Tribe STRONGLY INDEPENDENT & FIERCELY CONNECTED
BUSINESS INSIGHTS FROM: ■ ■ ■
NOLEEN MARIAPPEN KELLY ROBINSON DENNIS OSSIPOV-GRODSKY
“IT’S A SCIENCE
TO MANAGE PEOPLE” ISSUE 3 2020
ARNOUX MARÉ, CEO: INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS GROUP
HOW ARCHITECTS CAN MAINTAIN THE HUMAN TOUCH SPRINGBOK VICTORY—ENSURING LASTING NATIONAL PRIDE ■
CONTENTS ON THE COVER
010 • BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER
018 • A CTIVELY EMPOWERED
When the visionary Arnoux Maré decided to turn the labour brokering sector on its head by contractually employing staff on a permanent basis, everyone said it made no sense. Since then, his Innovative Solutions Group has completely changed the system—taking responsibility for the entire human resources function, which allows clients to focus on their growth strategies and core competencies. And, as Maré told Tribe Business Magazine, “if you manage your employee correctly and at the same time empower him to do his job to the best of his ability, it will be beneficial to both the worker and the company.”
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Meet JEFF, Johno Meintjes’ healthy lifestyle movement that’s disrupting the health and fitness space with its accessibility, approachability and dependable results
026 • MEET THE CHIEFTESS: DR TAMARA PHEIFFER This expert in medical biohacking uses patients’ unique genetic and bodily makeup to optimise health and well-being
022 • AFRICAN WARRIOR: GARETH TAYLOR
030 • WORLD-CHANGING TRENDS
Bolt, the leading European on-demand transportation platform, is making inroads in South Africa as well. We speak to the SA country manager about the ride-hailing service’s operations and plans
Now that all the fanfare surrounding the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup victory is dying down, what’s next? Here’s how the country can generate enduring national pride to create opportunities for the whole nation
040 • BEYOND THE HORIZON Artists will be pivotal in any industry where computers are becoming increasingly influential. How can architects maintain the tactile nature and human creative process in the ancient art of drawing?
060 • T RENDSETTER: KELLY ROBINSON Robinson began her career convinced she’d live in a swanky apartment in Manhattan, be nominated for an Oscar, end up on all the billboards, and become a Hollywood A-lister. But fate had other plans
046 • MODERN LEADER: DENNIS OSSIPOVGRODSKY
050 • MODERN LEADER: NOLEEN MARIAPPEN
Youth is not a weakness
Art, abstraction and application merge in the mesmerising Laguna coffee table by OKHA
054 • THE GREAT OUTDOORS Robbie Stammers ended a fantastic Kruger bush experience to beat all others, at Tintswalo Safari Lodge Manor House
From founding his first company in the Ukraine as a teenager, Ossipov-Grodsky has enjoyed a storied career in the United States. A look inside his world of business, entrepreneurship and mentoring
Her mission is simple: to make a positive difference to individuals, businesses and society, while continuing to learn and grow. Here’s how this serial entrepreneur has got it right
038 • THE OBJECT
006 • A WORD FROM THE INDUNA
008 • MUST-HAVES Seven top gadgets and products that will make business—and life—easier in 2020
058 • THE STEED In this edition, we review the 12-seater Hyundai H1 Bus and the zippy little Mazda CX-5 Individual
064 • LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE Robbie Stammers pokes a little fun at those foreigners who visit our beloved country for their first African safari
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Tribe STRONGLY INDEPENDENT & FIERCELY CONNECTED
PUBLISHING EDITORS Evans Manyonga Robbie Stammers
SUB-EDITOR Lynn Marks
CREATIVE CONCEPT ART DIRECTOR Stacey Storbeck-Nel
Professor Owen Skae, Patrick McInerney, Christoph Malan, Jacqueline Manyonga, Robbie Stammers, Evans Manyonga
Cover: Shaun Mallett Shaun Mallett, Unsplash, Robbie Stammers, Tintswalo
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DISCLAIMER Â©2020 Tribe Business Magazine is published by ReignMakers (Pty) Ltd. The Publishers are not responsible for any unsolicited material. All information correct at time of print.
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B OSCHENDAL A luscious blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot , Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Blended Distinction.
A WORD FROM THE INDUNA
YOUTH IS NOT A WEAKNESS Young people have the power to both grasp the moment and shape the future
fricans and African traditionalists in general believe youth to be a weakness and disadvantage. But history is littered with those who have achieved much at a young age. As the digital era is in full swing, it’s imperative to look at how our world is being structured and is progressing. Perhaps we should begin seeing the youth of today as the key to tomorrow. The following list of individuals, from past and present, gives some insight into how young people have the power to both grasp the moment and shape the future.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Undefeated in battle, Alexander the Great is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders. By the time he turned 30, he had created the greatest empire the Ancient World had seen—during that period, conquest by war was the yardstick of success. Coming to power at age 20, Alexander embarked on one of the greatest and biggest military campaigns of his time. His key traits were bravery, a strikingly unwavering belief in his capabilities, and the unquenchable thirst to succeed. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Greek philosopher Aristotle until age 16: “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”
The youngest of the famous Kardashian-Jenner tribe is an example of the rise of social media powered by the digital era.
She began Kylie Cosmetics in 2015, which Forbes estimates is worth over $900 million and credits its success in part to its simple structure. Kylie Cosmetics employs just seven full-time and five part-time workers. With more than 159 million Instagram followers, Kylie is able to advertise to a loyal fan base. Social media has been the beating heart of her empire: “It’s the power of social media. I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
A modern genius of our time, Zuckerberg is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist who is also the chairperson, CEO and controlling shareholder of Facebook Inc. At age 23, he became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. As of 2020, he is the only person under 50 in the Forbes official richest people list, and the only one under 40 in the top 20 billionaires list. “I remember really vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after I opened up the first version of Facebook. At the time I thought: ‘You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world.’ But I just never thought that we’d be the ones to help do it. And I think a lot of what it comes down to is we just cared more.” ■
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PERFECT 7 TOP GADGETS AND PRODUCTS THAT WILL MAKE BUSINESS—AND LIFE—EASIER IN 2020
POCKETALK Going on business to a foreign country? Not familiar with the language? No need to pay for an extra flight ticket for a translator—just pack in this new palm-size gadget Pocketalk is a two-way translation device with a large screen and back camera that make it easier to read text such as on street signs or a restaurant menu. It can also quickly convert currency, length, width and temperature. And it can do all this in 74 different languages! The pre-installed SIM operates in 130 countries around the world, working with both LTE and Wi-Fi; the device will last for 4.5 hours on a 105-minute charge. R7 490, www.wantitall.co.za
GLOWBOWL Never again deal with the pain of turning on blindingly bright lights to use the loo at night! And anyone sharing your room will thank you for not disturbing their sleep. This LED motion-activated device turns any toilet into a night light, simply by hooking it onto the bowl (fits any shape and size). Because it works with batteries, it actually saves on electricity. And because it’s sensitive to other lighting, it won’t turn on if the bathroom is already lit—thereby saving on battery power. Let the kids have some fun by switching between the seven colours… R520, www.wantitall.co.za
TIKITUNES PORTABLE WIRELESS SPEAKER CARBONKLEAN’S SCREENKLEAN Tired of stains, marks, fingerprints or dust all over your high-end TV, smartphone, iPad or any other expensive electronic device you own? Enter the 21st century way of cleaning: carbon molecular tech that cleans screens to a crystal-clear finish, without scratching. ScreenKlean works on all type of screens, and you can be assured of its efficacy —just ask the NASA astronauts who use the product to clean glass at the International Space Station. R811, pclinkshop.com
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Recent reviews suggest this is the coolest wireless (Bluetooth) speaker around— adding the perfect touch of sophisticated ambience to your bedroom, patio, deck or balcony with an LED light that flickers like a real tiki torch. Constructed from high-quality materials, it’s both dust-tight and water-resistant. When the 2 000mAh built-in battery is fully charged, the speaker lasts up to six hours, and works with any Apple and Android device. R1 329, pclinkshop.com
FITTRACK DIGITAL SCALE New year, new you! Health is everything, so you should take good care of your body. The FitTrack is a highly intelligent smart medical scale that allows you to look ‘inside’ your body. Step onto it to activate, and a very low (safe) electrical signal from four metal electrodes is sent through your feet. This electrical signal passes quickly through water present in hydrated muscle tissue, but meets resistance when it hits fat tissue. This resistance is measured and input into scientifically validated FitTrack equations to calculate body composition measurements. The scale can measure, track and trend your health data in real time with 17 health measurements including your body fat percentage, muscle and bone mass, hydration levels, among others. Use in conjunction with the FitTrack smartwatch and app. R3 780, www.wantitall.co.za
HUDWAY GLASS HEADS-UP DISPLAY Like a prop out of the Star Trek movies, this device transforms your smartphone into a safe driving display atop your car’s dashboard. One of the predominant causes of car accidents is being distracted—looking down or away—while you’re driving. Thanks to the Hudway, you can now utilise the same tech that fighter pilots use to stay focused while flying. Your smartphone is wirelessly mirrored on the transparent display to show the traffic conditions, speedometer, street maps, and so much more in your line of sight, but you can still do basic phone functions such as answer calls. You’ll never have to take your eyes off the road again! R1 700, www.importitall.co.za and pclinkshop.com
THE PHOTOSTICK MOBILE Did you know that 1 in 3 smartphone users will lose all their photos and videos from water damage alone? And how do you dread that “Your phone memory is almost full” message? Well, PhotoStick is here to save all your precious memories captured in your photos and videos. All you have to do is connect it to your mobile device and it’ll create an automatic backup that will allow you to free up space while preserving all your files—more than 30 000 pics and vids! The PhotoStick can also easily be plugged into a USB port to transfer everything to your computer. £51.30, getphotostickmobile.io
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ON THE COVER
M A TT E R
WHEN ARNOUX MARÃ‰ DECIDED TO TURN THE LABOUR BROKERING SECTOR ON ITS HEAD BY CONTRACTUALLY EMPLOYING STAFF ON A PERMANENT BASIS, EVERYONE SAID IT MADE NO SENSE. HOW INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS GROUP CHANGED THE SYSTEM BY EVANS MANYONGA PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHAUN MALLETT 0 1 0
ON THE COVER
“I KIND OF LIKE CHALLENGES. I like it when people say you can’t do it and I try to prove them wrong.”
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ON THE COVER
n the South African business environment, new startups and small- to medium companies often struggle to compete with the large, dominant enterprises. Once established, they may find it difficult to access further capital and the resources needed for them to grow. Then there are the business functions that require the owner’s or CEO’s full attention: accounting, auditing, staffing etc. Wouldn’t you want to concentrate on what really matters—growing your business? Enter Innovative Solutions Group (ISG). Founded by visionary entrepreneur Arnoux Maré, who understands the challenges of owning a business, ISG outsources such functions to facilitate the smooth running of a fledgling company—with trustworthy service providers who act as proxy,
We don’t employ any temporary staff, therefore ensuring workplace stability and continued security for workers and their families. 0 1 2
assuming the same level of responsibility and accountability as the company itself would. “A lot of people don’t understand how difficult business has become. In the old days, the owner of the company was the CEO, the marketing manager, the financial manager, the HR manager—but you can’t do that in today’s environment,” he told Tribe Business Magazine. This is not a labour broking service. As Maré explained, “The difference between what we are doing and labour broking is quite easy to understand. Labour brokers’ staff are always temporary workers, often called a ‘limited duration contract’, even where employment contracts or policies refer to them as ‘permanent’. These temporary employees are deprived of their basic rights as workers in the sense that they can’t even apply for credit or a cellphone contract. So we changed the system.”
A new approach
A recent study by financial advisory firm Deloitte identifies outsourcing as a key enabler of economic growth and job creation. The outsourcing industry has elevated the economies of other emerging markets such as India and the Philippines. “As an outsourcing company,” said Maré, “we employ more than 16 000 permanent staff over a variety of sectors including transport, mining, logistics, engineering, hospitality and agriculture. We don’t employ any temporary staff, therefore ensuring workplace stability and continued security for workers and their
families.” By employing workers full-time, a company actually builds a relationship with these staff members—empowering them to work optimally and in positions that suit them best. ISG receives around 8 000 CVs a week and employs approximately 2 000 people a year. In 2017, the company employed a person for every working hour. Currently, ISG manages 30 companies in sectors such as mining, engineering, logistics, financial services, construction and agriculture, and is looking toward the entertainment sector in the near future. It has operations countrywide with offices in cities such as Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Kuruman, Polokwane, Tzaneen, among others. Outside South Africa, it operates in the United States, New Zealand and Mozambique, and will soon be moving into Europe. ISG’s Innovative Staffing Solutions subsidiary takes responsibility for the entire human resources function, which allows its clients to focus on their growth strategies and core competencies. “It’s important to note that legitimate outsourcing companies are not labour brokers or temporary employment services, but organisations where both the employees and the companies are protected,” Maré stressed. “At Innovative Staffing Solutions, we contractually employ our clients’ staff on a permanent basis. This means we take over a client’s drivers, hospitality workers or farmworkers by reinstating them as permanent employees, but they continue to work for said client. In exchange, employees receive
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ON THE COVER
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ON THE COVER
benefits they may not have received previously, while the client’s HR needs are handled, such as finding suitable staff and dealing with disciplinary issues.” ISG’s other subsidiaries are: Innovative Accounting Solutions, which outsources financial and accounting processes; Innovative BEE Solutions, which assists companies to comply with Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment regulations and improve their Scorecard ratings; and Innovative PPE Solutions, which ensures personal protective equipment and clothing meet legal requirements and are of the highest quality.
Spirit of an innovator
In 2017 and 2018, Maré and ISG walked away with the laurels at the annual Africa Leadership Awards held in Mauritius. One of the awards lauded ISG as the “Dream Company to Work for in Africa”. The self-made millionaire grew his turnover from R32 million in 2013 to an astonishing R2 billion in 2019. Maré is proud to have created a new service that had never been heard of before. “Everyone knew what labour broking was, everyone
If you manage your employee correctly and at the same time empower him to do his job to the best of his ability, it will be beneficial to both the worker and the company Tribe
knew what recruitment firms were, but what I was pitching to the market was something unheard of. I was telling companies to trust me with their most valuable asset, which is their people—which can also be their biggest liability, depending on how they’re managed. But nobody actually wanted to listen to me! Everybody told me I was doing it wrong, everybody said it was not the way to go, everybody said it was impossible because to them it didn’t make sense to employ people full-time. “There were a lot of challenges, but I kind of like challenges. I like it when people say you can’t do it and I try to prove them wrong. I’m a firm believer that second place is really a politically correct term for the first loser. I don’t like being told that it’s impossible. People telling me it was impossible actually got me to push even harder,” he added.
Managing people “a science”
Innovative Staffing Solutions takes the headache of managing staff away from company owners because it’s a science to manage people, said Maré. “We’ve stopped managing work and started managing people. We manage the human resources while we let the company manage its core business, for example engineering. There are so many facets when it comes to running a business: there’s safety, payroll, human resources, sales, marketing, operations, but the people who do the operations are not the focus of the company—the operational excellence is their focus. Our focus is people excellence, so our operations are people.” He continued, “It’s very important to understand the psyche of humans when working with them. If you have a disgruntled, unhappy employee, the production will be cut by at least 60%. However, if you have a happy
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ON THE COVER
employee who is proud of where he or she works, the production goes up, morale goes up, everything works better. We can provide a better service for our clients at the end of the day, running the operations for them by managing the people correctly, while they manage production, marketing and all those things they need to take the business forward. We manage the people to ensure the actual business is done.” Maré iterated that ISG’s employees are managed on a human level, not just on a work level. “I’m a firm believer that you need to strike a delicate balance between the two, because if you manage your employee correctly and at the same time empower him to do his job to the best of his ability, it will be beneficial to both the worker and the company.” Central to the company’s operations is the well-being of its most important asset: its human resources. ISG values its workforce so much that it has created systems and benefits for its employees that are second-to-none in the market. “We’ve taken hands with a major medical aid company to assist all our employees, including more than 6 500 truck drivers, to enjoy better medical benefits at a fraction of the cost. This also allows lowerearning employees medical aid assistance.” Asked whether ISG trains people internally, Maré said it depends on the type of training. Specialised training is outsourced, while the company does the rest in-house, such as with soft skills. “We also adapt our training to our clients’ needs. We need to build a person into a job, not a job into a person— and that’s the mistake many companies make.” He added, however, that even though he’s a firm believer in education, people have to learn to think outside the box. Many people concentrate so much on studying
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that they start thinking inside the parameters of their studies, never looking for answers outside—and no business can be run like that. “There’s no single degree, not even an MBA, that teaches you how to run a business. I concentrate on what I do best and outsource that which I can’t do best. A leader must be able to realise he can’t do everything, and work with a team who’s able to achieve the best results.”
ISG in action
ISG’s very first contract showcased the efficacy of the business model, and the client ended up marketing ISG to its own sister companies and business associates. Maré hasn’t looked back since.
Due to client confidentiality, he isn’t able to name any of ISG’s clients, but one success story deserves to be shared: “Pienaardam in Middelburg is made up of resorts, agricultural facilities and a few other elements. A few years ago, we took over their staff, which was very unionised and militant. We started handling the negotiations with the unions and, of course, because we speak the same language as the unions, we could assist the process—remember, we also understand the challenges the unions face. We took over about 200 employees, and to this day we still handle the account. We always look at it as creating a win-win situation for our client because if they’re operationally sound, so are we.” A sector that has proved difficult is
ON THE COVER
transport. “It’s a very militant, very difficult market, riddled with a lot of industrial action,” Maré revealed. “But our clients don’t have to face these challenges. With our carefully executed systems, I’ve managed to bring down industrial action among our transport clients by 92% and operational costs by up to 60%, just by managing people correctly. “If your employees are unhappy, they start using a lot of sick leave they’re not supposed to; they start taking days off and they don’t put enough effort into their work. By managing them correctly, showing them that they’re important and that they are part of the programme, we’ve changed things around. We’ve had a company that started with 80 trucks. Two years after being our client, they now own 230 trucks. So we’ve grown the company exponentially just by managing people correctly.” ISG is the biggest supplier of code 14 drivers in the country, with more than 6 500 drivers fully employed by the company on a permanent basis. Maré added that working with people can be very difficult, especially in South Africa where there are 11 official languages and many cultural differences. ISG has implemented ways to handle issues that arise.
It’s easy to talk about teaching a man how to fish, but there are lots of aspects that build up to that
Asked how he handles the competition, Maré chuckled and said, “We don’t have competition. We honestly don’t see other companies as competition. We look at ourselves and it’s all we do. We do market research to determine market trends and where industries are going, and that’s all. If you want to be a sheep, look at the competition and do what they do. If you want to be a wolf, lead the competition to what they want to do.” Every four months the company is dissected and systems are looked at to see how they can be improved. “We only improve ourselves and don’t care what the other companies are doing, because they cannot compete with us—it’s impossible.”
Looking to the future
On the subject of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Maré was quick to stress that people needn’t be afraid of change. Rather, companies should “adapt and thrive”. According to him, South Africa has one of the most stifled business environments in the world, with panels that control everything—a detriment in many instances. “There are so many restrictions in certain sectors that the sector can’t change. So how do you prepare for change if it’s impossible to change? If you can’t adapt your company for changes coming in the market, how do you prepare for that change? We should allow companies a bit of freedom to express themselves.” Maré said he already foresaw the change in legislation on labour brokers when he started his product in 2010. He spoke to labour brokers, and was willing to give his entire product to them but they refused, saying it wasn’t economical to employ people on a permanent basis. He wasn’t deterred, and continued working on his product
and eventually launching it successfully in the market. “You need to foresee problems and you need to calculate your risk, because business is nothing more than risk management.” As an example, in August last year the Constitutional Court found that a labour broker cannot hold an employment agreement for more than three months. Within an hour of that being announced, 17 labour brokers called Maré, asking him to buy their companies. He declined the offer and started pitching their clients instead.
Teach them to fish—and beyond
It’s important for successful businesspeople to give back to society, which is why Maré has established the non-profit Arnoux Maré Foundation. “We’re involved in a lot of charity work, especially children’s homes. However, the project I’m very passionate about is one with entrepreneurship as its core objective. We’ll invite entrepreneurs to engage with me, free of charge, to receive input and advice on how they can improve their businesses, regardless of the size or success of their business.” Maré believes that give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. But he wants to take this even further—he also wants to teach people how to build the rod, line the reel, cast it in, wait for the bite and then reel the fish in. “It’s easy to talk about teaching a man how to fish, but there are lots of aspects that build up to that: what bait you use, and so on. People see the end product, but they don’t know how to get there.” The Arnoux Maré Foundation is being marketed quite aggressively, and Maré is excited about the possibility of changing people’s lives. We’re sure he’ll do just that— and do it well. ■
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“We’re there to show you the golden gate—you just need to walk through it,” says Johno Meintjes.
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ACTIVELY EMPOWERED Meet JEFF, the healthy lifestyle movement that’s disrupting the health and fitness space with its accessibility, approachability and dependable results
ohno’s e-Fitness Faculty, or JEFF,
is the brainchild of top sports conditioning coach, Johno Meintjes. It’s an innovative digital fitness, nutrition and coaching concept that can serve anyone, anywhere, at any time. Johno’s programmes are currently changing the lives of hundreds of people on six continents—people who are affectionately referred to as JEFFs after the company’s acronym. Johno has been in the business of health and fitness for over 20 years, a career that started with him running his own gyms and servicing more than 700 people as a personal trainer. With his strong sports conditioning background, he became involved with Cricket SA, playing a critical role in rehabilitating and conditioning the top players with excellent results. He subsequently worked with SA Hockey, where he implemented his unique brand of speed and fitness conditioning to take the women’s team to new heights at the 2014 Hockey World Cup. It was not long before SA Rugby took note and brought Johno in to build programmes for the Sevens men and women’s teams, international referees and finally the senior Springboks team. Over the decade he’d spent working with South Africa’s top sports teams, word had spread of
Johno’s effective training programmes and he was inundated with hundreds of requests for personal exercise and nutrition programme development. He spotted the gap in the market and took the leap to set up JEFF, offering thoughtfully structured, digital, coach-supported exercise and eating programmes to everyday people, wherever they were based. The JEFF offering was well received—and as people started sharing about the positive changes to their bodies and their lifestyles, JEFF communities started taking shape across the country as well as globally. Johno realised this concept clearly had reach and that there was a massive opportunity to
IF PEOPLE AREN’T GIVEN A SOLID PLAN AND A ROUTINE THAT CAN FIT INTO THEIR LIVES, THEY’RE SET UP FOR FAILURE AS THEY FALL BACK INTO THEIR OLD HABITS.”
disrupt and change the old trends of personal training. “I realised that a person doesn’t need to be trained by a personal trainer face-to-face if they’re empowered with a structured workout plan, a simple nutritional plan and, most importantly, access to and accountability to an empathetic and knowledgeable coach,” he explains. JEFF’s e-coaching model means people anywhere have access to solid plans and skilled coaches, all fitting seamlessly and conveniently into their lifestyles. The JEFF programme is based on three core pillars: training, nutrition and mindset. On the training front, Johno saw that people weren’t exercising effectively, nor getting the most out of their time in the gym. He developed his programmes to ensure JEFFs get excellent results off their weekly plans, building fitness gradually off a solid and sustainable base. His training plans empower JEFFs with the confidence to exercise independently and efficiently. “If people aren’t given a solid plan and a routine that can fit into their lives, they’re set up for failure as they fall back into their old habits. If a person wants a solid house, they must build their house on rocks. JEFFs take responsibility for their own actions forever, with the guidance and help of their mentoring coach,” he emphasises. On the nutritional front, Johno observed the diet landscape was vast and confusing for people to navigate. Many popular fads and diet platforms work for people in the short term, but most often see people falling back into previous bad habits. The JEFF eating plans are grounded in balance and accessibility: focusing on easily available ingredients, reasonable
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portion control and some ‘time off’ to ensure enough room for balance. The final pillar, a changed mindset, is where the JEFF magic really lives and it has a lot to do with the unique personal coaching element of the programme. “The reality is that if you could’ve done this by yourself, you would’ve done it already,” says Johno. “The mentoring and coaching side of JEFF is the part that brings this all together. While JEFFs are doing the seven- or 14-week course, they’re constantly in communication with their dedicated coach via messages, photos and video communication. The coaches are there to give the person the help, the tools and the encouragement they need so that when they’re done with the programme, they can continue doing the same thing on their own, with a much stronger mindset around overall wellness.” Johno has taken care to hire the best training coaches in the country. Not only are they experts in nutrition and physical training but they’re also skilled life coaches, in that they’re there to drive people to be the best version of themselves, while also showing empathy and
THE JEFF PROGRAMMES AIM TO EMPOWER PEOPLE WITH A BRANDNEW OUTLOOK ON THEIR OVERALL WELL-BEING, AND GIVE THEM THE TOOLS TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFE FOR GOOD.
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IN THE KRAAL WITH Johno Meintjes
FAVOURITE QUOTE? “Only I can change my life; no one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett
BIGGEST INSPIRATION? “My parents and wife. They’re a blend of all the characteristics I stand for: dynamic, compassionate and incredibly loyal.”
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? “Mauritius. We’ve had some incredible family holidays there, and I also got married there. I’ve seen every corner of the world through international sport, but the island simplicity is my best thing.”
FAVOURITE WAY TO WORK OUT? “Flat out! Wherever I am, I make sure I utilise every second to set an example for the people we help. I’m so fortunate to be healthy and mobile, and I make sure I utilise that every day.”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT? “My wife and kids. My entire world revolves around them: they’re my motivation, my grounding and my base level in life.”
support through the tough times. “It’s important that we empower our JEFFs to get the work done themselves, while being radically supportive. We’re there to show you the golden gate—you just need to walk through it,” he explains somewhat philosophically. And that’s really what the JEFF programmes look to achieve: empowering people with a brandnew outlook on their overall well-being, and giving them the tools to live a healthier life for good. Judging by the way JEFF has grown in popularity in such a short space of time, it seems the future face of wellness is going to live in this e-fitness coaching model. It’s clear the combination of solid and simple plans, easy access to a skilled coach, and the flexibility of independent exercise is a winning formula for overall well-being. ■ For more information and to sign up for the 7-week gym-based programme, 14-week gym-based programme, or 7-week home-based programme, check out www.fitnessfaculty.club.
LET’S HEAR FROM THE JEFFS GRANT WHILEY “I’m done! 14 weeks and 25.6kgs lost. I’m so chuffed. From not being able to run on the treadmill at 9km/h for 10 minutes to completing the Discovery 947 55km mountain bike race in 2hr40 and the 94.7km Discovery 947 Ride Joburg in 3hr13! “The JEFF programme has worked for me, it was all about establishing a solid routine for exercise and eating. Having a daily routine of gym before work gave me no distractions. Planning my meals for the week on a Sunday was key to ensure I ate properly even when life was busy. During travel I’ve gotten used to asking for the food I want and using the hotel gym. “Coach Brad provided good guidance along the way, with great ideas on how to stick to the plan during travel. Overall, I would highly recommend the programme, it’s provided me with a good way of living while combining fitness and healthy eating in a seamless way into my life. Here’s to healthy living!”
LYNETTE BOTHA “What I love about the eating plan is the concept of 5.5 days of clean eating, and that the eating plan is clear and simple: just plain healthy eating and no alcohol; on the weekends I have my wine. This is sustainable for me because we’re very social people and most of the other programmes I’ve tried haven’t allowed for real balance. “I wasn’t fit when I started the programme, and it has pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. The plan is broken down into manageable chunks and I know I can do it. “The support is amazing. David has been my coach—he’s so motivating, and it helps a lot that he has a sense of humour. I need to check in with him, but he also checks in with me. The entire JEFF team also sends you tips, videos and photos, and you get the feeling they’re all supporting you! “I can honestly say this is the best my body has ever looked. I’m so glad I joined—it was the best decision of my life. I’m so proud to be part of the JEFF family. So, if you’re in a slump and looking for something to change your life, this programme is the answer. Just commit and do something great for yourself. The results are amazing and are there waiting to happen for you.”
DRIVE Bolt, the leading European on-demand transportation platform, is making inroads in South Africa as well. A look inside the ride-hailing service’s operations and plans to dominate the sector
“Ride-hailing services like Bolt can fill the gaps between public and private transport,” says Gareth Taylor.
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he modern era is all about simplifying human tasks, not necessarily replacing human skills. Our smartphones are constantly glued to our fingers; we buy and sell things online, we bank online, anything we need to look up such as schools and accommodation we search for online. Instead of letting people hail a taxi, whose safety measures are usually questionable, Bolt—the leading European on-demand transportation platform— introduced an alternative mode of transportation, especially for those who can’t afford their own vehicle and those who simply choose not to buy one. It now has more than 25 million customers in over 30 countries. Riders may be more familiar with the company’s original name, Taxify. Launched six years ago, it had the mission of making urban transportation more convenient and affordable, with its first product being a taxi dispatch solution. While Taxify made progress on its mission, it had also started to outgrow parts of the brand, including the name. Given the company’s ambition to solve transportation problems on an increasingly broader scale, Taxify wanted the brand to reflect its future rather than the past. According to Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt South Africa, “The new name Bolt, introduced in March 2019, stands for fast, effortless movement— exactly how the experience of getting around in a city should be, whether by car, scooter or public transport. It also underscores the company’s belief that the future of transportation will be electric.” In South Africa, Bolt operates in over 30 cities and towns—available Tribe
in more cities than any other ride-hailing platform. It has expanded to towns and smaller cities to create more opportunities for more people to earn money, and to make the convenience of ridehailing available to more South Africans. Taylor explains, “Our large footprint also means that drivers based in cities can take their ability to earn with them wherever they go. For example, a driver whose family lives in Potchefstroom while he works in Johannesburg can still earn money if he chooses to work while he’s visiting home.” Tribe Business Magazine found out about the services that distinguish Bolt from other ridehailing services, its safety measures for both riders and drivers, and its plans for the future. ■ Can you give us a brief history of your education and work experience? I graduated with a BCom degree in Management Accounting and Finance from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2008, and completed the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Executive Programme in 2015. I assumed the role of country manager at Bolt South Africa in February 2018, following a five-year career at the Awethu Project, an entrepreneurship incubator.
During my tenure at Awethu, I held numerous management positions including shared services manager, incubation manager, head of business incubation and postinvestment manager in 2015 and 2016. I was promoted to chief operating officer the following year, and was part of the design and management team for the Awethu Project App that won Best Education Solution at the 2017 MTN App of the Year Awards. Prior to my time at the Awethu Project, I worked as a management consultant at IQ Business, after a three-year career at Vox Telecom and Vox Mobile as product manager and executive head, respectively. ■ Which services does Bolt provide? Bolt provides an alternative mode of transport for those who can’t afford their own vehicle, and for those who choose not to buy one. Its door-to-door service makes it safer and more convenient than public transport, which is tied to designated stops and ranks. Our Bolt for Business product gives companies the ability to offer employee groups, clients and recruits the option to utilise the Bolt service at the company’s expense, and gives account managers the ability to set and customise spending allowances and the
BOLT STANDS FOR FAST, EFFORTLESS MOVEMENT—EXACTLY HOW THE EXPERIENCE OF GETTING AROUND IN A CITY SHOULD BE, WHETHER BY CAR, SCOOTER OR PUBLIC TRANSPORT. 0 223 3
number of trips employees can take. This product also makes it possible for entry-level workers, who need transport to do their jobs, to apply for roles that would otherwise be reserved for those who possess their own vehicle. Using the company’s existing network of thousands of drivers, Bolt added food delivery to its list of services with the launch of Bolt Food in Tallinn, Estonia in August 2019. The food delivery service is planned to launch in South Africa in the next few months. We’re starting with Cape Town, then expanding across other bigger cities. Most importantly for us, ridehailing services enable progress by creating freedom of mobility for riders and unleashing the potential of entrepreneurship for drivers. Bolt empowers drivers by giving them an opportunity to run their own business, and empowers them to control their working hours and earning potential. Stimulating entrepreneurship in this way creates employment opportunities for people who would otherwise be unemployed, as well as creating second income streams or even funding education for drivers who dream of other careers. ■ The e-hailing space seems to be attracting more and more players. Which other characteristics differentiate you from your competition? Our focus is on providing drivers with better revenue per ride than the other similar services offer, as
well as providing local support. Driver earnings include a combination of commission, number of rides and driver bonuses. Bolt drivers nett 80% to 85% of the fare paid by riders, depending on their location—a significantly higher percentage than drivers who use other platforms to connect with riders. They also benefit from the background services the platform includes. Bolt allows drivers to create a defined radius for pickups, meaning they don’t need to travel too far from home while they’re working. Happy drivers mean a better quality service for passengers. Drivers can also specify a ‘target’ area for their first and last pickups of the day, so that they don’t have to travel far from home to start or finish their working day. Our drivers love the flexibility that driving with Bolt gives them. We let them choose to drive as much or as little as they like, and they enjoy the freedom and benefits of being self-employed entrepreneurs. Bolt continues to collaborate with government, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to improve the ride-hailing environment in South Africa. ■ What strategy do you have in place to ensure the company successfully expands into new markets? Ride-hailing services like Bolt can fill the gaps between public and private transport, as well as create earning opportunities for people who would otherwise be unemployed.
RIDE-HAILING SERVICES ENABLE PROGRESS BY CREATING FREEDOM OF MOBILITY FOR RIDERS AND UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR DRIVERS 02 4
Each country has different complexities in its transport environment, with varying degrees of formal and informal organisation. Each stakeholder needs to be considered when a disruptive new technology is introduced, with careful engagement to ensure everyone understands there’s a place for new ways to perform old tasks—to the benefit of all. Bolt does adapt for each market, setting pricing and commission structures in response to local conditions. However, Bolt still takes a lower percentage commission than most other ride-hailing services to ensure drivers enjoy maximum earning opportunities. ■ Which measures do you implement to guarantee the safety of both customers and drivers? Bolt condemns any violence of any form directed toward ride-hailing drivers and passengers because the company believes every South African has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion, or fear of death or injury. We’re committed to working with all stakeholders in the transport industry, national, provincial and local government, as well as the Metro Police and SA Police Service to improve safety for ride-hailing drivers across South Africa. Bolt is continuously developing tools to have a real impact on addressing the safety concerns of drivers, and we already have a number of safety features in place. This includes a partnership with Namola via an in-app integrated SOS emergency button that shares the driver’s details and location with Namola’s 24/7 call centre, which deploys private security and emergency services immediately. Bolt also regularly shares with drivers the information from Namola and other sources about
danger hotspots, and drivers can decline a trip if they’re concerned about the safety of the pickup location. We’re continuously engaging with driver partners through a variety of channels, both electronic and face-to-face, and our local and global development teams are currently working on new safety measures for drivers and riders, which will be launched in the near future. Furthermore, to be accepted onto the Bolt platform, drivers require a Professional Driving Permit issued by local authorities. This permit is only granted to applicants who pass a full criminal background check completed by the authorities. Only persons with a clear record are permitted to join the platform. When drivers are found to be in breach of the Bolt platform regulations, the company engages with them to ascertain whether a genuine mistake has occurred. If an error has occurred, the correct procedures and processes are shared with the driver. If the nature of the misconduct is more severe or is being repeated on an ongoing basis, Bolt’s response is escalated and can result in the driver being suspended permanently from the Bolt platform. ■ How do you balance driver and customer satisfaction? At the end of each ride, drivers and passengers are able to rate one another on the platform, which allows for self-regulation between the two communities. Bolt encourages all riders to rate their drivers and to provide written feedback via the in-app rating tool, should they be unsatisfied with their experience. Drivers know they can only operate on the platform if they have an average rating above 4.5 (out of 5) stars, and passengers know they need to treat the drivers respectfully to keep their rating up—or no drivers will respond to
their ride requests. Bolt customer service teams monitor driver ratings, and any driver whose average rating drops below 4.5 is contacted directly. Depending on the rating and reasons given for the low ratings, drivers may be subject to investigation, and temporarily or permanently removed from the platform. ■ The modern era is fastchanging, demanding constant evolution to meet customer needs. What are your plans to stay ahead? We’ve plans to be available in even more South African cities in the near future. This means more
people are able to earn a living, and that people outside of South Africa’s main cities can benefit from the technology that’s improving lives in more urban areas. Globally, Bolt is already working with people who own different modes of transport to help people earn money and get to where they need to be. For example, the platform includes boda boda (motorcycle) rides in East Africa, and electric scooter sharing in Europe. We’re constantly looking for new ways to connect people, harnessing the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution to make a positive difference in the lives of ordinary people. ■
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
As an expert in medical biohacking, DR TAMARA PHEIFFER uses patients’ unique genetic and bodily makeup to optimise health and well-being. Here’s how she gets new research to doctors in order to treat more people Interview by Jacqueline Manyonga
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
fter Tamara Pheiffer completed her first master’s degree, she attended a lecture by a well-known professor whose one statement would make a profound impact on her life: that it takes between 30 and 50 years for new research to filter down into general clinical practice, despite new discoveries in the medical field being made at exponential speed. “How many lives are being impacted by this slow trickle-down effect of information? How many people could be feeling stronger, fitter, more agile, more productive, happier, fulfilled, pain-free?” she thought at the time. From that day, Dr Pheiffer made it her mission to ensure doctors and medical specialists get the new research without delay and use it to treat their patients. She woke at 3 a.m. each morning to go through medical journals, PhD theses and peer-reviewed articles from around the world, and travelled the globe to meet with and be mentored by the top names and companies in the industries of biotechnology, advanced preventional medicine and genetics, among others. She still aggressively pursues extensive ongoing education. Why this monumental effort? Because “health is a right, not a privilege!” Today, Dr Pheiffer specialises in medical biohacking: the study and practice of healthspan extension, “a way of analysing one’s unique biochemistry and genetics, plus medical history and environment to
create a designer way of life that will optimise one’s health and well-being in every aspect.” She lectures doctors and specialists, and is a speaker on world-changing subjects such as medical robotics, artificial intelligence medicine, among others. She also heads up the South African alliance of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Unsurprisingly, Dr Pheiffer has been lauded many times for her outstanding work and contribution to the health and longevity of South Africans. Her latest accolade is being nominated for the 2020 Woman of Stature Award in the category of Health (winners will be announced in March next year). Tribe Business Magazine found out more about the good doctor’s fields of expertise and how she is building awareness of optimal health and nutrition for all South Africans. ■ Firstly, congratulations on your nomination for the 2020 Woman of Stature Award. Tell us more about your background prior to all your successes. Thank you so much! I’m honoured to be a finalist. I’ve been busy heading up medical education and helping to launch the top two American doctors-only nutraceutical (natural pharmaceutical) ranges in Africa. I’ve also been a keynote speaker at medical and tech conferences as well as for billion-dollars-per-
HOW MANY PEOPLE COULD BE FEELING STRONGER, FITTER, MORE AGILE, MORE PRODUCTIVE, HAPPIER, FULFILLED, PAIN-FREE?
annum companies both locally and internationally. I studied under the top minds in the world in functional and integrative medicine, and have been teaching this to doctors and medical specialists for 10 years. I just love what I do! And it’s because of it that I travel the world, spend time with experts and get the privilege of attending conferences. Reading and learning as much as I can to help my patients is something I hold close to my heart. ■ Apart from this nomination, you were also headhunted by South Africa’s largest listed health & wellness company to lead the South African alliance of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Any further highlights in your career thus far? There are so many, including: getting to chair the MedTech and Biotech panel at the SingularityU South Africa Summit 2019; being the only practitioner in the southern hemisphere invited to the World Biogerontology Conference in Germany this year; meeting top biomedical gerontologist Aubrey De Grey; winning the Margaret Hirsch Woman in Business Achiever of the Year Award 2018 (Gauteng Region)… and getting to work in the best environment at Anti-Ageing Art. ■ What triggered your passion in healthcare, particularly medical biohacking and life extension medicine? I attended a lecture that changed my life. The lecturer said something that rocked me to my core: that it takes between 30 and 50 years for new science to filter down into general practice. That’s insane! I decided then and there that I wouldn’t be one of those statistics. I pored over new medical journal articles and studies, and made sure I was on top of cutting-edge technologies.
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
DR PHEIFFER’S ADVICE TO WOMEN: “Take responsibility for your own success and don’t depend on others to get you there.” But quite soon after that, I realised it wasn’t good enough. If I was doing all of this research, I could only help a limited number of patients a day. So, I thought, how could I help more? I started writing courses and giving workshops and lectures to medical doctors and medical specialists. I have since been invited to speak at several medical and tech conferences in the fields of medical and biotechnology, advanced diagnostics, robotics and AI in medicine, advanced preventative medicine, healthspan extension, biological longevity and more. By teaching other doctors, we can help more and more patients. And by speaking to patients, we can create a healthier society.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL’ IS OLD MEDICINE— PRECISION MEDICINE IS THE FUTURE.” 0 2 8
■ Elaborate on some of the crucial lessons you teach during your seminars and courses for doctors and medical professionals. I teach that patients are unique and they deserve to be treated that way. We all have a unique story, we’ve all had different experiences and reacted to them in our own way. Our biochemistry and genetic codes are ours and ours alone. This means each person reacts to treatment protocols, medicines, foods and exercise differently, and a unique plan designed for your unique makeup is the best way to deliver optimal results. Treat the patient, not just the disease. Look for trends toward disease before it manifests, using advanced blood tests and genetics. In this way we can often prevent the disease from arising, rather than waiting for the patient to get ill and then trying to patch the holes in the bucket. ‘One size fits all’ is old medicine—precision medicine is the future. Health is not just the absence of disease. We should
MEET THE CHIEFTESS
IN THE KRAAL WITH Tamara Pheiffer
FAVOURITE BOOK? strive to optimise the health of our patients, strive to keep the biological age well under the chronological age. Feel 30 until you’re 60 and beyond! Learn how to clean up the accumulated damage in our cells before it causes disease and ageing. I also discuss healthspan extension. Did you know that people who live to over 100 only spend a third on healthcare expenses, compared to those who pass away between 60 and 70? That’s because we’re currently getting sicker, slower, frailer and in more pain from the age of 30 for the next 60 years. That’s terrible and very expensive. Centenarians only start to decline in health in their last two to five years of life. Much better science proves that this is the ‘normal’ model, not the way we currently experience ageing. ■ What do you think is Africa’s biggest setback in medicine and healthcare? On the contrary, I believe Africa is set up to leapfrog other countries in the implementation of new technologies. We have some of the most incredible minds in the world right here. What we need to focus on is democratising healthcare. There are incredible technologies that link people in rural areas to world-class medical experts right from their cellphones. We have the technology right now to implement this change. ■ What is your leadership philosophy? How do you inspire other women to dream big? My mentor Margaret Hirsch once said: “Empowered women empower women.” As women, we need to be supportive and uplifting to one another. The more successful people we have in our country, the
“Ending Aging by Aubrey De Grey.”
YOUR INSPIRATION? “Singularity University: every speaker, every delegate, every organiser. People with a burning desire to make the world a better place”.
MUST-HAVE TRAVEL ITEM? “My Kindle. I get to carry an entire library with me!”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT...? “Time, as it won’t always be mine.”
HOW DO YOU UNWIND? “Spending quality time with friends and family.”
more successful the country will become, the better the economy, the bigger the pie. So, share your secrets of success, teach people what you know, build everyone up. Everyone can dream, but the doers get it done. ■ How can we empower women to take on more senior leadership positions? If you really want to be the best at what you do, you have to take chances, you have to take opportunities, even when you don’t think you’re ready and you have to put in the work. You deserve that seat at the table—don’t wait for someone to open that door, to pull out that chair. Do what it takes to
get yourself there. We need to internalise and take responsibility for where we are and where we want to be. We need to reflect on why we’re not where we want to be and make the changes within ourselves to get there. They say that an individual is an average of the five people he/she spends the most time with, so spend time with people smarter than you and who are more successful than you are. Find a mentor from whom you can learn. Take responsibility for your own success and don’t depend on others to get you there. Be proud of yourself! You’re a rock star! You’ve done things that no one else has, so celebrate yourself! ■ You continue gathering information and pursuing knowledge in the fields of functional and molecular medicine, going beyond into biotech and medtech. What do you look forward to uncovering in the near future? And do you personally have any projects in the pipeline? Robots and AI will free up time for doctors and nurses to connect more with patients. We’ll be able to bring the cost of healthcare down and get world-class care into the hands of every individual on the planet. Through technology, we can bring the doctor into your home virtually, we can deliver medication anywhere and we can even operate remotely. I’m hoping to start my PhD, and the Rooibos Council of South Africa has been kind enough to allow me to enter my proposal into its research fund. If I’m good enough, they may pay for my research. Through my studies, I hope to put South African medicinal plants on the world map in the fields of life extension and longevity. ■
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LET’S KEEP IT GOING Once all the fanfare surrounding the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup victory has died down, what’s next? Here’s how the country can generate enduring national pride to create opportunities for the whole nation By Professor Owen Skae
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he victory whistle blew for the
2019 Rugby World Cup to uproarious applause. Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus—two likeable, humble, honest servant leaders—thanked the nation and expressed the beauty of celebrating victory as one diverse country. They also emphasised the need to move beyond the win; to put structures and programmes in place to create equal opportunity, not only in rugby but in our society. On arriving back in South Africa at OR Tambo International, Rassie was interviewed by SA Rugby magazine: “We have to focus on making sure that everybody gets equal chances of playing, everybody gets good nutrition and everybody gets a fair chance. There are so many things that we have to fix… There are so many other things that can help the Springboks win consistently. There are so many bigger things that we have to fix. Let Siya and the boys enjoy today, but let’s keep it going.” By “let’s keep it going” he meant let’s keep unifying the nation with practical, tangible processes and changes from which everyone can benefit and which would generate enduring national pride. In this
WHEN YOU WIN A MAJOR EVENT, IT MANIFESTS IN SPORTING PRIDE AT THE TIME, BUT PEOPLE SOON GO BACK TO LIVING THEIR LIVES 0 3 2
regard, I came across an interesting article titled: “How to influence national pride? The Olympic medal index as a unifying narrative”, by Ivo van Hilvoorde, Agnes Elling and Ruud Stokvis from the Mulier
Instituut in the Netherlands. The article focuses on Dutch national pride, but there are some useful lessons for South Africa about what international level or ‘elite’ sporting achievement can do
for national pride. The authors cite the results of a survey that looked at which aspects contribute to a sense of national pride in Dutch adults. Sporting performance came out tops, with 75%, followed by
scientific and technological performance (74%); system of social security (56%); performance in art and literature (53%); economic performance (51%); democracy (47%); and honest and
equal treatment of all groups in society (38%). Many countries put sport at the top or high up on the national pride list, and this offers a strong motivation for countries to invest in
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sport, achieve at an international level and boost national pride. If we think of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, we saw how President Nelson Mandela went out of his way to embrace the Springboks as a way of nation- and unity building at a time when the whole notion of being a Springbok was controversial. Many lauded Mandela for doing so, but many others were of the view that he was perpetuating white domination rather than equity through sport.
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There has always been controversy around rugby and transformation in South Africa. Some of you may recall that national rugby was the only sporting code that had retained the Springbok emblem. Prior to 1994 and the New South Africa, if you were selected for any sport at an international level, you became a “Springbok”. But the emblem was seen to be divisive by millions of South Africans. Rugby, however, took the view that it had to retain the Springbok emblem, as
it was a known and respected brand in the rugby world—in the same way that the All Blacks are. And so it was that the Springboks won the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Much of the country celebrated, and the movie Invictus portrayed the role of the game, President Mandela and captain Francois Pienaar during that critical time. Twelve years later, in 2007, the Springboks won again. Once more it was controversial, as many people felt rugby had still not
transformed enough. This continued into the 2015 championships. At the time, I wrote about this in a Leadership magazine column, quoting Oregan Hoskins (then president of the South African Rugby Union) who had written in an open letter to South Africa before the World Cup that: “No one needs to lecture us about the importance of transformation—we got there long ago.” In the same letter, he commented that in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo,
North West and Mpumalanga, only 3% of boys had access to rugby at school, and that the statistic was not much better in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape, where only 5% had access. “If you don’t start at school, you will never become a Springbok,” he penned. “Our game thirsts for outstanding players. And whether one emerges in a township school or from a traditional rugby school, you can be sure the system will find him and nurture him.” My questions then were: Who is the system? Who is taking responsibility for this? The system was clearly not doing its job if, in the 2015 World Cup squad of 31 players, only eight black players had been considered good enough to be selected. Which is why a statement like “we got there long ago”, even if well intentioned, had been dishonest and highly arrogant. Come 2019, discussions about the performance of the Springboks ahead of the Rugby World Cup were once again against the backdrop of transformation: about whether the side was transformed enough and what precisely transformation in South Africa means. But when we won, we left that behind for a moment and celebrated—in the same way we’d celebrate if Bafana Bafana were to take first place in the world. In this regard, Springbok rugby enjoys a particular status as a multiple World Cup winner, and millions of South Africans feel great pride about this. Going back to the Olympic medal article, the authors ask and try to answer an interesting question: Can national pride be regarded as the effect of sport-related pride or does a sense of belonging to a nation precede, instead, the possibilities of sport in order to have ‘nationalistic effects’? In other words, if our sports teams do well, could this give rise to a sport-related pride that has a positive effect on national pride? In their research, the authors
take the view that a sense of national belonging is a necessary condition that precedes sportrelated pride, rather than being a result thereof. This view is not inconsistent with what Rassie says: that when you win a major event it manifests in sporting pride at the time, but people soon go back to living their lives—and so one needs to be careful of making the link that winning on the sports field has a direct relation to increasing national pride. Following a longitudinal study conducted in the Netherlands, the authors write: Policymakers tend to endow top-level sports mainly with integrative power, based on populist notions such as ‘sport bonds’. Geographical and civil dimensions of national identity are supposed to ‘overwrite’ other social markers of identification such as gender, ethnicity/race and religion—at least temporarily. For example, both white and black South Africans recognised that winning the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and the organisation of the FIFA 2010 soccer world championships were important symbolic milestones in the construction of national unity and reconciliation, even though rugby was deemed a symbol of apartheid. At the 2019 Rugby World Cup, South Africa needed a win—and, to an extent, the notion that ‘sport bonds’ was true, and it did feel like a moment of national identity that could overwrite all our troubles. The country was facing a downgrade to junk status by Moody’s, its power utility was completely unstable, gender-based violence was out of control; there was little to feel euphoric about. We needed Siya and Rassie. We needed a good story. In their article, the authors bear out the power of a good story: “Singular events have a greater storytelling capacity than any
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medal counting could. For many Dutch spectators, the gold medal of long-distance swimmer (10-kilometre marathon swimming) Maarten van der Weijden was one of the most cherished moments of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Not only was the race itself worth watching and ended in a spectacular sprint, but the entire story of Van der Weijden, who beat leukaemia in 2002, gave his victory heroic elements that transcended the popularity of the specific swimming event itself.”
some positive effects on well-being. Increases in general national pride were less clear-cut. Sports achievements could not be directly linked to ‘orange’ feelings (the colour of Dutch national pride), but they do seem to be important for national ‘identity work’—as small ripples in a rather stable pattern of national identification. This is further confirmed in the second hypothesis, emphasising the claim that national sports success is of greater influence on feelings of
drawn into a (short-lived) euphoria, without effecting more stable feelings of national pride. In South Africa, we felt the strong influence on well-being and national sporting pride during the Rugby World Cup. We saw groups gather around the country to watch the game at big-screen venues, in shebeens and homes. Even people who were not interested in rugby got caught up in the euphoria of the day. For that moment, the tensions in the country were largely set aside. In the authors’ third hypothesis,
Winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup is our singular event. But now that the victory parade is over, what’s next? Do we continue to feel national pride, or will it fast dwindle as it’s not a constant condition? The authors have come up with a number of hypotheses in this regard, and I’ll discuss a few here: In the first hypothesis, they found that Dutch sporting success in four large-scale international sporting events showed clear increases in sporting pride and
well-being and national sporting pride than on more general national pride. For most fans and consumers, watching international sporting events is not only related to sport-specific aspects such as the drama and outcomes of the games, but also an important social event. It relates to pleasure and feelings of belonging with family and/or friends and appeals to other forms of social identification: Citizens who may be ‘neutral’ or even ‘negative’ about national sport success may be
they write that differences had been expected for gender, ethnicity and sports participation. The outcome was that general figures about national sporting pride were, in fact, equally high for women as for men, which may be explained by a (partial) feminisation in both elite sporting success and sports audiences. They explain that in the more recent Olympic Games (Sydney, Athens, Beijing), for example, most Dutch medals were won by female athletes. However,
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AT THE 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP, SOUTH AFRICA NEEDED A WIN— AND IT DID FEEL LIKE A MOMENT OF NATIONAL IDENTITY THAT COULD OVERWRITE ALL OUR TROUBLES.
they further found that men still seemed to be more involved in— and prouder of—football results than women. The fourth hypothesis confirmed that the extent of national pride determines the sporting pride experienced more than that sports achievements lead to an increase in national pride. At the same time, international top-level sports achievements would certainly contribute to feelings of national pride, belonging and international prestige. In other words, if you’re already proudly South African, and the country then goes and wins the Rugby World Cup, it has a much stronger impact on sporting pride—more so than if you have lower feelings of national pride and the Springboks win the championships. The message is that a country cannot think that by focusing on sporting achievement it will lead to an increase in national pride, especially when it’s coming from a low base. It’s most certainly an important component of working toward achieving national pride. But, as Rassie emphasised, to
achieve this we need to make sure we have the structures in place. We have to ensure all our children have access to a good education and, in this case, to well-run sporting academies to create a culture of possibility, and a better, more equal country for all. At the same time, we need to be cautious about how we position sporting achievement. If it’s pursued in a formalised, almost authoritarian way, it puts excessive pressure on young people to perform; it detracts from the love and enjoyment of the sport. Those who did not achieve at the highest level feel like failures, while the stories of a few individuals who achieve are lauded. It’s a complex balancing act with a range of possible unintended consequences, but there’s only one starting point: It’s imperative that South Africa puts in place the long overdue broad base of well-run rugby and other sporting academies. We have to nurture talent and give all young people an equal chance rather than aiming for ‘miracle heroes’ who rise like Siya to top international sporting achievement despite lack of opportunities. Rassie said we cannot rely on the resilience of a few individuals who defy adversity. We are in a situation where the majority of youngsters don’t see a future. They don’t see their chance in life, and many turn to violence and adverse behaviour. With academies in place, they will have role models to whom they can actively aspire. They have to have opportunity and access to structures that help them be the best they can be. The question has been asked whether someone like Siya would have been hungry enough to succeed if there had been an academy to nurture him. He might well have; some people simply have
it in them, irrespective of their background. But this is not the issue. The issue is, as Rassie put it, that there are so many bigger things we need to fix in South Africa, and we should use the impetus of the victory to keep going. The core quality required on this journey is honesty and servant leadership. It’s the bedrock of Rassie and Siya’s success. Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, the third most capped Springbok of all time, has said that in his 11 years of international rugby (which includes 116 test appearances), Rassie is the most honest and open Springbok coach he has ever played under. South Africa desperately needs honesty and servant leadership, and the 2019 Rugby World Cup team epitomised this: an honest coach, honest captain, honest players, and an honest message about the hard work that needs to be put in to succeed as a team, organisation or country. Rassie has worked hard for this victory all his life; he has paid his dues in all the rugby structures and ranks, as both a player and coach. Out of the nine winning Rugby World Cup coaches, three were international rugby players themselves, and Rassie was one of them. What it emphasises is that you need to go through the ranks if you want to be the best. Rassie has done this. We hope that with him at the rugby management helm now, there will be an opportunity to take rugby through all the structures— from the ground up, for all players. But he cannot do it alone. The same applies to all the structures in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa cannot do it alone. If we want to develop a strong, successful nation, we need to start developing national pride by creating opportunities for the whole nation to shine. ■
■ Professor Owen Skae is the director of Rhodes Business School.
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TABLE TALK Art, abstraction and application merge in the mesmerising Laguna
magine a placid body of water, a lagoon; the still,
mirrored surface hiding the unknown depths and mysteries that lie below… Now capture this sensually organic and meandering form in a bespoke piece of furniture, and you have the Laguna coffee table by OKHA—its smooth, black metal tabletop mesmerising the mind. The Laguna was borne out of a collaboration with ARRCC Interior Design Studio for its project at Cheetah Plains. Set in Sabi Sands, Cheetah Plains is a luxury safari destination for which OKHA has created custom and bespoke furniture. The eco-luxe accommodations at this private game reserve have already been featured in over 100 publications, and were nominated for a Dezeen Award: the architecture, interiors and design awards programme organised by Dezeen, the world’s most popular design magazine. OKHA creative director Adam Court explains the thinking behind the design of the Laguna: “The shape was motivated by a strong physical context, by
landscape mass as well as the project’s internal spatial layout—and was therefore informed both by practicality and nature’s poetry.” This merging of art, abstraction and application is a clear signature throughout the OKHA range. The Laguna can be customised in a range of materials including wood, stone, metal, mirror and reinforced glass. In this image, the table is shown with a blackened aluminium top and patinated aluminium legs. “The legs and table body will always be made from two different finishes or materials, as each represents a different physical element; the legs rise above the tabletop to enhance that feeling of landscape, of different masses... The flat horizontal surface of the table (water) is enveloped by the surrounding landscape that rises above the surface of the water,” adds Court. The Laguna Coffee Table can be purchased online at www.okha.com. ■
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BEYOND THE HORIZON
Artists will be pivotal in any industry where computers are becoming increasingly influential. How can architects maintain the tactile nature and human creative process in the ancient art of drawing?
LINE By Patrick McInerney and Christoph Malan
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BEYOND THE HORIZON
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BEYOND THE HORIZON
rchitecture has come a long
way from that first line in the sand drawn to depict a basic home; the arrangement of ancient burial mounds in Kenya, Britain and Bahrain; or the mystical freestanding megalithic stones still dotted around the world. Those early line drawings have evolved into databases underpinning 3D-modelled representations of connected ‘smart’ buildings, complete with simulations of materials, energy performance and lighting, and rendered with virtual reality visualisations, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Since the industrialisationinspired Bauhaus School of Art fused fine art with architectural design, the profession has comfortably straddled the worlds of functionality, social responsibility and aesthetic beauty. This approach has helped architecture weather intrinsic changes to the means and production of design, while maintaining the tactile nature of an ancient art that leans so heavily on human creativity and the physical act of rendering an idea by means of drawing.
embody complex data is opening the door to include professionals from other disciplines, from sociologists to geographers, costing experts to energy flow engineers: people who understand the human impact of what we do and how design choices impact lives.
MAN VERSUS MACHINE
A remarkable facet of this current evolution is that, while external human-centred insights are being drawn into our world, our increasing reliance on machine aids is simultaneously threatening to divorce architects from the humanity that underpins this most human of professions. Drawing on a computer inevitably makes it profoundly more difficult to maintain a connection to humanity. The act of inputting data as precise code and selecting items from a catalogue, rather than drawing by hand, negatively affects the discovery of the demiurgic line. This fundamental act of line drawing is
A SKILLS EVOLUTION
Since the introduction of CAD software in the 1960s, architecture has seen a sea change brought about by the acceleration of technology and uptake of digital tools. This, in turn, has seen the erosion of lower paying, less-skilled jobs in the profession. In our own experience, where 80 people were employed five decades ago, 20 may be today—and with no discernible cost saving. What has changed remarkably is the type of skills and intelligence required to navigate this future world. Not only has 3D drawing reduced the pool from which architectural firms can employ but, increasingly, the capacity of the 3D models to
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OUR INCREASING RELIANCE ON MACHINE AIDS IS SIMULTANEOUSLY THREATENING TO DIVORCE ARCHITECTS FROM THE HUMANITY THAT UNDERPINS THIS MOST HUMAN OF PROFESSIONS.
essential for sparking the imagination of the architect, and is best achieved through hand-eye co-ordination and the act of thoughtful creation that comes with sketching. As American architecture professor Paul Emmons argued in The Journal of Architecture in 2014, the type of line making introduced by computers lacks this innate meaning at a whole variety of levels. Coding and plugging all the right facts and numbers into the system inevitably overtakes the human creative process, substituting instinct and creative feel for an overreliance on precision. In practice, it’s not dissimilar to creating music on an oscilloscope, which produces scientifically just intonation, rather than on crafted musical instruments tuned to the scientific irregularities of tempered scales which, in the hands of a great composer and skilled performers, permit richer modulation, textures and harmony. In digitisation, the notes and frequencies may be perfect, but the tone and the soul are inevitably missing. As yet, there is no algorithm capable of replicating the human creative process.
MARRYING SCIENCE AND ART
This was evident during a recent meeting of the Pretoria Institute for Architecture where Co-Arc International Architects shared the design process employed in its creation of The Leonardo, Sandton’s towering new 55-storey mixed-use property development. Architectural doyen Francois Pienaar conceptualised the structure by providing more than 1 500 hand-crafted drawings that were then translated into the architecture using technology. The feedback from the institute was extremely complimentary, particularly with regard to the
BEYOND THE HORIZON
DRAWING ON A COMPUTER INEVITABLY MAKES IT PROFOUNDLY MORE DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN A CONNECTION TO HUMANITY
BEYOND THE HORIZON
Malan’s professional work is informed by a deep appreciation of the architect’s responsibility toward our living environments.
humanist quality of the work that was evident in those early sketches and which we were able to preserve, electronically, throughout the process. Would the same result have been achieved had the process not begun
with the intuitive process of creativity and human connection? Architecture remains a ‘handson’ profession, despite the marvels of technology at our disposal, and conceptualisation through the action of painting and drawing
remains a profoundly human process that modern computers bypass. This creates a disconnect between instinctive creativity and the pursuit of scientific perfection.
At this juncture, with the digitisation frenzy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us, and with computer processing power doubling roughly every two years, there are choices facing society and human-focused professions like architecture, about the path we choose to tread in the future. These choices and compromises must be in line with the needs of each country and the economic and social requirements of its citizens. While it’s certainly possible to extrapolate the high-tech changes in first-world markets and apply them to emerging markets, the question is: should we? While machines, AI and robotics are useful and important tools, they fundamentally lack nuance, depth and emotional intelligence. In a
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BEYOND THE HORIZON McInerney’s passion for architecture is fed by an understanding of its impact on individuals and society.
THE FUNDAMENTAL ACT OF LINE DRAWING IS ESSENTIAL FOR SPARKING THE IMAGINATION OF THE ARCHITECT.
computer-generated world, we can expect drama and pizazz to counter the sterile straight lines and pure functionality of modernism. But we can also expect less architecture that appeals to the human spirit; the sort of patina of age and lack of conformity one may associate with a charming Greek fishing village or the organic layout of a quaint Florentine town. Such places are the product of myriad small intuitive choices filled with compromise, to suit individuals and communities. Architects are uniquely placed to highlight the dangers to societies when mechanisation is lauded above all else. Architects epitomise how the marriage between science and art is not only possible, but preferable. As a profession, architects are renowned generalists. We’re expected to understand energy, structure, psychology, sociology, the economy and geography as well as the foundations of our own profession. In this sense, architects are ideally placed to deliver the future-focused skills highlighted by the likes of the World Economic Forum, such as creativity, problem solving and teamwork. These are the skills of tomorrow—all of which
hinge on the ability to imbue things with meaning and unravel the essence of being human. In the future, artists will be pivotal to professions like architecture and, indeed, to any industry where computers are becoming increasingly influential.
Yes, the times are changing and architecture is no different. But it’s up to the architects of today to remain true to our shared legacy and determine whether we draw that future with mathematical precision or with a fluid motion driven by human instinct. ■
■ McInerney and Malan are the directors of Co-Arc International Architects, which seeks creative cost-effective solutions that are sensitive to culture context, enrich human life, enhance neighbourhoods, and protect the environment.
FEVER PITCH FROM FOUNDING HIS FIRST COMPANY IN THE UKRAINE AS A TEENAGER, DENNIS OSSIPOV-GRODSKY HAS ENJOYED A STORIED CAREER IN THE UNITED STATES. A LOOK INSIDE HIS WORLD OF BUSINESS, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND MENTORING INTERVIEW BY JACQUELINE MANYONGA
riel, SodaStream, Mtn Dew,
Johnson’s Baby, Acuvue… These are just a few of the brands that have Dennis Ossipov-Grodsky to thank for their marketing success. Now he’s helping CEOs devise the best growth plan for their businesses and avoid potential pitfalls. The tale of his own success began after the fall of the old USSR, and the newly independent states started moving rapidly into the market economy. By the time he had completed high school in 1992, his home country of the Ukraine was engulfed in entrepreneurial fever, “which also infected my family”, he shares. His father, who was trained in the design of engines for ballistic missiles, began an exportimport company that gave the young Dennis a glimpse into the inner workings of a commercial enterprise. He relates that one day he’d been sitting in his father’s office, reading a newly issued commercial tax legislation—“yes, that’s what 17-year-old Russian boys were doing at that time, in between reading Dostoevsky and Faulkner”—which allowed significant tax benefits to student-formed companies. Eureka! His first business, a financial services company called Ometa-Student, was born within seven months of having enrolled at university. It
lasted for several years, and provided invaluable experience, he says. That was just the tip of the iceberg, however. Thereafter Ossipov-Grodsky started a food importing division in his father’s company and brought in a brand of nuts called Chaka, which was a direct competitor to the American “Planters” brand and became the Ukraine’s second best import. This afforded him the enviable moniker of the “King of Nuts”! Decades later, having travelled to 50 countries around the world, the royal of entrepreneurship is now training other aspiring businesspeople to reach the same heights. Ossipov-Grodsky told Tribe Business Magazine more about his incredible journey and how ‘giving’ is the best lesson he’s learnt about being a great leader. Your move to the US must have been a huge shift, transitioning to a capitalist society. How did you cope? When I immigrated to the US, I started my life from scratch. It allowed me to rewrite myself the way I felt was right for me. I’ll be forever grateful to my wife Julia who helped me through the process. She saved me many times, gave me direction and the power. As a result of this experiment, I was able to charter a path to my dreams in the
new world where I was a stranger, where my prior accomplishments didn’t matter much—but what did matter was my intellect, my grit and my positivity. And that’s why I truly love America and now call it my country. Tell us more about your business exploits in your ‘new home’. I was accepted on scholarship into Georgetown University’s MBA programme, which opened up the door to the Fortune 500 world—a dream for many post-Soviet young entrepreneurs, me included. I was able to secure several offers for marketing internships and accepted one from P&G (Proctor & Gamble). That’s what determined the trajectory of my career. My P&G career took me from a businessto-business division (P&G Professional) to the opposite side of the spectrum, Tide. After that, I became brand manager on a $2-billion global Tide franchise and travelled the world building Tide into a global brand, working with my team on global production optimisation, developing and bringing to life new products. It was an incredible experience in brand building, in managing by influence, and in working with top management; managing directors and regional general managers were my clients. That prepared me well for the next step
“I guess it’s that Art + Engineering complexity that attracts me to the field of brand management,” says Ossipov-Grodsky.
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in my business journey, when our family moved from Cincinnati to Geneva where I was in charge of delivering top- and bottom-line on a portfolio of four laundry brands in 18 countries in Central Europe and the Balkans. I learnt quickly how to defend my share from the competition, how to deal with cross-border shipments, how to navigate pricing and formula changes, how to manage the marketing mix across different media environments, and so much more. After returning to the US, I joined SodaStream as vice-president of marketing. This was one of the most intense and fun experiences. In my role, I was heavily involved in marketing, product development and sales and had to deal with the best retail companies in the world like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco and many others. Together with my global marketing team, we developed and launched a Super Bowl commercial with Scarlett Johansson, which was probably one of the most intense production experiences I’ve ever had—we had two and a half months to develop, produce and approve it all. In 2014, I was introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk. During a 30-minute breakfast we clicked immediately, and after walking for 10 more minutes we finalised the deal, hugged and I joined VaynerMedia as senior VP of digital strategy without even setting foot in his office! It was one of those instant, universal connections that’s undeniable and immensely powerful. The ensuing four years were the happiest of times, when I had to work for a company versus being an owner of one. For the first two years, I managed an agency team of about 50 people on such brands as Mtn Dew, Quaker, Starbucks Doubleshot, Johnson’s Baby, Snuggle and Ferrero, among others. In 2016, I became
the head of Vayner Solutions (which later evolved into Vayner Mentors), a consulting arm of VaynerMedia, which I grew into a multimillion-dollar group. I left in 2018 to start my own Growth Imple[M]entoring Group called agile5. What is the biggest lesson you took from these experiences? To build a successful local or global business, you as a leader must learn how to give. I’ve seen it again and again: Those who check their ego at the door and bring their drive, intellect and emotional awareness and help others succeed are the ones who win in the long run. Why? Because these days you’re never running alone in business. And people are more than happy to give back because they always remember how you made them feel—that’s how the cycle works. Today, management is an art of giving. It’s worth mentioning that I don’t believe in a “toothless love”. It’s important to give genuinely, but also be able to discern when people are trying to take advantage of you. It’s like yin and yang, like yoga and karate. The best leaders have both qualities in balance. What fuelled your passion for brand management? Brand building is a commercial equivalent of art. To develop a brand, one has to dive into the world of the target audience, to understand them deeply and then take what one learns to craft a beautiful story, an appealing design, and create a whole ecosystem of care around the product. And it’s not only a literary or visual art that brand building is concerned about; it’s also about building piping and machinery that will carry the product to its consumers, and building it efficiently and profitably. So, I guess it’s that Art + Engineering
AT AGILE5, WE CALL IT IMPLE[M] ENTORING: IT’S ABOUT KNOWLEDGE THAT BECOMES ACTION VERY QUICKLY. 048
complexity that attracts me to the field. I became hooked on it when I built my first brand in the Ukraine in the ‘90s. P&G, the company that created brand management as a discipline, gave me the incredible training and opportunity to practise this art, which I deeply enjoy to this day. What is your own leadership style? It’s always a dynamic balance of Respect + Care + Ruthless Training. First and foremost, every one of us wants to be recognised as a unique, beautiful, sensitive and kind human being. No one comes to work to screw it, right? One of the first things I always do with my teams is to take each member on a walk with me in order to get to know them—not as employees but as humans. (Fun fact: The VaynerMedia team kindly branded these tours as “DOG Walks”, after my initials!) There’s some magic that happens during those walks when people drop their office shell and open up. This allows you a window into their soul where you easily find reasons to respect them. Because every human has something beautiful, something unique. That’s where genuine human connection begins; it happens in 100% of the cases. Care is about, well, truly caring for your people on a daily basis. I’ve been in environments where lip service was paid to “we care for people”, but cases (shipments) would come ahead of people very quickly. Caring for people doesn’t mean office parties and off-sites—those have their place, too, of course. It means to know them, to know them individually, making sure people are comfortable approaching you and talking to you. It takes time, and very much depends on the culture instilled by a CEO. Gary Vaynerchuk got it right. His was the company that did it better than many others. “Honey Empire”, that was his term. And he put an incredible human being in charge of the Honey part: Claude Silver, the chief heart officer. (You should check out her website, www.claudesilver.com.) And the last one is Ruthless Training— both words are critical. An athlete doesn’t become an Olympian only by respect and care from coach and family. Skill comes from a lot of hard work, from repetition,
from an effort to understand, from grit. I’ll be forever grateful to my bosses at P&G who gave it all to me: their attention, knowledge, drills, and their respect and care. I try to do the same with every organisation I manage. And you know what’s the best part of this effort? The energy you get back from the people you train. When faced with challenges, which key principles help you stay focused? There are two: mental restart technique and positive visualisation. The latter many people might have heard about and are already practising. I discovered the first one by chance. One of my closest friends is of a Jewish priest lineage. About 20 years ago, there was a moment when I hit the lowest emotional point. To help me out, my friend shared with me one of the concepts practised in Judaism. He said: “Always remember that G…d has emerged from a Point.” What this conveys is that even something as immense and infinite and wise and complex as our universe had a beginning; it has pushed from that geometric dot out into the future. What does it mean for us mortals? It means that when we despair, we should find a tiny spot from which we can push off and into a new journey. And that’s exactly what I do. What is your greatest strength? My talent is pattern recognition. Early on in my career, I became interested in the notion of Intuition and how it works. And for the last 20 years, I’ve been practising the mechanics of it. There are five steps in the Intuitive design that I follow: (1) define a question; (2) load your brain with as much information as possible, directly or tangentially related to the subject, and talk to as many people as you can; (3) start actively seeking an answer, and listen to the ‘weak signals’ from your subliminal; (4) follow the strongest one; and (5) encapsulate the answer in words. Sounds very straight forward, right? The vast majority of people in business don’t pay attention to the signals from their subliminal. Western schools place 100% of the emphasis on intellectual approaches that engage our ‘active’ brain only. They ignore the remaining 90% of the computational power locked in our
IN THE KRAAL WITH Dennis Ossipov-Grodsky
FAVOURITE BOOK? Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
FAVOURITE QUOTE? “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt. “Saw it 22 years ago on the wall of the University of Pennsylvania bookstore, and still can’t shake it off.”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…? “Bonne Maman Cherry Preserve.”
YOUR INSPIRATION? “Elon Musk and Barack Obama.”
MOST MEMORABLE DESTINATION? “The Katmai and Gates of the Arctic national parks and preserves in Alaska where we did several expeditions.”
subliminal. To retrieve that data, one needs to be familiar with the retrieval mechanism, which no one teaches and which includes the art of inner listening. Those who do listen become either very successful or end up on the agency side. Today I can do both: leverage my greatest strength (pattern recognition) and do so on my own terms as founder of agile5, which works with C-suite leaders and entrepreneurs to help them unlock the next growth stage for their businesses by levering our techniques. What do you hope to achieve with your company, agile5? I’m building a company that will positively
and directly impact 10 000 business leaders from different management levels over the next 10 years. At agile5, we’re developing new, on-the-job, agile methods of training that start yielding results almost immediately. That’s why we call it Imple[M]entoring: it’s about knowledge that becomes action very quickly. During my career, I was offered many unique learning opportunities that 95% of people simply didn’t have. Now I’m ready to give back what I’ve learnt, to help those business leaders improve their game, learn new things in the process and continue this cycle of Learn>Earn>Share>Learn> Earn>Share… Any additional thoughts for aspiring entrepreneurs out there? On the macro level, do NOT stop. Ever. It’s important to be able to slow down, to focus, to meditate, to reflect or to even outright idle—but never stop moving intellectually and emotionally. Embrace Active Idling: If you pause with purpose, if you do nothing with an intent, that means you are moving forward, you’re growing as a human being. Complacency is the most dangerous enemy. Watch out for it. ■
“ALL IT TAKES IS ONE DEAL”
NOLEEN MARIAPPEN SAYS HER MISSION IS SIMPLE: TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE TO INDIVIDUALS, BUSINESSES AND SOCIETY, WHILE CONTINUING TO LEARN AND GROW. HERE’S HOW THIS SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR HAS GOT IT RIGHT BY ROBBIE STAMMERS
i, my name is Noleen and I’m an addict. ” That’s entrepreneurial addict”. Noleen Mariappen jokes with fellow business owners about the need for an Entrepreneurs Anonymous programme: “Not one that keeps you from indulging, but that one offers support through times that can be both hectic and/or lonely, no matter how many people you have surrounding you.” Once referred to as “the little girl from Africa”, she has gone on to do big things globally, with initiatives in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States—all the while preferring to remain low-key and unassuming, working quietly in the background. Noleen says the most significant aspect of her professional growth was accepting she was an entrepreneur at heart. There came a point in her career as a professional when she began pondering the questions: ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What do I want?’ “It’s not until you really think about those questions that the complexity strikes you,” she says. “I wanted to be defined as more than just a job title. I wanted to be my own boss, and be defined by my relationships—by the difference that I made to others, through my achievements, the knowledge I shared and the support I offered.” Her love of reading and learning grew from a desire to escape, a way to get beyond the difficulties of everyday life. “It was through these books that I discovered Tribe
alternate realities: ones where you could grow, travel, make a difference in the lives of others, and achieve even more than you could possibly imagine. I decided to make this alternate reality my reality,” she reveals. And so her journey began, and Noleen has literally travelled millions of miles since (to over 40 countries and counting!). Her first big solo adventure was studying at Rhodes University. Her first time living away from home and just as apartheid she found herself exposed to a host of different people and cultures. She loved it and wanted to travel more, learn more and do more… and do more she has! “When people say I can’t imagine my life being any different, I see that differently. I can always imagine my life being different because I imagine the future; that’s growth, development and progress. Accepting and appreciating where you’re at, learning, adapting and growing into the future.” Her persistence has paid off, despite some incredible lows, including battling cancer at the same time as losing everything in a business deal that went bad. Having started with just R200 to her name, her ownership portfolio now ranges from Black Gardenia ultra-luxury perfume oil (a favourite among celebs such as Kate Moss, Halle Berry, Nicole Ritchie, Britney Spears and Lenny Kravitz) to Beverly Hills Choppers novelty motorcycle range, to more recently expanding into new solar technology with Optimal Solar, and launching a medical information platform, MedInfoFiles, in South
Africa with partners Ryan and Cathy Arntzen. Early in 2020 she will be launching a community & personal safety app in the UK as well as a daily inspiration app for the global market. The latter, as well as the online Coaching and Mentoring Club, are part of her philanthropic pursuits to give back through her Inspiration For Good community interest initiative. As if these don’t keep her busy enough, Noleen consults for select companies each year through her business development company, Saffa Global, and allocates time to mentoring and coaching entrepreneurs she believes in too. Spurred on by a belief in the brand, she’s now working with a UK company, Swim Secure, to take its open water swimming safety products, now also available in SportsDirect stores in SA, even further globally. When asked how she balances everything, she replies: “I believe in working strategically, and as my brother says, working smart! Most of the initiatives I’m involved in require effective strategy that is then implemented. Strategy can be developed from anywhere, at any time, and a lot of implementation can be delegated as long as you have a team you can trust and believe in—though I totally get that this is sometimes easier said than done! “I don’t need to actively be involved in every aspect of every business, and I’ve found that it’s more important to look for opportunities, determine the most effective strategies to maximise on those, and then have oversight and periodic
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IT’S IMPORTANT TO TAKE ACTION, TO CONTINUALLY REASSESS AND PIVOT—AND SOMETIMES, EVEN TO WALK AWAY AS NECESSARY. Tribe Issue 1
review, as these are implemented by a strong team—where you’re lucky enough to have one! If you’re able to do this, you can free up time to work on more projects.” She continues, “I admit it can be easy to take on too much when you love what you do, or at the initial stages when you’re doing all you can to make things work. At times like those, it’s important to have people who anchor you and can have you take a step back. I’m lucky enough to have my fiancé Anthony as well as a great circle of friends and family to help with this.” Noleen feels strongly about highlighting that the entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone, and that, as she herself has experienced, there can be massive and heart-breaking failures along the way. “It’s hard to explain the sheer weight of the realisation that you have lost everything you had worked so hard for, practically overnight.” She shares one of her lowest points and how she got back up again. “I remember it as clearly now as if it had happened yesterday: forcing myself out of bed in the morning, when all I wanted to do was to stay there, curled up, hoping for a miracle that would make everything okay, and wishing I had a safety net. “After two days of what I can only describe as wallowing in self-pity, I had a call with my mum, which reminded me of my ‘why’, shifted my mindset and reignited my motivation. During my call with her, when explaining how I’d lost everything, she asked, ‘Nols, when have you ever not done anything that you wanted to do and put your mind to?’ It was just what I needed to hear. I began to change the way in which I framed the situation I was in. It was all just a temporary setback. I would get off my behind and start again! “I began to pool my resources, reaching out to my network and looking at partnerships that could facilitate a revival. Working to the point of exhaustion, and calling in favours and debts from everywhere possible, I was able to attend a partnering event in Los Angeles, which signified a turning point for me. Chanting the mantra, ‘All it takes is one deal—just one thing to go right—and I can build on that’, I put on my confident smile each day and tried to make the most of every potential opportunity.
IN THE KRAAL WITH Noleen Mariappen
FAVOURITE QUOTE? “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
BIGGEST INSPIRATION? “My greatest inspiration comes from people around me, every day, who prove time and time again that there’s good in the world, and that tough times can be overcome.”
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? “Any place of natural beauty.”
FAVOURITE WAY TO WORK OUT? “With a distraction! I’m not a fan of exercise—I do it because it’s good for me.”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…? “Hmmm, an annual fix of marshmallow Easter eggs… and my family and friends!”
HOW DO YOU UNWIND AND RELAX? “Time out with those closest to me. And I’m a real fan of spa days.”
“My breakthrough was in the form of a connection to the late Johnny Fratto, a slightly contentious character and regular on The Howard Stern Show. We formed a partnership and set up a consultancy that focused on strategy, operations and high-impact marketing and branding. That was a turning point for me and instilled a confidence that I could come
back from anything!” With so much already on the go, we asked Noleen if there are any new and exciting projects in the pipeline. “Well, it’s not a new company, but it will be having an overhaul—and it’s a super exciting one! It’s for the female-led, branded and built relaunch of Beverly Hills Choppers, in which I will be working closely with Gina of Gina Woods’ XX Chromes All-Women Bike Builds, who has done a significant amount in the industry, including building bikes on stage for charity. We’re currently seeking out women who will lead the initiative from concept to every aspect of design and build ahead of showing the prototype at some shows in 2020. As a side note, you’d think it would be easier to find women in the industry—it’s not! But I love the challenge!” In closing, Noleen shares some words to live by: “We never do what we do truly alone, there are always others with us. Whether their impact on our lives is good or bad, they are with us: influencing the way we act and react, the decisions we make, the path we lead. It’s important, wherever we can, to take a step back and see the part that others play in all of this, and to consciously make choices for our betterment. “Equally important is being grateful. I take time regularly to focus on all that I’m grateful for: my parents who sacrificed so much; my older brother who helped when I was at university; my younger brothers for randomly making me laugh with funny videos and messages when they have no idea how much I need that laughter; my extended family, friends and colleagues who have always supported me, even when they had no idea what I was doing or why; my fiancé who’s by my side, with an unwavering belief in me through every project I feel passionately about and commit to; and for every experience and person who has pushed me to rise beyond my circumstance to grow and achieve something more. “And finally, it’s important to commit to those things we believe in, to take action, to continually reassess and pivot—and sometimes, even to walk away as necessary. Especially as an entrepreneur. There’s no other way. ” Wise words, indeed. ■
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
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WILD ABANDON ROBBIE STAMMERS ENDED A FANTASTIC KRUGER BUSH EXPERIENCE TO BEAT ALL OTHERS, AT TINTSWALO SAFARI LODGE MANOR HOUSE
’ve been extremely blessed in my life as far as travel goes. One of the major perks of my chosen career is the incredible places I’ve had the immense pleasure of visiting. From islands in Tanzania and Mozambique, to luxury safari lodges on the Zambezi River, traversing the Okavango, houseboating in Kariba, or joining the anti-poaching unit of the Kruger National Park behind ‘enemy lines’. I mention the above not to brag (well, maybe just a little) but so that you know I didn’t jump off the tugboat yesterday. I’ve been to some of the world’s most luxurious lodges in the most glorious settings, so don’t take it lightly when I say the Tintswalo Safari Lodge Manor House is one of, if not THE, best places I’ve stayed at. Where you Tribe
arrive as a guest and leave as kin. My family and I had 10 days in the Kruger and surrounds, and clearly we saved the best for last with three nights at the Manor House. This was my youngest daughter, Maya’s, first trip into the bush, and she loved every single minute of it! We’d already seen loads of game, with the Big Five all ticked off. I felt we’d actually spoilt her idea of a bush experience, as sometimes one doesn’t see anything—but this time around we were very lucky, indeed. But we had no idea that the best was yet to come… Sharing an unfenced boundary with the renowned Kruger National Park, the pristine private Manyeleti Game Reserve is home to the luxurious Tintswalo Safari Lodge and Manor House. Manyeleti aptly
means “Place of Stars”, and the Manor House is tucked below towering jackalberry trees in this expansive 56 000-acre reserve. Arriving at the Manor House simply takes one’s breath away. It’s exquisitely decked out and, although it is luxurious, the way it has been done isn’t pretentious and seems to fit in perfectly with the surroundings. One already feels at home the minute one arrives. Well, that’s if your home in the bush had accommodation for up to 10 people in five luxurious suites, with your own private chef, butler, tracker and guide, a private family-size swimming pool, five luxe bathrooms including an outdoor bathtub for an authentically African experience, plus views of the undulating landscape and
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THE GREAT OUTDOORS
passing wildlife! Our days there were absolute bliss. The staff at the Manor House go above and beyond any expectations and fulfil every single need one could have. It was refreshing to feel so at home that one could take a dip in the pool after a game drive and then go and sit barefoot at the bar and grab a G&T. The food was mouthwateringly amazing and in abundance. However, the most special part of our stay at the Manor House was our guide, Wikusâ€”or as we called
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seemed quite annoyed when we’d head back at the end of another incredible safari adventure. All in all, Tintswalo Safari Lodge Manor House is beyond comparison. We spent the last night with elephant all around the fence and watched them well into the night. If I could live there, I’d move tomorrow. ■ him, the “Elephant Whisperer”. His knowledge of all the fauna and flora of the area was beyond anything or anyone I have experienced in the bush before. I thought we all knew a great deal about the many animals we’ve encountered over all the years going into the bush, but his
knowledge was epic. Each day we had the most fortuitous sightings: from a leopard with cubs, lions on a buffalo kill, to the pièce de résistance—a pack of wild dog fighting with hyena over their impala kill. The wild dog had been the one animal to elude me on all my safaris, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to finally see not one but a whole group up close! Maya, at the age of four, had no problem being out in the game vehicle for the long morning and evening drives that would generally tire out young rangers; in fact, she
THE TINTSWALO STORY A conversation with Tintswalo Lodges’ co-founders, Warwick and Lisa Goosen and Gaye and Ernest Corbett, will indubitably include more than a few tales of the family’s adventures into Africa. Pioneering spirits and curious by nature, the Corbett family has been undertaking exploratory expeditions for decades, developing a great love of the African bush. Much to the delight of the Corbetts, the entire family caught the travel bug from a young age, which laid a fertile foundation for the future of the family-owned and managed luxury lodge collection as it’s known today. It started in Mpumalanga where, for several years, the Corbetts had been instrumental in the development and management of shopping centres in upcoming rural areas, one of the largest located in the bustling town of Bushbuckridge. During its construction, Corbett’s youngest daughter, Lisa, undertook to run a study programme within the nearby community, assisting teachers to improve their skills. It was through this successful involvement with the local community that the family was introduced to the Manyeleti Game Reserve. Thanks to the success of this empowerment programme, and an introduction via the builders involved on the Bushbuckridge construction, the Corbetts were approached by the local community and asked to tender on a concession within Manyeleti. Having already proven their spirit of philanthropy and entrepreneurship, the family won the bid and thus were christened into the tourism industry, with little more than a dream of a safari lodge yet to be realised. Having cultivated an appreciation for luxury and experiential travel, Lisa Goosen (née Corbett) found herself convincing her parents to upgrade their tented camp dreams to a five-star safari lodge that would offers travellers the opportunity to enjoy every modern comfort and luxury, in the heart of wildest Africa. Residing in a tent in the Manyeleti camp, Lisa and her game ranger husband Warwick broke ground—and Tintswalo Safari Lodge, incorporating Tintswalo Manor House, was born in 2002. Tintswalo Lodges swept the boards in the 2018 Lilizela Tourism Awards, beating stiff competition to win the national award in each of the three categories for which it had qualified as regional winners in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape respectively (Tintswalo Atlantic). With the opening of the two new Tintswalo properties—Tintswalo at Boulders Boutique Villa and Tintswalo Lapalala—the Tintswalo team continues to work toward raising the bar to further establish the Tintswalo brand as ‘just out of the ordinary’.
For more information, see www.tintswalo.com.
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ALONG FOR THE
In this edition, we review a 12-seater ‘bus’ and a zippy little Mazda By Robbie Stammers
Mazda CX-5 Individual Auto
Meanwhile, advanced safety features on the Individual and Diesel derivatives include Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Driver Attention Alert (DAA), Adaptive LED headlamps and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM). The athletic CX-5 is not only a solid and reliable car, it also off
Mazda has introduced the new Individual 2.0-litre front-wheel drive automatic derivative to the 2018 MCX-5 model line-up, bringing the total model range offering to eight derivatives that offer powerful, linear driving and outstanding environmental performance. The new derivative comes with an array of enhancement features that include driver and passenger 8-way power adjustable PRICE TAGS (INCL. VAT) seats; 10 BOSE speakers; front and rear parking Mazda CX-5 2.0L Active FWD Manual sensors; a heads-up Mazda CX-5 2.0L Active FWD Auto display that reflects on Mazda CX-5 2.0L Dynamic FWD Manual the windscreen; satellite Mazda CX-5 2.0L Dynamic FWD Auto navigation; and powerlift Mazda CX-5 2.0L Individual FWD Auto tailgate. Mazda CX-5 2.2L DE Active Auto FWD The 2.5-litre derivative Mazda CX-5 2.5L Individual AWD Auto is now offered in allMazda CX-5 2.2L DE Akera AWD Auto wheel drive, with power tilt and slide roof.
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ers very good ride quality—with enough space in the cabin and boot to fit small families and luggage for daily requirements and road trips. The 143kW/258Nm 2.5-litre powertrain is very nippy and responsive, and with the 6-speed automatic gearbox offers a very enjoyable drive in city traffic. Mazda claims a fuel consumption average of 7.3 litres/100km on a combined cycle, which is good. All in all, a great car… although perhaps a little pricey for some. The Mazda CX-5 range R386 600 is backed by a 3-year R398 600 unlimited kilometre R412 000 service plan. To provide R424 000 complete peace of mind R480 700 motoring, a 3-year factory R469 700 warranty, a 3-year R543 800 roadside assistance and a R571 300 5-year corrosion warranty are also included.
Hyundai H1 Bus
This was the second time I’d had the pleasure of driving the H1, and it wasn’t by accident that it was the vehicle I used on my family’s recent safari adventure in the Kruger National Park. Not only is it an absolute pleasure to drive but it has been given an extra row of seats that expands its carrying capacity to that of a 12-seater. And with its elevated height and big spacious windows, this is the car you want for that family trip—or any trip, for that matter—in comfort and style. The ‘3-3-3-3’ seating configuration of the new H1 derivative means it now has three rows in the rear of which two, as between the driver and front passenger, feature a narrower middle seat that can fold up to allow passengers to reach the newly added fourth seating bench at the back. True to the versatile nature of the H1 Bus, the added rear bench in the new derivative can be moved forward to increase the luggage area when that row of seats is not needed. Customers will thus have the option to treat it as a 9-seater with a sizable luggage space, or a 12-seater with a small ‘boot’ space. Convenience and safety features that make the H1 12-seater 2.5
turbodiesel a comfortable and ideal people-carrier include: an infotainment centre with a large touchscreen; Bluetooth connectivity for the infotainment sound system, with multifunction controls on the steering wheel; cruise control with buttons on the steering wheel; and all the other bells and whistles one would expect. The H1 Bus has long been one of the most popular vehicles in the Hyundai line-up, with applications as a family vehicle as well as commercial use for businesses that require a car for transporting a number of people in luxurious comfort and safety. The 12-seater is equipped with a 2 497cc turbocharged diesel engine, delivering its 125kW maximum power and 441Nm maximum torque through a 5-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels. Handling characteristics of the
H1 are car-like, with road-holding that inspires confidence. A rack and pinion steering system delivers accurate steering responses, while hydraulic assistance reduces the effort required in tight situations in city driving. The H1 Bus is easy to park and, along with the generous glass area and substantial mirrors, there’s the park-assist rear-view camera. The 12-seater is equipped with McPherson type struts with gas shock absorbers for its front suspension and a rigid axle 5-link rear suspension with oil-filled shock absorbers. My verdict? Pure driving pleasure, with so much room to move about. Pricing includes Hyundai’s 7-year/200 000km warranty, as well as a 5-year/150 000km roadside assistance plan and 5-year/ 90 000km service plan. ■
PRICE TAGS H1 2.4 Executive 9-Seater Bus (petrol, manual) H1 2.5 Elite 9-Seater Bus (turbodiesel, auto) H1 2. 5 Elite 12-Seater Bus (turbodiesel, auto) H1 2.5 Turbodiesel 3-seater Panel Van (turbodiesel, auto) H1 2.5 Turbodiesel 6-seater Multicab (turbodiesel, auto)
R527 900 R654 900 R664 900 R476 900 R553 900
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"You miss 100% of the opportunities you donâ€™t take," says Kelly Robinson.
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LIFE: TAKE TWO! Kelly Robinson began her career convinced she’d live in a swanky apartment in Manhattan, be nominated for an Oscar, end up on all the billboards, and become a Hollywood A-lister. But fate had other plans BY JACQUELINE MANYONGA
aving moved to New York
City, aspiring actress Kelly Robinson was approached by a manager/agent who had previously represented famous celebrities. “I was originally star-struck that this particular individual wanted to work with me,” she recalls. “I chose this manager who was representing Academy Award winners, but should’ve gone with someone who would really have nurtured my career. Instead of sending me out for theatre roles, small parts on shows like NYPD Blue and the like, in order to build my résumé, he just sent me out for soaps and lead roles in feature films—which I wasn’t going to get because I didn’t have a name yet.” Trying out for huge roles without the requisite experience and knowledge is like driving without a licence: You can only get so far. Robinson did have success, however, landing a role in a soap. But she didn’t want to get stuck there, and the role wasn’t going to help her career in any way. The only plus was that it paid $500 000 per year for three years. Her manager was rightfully upset when she didn’t take the job, but she felt in her gut that it would hurt her chances of getting the roles she really wanted in the future. “After that, we decided I would go in a different direction, but I
wanted to take a year off and explore other careers at that time. So, I signed a post-dated contract with another manager and went to New York University to further my education. I took some classes in public relations, which had always interested me. I ended up working in PR briefly, eventually falling into real estate. Interestingly, I never went back to that second manager,” she says. Proving that when a door closes, a window opens, Robinson was drawn back to one of her childhood passions: real estate. “When I was young, I’d check the listings in the local paper. I didn’t like the house we were living in and was constantly asking my parents to look at properties—ones we couldn’t afford! I was also attracted to architecture and design from a very young age. I actually got upset (I was about 11 years old) when my family friends bought a house I wanted in town, which is pretty funny. They knew I was upset and said I could stay there whenever I wanted. I kept looking for bigger and better homes we’d never end up moving to.” A lack of money could never take away her dreams. She strongly believes that for a woman to be successful, “it takes passion, drive and relentlessly chasing after your dream. It’s crucial to listen to your gut, and maximise on the resources
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that will enable you to go for what you want. You have to know deep inside that something much more aligned with your wants and goals lies ahead.” At least her years of acting classes weren’t for naught. She feels
the training she received in classic method acting has heightened her intuition. It’s taught her a lot about listening and really connecting with other people below the surface, understanding their needs and goals. This has allowed her to work
YOU MUST BE RELATIONSHIP-ORIENTED RATHER THAN TRANSACTION-ORIENTED IF YOU WANT TO HAVE LASTING CONNECTIONS WITH CLIENTS 0 6 2
with real estate clients toward their objectives rather than acting like a typical, transactional, pushy salesperson with his or her own agenda. “For me, it’s all about the client relationship and what’s truly best for them. You must be relationshiporiented rather than transactionoriented in my business if you want to have lasting connections with clients who come back to you over and over again. Many people treat their clients as a transaction and are currently on the hamster wheel looking for new business when they could be getting referrals from past clients whom they treated with respect and understanding.” Robinson’s experience in resales has also helped her develop compassion for her clients, focusing particularly on the importance of their goals. “People are emotionally attached to their homes and there’s a lot of psychology involved. Sometimes, you aren’t just a real estate professional, you’re also a therapist who needs to guide clients through their fears and obstacles to help them achieve the outcome they ultimately want,” she explains. It’s no surprise that she’s lent her name to her group on the Compass real estate platform: The Kelly Robinson Team. It’s that personal touch and care that makes her stand out from the rest. But like any industry, the real estate sector has its challenges, too. “I think the most challenging part about forming a team in real estate is finding team members with integrity who have experience,” Robinson reveals. “Many people in my industry lie on their résumés about their previous deals. They use their former team leader’s transactions and add them to their own when in truth they might not have worked on those deals. It’s hard to vet them and find out if they’ve actually done those deals,
IN THE KRAAL WITH because many times they haven’t yet left their current team, so I can’t call the team leader to confirm their experience. I’ve been through quite a few team members like this, and unfortunately have had to let them go. I now have a wonderful team of people who have integrity, ethics and honesty. It took years to get there.” Robinson’s approach to her work has clearly rubbed off on her team. She says they all genuinely care about their clients—sometimes even going so far as to tell certain clients not to do a deal because it’s not in their best interest. Operating with integrity will always come back in a positive way, she believes. She and her team learn about clients’ financial and real estate goals and help them achieve those—whether that means buying or selling right now, or suggesting they wait. The company also offers resources to clients that will add value to their property before it hits the market: renovations, staging, painting, cleaning services, among others, which are done without any upfront costs. This allows people who don’t have the money to increase their property value and get a higher price, to make their home as attractive to buyers as possible. Robinson adds that her experience in new development has helped sharpen her eye for detail and she’s able to advise sellers on renovation layouts that will appeal to buyers. “We are advisers first and foremost, and client relationships are far more important to us than immediate transactions. I’ve learnt that very few people in my industry operate in this way. I encourage everyone on my team to look inside themselves and embrace their positive qualities.” As someone who has come up against adversity and sexual
FAVOURITE QUOTE? “I have a few. ‘Do not fear your flaws, for perfection is impossible, imperfection is authentic and authenticity is beautiful.’ That one’s by me!”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…? “My weekly Splendid Spoon delivery that consists of super healthy foods and shakes that get me through the day and keep me in shape. Also my Macbook Pro, my family, my team and especially my incredible assistant, Ashley, without whom I’d be lost.”
FAVOURITE TECH GADGET? “My iPhone—it’s almost part of my body. And my Apple Watch.”
YOUR INSPIRATION? “Amelia Earhart, Kathy Eldon, Amal Clooney and Robert Reffkin, the co-founder of Compass.”
HOW DO YOU UNWIND? “With a nice glass of red at the end of the day.”
harassment in the industry, Robinson encourages her team to be strong and remember who they are, and to stand up to people who treat them with disrespect (or worse). “Always stand up for yourself despite the possibility of losing a job or a deal. There are plenty to go around and you don’t need to stay in a precarious or
uncomfortable position to succeed. When it makes sense, speak out about it. You will not only save yourself but potentially the next woman who may work with the inappropriate individual. When you’re in a room with a bunch of men who are steamrolling everyone, don’t be intimidated. Speak up and share your ideas— they matter. Tap into your confidence and believe in what you know. Don’t be a wallflower.” Working at Compass—which is building the first modern real estate platform, pairing the industry’s top talent with technology to make the search and sell experience intelligent and seamless—is a boon for Robinson and her team, as the company is implementing innovation solutions to be at the forefront of Industry 4.0. “We have hundreds of employees in tech who come from places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Apple etc. and are constantly improving the experience for the agent and client,” Robinson says. “This relieves a lot of busy work and gives the client a lot of tools and information to help them make the right decisions. It allows us to track client activity and revise our searches based upon that activity. Sometimes buyers tell you they’re looking for something specific, but you see them viewing other types of properties. Then you can revise your search for them accordingly and advise them more effectively. It also helps us market our properties more strategically and to a more targeted audience.” Robinson hopes to get more listings, more buyers and more referrals, build better client relationships, and use more of the money she makes to create a positive difference in people’s lives. “I want my story to serve as a lesson that ‘You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take’.” ■
LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE
BEATING AROUND THE BUSH ROBBIE STAMMERS pokes a little fun at those foreigners who visit our beloved country for their first African safari
ack in 1994, The Lion King introduced the African savannah to many a Westerner; it also inspired real-world travel to the continent. Now, after loads of international accolades as one of the top destinations, with hundreds of thousands of foreigners hitting our shores, it feels fitting to start the new year by having a laugh at their expense. That’s not to say we aren’t grateful they’re helping prop up our economy while we wait for the next flippin’ load-shedding alert! I’m taking a dig because, unlike them, before I travel somewhere I do extensive research online about the country and its culture/s. The fact that we still have so many visitors to South Africa expecting bare-breasted, beaded-skirtwearing women and men hunting for their own food both appals and highly amuses me. Take, for instance, these questions that were posed on a South African tourism website and were answered by the owner. The first was posed by a potential visitor from the United Kingdom: “Does it get very windy in South Africa, or rain? I have never seen it rain there on television—how do the plants grow?” To which the superb website owner responded, “We import all our plants fully grown from overseas and then just sit around and watch them die!” This was followed by someone from the US who asked, “Will I be able to see elephants parading around the streets?” To which the inspired response was, “Only if you have been drinking or taken
something psychedelic.” The list goes on and on. Now, I know we’re blessed to live here, and this isn’t meant to seem pretentious, but surely if the number-one request is an African safari, then you ought to know a little about what you’re getting yourself into. For example, a British guest at an exclusive game lodge complained bitterly to the management over breakfast that she had been kept awake all night by a noisy leopard that had made a kill on an impala and had been stationed in the tree outside her window. Even when she had closed the curtain to block out the gory sight, the sucking and slurping continued and it completely ruined her holiday. Excuse me? People have been going to the bush for their whole life in the hopes of witnessing just that! Another guest had a far more sympathetic view of these graceful cats. She came running back excitedly from an earlymorning game sighting to urgently beckon a group of rangers, as there was a leopard “stuck up in a tree”! Then there were the two panic-stricken Germans who charged into a remote mountain lodge reception to holler: “There is a wild animal in our chalet!” The duty manager grabbed his rifle and ran. Arriving at the chalet with its lights blazing, he could find nothing and assured them that whatever it might have been was now gone. But they were not convinced. Advancing slowly, they then froze and screamed, “There it is!” And truly
there it was—a gecko blinking down sheepishly from the ceiling. And what about the rather serious Swiss couple who were shown to their room in a guesthouse in Zululand, and within minutes were back at reception? There was a “slight problem”, they exclaimed. Their room had mosquitoes, and they’d prefer one without these buzzers. Good luck with that in our country… Apart from the ongoing and arduous task of keeping foreign visitors from exiting the gamedrive vehicle in order to “pet” and “take photos of the lions”, there are few things worse than the tourist-turned-expert. One guest on safari wanted to know at which stage the monkeys turned into baboons. Another wanted to know if zebras hunted in packs, while yet another was adamant that hippos laid eggs. And finally, a lodge manager got a surprise when an elderly couple came to compliment him on the “wonderful ethnic display” on the dessert table that evening. Ethnic display? He didn’t recall any such display, so he went to check it out—only to find a three-metre-long python wrapped around the fruit salad bowl. So, heed a little advice: If you’re planning your first African safari or bush trip, do some homework first and it’ll save you from a bad case of ‘foot-in-mouth disease’. Other than that, please keep visiting. We need you right now. ■ PS: The names of rangers and lodge managers who relayed these stories to me have been omitted to avoid anyone suing them…
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Naturally Namibia story
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Imagine living on one of the country’s top-rated golf courses! Make Arabella your home and enjoy limitless access to an 18-hole championship course with pristine greens – banked by SA’s largest fresh water lagoon. Experience impeccable views and a breathtaking setting, where birdies and eagles are beckoning. To find out more, visit our website today.
The latest business insights, from inspirational world leaders. A closer look into the wild with Tintswalo's exhilarating Safaris, bringin...
Published on Jan 29, 2020
The latest business insights, from inspirational world leaders. A closer look into the wild with Tintswalo's exhilarating Safaris, bringin...