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Arkein CEO, Zim’s D. Chimhandamba Facilitation Africa’s Isaac Nkama Nigerian Property Mogul Felix Okoh Kenyan Envoy Amb. Wamoto Sterling Afrika’s Stella Ogema B RO UG H T TO YO U BY

MAGAZ I NE

NDABA NTSELE SA’S BEST ENTREPRENEUR

& President of Black Business Council

R29,95

Issue 12

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Arkein CEO, Zim’s D. Chimhandamba Facilitation Africa’s Isaac Nkama Nigerian Property Mogul Felix Okoh Kenyan Envoy Amb. Wamoto Sterling Afrika’s Stella Ogema B RO U G H T TO YO U BY

M AGA Z I N E

NDABA NTSELE SA’S BEST ENTREPRENEUR

& President of Black Business Council

R29,95

Issue 12

www.africanpro.co.za

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Editorial

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Ndaba Ntsele: SA’s Best Entrepreneur and President of BBC

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Arkein Group CEO Donovan Chimhandamba

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Isaac Nkama: Quietly facilitating business in Africa

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Kenyan Ambassador H.E. Patrick Wamoto

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Felix Okoh: Nigerian Millionaire who did it the upright way

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TAP-Talk: Chio Sakutukwa

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TAP-Book-review: Who fears death?

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TAP-Immigration: Obtaining permanent residence in SA

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TAP-Lynnsanity: Good girls gone bad

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TAP-Travel: Los Angeles is just another Johannesburg

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Sterling Afrika’s Stella Ogema

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The Last Word: More elections, more thoughts

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TAP Social Scene

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EDITOR’S NOTE Change is the only constant

Available at

As advertised on

twelfth issue and you are reading this very piece. In the book Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote: “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” In returning to that unchanged first issue, I most certainly felt the significant alterations we have made over the years with the aim to improve with each issue.

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Since our last issue, with the exception of the re-election of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the admission to hospital of Nelson Mandela has had a clamp-like grip on continental news. In my opinion, if Britons are normal for obsessing about the birth of a royal baby, Africans can be forgiven for their profound interest in the health of their most celebrated hero. In the course of this quarter, I picked up Expatriate magazine Issue 1 and read our very first Editors Note. In the final paragraph of that article, I wrote “years from now, someone will recover a dirty tattered copy of this edition. Will they look back and say wow, this is where an amazing journey began or will they sigh and speculate as to what we did wrong? Time will tell.” I had no idea that I would be the one picking up that dirty tattered copy and making that self-assessment three years on. We can surely pat ourselves on the back for an amazing journey, if only for the fact that we are onto our

With the launch of “The African Professional”, our most significant change is here. It is the consolidation of comments from readers, advertisers and our own team deliberations to further accentuate our ideas within South Africa and across the continent. I do not agree with a vast number of pronouncements made by Mugabe but I am attentive to this one quote: “We of Africa protest that, in this day and age, we should be viewed as lesser beings than others”. Love him or hate him, the African pride the man projects is to be admired. Welcome to the world of “The African Professional”, where we have embraced our identity and personified an ideal. In this and in every subsequent edition, we are proud to be African while keeping the pledge to be professional. KC Rottok, CA (SA) Managing Editor Creative & Financial Journalism (Wits University) Twitter: @africankc

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Publisher: The Expatriate Forum and Magazine (Pty) Limited Reg. Number: 2010/012428/07 P O Box 4935 Randburg, 2125 Republic of South Africa Tel: 011 791 7484 www.africanpro.co.za & www.expatriate.co.za Director: Carol Malonza – carol@africanpro.co.za Twitter: @mueni8 Managing Editor: KC Rottok – kc@africanpro.co.za Twitter: @africankc Deputy Editor & Content Advisor Leah Maina Edition Writers/Contributors Keith Kundai Wanjiru Waichigo Chionesu Sakutukwa Andreas Krensel Yaw Peprah Stephen Twinoburyo Sheila Lynn Senkubuge Photography Mzu Nhlabati www.creativenation.co.za Design Mike Obrien mike@obriendesign.co.za Website Drutech Media www.drutechmedia.co.za To subscribe or contribute an article, email us at subs@expatriate.co.za 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 of the 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. © The African Professional / The Expatriate SA: ISSN 2218 – 757X.


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NDABA NTSELE

SA’S BEST ENTREPRENEUR AND PRESIDENT OF THE BLACK BUSINESS COUNCIL

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he website of his company Pamodzi Investment Holdings states on its landing page that Ndaba Ntsele is SA’s best entrepreneur, a title bestowed upon him for winning the SA chapter of the World Entrepreneurship awards in 2007. The following year, Ndaba was inducted to the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame at a ceremony in France and has, since 2009, represented Africa as a judge in the awards that recognise the best global businesspeople.

six when he worked alongside his aunt in Soweto where he was born. She sold coffee and pastries and provided him with a box from which he bought and sold fruits to other township dwellers. This taught him how to set prices and negotiate. Well and truly bitten by the business bug, he went on to sell newspapers at school and thereafter teamed up with Solomon “Solly” Sithole - a fellow

which is the most common form of security sought by banks, was taken from us by colonisation. ” The founders of Pamodzi were the first black people to rent property in the Johannesburg CBD taking on the prestigious Carlton Centre initially through a lease contract entered into by a Jewish friend.

“The owners of the property would never have rented out to black people “Africans and black people in general have allowed directly in those a certain inferiority complex to creep in. We must days,” he recalls.

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“Entrepreneurship is for brave people; people who see challenge conventional norms. Friday the 13th is things in their viewed as an unlucky day and yet I have signed Issues of race and transfor mation minds that are many successful deals on this day including one for have remained invisible to others. close to Ndaba, $1.3 billion dollars...” They create things as evidenced by that others do not his presidency of the Black Business executive director at Pamodzi - to form think can be done and go all out despite Council (BBC). He took the reins the company. many challenges to achieve what of the organization in 2012 from they have set out to do,” he gives his fellow entrepreneur billionaire and “We called the company Pamodzi definition of people like him. mining magnate Patrice Motsepe. The after staying at a hotel by the same BBC considers itself a non-racial, name in Zambia. It means togetherness Ndaba, who celebrated his 60th progressive and pro-black membershipin the local Nyanja language which birthday in October last year, does not based business organization. was consistent with our spirit. We were believe that entrepreneurs are born and ambitious and determined, using a argues that they can be nurtured. “We have challenges in the business plan and a negligible balance advancement of our people, both here sheet to borrow R6 million from “It is a question I am frequently and across the continent. Some stem Barclays and R4 million from Standard asked to address when invited to various from our own way of thinking. For Bank.” business schools. Entrepreneurship can instance, people buying and selling be taught, in fact it pleases me when I vegetables by the side of the street are It was a major feat to accomplish coach young people and see them go entrepreneurs but they remain small. in apartheid South Africa where black on to start and flourish in their own They do not want to scale up by getting people were not viewed as creditbusinesses. For example, a young premises and paying rent or forming worthy. lawyer I have been mentoring has just corporations and paying taxes yet these signed a deal for R50 million at the age would improve infrastructure to do “We did not have any collateral of 27.” business and one can also benefit from [and relied solely on] our vision. It is tax breaks.” a problem that plagues entrepreneurs Ndaba was inducted into across Africa even today because land, entrepreneurship at the tender age of www.africanpro.co.za


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Ndaba also believes that Africans and black people in general have allowed a certain inferiority complex to creep in. He cites the use of black suits for funerals as an example of how the colour has been used to inculcate negativity.

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processing giant Foodcorp in 2004. In his address at the launch of this black empowerment deal, the then Minister for Trade and Industry Mandisi Mpahlwa described the two billion rand deal as the largest secondary leveraged buy-out in the country’s history.

the group with a strong presence in commodity foods while Pamodzi Resources owns the rights to explore the Petrex surface on the Witwatersrand through its single asset, the Middelvlei Project.

Pamodzi also owns the luxurious Tinga Private Game Lodge as well as a “Leveraging is using borrowed capital 49% stake in Andre Dreyer Motors, one and expecting the profits to be made to of the top BMW is that if you have the opportunity to dealerships in the country.

“We must challenge these conventional norms. Friday the 13th is viewed as an unlucky day and yet “My advice for me it is a lucky borrow, you should borrow as much as possible. one as I have signed Business is like a game of marbles, the boy who several successful deals on that pitches up at the game with many marbles is more particular day. The confident than the one with only a few he is worried most memorable of losing....” was when I met Hans Mende to be greater than the interest payable. My convince him to invest in a local fund. advice is that if you have the opportunity KC ROTTOK He asked me to quote a figure and I took to borrow, you should borrow as much the chance of asking for $1.3 Billion as as possible. Business is like a game we were meeting on a Friday the 13th. of marbles, the boy who pitches up at I expected a negotiation thereafter but the game with many marbles is more he immediately accepted stating that he confident than the one with only a few was born on the thirteenth day of the he is worried of losing.” month.” Ndaba continues to explain that he has a knack for going against the grain. “When people all thought that Nike would never work in Africa, I took up the challenge of bringing it to the continent which included re-entry to apartheid South Africa. And when others shied away from construction in townships due to political upheaval, we saw it as an opportunity and set up a building materials enterprise as a joint venture partnership with Murray & Roberts.”

Pamodzi boasts a diverse bag of marbles ranging from the technology industry where the group has invested in NamITech - the IT arm of Nampak Ltd and Altech’s IT division Altech data to the financial services sector where it holds a significant investment in Westbank’s First Auto - the country’s largest fleet management solutions company. In addition, the group merged with Thebe Risk Services to form Indwe Risk Services, SA’s largest personal lines broker.

Other memorable achievements for Ndaba include the acquisition of agro-

The brand has investments in Sodexho and Foodcorp which provides

Coincidentally (or maybe not), Engineering News reported in 2007 that the BMW 7 series is Ndaba’s favourite car.


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DONOVAN CHIMHANDAMBA CEO OF THE ARKEIN GROUP

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ot many people in their early thirties can speak of cutting million dollar deals in a company they manage and co-own. Despite this, Donovan Chimhandamba (34) - CEO of the Johannesburg headquartered Arkein Group - cuts a fairly modest figure at his interview with The African Professional magazine. A r k e i n apparently signifies leadership in the Greek dictionary, a trait exhibited by Donovan from an early age as the first born in a family of four who lost their parents in subsequent years when he was nine in rural Mashonaland, Zimbabwe. The late Chimhandamba senior was an engineer in the copper mining industry and mineral processing industry as well as a good golfer who passed away from cerebral malaria at the young age of thirty-three. Today his eldest son is the holder of a B.Eng (Hons) in Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering and boasts a mid-teen handicap in an office where professional staff play the sport two to three times a week. Other than the obvious motivation drawn from his late father, Donovan was also inspired by Dr. Francis ChiworaChimhandamba, his much older cousin.

“He rose from a needy environment

to become a top surgeon and businessman in Zimbabwe. This made me believe you can achieve anything despite where you come from” he says. “In the later years of my career, I have been very fortunate to have a mentor and close friend in Vusi Mavimbela,

who has played a significant role in the decisions I have taken.” After completing his five-year degree from Zimbabwe’s National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in 2003, Donovan re-joined Engen in Durban where he had done his in-service training the previous year. His stint at the company did not last long as he joined the listed entity PPC a year later as an operations performance engineer at their Picketberg plant in the Western Cape. “I believe that is where my ability to see the entire picture of the industrial business was nurtured as www.africanpro.co.za

I was effectively the shadowing the general manager. My primary role was managing productivity across all departments.” In spite of the profound learning opportunity that this role presented, Picketberg was a remote lonely place. Donovan had previously met the love of his life Hazel who is now his wife, mother of his two sons and Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank. “She was based in Johannesburg so I sought a position at a company here. I joined Vesuvius International as operations general manager responsible for over 400 people. I was an ambitious aggressive 24 year old and I think the company placed me in the position as I would bring a fresh approach to processes that were not working.” His appointment did not go down well with everyone. One of his subordinates told him to his face that he had been doing things his way for nineteen years and was not prepared to change for someone who was still an infant when he started working. “I understood that I was not going to win them over by trying to engage them on technical know-how and worked

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towards creating an environment that would enable them to excel. The role helped me refine my business skills as it included among other things motivating for capital expenditure which gave me exposure to finance. I also completed an MBA at the Gordon Institute of Business Science during the three years I was at the company which has helped tremendously.”

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community trust set up by Kumba Iron Ore. The mandate included applying the Trusts’ funds to economic investments. ACP was formed as a management company/fund manager with Donovan and Quinton Zunga holding 74.9 percent of equity and the Trust owning the balance. Quinton, prior to co-founding Arkein, was a Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch SA and head of its Debt Capital Markets for sub-Saharan Africa.

deal for Basil Read, ZAR120 million acquisition of a 32% shareholding in SA Airlink, ZAR215 million acquisition of a 26% shareholding in Continental Coal and the construction of Urban Hotel Kathu.”

The Arkein leadership sort to diversify their operations and therefore set up Arkein International Limited chaired by Dr. Gil Mahlati with an After Vesuvius, Donovan started office in Mauritius. It is a Pan-African his own company investment holding c h r i s t e n e d company which “It is a Pan-African investment holding company seeks to invest Mhandas Group which seeks to invest in early stage projects in early stage which did not take off mainly due to within mineral processing, oil and gas and power projects within a restraint of trade processing, and energy sectors. Currently the company has mineral from his former oil and gas and operations and developing projects in South Africa, power and energy employer. After a tough eight sectors. Currently Zambia and Rwanda....” months, he shut the company has down the entity and joined the National operations and developing projects in Empowerment Fund as a Senior “We work well together as we South Africa, Zambia and Rwanda. Investment Associate and was later combine different skills seeing as I have The founding duo still has majority promoted to Head of the Strategic Project an engineering background and Quinton shareholding in this company with the Fund. Under his leadership, the fund is a former investment banker. Within rest held by employees as well as local grew from zero to 27 project companies 16 months of its formation, ACP had and international investors. invested in which was projected to be concluded deals worth ZAR1.2 billion in excess of ZAR25 billion at financial including a ZAR521 million BEE “We identified a niche in investing close and in early construction. feasibility studies seeing In 2011, as banks and Arkein Capital large finance Partners (ACP) houses only was formed appear to be following an interested once approach from the project the Sishen Iron is deemed Ore Company bankable. Our Community South African Development p r o j e c t s Trust (SIOCinclude our CDT), a flagship project


called Nyanza Light Metals, an entity that has secured a titanium resource on which we are conducting feasibility studies and plan to build a ZAR4.5 billion (USD450m) titanium dioxide pigment plant. Also in South Africa we have Arkein Trading, which does contract mining of iron ore on behalf of Evraz Highveld Steel and own 26% of Chemquest, which trades ZAR400 million in mineral processing chemicals across Africa.”

us more confident about our future.” When asked about Zimbabwe, Donovan admits that his home country is not entirely out of their thoughts. “As a Zimbabwean, I would be doing a disservice to my homeland if I don’t contribute to the industrialisation of Zimbabwe while we champion this everywhere else in Africa,” he asserts.

Donovan cites Nigeria’s Aliko In Zambia, Arkein is developing Dangote, Russia’s Vladimir Lisin and jointly with Konkola Copper Mines a India’s Lakshmi Mittal as some of the ZAR250 million (USD25m) plant that industrialists he looks up to. will produce copper concentrate by reprocessing slag “It is my desire to dumps from their an industrialist “Not many people in their early thirties can speak be Kitwe refinery, and so far through of cutting million dollar deals in a company they the company I feel while in Rwanda they are exploring manage and co-own. Despite this, Donovan cuts a we are headed in the gas-extracting right direction. We fairly modest figure...” opportunities are not anywhere ability coupled with years of corporate around Lake Kivu close to where we experience. This has helped in with the intention of building a gas-towant to be yet but I believe a suitable power and a gas-to-liquids plant. platform has been established through ensuring that we are not just dreamers Arkein to achieve our vision and dreams and not aloof to the challenges “What we have done well quite of contributing in a significant manner and complexities in the details of early is to bring on board experienced to the industrialisation of Africa.” implementing our plans and has made executives like KC ROTTOK Rob Mhishi (COO), Ian C a m e r o n (CFO) and Joe Khumalo (CMO) who are also significant shareholders in the business. The underlying s t r e n g t h a m o n g s t the team is entrepreneurial

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ISAAC NKAMA

QUIETLY FACILITATING BUSINESS IN AFRICA

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www.africanpro.co.za


W

hen you walk into Isaac Nkama’s office, his passion for and knowledge of the African continent is evident from the many photos of his personal interactions with different African Presidents and influential business leaders. He enjoys an extremely close personal relationship with Kenneth Kaunda (“KK”), and spends a lot of time with him. His late father, Moto Nkama, was a freedom fighter who participated in Zambia’s independence struggle under KK’s leadership and subsequently served as a Minister and Ambassador in his Government. Unlike his late father, Nkama chose a business career. Since the mid-1990’s, he has held senior positions in various organisations including Spoornet and Reunert. He was Boeing International Corporation’s Business Development Director (Africa region) for eight years until December 2008. While at Boeing, he taught on the ‘Doing Business in Africa’ component of the ‘Globalisation Programme’ at the Boeing Leadership Centre in St. Louis, Missouri every quatre. Outside of his formal career, Nkama has served on a number of key committees in SA, including

the National Council of the South African Institute of International Affairs since 1998, the Executive Committees of the Presidential Black Business Working Group and until recently – the Steering Committee of the Black Business Council. He formed Facilitation Africa in

2009 which advises and facilitates for South African companies seeking to enter or expand into the rest of the African continent. The company has strategic partners in various parts of the continent. He is of the view that SA has a lot to offer the rest of the continent technically and financially in many sectors but faces several challenges. “South African companies are usually more experienced in dealing with western cultures, leading to an often Eurocentric approach on the continent. This clash in cultures can lead to early misunderstandings from both sides. Many executives are reluctant www.africanpro.co.za

to familiarise themselves with cultural aspects of the rest of the continent and that results in the lingering of very common negative perceptions,” he says. Nkama believes that the inability to interpret the general environment is common, often missing out on the real picture. This he says is often the case in countries where the informal sector is bigger than the formal sector especially in countries recovering from recent conflict. “A negative experience in one country resulting from such causes as the selection of wrong partners should not define your appetite for the rest of the continent. In addition, not having an appropriate Government Relations Strategy can be detrimental as Government plays a bigger role in most African countries and take a negative view of companies interacting with them only when they have a problem.” Nkama finds that joint ventures with Government owned entities work well if properly structured but many South African companies are averse to this type of arrangement. “Often, there is a need for a particular type of service but the Government either doesn’t have the

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money or the capacity to raise it. As a result, the financial modelling used on the continent needs to be innovative. Another area of cultural conflict is timeframes; SA companies expect a shorter period to conclude a transaction than what is the norm on the continent. We often work quietly in the background sensitising both sides on their expectations and usually end up with workable compromises,” he reveals.

neighbours.” Facilitation Africa has had a number of interesting successes in different sectors in Southern, Central and East African countries. While Nkama is happy to share this with our editorial team, he is reluctant to have them published as he perceives them to be owned by the clients.

stake in the end result. This gives clients confidence as I have a beneficial interest in ensuring success.” He likes to take his clients to visit the countries to give them a firsthand appreciation of the business culture, political environment and social structure.

“Philosophically speaking, what KK told the late Harry Oppenheimer (of the De Beers and Anglo American Nkama indicates that the challenges dynasties) many years ago still stands: of business in Africa extend beyond Nkama describes himself as a ‘In the West, you do business first those faced on entry. For instance, the person who is commercially trained, but – and eventually become friends. In wrong criteria for selecting expatriates understands the continent politically, Africa, you become friends first – and may lead to operationally competent socially and commercially. eventually do business.’ The statement executives who was so profound are culturally that when I took “In the West, you do business first – and eventually insensitive to Harry’s grandson being seconded. become friends. In Africa, you become friends first Jonathan for a This leads to more – and eventually do business. Understanding this courtesy call on time be spent on KK a few years philosophy is fundamental to succeeding on the management rather ago, he recounted than productive the story as having continent...” operational issues. been told to him by his grandfather on many occasions. “Another common error is the “I combine these attributes in Understanding this philosophy is failure to recognize the distinct cultural assisting my clients to realise their full fundamental to succeeding on the and commercial environments that exist potential on the continent. In working continent.” from country to country. An approach, with clients, I do not sell my time or practices and processes that work in one hours, but sell a desired outcome. While It is a common assumption that there African country will not necessarily there have been some exceptions, in is corruption on the continent when work in the next - even if they are direct most transactions, I negotiate a small a smaller company beats a larger “We prefer the results, and not the publicity,” he states.

www.africanpro.co.za


competitor to a transaction. “From my own experiences, this perception is often incorrect. Africans are more likely to do business with those they consider as friends. It is therefore important to not only maintain your relationships, but continuously build new friendships.” Nkama’s ability to relate to other cultures comes with his background. He has had multicultural exposure from an early age having completed primary school at the Bonn International School in West Germany. He attended secondary school at the International

School of Lusaka and completed high school at Lesotho’s Machabeng International School. All these schools had an average of fifty nationalities at any given time. He later became a Chartered Marketer and completed an MBA in international business. His academic and professional background has perfectly positioned him for what he does today coupled with the fact that he is fluent in a number of African languages. It is also immensely clear that the firmness of his belief in Africa’s potential is unshakable. KEITH KUNDAI

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Copper Processing

Titanium Pigment Beneficiation

Contract Mining

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Leading Africa’s Industrialisation

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2nd Floor 10 Melrose Boulevard Melrose Arch South Africa 2076 Telephone:+27 11 684 1286/1717 Fax:+27 11 684 1727


NEW KENYAN AMBASSADOR H.E. PATRICK WAMOTO

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enya has a new High Commissioner to South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. Ambassador Patrick Wamoto took office recently and took time out of his busy schedule to speak to this magazine.

and thereafter I was promoted to the position of Political and Diplomatic secretary in 2010. I undertook the duties of the permanent secretary for eleven months up to September 2011 when the holder of the position was required to step aside for investigations.

Describe your career leading up to taking this posting.

What do you view as the highs and lows so far of your career in the diplomatic service?

I graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1983 with a degree in political science and joined the foreign affairs ministry soon after. My academic qualifications include a postgraduate diploma in diplomatic studies from Oxford University and a certificate in multinational studies from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. I have served at three other foreign missions; as First Secretary in London in the early nineties, as Charge d’affaire in Vienna between 2003 and 2005 and as the Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria for two years from 2006. In 2008, I was appointed Director for the Africa & AU department at the ministry

As Director for Africa, I had the opportunity to accompany former President Kibaki on his African trips

including those to the African Union. I also got to actively participate in the initiative to have the Kenya Defence Forces Mission in Somalia recognised by the international community through the re-hatting process into the African Union Mission in Somalia. As a young diplomatic officer, I participated in the efforts to bring the Sudan People’s Liberation Army to the negotiating table during that country’s civil conflict. In fact, I was responsible for relocating their leader’s John Garang’s family to Kenya. Finally, I love to learn first-hand about other cultures and I therefore appreciate the opportunity and exposure granted to me by the many travels in my career as a foreign service officer. The downside of diplomatic service has been the cultural and relocation challenges. For instance, getting the timing right for my children to join school in Vienna was not easy and I was in Nigeria at a time when the problem of counterfeit medical drugs was quite rampant.

www.africanpro.co.za

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A very significant low was also the mysterious death of former foreign minister Robert Ouko, a consummate diplomat with whom I worked closely in my formative years in diplomacy.

Union heads of mission for a luncheon organised by the South African foreign affairs minister.

as well as the anchor state for the crucially important Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

How has the move to South Africa been for you so far?

How do you view the transition from the foreign affairs ministry to heading a foreign mission particularly South Africa?

I also like SA because it is only a few hours away from home.

So far things are going well; in fact a lot was accomplished in my first week. I arrived on Sunday 2nd June and the following day I was invited to the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) where I had an opportunity to speak on infrastructure in Africa, a topic I am passionate about. On Tuesday, I presented my credentials to the South African chief of protocol and the following day I attended rehearsals in preparation for Thursday when I met President Zuma to present my papers to him. I was very fortunate seeing as most of my colleagues had waited a number of months to present their papers. On Friday, I joined the African

I was pleased to be posted here as high commissioner. I expect the position to be more manageable than my work at the ministry. As Political and Diplomatic Secretary, I was responsible for both our missions abroad as well as those of other African countries based in Nairobi. As such, I was the recipient of tons of email and phone calls that would come through even in the middle of the night due to significant time differences. This is a very high priority posting in the foreign policy of Kenya’s new administration given that South Africa is the largest economy in Africa

At this early stage, what plans do you

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have as High Commissioner to SA? I wish to contribute to the bridging of the balance of trade between Kenya and SA which currently is largely in favour of the latter. We also need to continue to boost our bilateral relations as SA is an advanced country in various areas. Our constitution borrows heavily from that of SA and given the advances in the mining industry here, the relationship will be vital given our recent discoveries of oil deposits as well as our unexploited mineral potential. Having taken part in shaping our Diaspora policy, I am keen to engage


the Kenyans here. “This is a very high priority posting in the foreign what are your future plans? I believe they are policy of Kenya’s new administration given that the number one South Africa is the largest economy in Africa as Well I pretend to ambassadors of our country and well as the anchor state for the crucially important play golf and I am we should view Southern Africa Development Community in the process of joining the Pretoria them as a resource (SADC)....” Golf Club. I have that goes beyond left a well grounded embassy with a always enjoyed remittances. Their good relationship with Kenyans here. entertaining, a pastime I intend to skills, knowledge and expertise is That said, I believe that in any institution continue here by being a gracious host important in the realization of Kenya’s there is room for improvement and it is to as many people as possible. When Vision 2030. my policy to leave any place better than I eventually retire, I look forward to you found it. farming in my hometown Kitale where My predecessor and friend I was born and own land. Ambassador Amolo and I joined the What do you do outside of work and Foreign Service at the same time. He KEITH KUNDAI


FELIX OKOH

THE NIGERIAN MULTI-MILLIONAIRE WHO DID IT THE UPRIGHT WAY...

I

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and one day he joined her for a church f someone told you of a Nigerian Getting a Canadian visa was no easy service where he decided to give his life who lived a hustler’s life in task particularly given that Okoh had to Jesus. downtown Johannesburg a decade a deportation record. He was advised ago but is now that it would be a millionaire, “Felix Okoh has however defied both stereotypes; beneficial for him the thought of to have a clean visa that of his countrymen in this country and that of for another country drugs would most wealthy African preachers....” probably creep into before attempting your mind. And if to seek a Canadian you were told that the same individual one. He therefore applied for a South “I have never looked back from that has pioneered a large church in the African permit with the intention of day. God spoke to me and called me to southern part of the city, you would be travelling here for a brief period and His service; I joined a Bible school in forgiven for presuming that his wealth returning thereafter to Nigeria to seek Victoria Island and on completing my was derived from the congregants clearance to go to Canada. studies, I tried to get a visa to go to offering. Canada,” he recalls. “When I told my preacher’s wife Felix Okoh has however defied both that I had got a South African visa, stereotypes; that of she let out a sound his countrymen in of celebration and this country and that declared that I of wealthy African should come here preachers. and possess this land. I believe God was sending me a “By the time message through I arrived in SA, I her.” was a born again Christian and I had already made money A Nigerian friend of a friend by the time I started received Okoh at House of Treasures ministries,” he says. the Johannesburg airport in September 2000. The man was But Okoh was a business man who not always a man owned a barber shop with integrity. After and also sold drugs. completing an He let the young engineering degree immigrant sleep in in Nigeria, he left his lounge and cut the country for people’s hair at the England in 1997. He shop for a small was subsequently amount of money. deported for engaging in fraudulent activity. “I refused to His aunt took him in sell drugs and


a property entrepreneur. He was four month training course. It was this irritated my boss together with impressed by Okoh’s courage and an improvement from my previous the fact that I used to wake up early believed he would do well with that occupation and it enabled me to buy and pray loudly in his lounge every kind of confidence. morning. To make matters worse, In 2008, God spoke to me and told me that the He was recruited into the business I befriended a recession was coming. I sold our properties and and later obtained South African lady paid off our family home at a time when the market a diploma in real called Ada who he estate after winning had been chasing was thriving...” a scholarship from unsuccessfully for a FNB. very long time.” my first car. One day I was at the tyre In October 2004, he set up his own shop and a young Indian man came in Okoh wedded Ada in a small company christened Kango properties driving a very expensive car. I walked ceremony and the couple have three and that was the beginning of fruitful up to him and pressed him to tell me sons. He only had seventy rand when times. He was a successful salesman what he does.” they got married, not enough to even and hired his own agents. They made That man was Desmond Soupen, buy a cheap ring but today he is happy the best of the to have adorned booming property her finger with a market by purchasing diamond worth properties for forty-five thousand passive income and rand. earning commissions on sales for third After leaving parties. the barber shop, he set up a public “Then in 2008, phone on a street in God spoke to me Rosettenville. Times and told me that were tough as the the recession was funds generated coming. I sold our barely supported his properties and paid young family. Then off our family home. one day he asked The market was a lady who had thriving and I made stopped by to use his a lot of money,” he phone if she knew smiles. of any job offerings. She informed him The following year, of an insurance the property market company looking for took a terrible dip. sales agents. Interest rates shot through the roof “The company and a credit crunch was in Pretoria ensued. Okoh was and I attended a

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GREENPOINT ATHLETICS STADIUM, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

however prepared for it and had surplus cash with which he could pursue deals and purchase a variety of luxuries for cash including a Rolls Royce worth R3.5 million.

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“Cars are my weakness. I also like good clothes; I believe I should dress well as I am a public figure and should project an image that others should aspire to. I am not materialistic, I can live without these things and in fact I have given away 11 cars. It is giving that brings blessings. When I was poor, I asked God why he wouldn’t bless me yet I lived a life of integrity while drug dealers were thriving. His response was that I was not tithing consistently and when I began doing so things changed.” House of Treasures was started in September 2011, initially meeting at the Thaba ya Batswana hotel. The church has now purchased a 2.6 acre property in the south of Johannesburg with a membership database of 700 people.

GREENPOINT ATHLETICS STADIUM, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

BLUE ROUTE MALL, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

“It is a very big property and we are awaiting planning permission to construct a 3500 seater church towards the end of 2014. We later plan to establish a bible school and shopping complex and establish branches in the rest of the country and as far afield as the US and Canada” The words of the preacher’s wife still resonate with Okoh, “go and possess that land”. “It was a vision that is coming to life. Without vision, people lose hope and perish. One must keep hope alive because even God cannot help a hopeless person.” KEITH KUNDAI

Article pictures courtesy of Felix Okoh

BLUE ROUTE MALL, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA CAPE TOWN

tel: +27 21 462 4500 fax: +27 21 462 4550 2nd FLOOR, THE PALMS 145 SIR LOWRY ROAD, CAPE TOWN 8001 PO BOX 366, CAPE TOWN 8000 JOHANNESBURG

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UBUNTU

TAP Talk

IDEAL VERSUS REALITY

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buntu is an African ideal or philosophy of Nguni Bantu origin that loosely translates to humaneness, morality or human kindness. It envisages a socially kind society where one drops a few coins in the cup of the beggar at the robot; donates towards feeding a hungry child; or assists a stranded motorist.

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This description does not fully define the term because as Justice Yvonne Mokgoro said, “defining an African notion in a foreign language and from an abstract, as opposed to a concrete approach, defies the very essence of the African world-view and may also be particularly elusive…” The word Ubuntu is often thrown around in this country by lawmakers, trade unionists and public speakers alike. It is clearly the ideal to which this country aspires. The reality in which we survive, however, could not be further from the concept. In our reality, ubuntu, at its best, will earn you disappointment. Who can forget the recent revelation that the legless beggar who was a regular sight on Glenhove Road, Corlett Drive and Riviera Road in Johannesburg in fact has a working pair of legs? He folded his legs everyday and hoodwinked motorists for a very long time until a security guard from a nearby building who had had enough used his cell phone to record a video of the act. After this, it will be very difficult for most motorists to feel sympathetic to crippled beggars. In 2010, People Opposing Women Abuse (“POWA”) conducted and recorded a powerful social experiment

that challenged our society’s humanity and sense of ubuntu in a middle-class Johannesburg suburb. POWA placed a young man in a townhouse in a complex. He practiced enthusiastically on his set of drums and in minutes angry neighbours called the guards. They informed him in strong terms that such inconsiderate behaviour would not be tolerated. A few weeks later in the same house, complex and at the same time, the young man played a recording of a violent domestic dispute that was over an hour long. The woman in the recording screamed in agony and for help repeatedly, there were sounds of breaking glass and the heavy thud of blows. Not a single neighbour stirred despite his playing the recording three different times. The video went viral on YouTube with the tagline “every year 1 400 women are killed by their partners”. How many of us can honestly say we would have done something? At its worst, Ubuntu could get you killed. In March 2013, the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court sentenced a man to life imprisonment for using a young teenage girl to lure a 27-year-old woman to stop her vehicle. He then hijacked, robbed and murdered the woman who had been moved to stop and help a seemingly stranded young girl. More and more it seems like we are damned if we do and damned if we do not show our spirit of ubuntu. In a society where a beggar cannot be trusted, picking up a hitchhiker may get you

killed, accepting a ride from a stranger means you may never be seen again and your husband could kill you while all your neighbours quietly listen and mind their own business, can we truly say ubuntu is our founding principle. This is not to say that there aren’t people out there who genuinely help, neither is it to say that every person seeking help is a phony. To reach out and help is a human imperative. This is just to say that our social paradigm is one of a distrustful society, a society that hesitates to help, because experience has taught us that ubuntu can be hazardous to one’s health in more ways than one. More and more it seems that “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu” (“I am what I am because of who we all are”) is acquiring a new and rather unpleasant meaning. CHIONESU SAKUTUKWA Twitter: @chiovictoria


@Soil_Child

Soil Child Clothing


WHO FEARS DEATH NNEDI OKORAFOR

SCIENCE AND FANTASY FICTION IN AFRICA

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ust for a few minutes, let us engage our imaginations and be entertained as we journey into different dimensions. Have we watched and loved the movie Avatar? For the young, the young at heart, or those raising the young, have we heard of J.K Rowling (the author of Harry Potter series), or J.R.R Tolkien (Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit), or C.S Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia series)? Whether or not we know these incredible western epic fantasy stories, it is now time for us to familiarize ourselves with science and fantasy fiction set right here in Africa! The works of Nnedi Okorafor are a good place to start. M yst i c a l stories are not new in Africa. Many of us were brought up listening to folklore, myths and legends filled with magic; stories where animals talked and ogres existed. These stories were intended to discourage bad behaviour and encourage and reward ethical demeanour. Some of us may have read books such as

“ThePalm-wine Drinkard”, or watched Nigerian movies notoriously known for their ghost narratives. When tracing the history of such stories in Africa, the creative works of Okorafor help locate the growth and (re) constructions of fantasy and science fiction. The author skilfully enthrals the imagined reader with her vivid descriptions and simple language. Such spectacular stories allow us to immerse ourselves into an

imaginary world while reflecting on reality and trying to understand the different meanings at play. Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American author, who has successfully published several science fiction and fantasy stories that have received numerous creative literary awards and nominations. This review is based on her book, “Who fears Death”, published a few years ago and which will soon be adapted into a movie directed by Wanuri Kahui an award winning Kenyan filmmaker/ producer passionate about Afrofuturism and science fiction in Africa. “Who fears Death” presents the imagined reader with an Africa never seen or experienced before. It is a mixture of magic, technology and the mystical. Set in post-apocalyptic Africa, the author heavily engages elements of fantasy, magic and science fiction to examine and interrogate gender relations and social systems. There is a delicate movement between history and the


TAP Book-Review

This magnanimous quest is creatively blowing! future performed under the beam of blended with narratives of love, lust, the present. Admittedly one may find it tricky to box this “Who fears Death” presents the imagined book into a specific genre and this reader with an Africa never seen or experienced simply adds to its before. It is a mixture of magic, the mystical and splendidness.

technology….”

The story is centred on Onyesonwu, a girl whose name means “who fears death”. She is conceived through a violent encounter between her mother and a rapist, and is born a gifted child who matures into a passionate powerful wizard with shape shifting abilities. While growing up, she is stigmatised by many and secretly admired by few because she is different. The story is about her turbulent journey to avenge her mother and save a world plagued by genocide: a war being executed under the leadership of her biological father, the rapist (lest we forget) and powerful magician. What makes this book even more compelling are the heavy social evils that it addresses; weaponised rape, war, identity crisis, female genital mutilation, race, genocide, and patriarchy. All these are a burden (or have been) for many African states and cultures. Okorafor deliberately chooses a female protagonist to question and challenge social inequalities and evils, and further harnesses the mystical to correct them.

solidarity and true friendship. The book is a page-turner and the story mind-

It is the kind of book that will have your heart racing, eager for events to unfold (if you fancy science fiction and fantasy stories). It should come as a warning that there are some graphic portrayals in the story, which may take readers to dark spaces and some may find this to be a little disturbing. Nonetheless, one will discern such renderings to be necessary as they do blend in well with the development of the story. So the next time you are in search of an-out-of-this-world mental experience, grab this book as you wait for the release of the movie. This African magical story will surely tickle your imagination. WANJIRU WAICHIGO

Wanjiru Waichigo is an MA (Literature) graduate from the University of Witwatersrand. She currently works with CIET in Southern Africa as a researcher and programme manager.

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OBTAINING PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA TAP Immigration:

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any expatriates come to a point in their lives where they are faced with the question of whether they would like to settle down in SA and change their legal status to that of a permanent resident. This decision is influenced by a range of factors that vary depending on the individual situation. However, what motivates most expatriates is the security of the legal status, less bureaucratic hurdles, and greater independence in terms of the activities they are able to pursue while in the country. Permanent residence allows the holder to stay in SA indefinitely and removes the pressure of frequently renewing the temporary residence permit. It also gives the holder a secure legal status as the conditions for temporary residence are often subject to change at very short notice and one may not be able to qualify for temporary residence on the same grounds as before. Finally, it enables the expatriate to apply for a local ID, the possession of which lifts many of the bureaucratic restrictions usually applicable to foreign nationals. Immigration law has various categories, each with different requirements to qualify for permanent residence. The categories of permanent residence available include the following: continuous employment for a period of five years, possession of a permanent offer of employment, exceptional skills, business, financial independence, retirement, spousal relationship or first step of kinship with a South African citizen or permanent resident.

Of these categories, three are directly applicable to expatriates already employed or wishing to take up permanent employment in South Africa. The first category allows an expatriate to apply for permanent residence if they have held a work permit in the Republic for five years and have received an offer of permanent employment. The second category is applicable to those who have received an offer of permanent employment and whose skills fall into one of the professional categories for which annual quotas are prescribed by the Department of Home Affairs. It is important to note that permanent residence in this category is issued on condition that the holder will remain employed in the field for which the permit was applied for a period of five years. Finally, we have the exceptional skills category which is not clearly defined by the Department. The onus is on the applicant to provide proof that his or her skills are not only exceptional, but will also benefit the South African sector in which he/she intends to work. Alternatively, an expatriate may also wish to follow one of the other routes for obtaining permanent residence. In order to qualify for permanent residence based on business, the foreign national is required to provide proof that at least ZAR 2.5 million originating from outside SA, is available to be invested as part of the book value of the business and undertake to employ at least five South African citizens or permanent residents. Once the permit has been issued, the holder has to prove to the Department that the financial contribution is still invested in the business two years and three years from issue. In order to obtain

permanent residence in the retired or financially independent category the applicant must respectively provide proof of a guaranteed life-long monthly income of at least ZAR 20000 or a total net worth of at least ZAR 7.5 million. Please note that in the latter case a fee of ZAR 75000 must be paid to the Department upon issue of permit. Furthermore, South African permanent residence can be applied for by spouses, children and parents of citizens or permanent residents. In the case of spousal relationships, this applies to applicants who have been in a relationship with their South African partner or permanent residence holder for at least 5 years. In this case after two years the applicant must provide proof to the Department that the spousal relationship still exists. ANDREAS KRENSEL

Andreas Krensel is the owner and managing director of IBN Consulting in Cape Town. He is a qualified German attorney with an LLM from UCT and has been assisting foreign investors in South Africa for the past ten years. www.ibncapetown.com

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GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD

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TAP Lynnsanity

their white dresses, carrying a son on have noticed most good girls are still his title should be accompanied their left hip and standing behind their standing around, soon to be placed on by a “grrrrrowl” shouldn’t it? white picket fence. the shelf, waiting for the invariable But truth of the matter is that knight in shining armour to sweep we are living in a society where it has It has now become what it is, perhaps them off their feet, while the “village seemingly become imperative for the our men are the ones with the issue, that bicycles” are living the white picket good girl to go bad. You might ask why. they have failed to appreciate what is fence dream. Well look at the simple fact that when untouched. Or maybe our women have you look back at life, the girl who was remained in the Victorian era where we Now as I’ve often said, I’m no loosely termed “the village bicycle” nurse our chastity belts while waiting philosopher or life coach, but it seems is now happily married with three to hear those white horse hoofs come that because the bad girls got some kids and is posting bible verses as her galloping across the hill, carrying the early practice in, they are the ones that updates on Facebook! What of the good knight in shining girl? She is single, with a good career, “The girl who was loosely termed “the village armour? loads of money and bicycle” is now happily married with three kids and Whichever the her morals intact, but perhaps, her left is posting bible verses as her updates on Facebook! case, we can only ring finger is still On the other hand, the good girl is single, with a hope that society will one day once empty. Horrifying good career and great morals but her left ring again appreciate isn’t it? finger is still empty....” the best that life has to offer. Not As young that I’m saying bad girls don’t deserve are now sorted and ready to play the women we were always raised to happiness too! I think everyone game. I shudder to think what that says believe that no man wants to marry a deserves their perfect ending, but here’s about our dashingly handsome young woman with loose morals “so to speak” to hoping, that a time will come when men of today’s society, but it is what it that is, a woman who has been around everyone gets what’s in accordance is. the block a number of times and so on. I with the life they have lived and that can however truthfully say that a friend each of us gets our just rewards! In the As life would have it though, it of mine once met a man who told her, meantime...bad girls stay good, while would seem that good girls have no verbatim, “I will never marry a woman good girls go bad! option left but to become bad girls. who is a virgin. I want to marry a It may be late in life, but hey, every SHEILA LYNN SENKUBUGE woman who has been around and knows girl (especially good ones) dreams of Twitter - @lynns95 what she is doing”. Shocked? We sure that beautiful wedding day with the were! We were raised to believe that wonderful prince standing at the end of the virgin girl is the one who will be the aisle waiting for her. And if you find married, worshiped and adored, while that prince and he wants a bad girl, well the loose girl who wanted to eat dessert not much is left but for the good girl to before meal time was over would be become bad! the one left standing on the side-lines without a marriage proposal. Well, dare I say that our parents lied. Okay, perhaps I should say, our parents may have got the wrong end of the stick.

I can truthfully say it is a shame that I

So what’s a girl to do? I guess each to her own, but truthfully, a large majority of good girls have decided to go bad while the bad girls chant “welcome to the dark side” donning


LOS ANGELES

JUST ANOTHER JOHANNESBURG

“If one asks how to get around in Jozi, one will be directed - but in the wrong direction. In LA, the most likely answer will be ‘I dunno’, with a shrug of the shoulders. In both cities, people know very little beyond their areas of operation....”

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© Shutterstock.com


TAP Travel

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aving lived in Johannesburg (Jozi as we call it) for many years and now finding myself in Los Angeles (LA), both large cities in their regions, I cannot help but draw parallels between the two. Both cities have got significant foreign national or immigrant populations. For Jozi, the foreigners come mainly from the rest of Africa through South Africa’s northern border while for LA they hail from the South American countries and enter the country through the southern border. In the State of California where LA is situated, the “It is not uncommon to be asked second most widely spoken language to Vegas...? Meeeen.... you gotta after English is Spanish and is found on major official documentation and signage in leading stores. I am told chances of getting a job in California are enhanced if one is able to speak both languages the same way it used to be with English and Afrikaans in South Africa a couple of decades ago. The next notable similarity is the fear of crime in both cities. I have been advised by a number of people not to venture into certain areas of LA on my own. The dangers one is warned of in LA are similar to those we hear of in Jozi. I have encountered people who live just outside the city and never want to venture into its heart just like there are people in Sandton or Midrand that have a phobia for visiting downtown Jozi. I have been told that there are guys in LA that can shoot for no logical reason and that I could be attacked for being in the wrong place, being in the right place at the wrong time or saying

the wrong thing, saying the right thing to the wrong people, or even wearing a the wrong colour. This is not unlike Jozi although I would like to think that it has over time changed for the better. In the outskirts of LA, one usually gets the impression that the city is a no-go area and with my Jozi background, I know very well what this means.

‘ you go to

When one visits LA, there is that inner feeling that one may see a film star just like people come to South Africa and ask where Mandela is. The truth of the matter is that LA is vast, everybody minds their own business and super stars are haven’ been seen by people who move around their Vegas!’...” circles. Similarly, people in Jozi hear of Mandela the same way people in LA or London do. As for roads, highways, shopping malls, shops, suburbs, airports and other infrastructure, I found that it is pretty much the same in both cities except that they tend to be bigger in LA due to its size. Motorists drive on the left in South Africa and on the right in California, something I am getting used to with much difficulty. The traffic rules are pretty much the same but with one notable difference, one can turn right at a red traffic light in California (and I guess the rest of US) if it’s safe to do so. Also people respect traffic rules to the letter because traffic fines are given without mercy and are unflatteringly steep. The other area one would be concerned about in a city is service. When one is being given service in LA, I found that one receives slightly more

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TAP Travel

attention than one would receive in Jozi. But in my opinion, service and courtesy is generally poor in both cities and is despised as much in LA as it is in Jozi. London is miles ahead of both cities in terms of public transport and the help one would get when moving around the city. If one asks how to get around in Jozi, one will be directed - but in the wrong direction. In LA, the most likely answer will be ‘I dunno’, with a shrug of the shoulders. In both cities, people know very little beyond their areas of operation.

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People around LA will advise you to go to places like San Diego, San Francisco and of course Vegas but never certain parts of LA. It is not uncommon to be asked “ you haven’ been to Vegas...? Meeeen.... you gotta go to Vegas!” Indeed I will, and that will be my story for another day. Which reminds me, as somebody who hasn’t watched many movies in my life, I’m struggling to understand the accent of the locals here especially African Americans due to the speed of the words. While being dropped at a shopping mall this morning, I was told by the friend who dropped me that the area is called ‘Sanita’. Only when I looked at the signage later that I realised it is Santa Anita. STEPHEN TWINOBURYO

Twitter - @stwino

Pics courtesy of S. Twinoburyo


TAP Travel

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STERLING AFRIKA’S STELLA OGEMA

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n my way to interviewing Stella Makokha Ogema, I had a picture of what direction the interview would take. Like most expatriate African professionals I have interviewed, she would probably relate a tale of coming to a South African university, getting a job then branching out to start her own business. I wasn’t prepared for an adventure involving dodging police on border patrol, living in a shack in a South African township and other intrigues.

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Stella was born in Uganda to a Ugandan father and Kenyan mother. She was the last born and grew very close to her mother whose circumstances she was determined to improve; she was ageing, sickly and lived in a house without running water or electricity. “Once I completed my high school studies, I did not want to go to university because that would take too long,” Stella explained in the boardroom of her Pretoria offices. “I needed to complete a quick course in a tertiary institution and make enough money to improve my mother’s standard of living.” S t e l l a p u r s u e d communication studies at a Nairobi college and also completed a certificate course in travel

and tours in 2001. She landed a job at a travel agency in the coastal town of Mombasa but did not find the salary adequate to fund the big plans that she had at that stage. “I got desperate because my mother was getting really old. She and I sat down and decided I should leave Kenya for a country with a stronger economy. We looked at the exchange rates in the newspaper and discovered that the Botswana Pula was pretty strong. I figured that even if I swept offices there for a short period of time and sent Pula back to Uganda once converted, the shillings would be adequate to at least drill a borehole in our village.” Her mother packed blankets, clothes and a lot of toiletries and Stella boarded a bus to Tanzania with only Ksh. 25,000 (approx. USD 300). Her funds had run out by the time she got to Zambia after having to spend a few nights at bus stations waiting for the next one to hit the road. “Fortunately, I met a Ugandan couple who befriended me on the bus

to Botswana. They were young, rich and naïve and had eloped to start a life together in a faraway land. They were excited to meet someone from their home country and viewed me as an elder sister.” On arrival in Gaborone, the trio rented a room and went looking for jobs door to door. After two weeks of jobhunting, nothing concrete had come their way but Stella had a fairly cordial engagement with an architect called Motsumi. “His firm was not doing very well and with my background in tours and travel I was sure he could diversify and use his network to build a profitable business. I briefed him on an idea and he asked me to prepare a proposal which I did. The idea was to organize working holidays for young Tswana’s and we placed an advert under the proposition of “Fly Now, Pay Later” in a local newspaper.” The firm was inundated with applicants who each paid an application fee giving them instant cash flow. They proceeded to organize the trips with an agency and it was not long before they had expanded to other cities in Botswana. However a fall out with M o t s u m i prompted Stella to move on. She decided to head


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across the border to South Africa in late 2006.

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toilet in Khayelitsha. She got by doing occasional gardening assignments before getting a job as a secretary at a project management company earning three thousand rand.

Stella now has a work permit and has been in business ever since leaving employment. Her company is called Sterling Afrika occupying 220 square metres of office space in a prime location in Pretoria and has close to ten full-time employees.

“When I got to the border at Tlokweng, I tried to get one of the truck drivers to smuggle me across. But “I moved to Pretoria in 2007 and there had been a crackdown and it was in the same year, my mum died. I was difficult to get one who was interested. “I called it Sterling because this is devastated and although I did not have Eventually one [driver] introduced me an adjective for excellence and value. a visa to return to SA, I decided that I to a couple of men and one lady with I want to build a world-class company had to fly home to pay my last respects. the same mission. We were paired up that exhibits quality and professionalism Through the contributions of friends, I into couples and were advised to walk as well as high standards.” boarded a plane for the very first time along the fence and slide underneath when the border company patrol police were “On my way to interviewing Sterling Afrika’s The found its niche in not looking.” founder Stella Ogema, I wasn’t expecting an developing courses adventure involving dodging police on border for governments In broad daylight, Stella and patrol, sleeping at bus stations, living in a shack in and companies the her accomplice a South African township and other intrigues…..” across continent. Their pretended to be a role is to research these courses, engage and attended her funeral. I returned to couple taking a stroll and then at the a suitable facilitator, coordinate travel SA pretty much the same way I entered opportune moment, sneaked through arrangements and hire appropriate the first time.” the barbed wire and ran into the venues. neighbouring forest. They had to run Stella got a job at a training institute as fast as they could then stop suddenly Stella, 32, lives with her partner in Pretoria in sales. She was pretty and lie down motionless when they David Rukanshonga with whom she aggressive and exceeded targets leading could hear the patrol dogs gaining on has two sons David Junior and Darrell. to her promotion to the position of them. “People ask me how I manage so team leader and subsequently in-house well as a business person, wife and executive. She left the company in 2012 “It was dark and scary. We had no mother. They don’t know that it can to start her own in the same field. sense of direction and had to follow the sometimes be very stressful. I am not street lights to find the road. When we skinny because of going to the gym; “I was earning up to R50,000 in did, we tried phoning the truck driver it’s due to many sleepless nights trying basic salary and commissions at the but there was no response. Eventually to cope with the challenges that come company. However, money does not we saw the truck coming and without with entrepreneurship. But I remain dictate my life given what I had gone stopping, he flung the door open and we confident because I have come from far through. I chased money for years to had to jump into a moving vehicle with and continue to dream big. After all, make my mother happy and yet when our heavy luggage.” dreaming is one of very few things in her time came, she did not wait for it. this world that are absolutely free.” Now all that money can do is put a On arrival in Johannesburg, Stella beautiful tombstone on her grave. It KEITH KUNDAI spent a few nights in a filthy refugee does not mean much.” hall while looking for work before taking the train to Cape Town where she rented a shack with no functioning

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Africa’s Leader in Capacity Development Sterling Africa Training & Consultancy is a capacity building institution. We specialise in the provision of accredited skilled and introductory training meeting the demand for high quality business management & continued professional capacity development in Africa. We have grown to meet specific client demands, both locally and internationally because of our practical approach into delivering training programs that are problem-centred, learner oriented and time bound. Services offered Public Training For more information, please contact: ● ● In-House Training Stella Makokha Ogema ● Oil & Gas Conferences Tel: +27 (12) 7713 487 ● Short Term Training (1-6 Weeks) Fax: +27 (0) 86 5516 480 ● Corporate Events Management Cell: +27 76 8444 048

Email:info@sterlingafrika.com stella@sterlingafrika.com Website:www.sterlingafrika.com

Unit 5 Parkfield Court 1185 Park Street Hatfield 0028 Pretoria South Africa


MORE ELECTIONS, MORE THOUGHTS

W

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ith elections in Zimbabwe and SA’s early next year, a conversation I had with ‘Mariaan’, a lady I share an office with comes to mind. She asked me if I would vote for the ANC in the next elections and then went on about how poor the standards at schools are.

The ANC together with other think tanks brought in employment equity and BEE. There was no alternative, as things could not be left as they were. I attended an event for ex-trainees of a Big 4 Audit firm and only about ten percent of the 300 people there were ‘of colour’.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I owe a lot to the apartheid government, because without them there would have been no homelands which needed to ‘import’ professionals from Ghana where my parents are from. I also doubt there would have been Umtata High School which afforded me a quality education. Mariaan was of the view that what is going on is reverse apartheid. I don’t agree with the term ‘reverse apartheid’ or reverse racism, racism is racism, full stop; furthermore, where have you ever come across a situation where a white person was asked for a dom pass to enter a certain neighbourhood? I am no ANC sympathiser, but we should note that the 43 year apartheid government only made sure it built infrastructure to cater for 2-3million people and now this one has to look after 50.6mil in a period of less than half that time. Added to that, apartheid was so well executed that a lot of its non-white products were brought up with shackled minds.

We need to change our mindset. The middle class black person has as much to lose as any white person in this country. The majority poor with few possessions have little to lose. Part of the BEE scorecard is a great section called CSI spend which is an opportunity to make a difference but it is unfortunately treated as a box ticking exercise. We complain about the poor education system yet companies can afford to build schools and train teachers to teach kids instead of shipping its profits offshore.

She then argued that whites can’t get jobs. I smiled. I have friends returning from the UK who get plum positions within weeks of returning, but then we have the products of Bantu education who loiter on Katherine Street daily hoping to earn a daily stipend of R100 if they are lucky.

People scream about how bad Zimbabwe is but I think it will be in a better position than SA soon, given its untapped mineral resources. Because of ‘Crazy Bob’, indigenous Zimbabweans have a say. If you wish to play in their patch, the rules have been laid out and as a result everyone wins including the previously disadvantaged. Just as I owe a lot to the apartheid regime of the past, I owe even more of my current life to the ANC and the struggle heroes. Without them, I doubt I would have received financial assistance at UCT, been employed by a large audit firm or joined a top bank.

According to an

The Last Word

article I read the other day, 5% of the population pay 99% of SA’s Income tax. We are increasingly becoming a welfare state which is not sustainable. We cannot afford to have roads built where the toll collection system costs more than the amount spent on the roads or commissioning power stations at exorbitant costs to the taxpayer. We can’t push Secrecy Bills just because we have the majority. There is an apparent arrogance within the ruling party which may result in it ending up as just another African party that lost its way. And as a people, we should be more concerned about the National Development Plan than a Royal baby, Vavi’s sex life or a store in Hyde Park. YAW PEPRAH

Yaw Peprah is a self employed entrepreneur pursuing interests in business advisory, consultancy and commodity brokering. www.asitissoitis.blogspot.com Twitter - @yawzie


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THE AFRICAN PROFESSIONAL 2ND WOMEN’S BREAKFAST 1 - Event MC, Sheila Lynn Senkubuge 2 - Karen Marshman of Western Union gets a glimpse of the new issue 3 - Magazine editor KC Rottok and Prof. Annet Oguttu, a previous interviewee, share a light moment 4 - 180 ladies in attendance

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THE AFRICAN PROFESSIONAL 2ND WOMEN’S BREAKFAST 1 - Evelyn Doubell from Consolidated Financial Planning 2 - Rhoda Landa and Yvonne Katumbi complete the quiz 3 - Sally Kim from Medina Palms 4 - Kacey Moore performs a poem

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THE AFRICAN PROFESSIONAL 2ND WOMEN’S BREAKFAST 1 - Panelist Former UN Rep to SA, Ms. Scholastica Kimaryo 2 - Panelist Mumbi Odame, Head of Client Experience Strategy at Nedbank 3 - Panelist Accenture Director Monica Rubombora 4 - Okyerebea Mwaba asks the panelists a question 5 - Quiz top 3 winners: From left - Sheila Otieno, Kaswii Omondi (overall winner) and Wanjiku Waithaka

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