Young South Africans: Business

A chapter of the Mail & Guardian‘s 200 Young South Africans You Must Take to Lunch

Chia-Chao Wu
The son of Taiwanese parents, Chia-Chao inherited his entrepreneurial instinct. In 2002 he founded Empowerdex with Vuyo Jack and steered the company into the sphere of BEE research.

Chia-Chao is a master’s graduate, chartered accountant and chartered financial analyst. He has lectured at universities at post-doctoral level and researched and co-authored Trailblazers, South African’s Champion of Change.

In 2008 Chia-Chao handed over his role as managing director of Empowerdex to become the company’s executive deputy chairperson, a position that allows him to grow the company beyond the borders of South Africa.
Intellidex, an independent research agency, has already been established to facilitate global investments.

Chia-Chao has also successfully fostered new South African industries by bridging empowerment businesses and Taiwanese technology. He played a key role in bringing the first integrated solar manufacturer technology into South Africa, enabling South Africans to manufacture Solar Energy Systems.

Lunch spot: Butcher Shop, Sandton Square

Vuyo Jack
Vuyo, Mr Empowerment, was adviser to the government on the architecture of the black empowerment laws and codes. He is also co-founder and chief executive of Empowerdex, the BEE advisory and verification company. A chartered accountant by training, Vuyo still lectures. He recently started a media company and has authored two books.

Vuyo plays classical and jazz music, practises tai-chi and loves reading, dancing and travelling. He is a known fan of Paulo Coelho, the author and philosopher.

Lunch spot: Primi Piatti, Rosebank

Songezo Zibi
Songezo is group communications manager for Xstrata, South Africa, the local subsidiary of one of the world’s biggest mining companies. Previously, Songezo was public relations manager for Volkswagen, a company he started with as a student intern in Uitenhage. He is responsible for all Xstrata’s internal and corporate communications. A self-described social activist, Songezo is an enthusiastic supporter of the company’s numerous youth and socio-economic development projects. A new-order businessman, he says there is a close correlation between corporate social investment and development. Business, he says, should know the difference between an excellent return on investment and greed and must actively demonstrate that it does.

Lunch spot: Café da Vinci, Corporate Park, Midrand

Allon Raiz
Allon started out at his parents’ umbrella factory, where at 22 he supervised 200 workers. Then his entrepreneurial spirit took over and he went solo. Being unemployed he asked a friend for a job, returning the kindness by successfully turning around the ailing­ business. A hot dog chain, The New York Sausage Factory, followed and multiplied. Next, the inevitable: Allon’s own empire, Raizcorp. Contributing to both rural and urban development in South Africa, Raizcorp is a privately owned, self-funded business.

To date Allon has been directly involved in more than 50 businesses and has his fingers in many more pies, including hosting radio and television shows. Studying towards a doctorate in innovation and entrepreneurship, he is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Lunch spot: Deli C at Athol Square

Fatima Vawda
Fatima is used to being number one. Graduating with firsts from Wits University, she went on to lecture in Applied Mathematics. She then moved into the corporate sector as an interest rate and derivatives trader. In 2003 Fatima became the first black woman to run a hedge fund company. She is also the only woman to be awarded the Financial Services Pioneer Award and in 2006 was voted as one of South Africa’s top 20 black fund managers by the Financial Mail. Another first: in 2007 Fatima founded 27Four Investment Managers, South Africa’s first black-owned and women-run institutional multi-manager. For someone who knows what it is to be a winner, we know there is a lot more up Fatima’s sleeve.

Lunch spot: Fishmonger, Fordsburg

Christine Ramon
Christine is an executive director and chief financial officer at Sasol Limited. She started her career at Cooper and Lybrand, working in both Italy and Johannesburg, before accepting the deputy directorship for finance for the Independent Electoral Commission in 1994. She later moved to Johnnic Holdings, first as financial director and two years later became chief executive. Christine holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science with honours from the University of South Africa, and completed a senior executive programme at Harvard.

She’s recognised as a chartered accountant on the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board and South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. Christine was nominated as one of the finalists in Lebone’s Woman of the Year Competition for 2000 and was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in January 2007. She is also a member of the Association for Advancement of Black Accountants of South Africa.

Lunch spot: Assaggi in Illovo

Yolanda Cuba
In 2006 Yolanda was recognised as the Top Empowered Business Woman of The Year. The following year she received the Youth Excellence Award from the Black Management Forum. A chartered accountant by profession, she holds a B Com Honours degree in accounting. Earlier companies she worked for include Robertsons Foods and PKF Accountants. In 2003 Yolanda joined Mvelaphanda Group Limited, one of South Africa’s leading listed black-owned investment companies, in their corporate finance division. Later that year she was appointed deputy chief executive. Today she holds the position of chief executive for the group.

Yolanda has been responsible for initiating and executing a number of the group’s major investments. She also sits on numerous boards, including Absa and Life Healthcare. At 29 years old Yolanda became one of the youngest chief executives of a JSE-listed company. In 2008 she was nominated as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She started work as a waitress at Café Africa in Cape Town and is, in all ways, a self-made woman.

Lunch spot: Mastrantonio, Illovo, Johannesburg

Kuseni Dlamini
On July 1, Kuseni takes up his position as head of Anglo American South Africa and a member of the executive committee of Anglo American plc. In this job, he will be the global giant’s principal representative in South Africa with responsibility for internal transformation and for alignment with the group’s global strategy. He is currently executive chairperson of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. A brain-box, he graduated cum laude with a Social Science honours degree and a master’s from Oxford. He is a popular analyst in South African media; was named as one of the top 100 most influential members of the mining industry and was also named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

Lunch spot: Browns, Rivonia

Paul van Zyl
Named one of New York’s “top 15 lawyers under 40” by New York Lawyer magazine, for more than a decade Paul’s career has been devoted to advising and consulting to human rights organisations, governments, international organisations and foundations on transitional justice issues in more than 20 countries. From 1995 to 1998 he was executive secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, worked as a researcher on the Goldstone Commission, was department head for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York. A recipient of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader Award, Paul is executive vice-president of ICTJ, an organisation that assists countries pursuing accountability for past mass atrocity and human rights abuse. He is director of the New York University School of Law’s transitional justice programme and teaches law in New York and Singapore.

Lunch spot: La Esquina, New York

Gugu Moloi
Gugu is a Bachelor of Arts in Law graduate and has a master’s in science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is the founder and chairperson of Iman Africa, chairperson of the Forest Sector BEE Charter Steering Committee, chief executive of Umgeni Water and is an adviser on the Advisory Council of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. A Young Global Leader of the World for chief executives under 40, her other awards include: Business Woman of the Year Impumelelo ABSA South Africa 2005; Top 30 leaders in South Africa Mail & Guardian Award for 2004 and 2005; and the prestigious McNamara World Bank Award.

Gugu has also been appointed by President Mbeki as a national nominee of the Finance Fiscal Commission (FFC) and she represented the minister of provincial and local government at the Global Summit on Service Delivery, Sweden 2000.

Kennedy Bungane
Kennedy started his banking career at Standard Bank. After a short stint at Real Africa Durolink Investment Bank, where he helped to establish a Corporate Forex Treasury, he returned to launch and head up the bank’s Forex Sales: New Business Unit. Up for a challenge, Kennedy agreed to move to BEE Finance, Corporate and Investment Banking and in 2003 joined the executive committee of SCMB.

In 2005 he became national president of ABSIP and played a key role as one of the 10 negotiators and four authors of the Financial Sector Charter. Kennedy is an MBA graduate, holds a certificate in foreign exchange markets and completed a business and management programme at Harvard. After being head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, he was appointed to his current position as deputy chief executive of Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank of South Africa.

Lunch spot: Fairlawns Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg; Ritrovo Restaurant, Pretoria

Batlhako Ntsime
Batlhako joined FNB eight years ago as part of a group of new recruits participating in an exclusive development programme. His success as a product specialist led to him being appointed chief operating officer of FNB Corporate Electronic Banking, responsible for product development and research. He then moved to FNB Online as COO, handling product operations, compliance, audit and risk. His commitment and ability to add value to the work environment paid off and in 2006 he was appointed chief executive of FNB Cash.

Despite a demanding work schedule, Batlhako finds time to share his knowledge and experiences at numerous conferences and forums. He has also published articles in reputable journals and his most recent contribution can be found in the book Career: Tips from Top Executives.

Lunch spot: Rio De Sol, Grayston shopping centre

Michael Jordaan
Selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Michael has a PhD in Banking Supervision. He started his career with Deutsche Bank in Hamburg and Frankfurt and then moved on to Rand Merchant Bank, which catapulted him to the head of Origin Bank, a merchant bank for individuals.

Michael’s next move was to FNB HomeLoans as chief executive, where he played a pivotal role in the R400-million profit turnaround of HomeLoans. He was then appointed chief executive of, where he established FNB’s internet and rewards business and in two years grew the business from zero to 500 000 customers.

In 2004 Michael was appointed chief executive for the Customer Solutions Division—the FNB unit contributed more than R2-billion in pre-tax profits to First Rand. His succession of victories in the banking sector led to his appointment as chief executive of First National Bank.

Lunch spot: Hook, Line & Sinker, Pringle Bay

Colin Nyoni
Colin has grabbed every opportunity offered to him—from sidewalk food vendor to big-time fast food franchisee—and created his own brand of eatery, Nyoni’s Kraal, which won a top award at the World Trade Market in London.

After being unemployed and twice having had to abandon his dreams of completing his tertiary studies because of a lack of funds, Colin worked his way up through the ranks—from griller and meat cutter to calamari catcher, cleaner, potato chipper and cook. He learnt the ropes so quickly that he was promoted above higher-paid chefs to take charge of kitchen operations. This started a management career with training in Singapore by global food giant Planet Hollywood.

Lunch spot: His own restaurant, Nyoni’s Kraal; The Butcher Shop & Grill, Sandton City

Mogologolo Phasha
A medical doctor and pharmacist, Mogologolo started out as a pharmacist at Groothoek Hospital before he joined Medunsa’s School of Pharmacy as a researcher. By 2001 his background in the pharmaceutical industry had catapulted his career, enabling him to open the first black-owned retail pharmacy, Black IQ Pharma, with overwhelming success. The company has four divisions: Kalapeng Pharmacies, PMB Pharmaceuticals, Black IQ Training and Consulting, and Black IQ Marketing.

To date the retail pharmacy group boasts 13 pharmacies spread across three provinces, half of which were on the verge of closing down but now have almost tripled in turnover. Mogologolo’s latest success is winning the tender to build a pharmacy for the BMW Motor Group at its plant in Rosslyn and its head office in Midrand. Mogologolo also has his own branded products for Khalpeng Pharmacies and assures us that there is more to come.

Lunch spot: Lombardy, Pretoria East

Hugo Nelson
Hugo is a medical doctor and Oxford University MBA graduate and also holds a CFA. He consolidated a career at Coronation Fund when he joined the organisation in 1999. He started as a member of the investment team, then moved on to become an equity analyst and later a portfolio manager responsible for large institutional client portfolios and unit trust assets. Hugo is the current chief executive of Coronation Fund Managers.

Lunch spot: Caveau at The Mill, Cape Town

Harri Rauhala
Since September 2006 Harri has been the chief strategy officer of Cell C, where he has helped guide the turnaround strategy that has seen Cell C increase its customer base by more than 50%. A Finn by birth, Harri majored in international business for his master’s degree at the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland before attaining his MBA at the University of South Carolina.

Harri operated as consultant with Gemini Consulting­ from 1999 and by 2002 the company had merged with Capgemini and Harri had moved to London as part of Capgemini’s global­ telecom and media strategy team. Here he developed an in-depth knowledge of financial, commercial and strategy analysis.

During 2003 Harri was part of Capgemini’s global telecom thought leadership unit, delivering points of view and industry research for telecom CxOs around the world. He was also a member of the global telecom leadership team responsible for strategy development and advanced financial analysis.

Harri is proficient in Finish and English and has a working knowledge of Swedish, German and basic Spanish.

Lunch spot: Forum Homini in Krugersdorp

Cyrille Nkontchou
Cyrille is a former head of Sub Sahara equity research (ex SA) at Merrill Lynch & Co in London. He was ranked in the Financial Mail 1999 Analyst Survey and Greenwich 1999 Emerging Markets Survey. Before joining Merrill­Lynch, he was a manager of Andersen Consulting in Paris, and specialised in financial markets information systems and management. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA in economy, with distinction, from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

Faaiza Ismail Mayet
Faaiza is the legal manager at Cell C, handling a diverse portfolio including procurement, human resources, litigation, marketing, service delivery, service provision and real estate. She obtained a BProc from Unisa in 2000 and completed her articles in July 2002. Her skills had already been recognised in the late 1990s when as legal accounts administrator for Chubb Electronic Security in 1997 she established the legal collections department.

In 2004 she was employed at Absa as a consultant for contracts and legislation. She subsequently moved to Nedcor in late 2004, where she operated as legal adviser in the retail legal department. Faaiza has throughout her career been attaining further qualifications to complement her legal skills, including the Mediation and Arbitration Council Certificate for Mediation and Arbitration in 2002, the Practice Management Certificate of the LSSA (LEAD) in 2003, and the Diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa in 2003. She also attends numerous courses and workshops to keep abreast of developments in the legal field. She is studying for an LLM at Unisa.

Lunch spot: Villamoura in Sandton

Phuti Malabie
In 1997 Phuti started her career in at Fieldstone in New York, an international firm specialising in the financing of infrastructure assets. She became vice-president at Fieldstone in South Africa before heading the Project Finance Unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. With a BA Economics from Rutgers in the United States and an MBA from De Montfort in the United Kingdom, Phuti is the 2003 recipient of the Top in Project Finance from the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals.

In 2007 she was nominated a Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum. Phuti is now managing director of Shanduka Energy (Pty) Ltd, an investment company primarily focused on electricity, oil and gas throughout the African continent. She is chairperson of Gigajoule Africa, Netgroup Solutions and Mondi Shanduka Newsprint and board member of Shanduka Group, Fevertree Consulting, Umbono Securities and BMF.

Lunch spot: Saigon

Isaac Shongwe
Isaac grew up on the tough streets of Alexandra, sold apples to make a rand and once dreamed of being a bus driver. He now heads one of the top logistics businesses in South Africa and serves on the board of R43-billion Barloworld.

Isaac’s “rags to riches” journey included a BA honours from Wesleyan University in the United States and an MPhil in management studies at Oxford University (through a Rhodes Scholarship). He also has a diploma in marketing from Wits University.

Isaac founded and chairs Letsema Holdings, a successful investment and management consultancy group, and is the current chief executive of Barloworld Logistics Africa (where he started in 2005 as executive director for business development and transformation). Last year he became the first black executive director of Barloworld Limited. His personal philosophy is to make each opportunity count and to live life by “giving rather than taking”.

Lunch spot: Any place with good food

Ernest Darkoh
Ernest is a Harvard Medical School and Harvard Masters of Public Health graduate, with an MBA from Oxford’s Balliol College. He has provided professional testimonials to the United States Senate and to United Kingdom parliamentarians on global HIV/Aids and healthcare strategy. He worked for McKinsey & Company in New York, advising Fortune 500 companies on issues of corporate strategy and operational improvement.

Ernest is the chairperson and founding partner of BroadReach Healthcare, a global healthcare management and services company. He is widely acclaimed for his bold leadership in Botswana’s National Antiretroviral Treatment Programme, one of the most successful public sector HIV/Aids treatment programmes in Africa and widely regarded as the “proof of concept” model for large-scale ARV therapy in Africa. Ernest was voted by Time magazine as one of 18 Global Health Heroes and was featured in the highly acclaimed PBS documentary Rx for Survival.

Lunch spot: Salvation Café, 44 Stanley, Milpark

Paul Kapelus
Paul is a social entrepreneur with a master’s degree in social anthropology from the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wits University. He has published extensively in the area of business and development and presented at international conferences for more than 10 years. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is the recipient of the Desmond Tutu Fellowship for 2008.

More than a decade ago Paul founded the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship and recently handed over his position as chief executive to accept the directorship with Synergy Global, where he plans to expand his experience in analysing the relationship between business and society and developing measures to promote positive interaction between core businesses and social challenges. Paul also recently founded the Social Enterprise Company, securing investment opportunities and partnerships with companies that promote social innovation as their core business.

Lunch spot: Service Station, Melville, Johannesburg

Justin Nurse
Justin has a background in journalism and politics and has forged a career as an independent publisher. He focuses on social and political satire and keeps his finger on the pulse of global youth culture. His business is conducted out of an unusual office site set on a game reserve called The Snakehouse. Justin’s work involves publishing projects, writing and brand consultancy. He created the Laugh It Off brand by making satirical T-shirts, one of which landed him in a legal showdown in the Constitutional Court with SABMiller.

Since Nurse’s victory over SABMiller, his brand has only gotten bigger. Laugh It Off has thus far published three annuals, with the third featuring more than 100 creative contributions from around the world. It also won the prestigious Loerie Award. Laugh It Off’s recent accomplishment is Derby Day: South African Schoolboy Rugby, a 400-page coffee-table book on the top 100 rugby-playing schools in the country.

Lunch spot: Café Roux, Noordhoek

Meluxolo Jara
Meluxolo founded Mngenela Promoters, a company that manufactures ceramic corporate gifts. Despite significant competition from large national courier companies he also started a courier business, Ukhetshe Courier Services, and has grown it to a national operation. He has also started an initiative in the rural Eastern Cape to identify matriculants with outstanding achievements in Maths and Science and assist them in obtaining bursaries as well as to provide entrepreneurial consultancy and skills training.

Lunch spot: Sakhumzi, Soweto, Orlando West; Capello, Newtown, Johannesburg; News Café, Centurion, Pretoria

Kirshni Toteram
Prior to joining Coronation, Kirshni worked at Metropolitan Life as head of the Aids Research Unit. Her change in direction has determined new challenges in a very competitive environment. Kirshni heads up the institutional business of Coronation Fund Managers. As a qualified actuary and former manager of the Coronation Property Equity Fund, she is the conduit between the investment team and the company’s clients.

Her key responsibility is to capture new business opportunities, product development and to ensure exceptional client service through a combination of appropriate products, relevant market information and, above all, strong investment performance. She is also a member of the executive committee, playing a role in determining the strategic direction of the company. Kirshni is recognised for her commitment, the value she brings to the business and her strong work ethic.

Lunch spot: Wakame, Tokara and Uitsig

Taddy Blecher
Taddy is a Bachelor of Science graduate and is the Liberty Life Gold Medal Top Actuarial Science Honours Student. His career includes work for FedLife and the Financial Services Group and project leader for the Monitor company, where he was consultant of the year. He co-founded South Africa’s first free tertiary institute, educating the financially disadvantaged, and received the Humanitarian Award by the Jewish Report in 2002.

In 2003 he received the BMF Managerial award, the Alumni Honours Award at Wits and the Paul Harris Fellowship Rotary. Taddy has been awarded twice by the World Economic Forum, first in New York with the Leader of Tomorrow Award and then in 2005 as a Young Global Leader. He is a member of the Fellow Institute of Actuaries London and Fellow Actuarial Society of South Africa. Teddy is currently chief executive of Cida City Campus.

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