professional’s (IAOP) 2016 World’s Best Outsourcing Advisors list. How has KPMG fared in terms of achieving its business growth objectives? In some particularly trying times I am pleased with both our growth and profitability statistics.
Through what means does KPMG ensure that the firm maintains high level of ethics and integrity? As a multi-national firm, we are bound to conduct our business in line with international best standards, as well as being compliant with local business operating standards and regulation such as Corporate Governance standards as outlined in King III/ IV. Is transformation considered a key objective at the firm, and if so, how is it attended to? Transformation is absolutely a key imperative at the firm. I believe that genuine transformation speaks to making a substantive difference. Our transformation strategy is bold and unapologetic with a focus on relating in a meaningful way to our stakeholders, developing our people, and constantly evaluating our successes, remaining cognisant that it is a moving target which we have fully embraced. KPMG’s commitment to transformation is also embedded in our annual performance management processes, affecting
remuneration of all employees. Our commitment to transformation is incumbent on each individual that is part of KPMG, as a result it is the responsibility of all of us. At the end of my term I want to leave the firm more transformed than it was before, where transformation is something that just happens and is not something that we constantly manage. With this, I also want to leave the firm in a position where it’s more comfortable to engage in conversations about transformation. Kindly highlight some recent contributions by the firm to the community and to the relevant professions your professionals are a part of. At grassroots level, the local firm is a participant in the KPMG Family For Literacy (KFFL), which is a global initiative that is aimed at encouraging staff members and their families to collect books and distribute them to less privileged schools or communities – so as to increase access and literacy. Additionally, for the last few years we have been a keen supporter of the Running Academy at the Vorentoe High School is situated in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The athletes from this school and academy have had remarkable achievements, where often these athletes are recruited from rural and disadvantaged areas from the four provinces north of the Vaal River. These Article sourced from:
athletes are given bursaries to attend Vorentoe High School and are provided with basic hostel facilities and food on the premises, as their parents generally have very limited financial resources. The school therefore continuously needs sponsors to maintain the academy. Most of this support continues to be financial, however, more recently the firm has started providing academic support through tutoring the athletes in a range of subjects. Beyond our firm’s CSI focus on education we feel strongly about enticing our staff to be “fit for purpose” and with this we encourage them to partake in sports and activities of their preference and outside of work. In line with this, we launched the KPMG Running Club in 2015, though we also continue to support keen individuals or teams who partake in other sporting activities. How does the firm ensure that professionalism and good customer service are upheld? Our values set out what we as a firm stand for and determine the way we behave, both with our clients and with one another. These values are underpinned by acting with integrity and include; leading by example, collaboration and team work, respecting the individual, seeking facts and providing insights, open and honest communication, and commitment to our communities.
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STRONG INSTITUTIONS STAND BETWEEN SA AND AFRICA'S BAD HABITS
he first 20 years of my life were spent in Kenya with the next 15 years - and counting – spent right here in South Africa. I follow the news from my country of birth with the same profound interest that I track what is happening in my adopted country of residence which enables me to draw useful comparisons.
Let us start with what you probably already know. Construction work was done at President Jacob Zuma’s home in Nkandla which cost South African taxpayers R246 million. This was part of an exercise by the Department of Public Works to make security upgrades to the president’s private residence. The Office of the Public Protector - a constitutional institution - determined that the president unduly benefited from amounts spent on nonsecurity upgrades. The highest court in South Africa, the Constitutional Court, affirmed her recommendation that the President should repay a reasonable amount of this benefit back to the state. He has apologised for the ‘frustration and confusion’ caused by the this matter and promised to pay the amount once determined by the treasury. Zuma’s troubles extend to allegations of “state capture” with recent reports of his business associates - the Gupta family deciding on cabinet appointments from their home in Saxonwold. Three banks and a Big 4 audit firm have parted ways with the Gupta-owned Oakbay Group as a result of the reputational risk of having the Group as clients. Now in Kenya, the former President Mwai Kibaki retired from office in 2013
and the national treasury approved the construction of a post-retirement office at an estimated cost of R100 million. In addition, the former head of state had a brand new home built for him at a cost of R72 million in his rural home in the central part of the country. A report in The Standard newspaper two years later indicated that the 83-year-old and his family rarely visit the residence despite several employees keeping the building and lawns in pristine condition at a further cost to the Kenyan taxpayer. The administration of Kibaki’s successor President Uhuru Kenyatta has been defending itself against one corruption scandal after another. By quantum, the most significant of these is a failure to account for the use of approximately R36 billion raised on the Irish Stock market through a Eurobond floated by his administration soon after election. For amusement value, look no further than the shocking theft at the devolution ministry which procured 18 condom dispensers at R3,800 each and 17 ball point pens at R1,400 per pen! The latter story became international news with even the New York Times reporting on this tragic tale of blatant graft. The constitutional body charged with investigating and prosecuting instances of corruption in Kenya is the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). It has consistently been accused of being highly ineffective having failed to secure any high profile conviction since the promulgation of the constitution in 2010.
Late last year, a broker turned whistleblower filed an affidavit with the police revealing his status as an agent of a judge of the Supreme Court in a bribery transaction. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and a sitting judge - Justice Tunoi - is accused of having received a bribe of R30 million from current Nairobi governor Mr. Kidero for a favourable decision in an election petition. Another member of the six bench Supreme Court and Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal has had to come out and defend herself and her family after their names appeared in the Panama Papers. The head of the Supreme Court and Kenya’s Chief Justice – Dr Willy Mutunga – seems to be at his wits end. The highly respected head of the judiciary stated in a recent interview that Kenya is “a bandit economy run on the ethnic stock exchange”. Now let us turn to the Kenyan private sector. A blogger recently remarked that the best way to rob a bank in this country is to own one. That appears to have been the strategy of Abdulmalek Janmohammed the majority shareholder of Imperial Bank which went under in October 2015. Court documents reveal that Janmohammed advanced himself huge sums of depositor’s money over several years and the remaining shareholders are now suing the bank’s auditors for professional negligence. An email trail between a spa resort in Thailand and Janmohammed’s office reveals that he was responsible for some of the expenses incurred by the wife of the then Central Bank Governor while she was on holiday in the Far
“When it comes to the intent and ability of institutions to discharge their mandate, there is a clear contrast between South Africa and the rest of Africa, if we accept Kenya as a representative case study. While South Africa’s treasury is assisting in the recovery of funds that unduly benefited a sitting president, Kenya’s treasury sees no issue with recommending the construction of a brand new home and office for a retired head of state....”
East country. The Central Bank is the institution responsible for regulating banking operations in Kenya.
When it comes to the intent and ability of institutions to discharge their mandate, there is a clear contrast between South Africa and the rest of Africa, if we accept that Kenya as a representative case study. While South Africa’s treasury is assisting in the recovery of funds that unduly benefited a sitting president, Kenya’s treasury sees no issue with recommending the construction of a brand new home and office for a retired head of state. While the institution charged with checking mismanagement of public funds in South Africa is investigating and implicating the most powerful man in the country, Kenya’s equivalent, the EACC cannot even bring a procurement officer in a government department to book. In fact, the EACC’s leadership has had quite a high turnover at both commissioner level and within its executive team. PLO Lumumba - a former head of EACC’s predecessor, the Kenya AntiCorruption Commission (KACC). - told a conference in Uganda that Africa’s level of tolerance for corruption is amazing. “A Greek philosopher said that it is in
the nature of man to harm the small thieves and elect the great ones into public office. We do that in Africa and that is why Africa remains the poorest continent on earth. Our richest men and women are those who occupy public office. We live in a continent where those who head the health sectors head to Germany, South Africa and India for treatment,” Lumumba said. He further stated that when he was appointed director of KACC, those who gave him the job wanted him to only appear to be fighting corruption. When he went against their wishes by actively combating the vice, Kenya’s legislative institution disbanded the organisation and sent him and his fellow directors packing. There is no better illustration of the independence of the South African judiciary than a ruling that does not favour the head of the executive. The highest court in the land as envisaged in the constitution re-affirmed the public prosecutor’s directive that the President carries out remedial action. In addition, the judgement was a major win for the anti-corruption institution. “The Public Protector is one of the most invaluable Constitutional gifts to our nation in the fight against corruption,” Chief Justice Mogoeng said. www.theafricanpro.com
His Kenyan counterpart is despondent given the level of corruption in the East African country. One of his fellow judges in the highest court in the land is facing bribery charges while another, his deputy no less, has a credibility crisis following the Mossack Fonseca revelations. It would be unimaginable in Kenya that banks would refuse to provide services to business associates of the head of state. Indeed, politically connected institutions enjoy premium service. The Imperial Bank collapse further illustrates the poverty of ethics that even permeates the Central Bank and the audit fraternity who the poor depositors depended upon to bring banking malpractice to book. There are many who moan that South African institutions are under threat from the unscrupulous. I disagree. I believe that the recent events around Nkandlagate illustrate their strength which stands between our present enjoyment of social justice and the worrying state of affairs of other African countries like Kenya.
KC ROTTOK (Images courtesy of Flickr.com)
adly, we have lost another great of Congolese music – Papa Wemba.
Papa Wemba was born Shungu Wembiado in 1949. He came to musical prominence in the great beating heart of Congolese popular music, Kinshasa’s famous district of Matonge in the 1970s during the belle époque of Congolese popular music. The people of the capital, and especially its musical heart, are now mourning one of their musical heroes. Oh Kinshasa! Oh Matonge! I never met Papa Wemba, but I did meet many of his colleagues and contemporaries. When I did my research on the spread of Congolese music in Africa between 1945 and 2000 I found the Congolese, whether from one side of the river or the other, were
people who really knew their music and its history. It never ceased to amaze me how anyone I talked to could narrate a shared musical narrative, a kind of creation story, a history in which four generations of Congolese musicians marched through the years after 1945 spreading Congolese music all over Africa in a way no other African country could rival. Each of these four generations was identified with a particular set of dances and with a particular formative band. Papa Wemba played no small part in this unparalleled musical achievement as part of the third generation. This was a continental achievement that stood in marked contrast to the degradation of domestic political life, the gradual collapse of the national
economy and the crushing of hopes fired by the country’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, after independence. It was not South Africa and Nigeria – the African countries with the largest economies, populations and music industries – that spread their music in Africa between 1945 and 2000. Instead it was the country with the beating heart, le grand tam tam d’Afrique, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Star of the rebellious generation Papa Wemba was a star primarily of the third generation, the rebellious generation that came to maturity in the late 1960s and began touring Africa and Zaire in the 1970s. This generation was inspired as much by the stagecraft and showmanship of American soul superstar James Brown as by the indigenous musical sources to which
their apparently omnipotent President Mobutu Sese Seko asked they turn when he instituted his Zairianisation and authenticity policies in the 1970s. These policies were influenced by similar ones instituted earlier by Sekou Touré in Guinea. But they were not isolationist. They were launched at the same time that Mobutu funded an international black diaspora musical jamboree. James Brown was invited to perform in Zaire in 1974 as part of the amazing musical extravaganza put on for the world title boxing fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman known as the Rumble in Jungle.
The Congolese stars of the second generation, Tabu Ley and Franco, performed in the stadium in Kinshasa alongside long-time favourites in Zaire – Latin stars Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco. They were joined by American stars Bill Withers, BB King and Sister Sledge, who were less well known in Zaire. The show is gloriously captured in the 2008 documentary “Soul Power”. That galaxy of stars performed to the budding young musicians like Papa Wemba who were challenging the dominance of the second generation, which had grown fat on the patronage dispensed by their president in return for loyalty and praise. In his life Papa Wemba composed one or two songs in his native Tetela. Like most Congolese singers, he used a rare thing in Africa – the single unifying national Congolese language of song, Lingala, for most of his compositions. Papa Wemba had a very distinctive voice that, in 1969, carried him into the formative band of the third generation – Zaiko Langa Langa. The Italian tenor Tino Rossi is credited as having had a big influence in the dominance of a certain kind of tenor in Congolese popular music. But Papa Wemba’s voice stands out. In 1979 he
formed his own band, Viva la Musica. The ‘world music’ scene
Congolese society who knew how to create an ambiance.
In the mid-1980s and into the 1990s Papa Wemba became a star of the newly forming “world music” scene in Europe, particularly after signing with Peter Gabriel’s Real World label in 1990. This took him out of Africa, into musical explorations that were aimed at European, Japanese and US audiences and away from the dominant dance forms of the third generation beloved by the Congolese.
But Papa Wemba, like so many of his compatriots, also travelled all over Africa. He is one of the only Congolese musicians to have got any sort of purchase in South Africa. South Africa has struggled with the xenophobic legacies of apartheid but a famous South African who resisted this was the pop queen Brenda Fassie. She recorded a collaboration, Ngiyakuthanda, with Papa Wemba in 1999.
This was a smoother, urbane style that suited the “world music” audiences. Papa Wemba realised that the best way to straddle the very different Western and African markets was to write different music and maintain different bands in Paris and Kinshasa. The band he established in Paris was called Nouvelle Generation.
Papa Wemba came to downplay the importance of clothes as the years passed – but as images from his life on and off stage show, he was somebody who could dress as well as he sang.
In this respect Papa Wemba reflected a very Congolese cultural trajectory – the creation of ways of being modern that were not Western. This was a musical cultural trajectory that freed the Congolese from the trap presented by a dichotomy between an African-defined indigeneity and a Western-defined modernity.
He leaves behind a body of work that rivals the greats of Congolese music history, with at least 42 records on which he has songs or on which he is the main composer. Papa Wemba died after collapsing on stage in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on April 23 2016.
Papa Wemba helped forge a way of being Congolese and modern that did not mean being Western. But he was smart enough to adapt to Western tastes to access those lucrative Western markets, even if he also got imprisoned in Belgium in 2002 after years of making money smuggling people into Europe as part of his huge musical entourage. It’s interesting that it was Japanese designer clothing in particular, by the likes of Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, that formed a central part of Papa Wemba’s wardrobe when he was the uncrowned prince of the “sapeurs” (Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People) in the 1980s. This was the elite www.theafricanpro.com
THOMAS SALTER (The Conversation) (Images courtesy of Flickr.com)
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23rd edition of African Pro featuring Carol Abade, Toyosi Ogunseye, Frik Rademan, Derek Thomas, Trevor Hoole and much more.