A f r i c a n
P r o f e s s i o n a l s
B e y o n d
B o r d e r s
Knighted African Igniting Africa
Kenya’s Gerald Mahinda
Brandhouse SA CEO
Uganda’s Lee Kasumba From Y to O
Nigeria’s Wale Akinlabi From Houseboy to Household Name Ben M’Poko DRC Envoy and Dean of Ambassadors
Inside SA Home Affairs • Sankofa Insurance’s William Yeboah • Genderlinks Colleen Morna • Baraka Bora’s Harold Olukune • Internations’ Niels Bertschat • Jobs in Africa - backpage! 9 772218 757007
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79 Hill Street, Ferndale, 2194 www.ethniquedesigns.co.za . 0723468742
o you want to remain authentically African but not miss out on the everchanging fashion trends of the modern world? Then Ethnique Designs, the brainchild of Zambianborn Ezi Kilembe, situated on Hill Street in Randburg is the place for you. “I used to design the clothes I wore and I started designing for friends and family as they always liked what I wore. I was more interested in completing my BA and just did it as a hobby. After doing this for about 10 years, I suddenly realised that I could turn a pleasurable hobby into a business and in May of last year, I opened up shop and called it Ethnique, a combination of “Ethnic” representing the fact that while we are human first, our ethnicity shines out through our different cultural backgrounds and the quirky play on the spelling with “que” represents the word “unique”, which means we can all be represented in a modern way.” Ethnique Designs makes fashion outfits and accessories for any occasion. Fabric is acquired from places as far as Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Mozambique and the DR Congo. They specialise in fascinator hats as well. “We also have a beauty parlour on our premises that offers facials, nails with nail art, manicures, pedicures, massages, waxing, eye lash extensions and make-up
application. Our outfits do not only promote uniqueness in our cultural expressions through dress, but our service is also unique in that we offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ service especially for events such as weddings as we not only make outfits for the wedding party, but also provide the beauty treatments required as a package at a cost-effective price.” Since setting up shop, she has had the opportunity to learn from different cultures by interacting with a variety of racial groups, which she is thankful for. Some have even become suppliers by bringing her genuine pieces from their travels back home which is important to her in keeping with her brand promise of a unique offering. “We design outfits from scratch. Some clients come with their own materials and designs and if we feel a tweak is needed here and there to suit their profile, we advise them accordingly. Finally, we are also increasing our variety by bringing on board other designers. We are in the process of creating a shop where we can stock African designers from around the continent and anybody interested can contact us.”
Inside Home Affairs: Charity begins at Home Affairs
Buntu Williams: Africa’s chance to redefine capitalism
Sir Sam Jonah: Knighted African Igniting Africa
Gerald Mahinda: CEO of Brandhouse SA
Sankofa’s William Yeboah: Experience that insures your tomorrow
Colleen Lowe Morna: The phoenix of Genderlinks
Harold Olukune: Accounting your blessings through Baraka Bora
Expat-travel: Conquering The Congo
Know Your Envoy: DRC Ambassador Ben M’Poko
Wale Akinlabi: From Houseboy to Household Name
Senkubuge: Eating, praying and loving
Lee Kasumba: From ‘Y’ to ‘O’
Hanging on with Hannington: My Pretoria to Kampala Road Trip
Niels Bertschat: Internations Johannesburg Host
The Last Word: The world is ending, what’s your legacy?
Jobs in Africa
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
WHO’S YOUR CADDIE?
ell if you had one at our inaugural Kenya Airways sponsored Expatriate Magazine golf day then you need to tell me how you managed to sneak him in! Jackal Creek strictly prohibits the use of a caddie and so all aspiring Tiger Woods’ reading this will have had to settle for the use of golf carts instead. The golf day is one of four events in our calendar this year. It will be followed by The Winter Women’s High Tea in June, the Annual Expatriate Dinner and Dance in September and our Anniversary celebration towards the end of the year.
dreams are realised. Hopefully the Mayans got it horribly wrong and mankind shall continue to exist beyond their forecasted doomsday of 12th of December 2012.
Publisher: The Expatriate Forum and Magazine (Pty) Limited Reg. Number: 2010/012428/07 P O Box 4935, Randburg, 2125 Tel: +27 11 7917484 www.expatriate.co.za
Speaking of golf and sports, as I write this, the replay of Asamoah Gyan striking the ball in the direction of the grateful palms of the Zambian keeper is receiving a lot of airplay on TV. These scenes have prompted an on-going debate in bars and social media platforms as to whether or not he should be the scapegoat for the failure of the Black Stars to progress to the ultimate stage of continental football: the African Cup final.
Director: Carol Malonza – email@example.com Managing Editor: KC Rottok – firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor and Content Advisor: Leah Maina – email@example.com
True to our propensity for bouts of selective amnesia, many have conveniently forgotten the numerous goals the man has scored to secure the Black Stars’ place in the semifinal. In addition, national football is a collective effort, unlike golf where one has only him or herself to blame in the event of a poor showing. Like football, this magazine is a team effort and as such I wish to acknowledge the many who worked hard to deliver a successful first year in 2011. Given the stories we have in this issue led by the profile of an achiever like Sir Sam Jonah, I am more than confident that this year will be “plenty 12” for us as well! KC Rottok, CA (SA) Creative & Fin. Journalism (Wits University) Managing Editor.
It’s 2012, or as an optimistic friend recently told me, plenty 12! We certainly hope that it will bring plenty your way and that your
Publishing Executive: Sheila Lynn Senkubuge Advertising and Event Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org or 0822146421 Edition Writers: Keith Kundai, Hannington Kasirye, Yaw Peprah, Andreas Krensel, KC Rottok, Sheila Senkubuge, Carol Malonza Contributor: Buntu Williams Art Direction, Design and Layout: Mike Obrien email@example.com Photography: Mzu Nhlabati www.creativenation.co.za Website: Drutech Media (0781121311) All rights reserved. Excerpts may be used as long as this magazine is credited as the source. Longer versions of our content may only be used with the written permission of the Publisher. Neither the publisher nor the editor accept responsibility for any of the information from edition writers or contributors. Whilst we have taken care in preparing this publication, the publisher/editor does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. The editor retains the right to edit all contributions. Advertisers are responsible for their material. © Expatriate SA 2011: ISSN 2218 – 757X
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Inside Home Affairs
Charity begins at Home Affairs “Another development that we have noted is that the adjudication of permits has become very strict. If one document is not in order, the entire application is quickly refused...” new year has begun and I hope that it was a good start for our readers. For me as a former expatriate, it is still amazing to see that most businesses in South Africa shut down for at least four weeks during the festive season. This is a period that falls between the 17th of December until the second week of January where everything stops and there is basically a national slow down. Although other countries like France and Italy have a similar custom in August, it is indeed difficult to explain this go-slow to clients from the US, Asia and Europe. The question I ask myself is whether this practice is still appropriate for a country which has in recent times seen salary increases above productivity gains. I am confident that this will be a subject for debate in South Africa in future. So, what will 2012 bring from a Home Affairs perspective? Well, according to Home Affairs, we will see a more service orientated, efficient, friendly, well organized department which will process all applications without undue delay and to the utmost satisfaction of the public. Of course I cannot predict the future, but I can assure you this will not happen; certainly not with the kind of speed that is being promised here. What will certainly happen is a change in legislation. I reported in our last issue that a number of modifications to immigration legislation are on the cards (search for “Rather apply abroad” on www.
expatriate.co.za to view that article). On the date of writing this article, these changes to the regulations had yet to be signed off to become law. We will be sure to keep you posted on the developments relating to these proposed adjustments. Furthermore, according to the department’s spokesperson, Home Affairs intends to clear the current backlog of approximately 46 076 applications in four months. Bearing in mind that the department receives approximately ten thousand applications per month, it is a huge ask to expect it to deal with the backlog while attending to the public’s daily demands.
However, as they say with any reform it will get worse before it gets better. Officials indicated that the engine must first run smoothly, before they will allow any flexibility again. One would hope however that the people setting these new higher hurdles are able to perform at those standards. Charity has to begin at home so I can only hope that they will operate within reasonable response times, are accountable and responsible. And maybe investors can even ask for some efficiency and adherence to deadlines by the South African government in 2012. Andreas Krensel is the owner and managing director of IBN Consulting in Cape Town. He is a qualified German attorney with an LLM from
Although they rarely ever processed applications within thirty days, moving Home Affairs operations from the head office in Pretoria during the last quarter of last year aggravated the backlog. It is good to note that the move was completed at the end of December 2011. It is also a positive thing that insiders indicate that no effort is being spared to complete the adjudication (finalization) of these outstanding permit applications with the view of clearing the backlog as soon as possible. Another development that we have noted is that the adjudication of permits has become very strict. If one document is not in order, the entire application is quickly rejected. Although this is formally correct, it would be better if there would be a possibility to correct the mistake instead of refusing the entire application as a first reaction.
UCT and has been assisting foreign investors in South Africa for the past ten years. www. ibncapetown.com
CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES 31MAY 2012
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM AFRICA’S CHANCE TO REDEFINE CAPITALISM s the world ponders the future direction of capitalism, Africans should polish up and take
of instability and growing threat of terror attacks. I reminded him that Africa’s political risk has never before deterred capitalists.
advantage. The world’s wealthy and powerful elite have never been humbler. At their annual January gathering in Davos, several years after the markets crumbled, they did the unthinkable – some soul searching. Is capitalism failing the world? The World Economic Forum describes itself as an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society. Their brand of 19th century capitalism refined in the halcyon days of Wall Street and the Chicago schools of business of the 1980’s, has been found wanting in Africa’s new age of hope – the 21st century.
As evidenced in two recent surveys, Africa will, over the next ten years, be the world’s new investment destination for the world’s leading fund managers, pension funds, hedge funds and financial institutions. It truly staggered me to learn that less than 1% of their money is currently invested in Africa and that they now plan to up their stake to around 5% by 2015. So while the world’s erstwhile capitalists undergo soul searching, how would Africa’s own capitalism look with all these prospects of investor appeal?
A friend pointed out that it is strange that some of the African countries earmarked for huge investment inflows have high levels
Capitalism is about to experience yet another flourish. I have observed with keen interest the skilful operations of Asian traders in our midst. While many consider them just spaza shop owners, they are in practise a fully networked distribution chain. Unlike spazas run by locals, these traders typically have everything the neighbourhood needs including foodstuff, nappies and cosmetics. To gain acceptance, they have set roots in the same areas in which they do business in whilst running massive warehouses in the outskirts of the city. Their ownership s t ru c t u re conforms to a single operational purpose of getting your goods to the consumer via a fully networked chain of spazas across South Africa’s townships. It is an enterprising fusion of marketing and community service. It is a well-executed strategy, a no-nonsense approach to profit making whilst encouraging the neighbourhood to see you as one of their own which is the sort of empathy corporate entities spend billions to gain in the form of customer loyalty.
The failure of established retail merchants to adapt to cost-effective structures appropriate to townships has been successfully exploited by a new breed of entrepreneur imported from Asia. Another friend in the executive search industry sent me some notes revealing South Africa’s dire lack of skills to take advantage of potential growth in capital inflows. South Africa is sitting with an 800 000 deficit in high level skills! It is about time we started working
together. A cross pollination of ideas, backgrounds and reverence for our common humanity will change how the continent exploits Africa’s new age of capitalism. So while the rest of the world ponders the future direction of capitalism, Africa will add a little more colour to it. As they say, there is always something new out of Africa. This time, it’s a chance to redefine capitalism. - Buntu Williams is a producer at CNBC Africa.
FRIENDS OF GOLF CHARITY GOLF DAY 2011 Friends of Golf (FOG) is a social club whose objectives include playing golf once a month, improving members golf, engaging in charitable activities and business networking. The Club held a charity golf day in November 2011 in aid of students from Alexandria Township who are supported by the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust. For more information, visit www.friendsofgolf.co.za and www.vincenttshabalala.org
1 – City of Tshwane Manager Jason Ngobeni. 2 – Event MC Charles Karobia. 3 – Title Sponsors Tectura International Architects Director Nyaga Githae. 4 – Golfers getting ready to tee off, from left Nick Wanjau, Peter Mbugua, Charles Mwaura, Nyaga Githae, Davis Motlhako and Humphrey Gathungu. 5 – FOG Treasurer Henry Kihara introducing the Club’s new website. 6 – Editor KC Rottok (left ) congratulates Remo Moyo of Nedbank, winner of a year’s subscription to the magazine. 7 – FOG Chairman David Nderitu. 8 – FOG League Winner Eric Njuguna congratulated by Kenyan Ambassador Tom Amolo. 9 – Dipuo Mvelase from The Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust 10
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EXPATRIATE MAG 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY
1 – Homebaze Restaurant owner Mr. Ken Ayere speaking to the press. 2 – Some of the 288 attendees. 3 – Dr. Agnes Ikatekit (middle) with son and nephew at the event. 4 – The 1 year anniversary cake with pictures of all the 5 covers to date. 5 – Event MC Turas Turise showing off the new issue. 6 – Expatriate Publishing Executive Sheila Senkubuge. 7 – From left, Nigerian High Commissioner H.E. Sonni Yusuf, Mrs. Nosi Kekana-Amolo, Kenyan Ambassador Tom Amolo and Expatriate Mag Editor KC Rottok. 8 – Ladies dressed to kill
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MALAWI AND FRIENDS DINNER AND DANCE, DECEMBER 2011
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1 – Salad Nthenda conducting a raffle in aid of charity. 2 – Malawi and Friends Founder Martha George. 3 – Former Miss Malawi Anne Sibande makes some opening remarks. 4 – Mrs. Tembo cracking a few Malawian jokes. 5 – Event MC Pastor Gift Muthanyi. 6 – MAFSA 2011 Chair Kennedy Kaposa (in striped tie) in the after dinner dance. 7 – Dr. Peter Mwangalawa. 8 – Malawi High Commission Health Attache Dr. Nedson Fosiko
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EXPAT CLUB EVENTS
1 – 4 - ZASA hosts Mafrika and Ozzy. 1 – General Ozzy. 2 – Miss Zambia SA and Miss Zambia Independence. 3 – Mafrika. 4 – From left Mumba Mwakwa from Big Brother, ZASA Chair Edwin Mwitumwa and Combs Muchindu. 5 – 6 - May May Productions Red and White African Affair. 5 – Congo’s Don K 6 – Second from left, Mavis Anim the organiser with some of the ladies in attendance 7 – 8 - Hodari Promotions hosts Mike Rua Mugithi Night.
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KEDASA hosts Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka
1 – Kenya Diaspora Association of South Africa Chairman Chomba Chuma. 2 – Kenyan VP (middle) checks out the latest copy of The Expatriate. 3 – Kenyan Assistant Minister Linah Kilimo.
RADIANT FUNCTIONS Where your party dreams come true!
Sir Sam Jonah KNIGHTED AFRICAN IGNITING AFRICA “Jonah became one of the wealthiest individuals in Ghana as he held lucrative international directorships as well as profitable investments. It was for his contributions as an African businessman and philanthropic work, especially in education, that he received an Honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.” regrettably kept Sir Jonah waiting for an hour as I battled the notorious traffic on Jan Smuts to get to his Illovo office. Thankfully, despite the rushed interview, he recommended his biography “Sam Jonah and the Remaking of Ashanti” by AA Taylor as a source of additional information. The book is as much about the Ghanaian mining giant, Ashanti as it is about Jonah. The Ghanaian author wrote it when completing a doctorate thesis on the company’s economic history and as such it has plenty of financial statistics whose potential monotony is frequently broken by the often-humorous intrigues of Jonah’s family, political and corporate experiences. My brief interview and reading of his book provided me with the following three aspects to Sir Jonah’s profile: his challenges, his successes and his character.
Challenges Jonah’s challenges began when he joined the Ashanti mine as a shovel-boy at the age of 19. Plunged into the deep underground with his A-level education, other illiterate miners made his life hell. He went on to pursue a mining diploma in England and on his return, steadily rose to the position of CEO of the entity whose main shareholders were the Ghanaian government and the London Rhodesian Mining and Land Company (Lonrho). As the first African CEO of a company in an industry dominated by white male leadership, Jonah ‘felt the weight of his colour on his shoulders’. Even his own father Thomas had previously declared that the day a black man runs Ashanti would be the day he (Thomas) would leave town.
Jonah and his CFO Mark Keatley made a judgement call that gold prices would continue to drop and used hedging instruments as a result. An unexpected move by European central bankers changed gold prices dramatically which thrust Ashanti into a debilitating financial crisis. The then Ghanaian president, J.J. Rawlings (who the book states held a personal grudge against Jonah), shareholders and journalists accused Jonah and his team of mismanagement. Minority shareholders weakened the Ashanti board through a case in the Ghanaian courts and a group of American shareholders sued Jonah individually for compensation of financial loss. Jonah had this to say about the ordeal: “It was character forming and called for every experience I had gone through in my life. The lessons I learnt are too many to recount.”
Successes Jonah’s Master’s thesis was instrumental in the drafting of Ghana’s Minerals and Mining Law of 1986. He became the first African General Manager of the Obuasi mine and under his command the resource produced the best quarterly results in five years. He managed the significant reduction of the injuries per million working hours as well as improving the organisation’s environmental focus. Jonah was the first African to sit on the Lonrho board. Under his tenure as CEO, Ashanti became the first African company outside of South Africa to list on the London Stock Exchange. The company was the first African operating company to list on the New York Stock Exchange which also allowed them to join the stock exchange in Toronto, dubbed the mine finance capital of the world. The takeover of Cluff Resources marked the first time an African company had taken over a listed British company. Jonah steered the company through an expansion programme that saw an addition of new resources in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Australia and Tanzania. As a result, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Camborne School of Mines.
I asked him what it is about his management and leadership style that has made him so successful. “I believe in a consensual management style that encourages the free flow of ideas because
The book states that Jonah became one of the wealthiest individuals in Ghana as he held lucrative international directorships and profitable investments. It goes on to assert that he managed to silence friend turned foe President J.J. Rawlings by financing opposition candidate John Kufuor’s successful bid for the Ghanaian presidency. With the help of financial experts, he managed to steer Ashanti out of the crisis and the friendship he had with SA’s largest mining entity’s CEO Bobby Godsell set the tone for discussions leading to a successful merger that brought him to Johannesburg as the Executive President of the merged entity Anglo Gold Ashanti.
wisdom does not reside in the head of one person. I take active interest in the development of people and understand that they may make mistakes. I am very passionate about what I do and try to instil the same passion, work ethic and discipline in the people who work for me. It is important to get their buy in and align them to the vision which then allows you to step back and delegate as I often do.”
“Moving here was a good experience for me as the country is world class. My experience in employing and being an expatriate is that sometimes we are judgemental and fail to understand that we should show sensitivity to sociocultural differences because after all we are guests and must therefore show respect to the people whose hospitality makes it possible for us to be here.”
Pic by: John Jones
Character Jonah is undoubtedly hardworking and often descends to the ground level to get things done. This is what earned him the respect of fellow miners as a boy and made him achieve phenomenal success as a mine manager. As an African pioneer in the corporate space, he does not shy away from challenging the status quo and can be credited for changing some of the perceptions of Africans in management.
Loyalty and trust are also fundamental to his management style. He defended his CFO Keatley a number of times when other players were happy to have him sacrificed as a scapegoat for Ashanti’s financial difficulties. Sir Jonah’s ability to stay strong during this turbulent time, when others were noted in the book to have experienced strokes and hypertension, also shows his physical
on you to stay on course and motivates you to bring others along as others did for you as management is certainly not a one man show.”
and mental strength in times of adversity.
with a second office in Ghana and is geared towards igniting the economic progress of the African continent by acting as a viaduct to increase foreign investment. Jonah continues to serve on the boards and advisory councils of many prominent entities including Standard Bank. - KC ROTTOK
It is in this spirit of bringing others along that he now chairs Jonah Capital, the entity he founded following his retirement from Anglo Gold Ashanti in 2005 after 37 years of service. It is based in Johannesburg
The author observes that “Jonah was determined to build a ‘First’ World company, to dispel the unspoken belief that coming from the ‘Third’ World implied that he would be a third-rate businessman.” Jonah also seems to understand the limits of his ability. The book notes that he twice turned down an offer of the vice-presidency of Ghana, a move which also illustrates his humility. “Part of the problem of political leadership in Africa is that everyone thinks that they can be president,” he said to me. “I do not believe that the skill set I possess as a business leader is necessarily applicable to the political arena. I have been available to a number of African heads of state for consultation but taking up a political role has never been part of my calculations.” His modesty is further demonstrated by his pushing for the merger even when it appeared as though his role would be diminished as a result thereof.
Jonah also gives back. It was for his contributions as a businessman and philanthropic work, particularly in education, that he received an Honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. “That was a humbling experience and so was receiving The Star of Ghana which is my country’s highest award. It imposes a certain obligation
GERALD MAHINDA Brandhouse
erald Mahinda is a busy man. It comes with the territory when you are charged with managing over a thousand employees at South Africa’s second largest brewer – Brandhouse. I was therefore quite fortunate to secure a twenty minute conversation with him on his way to the Brandhouse sponsored Pitch and Polish Entrepreneurship competition at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. Briefly tell us about your background leading up to your current position.
and Southern Sudan. How did you find the change from being a financial director to managing director? I took a decision early in my career that my accounting studies would only be a stepping stone to specialising in other areas. I believe my strengths now lie in change
over 60% of our employees are under the age of 35 and they are engrossed in new technologies such as social media. I cannot handle them the same way I handle the older executives and we must therefore structure the organisation in a way that accommodates all age groups. Having been an expatriate in many parts of the continent, what is your view of its economic prospects?
“We have invested over 400 million euros in SA which is the ninth largest beer consuming country in the world.”
I completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Nairobi and soon after qualified as a Certified Public Accountant in Kenya. After a few years at a security firm where I worked as a graduate trainee, I joined a multinational insurance company where I was, for six years, working in the department responsible for Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. I later joined Standard Chartered where I worked as finance director for five years. Prior to moving to South Africa, I was Managing Director (MD) for East Africa Breweries (EABL), a beer company operating in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi
management. The only constant in business is change. When I was at the bank, we went through a significant automation process. During my stint in insurance, we had to amend the way we do things in a bid to become the leading underwriter in our region. At EABL, we transformed the company from a government owned entity with no marketing function to a profitable brand driven business. We moved from having 24 sales representatives to having 160 overnight. I believe that if you are not mindful of change, somebody else will overtake you. At Brandhouse,
I actually do not like the term ‘expatriate’. It has this connotation of a person who doesn’t change; a person who comes from a different country to impose how things are done there in a new environment. When I went to Nigeria for a year, I did not go there just to share the skills I possessed but also to learn. It was a two way process as I widened my knowledge of business in West Africa. 20% of Africa’s population is sitting in Nigeria and it is said that Nigerians are some of the happiest people on earth. The country is also the seventh largest oil producer and as governance improves, wealth is going to filter to all of its people. In East Africa, where I began my career, oil reserves are being
uncovered in most countries in the region. The total population rivals that of the United States of America and I believe the wealth is in the numbers as they indicate the size of your consumer base. In ten years’ time, North Africa is likely to be democratic. In Southern Africa, if you look at what is happening in places like Zambia, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa, you cannot help but be optimistic about the continent. I think the fears that some investors have regarding the African continent like political tensions, poor infrastructure, lack of electricity and corruption are just excuses. In a span of ten years with these challenges, we shifted EABL from a market capitalisation of $180 million to $2.5 billion and increased profit by ten times.
How did you end up at Brandhouse and how has the experience of managing the company and moving to South Africa been?
“I think the fears that some investors have regarding the African continent like political tensions, poor infrastructure, lack of electricity and corruption are just excuses.....” Diageo is the largest premium drinks company in the world and also a 50% shareholder of EABL. The company also has a 52% stake
in Guinness Nigeria and is a major shareholder of Brandhouse in South Africa. When the opportunity came to move within the group, I wanted to stay in Africa because I believe that the future of business is on this continent. SA is the ninth largest beer consuming country in the world and as such it is a significant prospect. My team and I have overseen growth in employee numbers from 200 to over a thousand. We have invested about 410 million Euros in establishing an operational brewery in Johannesburg. Brandhouse boasts a fine team of executives as well as a good organisational structure. My family has also settled in quite well in Cape Town and as such I will probably be here for the foreseeable future. - KEITH KUNDAI
South Africa office - Pamoja Capital (Pty) Limited, The Forum Building, Maude Street, Sandton, Johannesburg Tel: +27 11 234 7641 Fax: +27 11 234 7643 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kenya office - Pamoja Capital Limited, Executive Business Suites, 3rd floor, K-REP Centre Wood Avenue, Kilimani, Nairobi Tel: +254 20 238 6842/3 or +254 71 102 9100 Fax: +254 20 801 14502 E-mail: email@example.com
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elow are the responses from our recent interview with Sankofa Insurance Brokers director and co-owner William Kwaku Ayim-Yeboah. Tell us about yourself and your career leading up to this point. I was born in Ghana in 1966 and left the country at the age of two. Our family moved to Zambia where I did my early schooling and, in 1983, we relocated to Umtata which is where I wrote my insurance examinations. I worked for Transkei Insurance Brokers before moving to Cape Town as a regional director for Thebe Risk Services. I was later head-hunted by Glenrand MIB in Johannesburg where I was responsible for sales and marketing nationally and in the rest of Africa until 2009 when I left to start Sankofa. I have several professional qualifications including membership of the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Risk Managers of SA.
also been exposed to specialised insurance products such as crop and aviation insurance. It is also consistent with insurance as one applies the knowledge of the losses one has seen others experience in the past to take out insurance in the present so as to safeguard assets from losses in the future. What services does Sankofa offer and what are the benefits of choosing them?
What does Sankofa mean and what relevance does the name have to an insurance brokerage firm?
We provide short term insurance cover for individuals, small businesses, large corporate enterprises and the public sector with a client list that includes the National Home Builder Registration Council, the Polokwane Airport, African Romance and a number of companies and municipalities. My fellow director and shareholder Gugu Mkhize has a finance background and handles the bulk of the companyâ€™s compliance issues as well as assisting with the personal lines cover department. We have two other consummate insurance professionals in Mike Gumenge and Elizabeth Mandizadza.
Sankofa is a concept that comes from the Akan people of Ghana. It teaches us to reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us and apply it to the present so as to have a better future. It is our business philosophy as our team brings to the firm a wealth of experience acquired over several years to not only provide an informed service, but also utilise the relationships that we have developed over the years to run our own business. We have an extensive range of industry experience having
Direct insurers would rather deal with clients directly; they create the perception that this is cheaper for you when in fact this is cheaper for them. They do not take the time to understand your profile and individual needs but instead focus on selling you one standard product. All you base your decision on is price which frequently is not the best indicator of a good deal. When things go wrong, they have deep pockets for legal teams to deal with you as a lonely voice. On the other
hand, given our relationships with numerous underwriters, not only may certain disputes not necessarily end up in litigation, we can also seek a competitive quote. As Sankofa is fairly small, we are able to provide a personalised service to our clients by tailoring the cover specifically for their assets and liabilities. Our clients are our partners and in the event of a claim, we take on the burden to minimise the discomfort that our partner is already experiencing. The client ends up retaining us and as a result we get continuous referrals. We also have a lower cost structure than the larger broking firms meaning that we can offer lower premiums to our clients from the same insurance companies that these firms deal with. What are the challenges you face as an insurance broker? Despite being a very sensible product, insurance is viewed as a grudge purchase. Moreover, many people do not understand the role that we play and confuse us with insurance agents who act on behalf of the insurance company. If an agent makes a mistake, it is only the insurance company that you can sue. We however act on behalf of the client and therefore require professional indemnity cover as we could face a lawsuit in the event of a dispute. Another challenge is getting people to trust a small insurance broking entity. They should in fact not be concerned seeing as we cooperate with other brokerage firms
SANKOFA’S WILLIAM YEBOAH EXPERIENCE THAT INSURES YOUR TOMORROW
to compete with the best out there. Our offering rivals any of the big name service providers in the indutry today. What is the state of the insurance industry today? We provide short term The industry is transforming very slowly; there are still very few 100% black owned insurance brokerages.
â€œDirect insurers would rather deal with clients directly; they create the perception that this is cheaper for you when in fact this is cheaper for them.....â€?
Most insurance companies are going the call centre route where you deal with multiple people depending on the matter in question. That is one benefit that we bring to the table as we eliminate that hassle from our clients from the time we originate the claim through to our provision of advice and attending to claims. The big insurance broking firms are also consolidating and putting a lot of skilled individuals out of work and it is small businesses like ours that are actually employing some of these professionals and helping in the national objective of easing unemployment. What are the future plans for the company? Given our strategic location in SA, we plan to expand our footprint from here through partnerships with similar entities across the continent to become a fully-fledged African firm. Internationally, we already have business partners in Arthur Gallagher as well as access to Lloyds of London. - KEITH KUNDAI
011 025 6566 www.sankofaib.co.za
COLLEEN LOWE MORNA T H E
P H O E N I X
ounding CEO of the South African Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Colleen Lowe Morna did not have much of a childhood. Born on a mission in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) to self-exiled South African parents, she was caught in the vicious war that surrounded Zimbabwe’s independence struggle in 1975. Soon after neighbouring Mozambique became independent, half the students at Chikore Mission Secondary School where Colleen and her siblings were the only white students left to join the Zimbabwe National Liberation Army. The school became the target of the Rhodesian security force venom with the Lowes becoming the subject of much suspicion.
G E N D E R
L I N K S
academic results earned her another scholarship, this time to the Ivy League Princeton University in the United States where she met husband Kofi Morna in very odd circumstances.
UK and settled in SA. This year I celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of my first visit to my husband’s country Ghana. I feel at home in any African country and I am indeed a citizen of the globe.”
“He was the president of the African Students Association and spearheaded the Association’s protest of my scholarship. They did not understand how a scholarship meant for an African could be given to a white person. As fate would have it, Kofi and I both worked in the kitchen and we inevitably began talking. He was very surprised that I knew a lot about the continent
With the birth of SA’s new constitution came a number of institutions established by the document’s ninth chapter. Amongst this was the CGE headed by Colleen who was required to work with a number of full time commissioners, an arrangement that did not work out well. “The CGE, like the rest of the Chapter 9 institutions, was not well structured. As the commissioners were retained on a full time basis, they frequently crossed paths with the administrators and as head of administration I was frequently drawn into these conflicts.”
“Citizenship is what is in your heart. I was born in Zim, exiled in Botswana, studied in Swaziland, graduated in the was a period,” US, worked in the UK and settled in SA..”
“It harrowing she recalls. “We lived under curfew with bombs and landmines going off regularly. It was quite common for dead bodies to be ferried onto the school grounds.” Just before Colleen finished high school, the white minority government shut the school and stripped Colleen’s parents of their citizenship. The family moved to Botswana where she completed high school and they only returned to Chimanemani, Zimbabwe soon after independence in 1981. Colleen got a scholarship to the well-known Waterford Kamhlamba School in Swaziland where she was classmates with the likes of Zinzi Mandela. Continued excellent
including his native Ghana. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from the Association saying they had deemed me worthy of membership. ‘Thanks, I’m so flattered’, I said!” Kofi and Colleen got married in 1983 in Zimbabwe and both of their daughters were born there. She took a position at the Commonwealth Secretariat as a senior researcher and was sent to SA in 1991 in anticipation of the country’s first democratic election. She became a South African citizen by descent in 1994. “Citizenship is what is in your heart. I was born in Zim, exiled in Botswana, studied in Swaziland, graduated in the US, worked in the
The unpleasant relationship culminated in Colleen parting ways with the CGE and subsequently taking the Commission to court for unfair labour practices. She was victorious and used part of the compensation she received to start a non-profit organisation known as Gender Links which today addresses gender issues across Southern Africa. “Our first staff member Zohra Khan described Gender Links as the phoenix bird that would rise from the ashes that were my CGE ordeal. We gave the organisation that name as we believed that there are various
bits of energy working together to address gender concerns and our purpose would be to link them. We envision a Southern Africa in which women and men are free to realise their full potential in both their private and public lives.” Colleen has strong social roots in issues of justice having been raised by parents who had managed to liberate themselves from a racial South Africa despite being ostracised by their families. She notes that the issue of gender inequality has always been placed on the back burner of the social agenda and celebrates the organisation’s ten years of redressing this.
“Our major footprint has been the campaign for the adoption of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Since 2005, about 40 organisations campaigned for this protocol which has 28 points to be achieved by 2015. We produce an annual barometer measuring the progress of the protocol.” Attending to this protocol is one of about 16 Gender Links projects. The organisation has offices in ten Southern African offices with numerous interns and 26 members of staff. In addition, the entity recently set up a 20-room guest house in Observatory Johannesburg that employs a further 10 people.
She concludes by telling us more about the guest house. “The GL Cottages is part of our strategy to diversify. Most of our funding comes from donors but we would also like to generate some of our own income as this will better enable us to further our vision. GL Cottages is also ideal for cost saving as we were spending a lot of money each year on conference facilities. Guests to the Cottages enjoy the warm hospitality of the wonderful staff, and they can leave knowing that their patronage is an investment in social justice.” - KC Rottok
Accounting Your Blessings Through Baraka Bora araka Bora in Swahili means more or better blessings. This is the name conferred upon the accounting and financial services company in Houghton founded by Harold Olukune. “I thought it had a nice ring to it,” Olukune recalled when we met recently to discuss his road to entrepreneurship. “The name also captures three important elements. My Kenyan roots, my Christian upbringing and finally the fact that we perceive ourselves as adding value to clients enabling them to do ‘more’. They can focus on their core competencies while we take over their financial services function. Our vision is to be the trusted accounting, financial management and high level tax service provider and advisor for the entrepreneur. We are not your typical accountants who love to operate in a controlled environment; we thrive even where there are minimum controls to provide comprehensive financial reporting while assisting in improving processes.” Olukune arrived in South Africa soon after completing O level studies in Kenya. He earned a matriculation exemption after a year at Capital College in Pretoria and joined Rhodes University to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree. “Rhodes was a wonderful experience. I was president of the Weights and Aerobics Club and was also one of the founders of the East African society. There were a lot of foreign students like myself who
provided good company and some became close friends.” One of the close friends Olukune made at Rhodes is Samuel Mokorosi from Lesotho. He was the best man at Olukune’s wedding and is now a director of one of the Baraka Bora Companies. Samuel and Olukune lived together in Johannesburg when the latter got a job at Ernst and Young (EY) in 2003. “EY recruited me while I was still at Rhodes and I decided to pursue my Honours degree part time while pursuing a training contract with them. I was placed in the Financial Services division of the Audit department which I loved as I wanted to join the Treasury team and things like financial derivatives fascinated me. I was stationed at ABSA and my knowledge of financial instruments grew to the point that I was called upon to provide training to younger trainees in this area and was frequently called into treasury product debates at the firm.” On completion of his articles, Olukune was retained at EY as an assistant manager. He struggled with the first part of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) board examinations which he is still pursuing through a Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) qualification. This, together with seeking SA permanent residency status, was one of the primary reasons why he stayed on at the firm. He was also interacting with a lot of entrepreneurs and decided that he would only leave EY when he was ready to become one himself.
“One entrepreneur I met through a friend was Modise Motloba of Quartile Capital. He needed assistance within the accounting processes of one of his companies. I did this on a part time basis and impressed by my work, he requested me to provide additional services to the Quartile Group.” On the back of this assignment, Olukune managed to leave EY in 2009 to focus on Baraka Bora on a full time basis with fellow EY alumnus Thabiso Madiba joining him as partner in the assurance services division of the new company. He credits wife Grace, an engineer at Eskom, for supporting him in his move away from a regular salary to self-employment. From just two people in the business, Baraka Bora has now grown to a team of 13. “I have a great team that provides a variety of services to small and medium sized enterprises including book-keeping, financial management, tax, financial and process strategy, corporate finance and internal and external audit. We also do valuations, due diligences and assist with corporate restructuring.” The company has a flat structure as opposed to a hierarchy which allows for open communication. Olukune said that he manages his team with an open door policy and thrives in delegation. He believes that being an expatriate has its challenges such as battling with conversations in the corporate environment conducted in local languages as well as occasional xenophobic tendencies. He however also views being a foreigner as a positive thing.
â€œWe are not your typical accountants who love to operate in a controlled environment; we thrive even where there are minimum controls to provide comprehensive financial reporting while assisting in improving processes.â€?
“The fact that you come from a different culture enables you to see things from a different perspective. In addition, being an expatriate pushes you to go the extra mile as you are mindful of your status and can therefore not take the opportunities you have been presented with for granted.” Olukune is also a pastor at His People Church, Johannesburg. He believes in the will of God and that the destiny of Baraka Bora is to become a global organisation that will cover much more than what the entity currently offers. The company has also been registered in Kenya and hopes to commence operations there in the near future. “I have this vision of myself standing in New York surrounded by friends and colleagues cutting a red ribbon to mark the opening of our offices there. I am inspired by the likes of Brian Joffe of Bidvest who turned a personal project into an 80 billion Rand empire through smart investments and diversification.” - Keith Kundai
â€œA Russian pilot descended and walked gingerly aside to puff a cigarette and take a couple of sips out of a bottle he had tucked into his back pocket. A few minutes later, we sat on wooden benches as he powered down the stony runway and commandeered the old machine into the sky.â€? 34
T C HE
bout a third of the way from Nairobi to Kinshasa, the pilot comes on the public address system interrupting the soothing music that I was listening to. “Dear passengers,” he begins with a concerning tone, “We have noted that the cabin pressure appears slightly abnormal and we will therefore have to return to Nairobi to change aircrafts before resuming our journey. This is just for safety reasons; you should have no cause for alarm.”
I shut my eyes to avoid feeling dizzy as the plane does several laps around the hills I once climbed as a boy. Twenty minutes later we touch down at our original point of departure. There are several confused looks from the Congolese passengers who do not have an adequate command of the English language to have grasped the pilot’s commentary. Those who do, explain the situation to their fellow countrymen who have a late introduction to the unfolding drama.
Our journey to the city encounters a small glitch when our green Landover is stopped by some hungry looking policeman. The driver explains something to the officer in Lingala before pointing at me. The officer salutes respectfully and sends us on our way. We had barely accelerated when I was stunned by some profound roar of laughter. I later found out that the driver had claimed that I was a senior member of the presidential army. T h e following day was a Sunday and to pass time, the local staff took me to a sanctuary by the Congolese river for a rare species of monkey known as the Bonobo. It was an interesting experience, the highlight of it was when I met these group of women who had been retained by the Park to take care of young abandoned monkeys, each of them acting as the ‘mother’ of two or three of these creatures.
“The pilot stunned us by saying: It is difficult to land the aircraft when it is On returning to this heavy and we therefore have to fly Kenyan airspace, his now familiar voice around these hills in a circular motion returns. to combust some fuel before landing....” “Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately the aircraft is full of fuel. It is difficult to land the aircraft when it is this heavy and we therefore have to fly around the Ngong Hills in a circular motion to combust some fuel before landing. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Bottles of mineral water are passed around as we board a different aircraft which proceeds uninterrupted to Ndjili Airport Kinshasa. The diamond mining company that has retained the services of my employer have sent someone (and a few ten dollar bills) to escort me out of the airport.
M o n d a y arrived
and I was back at Ndjili Airport, this time to catch a flight to Tshikapa. No pre-booking required, we simply reported to a kiosk at the corner of the airport where dollars changed hands and we were given receipts which allowed us through the gate and onto the runway. The aircraft belonging to a local airline company stood in wait in the hot sun and we were directed to walk into in through a ramp at the rear of it. The accountant I was travelling with explained that it probably was a cargo plane that had been converted into a passenger carrier.
pay for a flight home. Suddenly there was commotion. All eyes gazed into the sky as the sun was eclipsed by a cloud of smoke signalling the arrival of our small aircraft. A Russian pilot descended and walked gingerly aside to puff a cigarette and take a couple of sips out of a bottle he had tucked into his back pocket. This as they loaded barrels of fuel onto the plane and my companion paid for our onward journey.
as the birds flew left and right over the blue brown river. We eventually land and before I had time to thank the Lord, we hop onto an old Landover and struggled through all kinds of mud to get to the mine. Darkness descended as we drove through the gates where we were met by a tasty meat filled dinner, a cold shower and a warm bed. I had conquered the heart of the Congo, and this was just the beginning.
“The lack of a national road network in the Democratic Republic of Congo A banana and a coke later, we arrived meant that flights were the only means at Tshikapa where to access the rural area and for 30 we had to wait a further three hours years, the man had not had adequate for our next flight to the diamond mine in finances to pay for his flight home....” Nsumbula. As we waited, the elderly accountant expressed his joy at finally travelling to the mine which is not too far from his home. He would finally get to see his mother after thirty years. The lack of a national road network in the Democratic Republic of Congo meant that flights were the only means to access rural areas and for three decades the man had not had adequate finances to
- KC Rottok
There were only three of us on a small wooden bench watching the pilot’s colleague standing close to the barrels of oil as the Russian powered down the stony runway and commandeered the old machine into the sky. As we flew very low, I trained my eyes onto the green canopy beneath me - the beauty of Africa unconfined
BEN M’POKO Know Your Envoy
D R C A M B A S S A D O R T O S A A N D D E A N O F D I P L O M AT I C C O R P S Briefly tell us about your background leading up to your current position? I studied in the USA and hold a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Economics and a second in International Finance. I subsequently worked for Citi Bank in New York for 12 years and thereafter joined the World Bank as a consultant for five years. I then served the UN Development Programme for 15 years which included moving to SA
South Africa. One of the trainees, Gabi Magamola who now heads African Bank has written a book in which I am mentioned. At the UN, one of my highlights was meeting Nelson Mandela soon after his release from prison in 1990. My senior at the time Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (now Liberian President) and I were charged with the responsibility of speaking to him about whether or not sanctions against SA should be
I am ambassador in the country that has the biggest number of Congolese in the diaspora anywhere in the world. We have a large number of students as well as a varied number of professionals including geologists, lecturers and business people. There are about 500 Congolese doctors in SA. We also have a number of economic refugees in the country. That said, my biggest
“We recently signed an agreement with SA to develop the biggest hydro-electric dam in the world producing enough electricity for the continent’s needs.”
in 1995 to open the UNDP offices here. In 2001, I was appointed DRC’s ambassador to SA. What have been the highlights of your career so far? When I was at Citi Bank, there were only four Africans who were serving in the banking industry at the level of ‘Vice President’. In that position, I met quite a number of world leaders, some of whom wanted me to be their personal banker. I also created a special programme at the bank to train young black South Africans in anticipation of a free
lifted. I still remember his response: “Just because I am free does not mean SA is free.” As ambassador, it was a momentous occasion when my president asked me to assist in setting up the Inter Congolese dialogue at Sun City. It is because of that process that DRC has peace today. Finally, I was selected by Prince Charles to serve on his advisory board for the conservation of the world’s forests.
challenge is the bridge between DRC and SA. It is like a highway with four lanes heading to DRC and only one coming back this way. The challenge is to address this trade imbalance. What does being the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps entail? The position of dean is accorded to the longest serving ambassador in the country. My responsibility is to express the common views of the diplomatic
Know Your Envoy
Know Your Envoy
community here to the South African government and vice versa. It is a challenge because Pretoria has the second largest diplomatic community after Washington DC. It presents a challenge for the dean but it is also a great opportunity for each individual ambassador as you get an opportunity to interact with people from countries you may not know much about. The size of the community also means you can influence government decisions. For instance, SA has about 140 envoys while there are only about 60 diplomats in Kinshasa. This means I can get to interact with a representative of a certain country here that is not represented in the xpats Advert2PATHS 11/30/11 2:50 PM Page 1 DRC and by sending information back home, influence my countryâ€™s
interaction with that nation. What investment opportunities are there in the DRC? The DRC held its second democratic election late last year. Voter registration was high and a commendable 58% of registered voters turned out to vote. There were some challenges particularly with logistics as it is a very large country. In addition, there was not as much support from the international community as there was during the first democratic vote in 2006. The country is now calm and presents significant investment opportunities. We have almost every mineral known to man; inCMfact C M Y MY todayâ€™s technology has not yet found
uses for some of the minerals in the country. We have about 80 million hectares of dormant arable land that is suitable for agriculture. We recently signed an agreement with SA to develop the biggest hydroelectric dam in the world producing enough electricity for the continentâ€™s needs. There are also significant opportunities in infrastructure and telecommunication. What do you do in your spare time? I enjoy playing tennis, jogging and fishing. I also spend time gardening - every vegetable that I eat in my residence was grown in my backyard. CY CMY
- Carol Malonza
Planet Radio reflects the life of lovers of music from across Africa and the world.
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE AT www.planetradio.co.za Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 326 4300
Wale Akinlabi From Houseboy to Household Name
â€œWhen a hardworking talented Nigerian comes to a place like SA where systems work, he can do very well as long as he adapts his thinking. I am a living example of that....â€?
s I sit in the lobby of Planet Image’s offices in Randburg, I take in my surroundings while waiting for the founder of the company Wale Akinlabi to arrive. There’s a receptionist on the phone, a first room that serves as the editing bay, a second closed door leading to the unknown, a third door housing the marketing department, a fourth that leads to the radio recording studio and a final door that opens into the Good Morning Africa recording area where a few West Africans are playing a video game. Wale arrives and leads me into his office where he asks a couple of staffers who are watching DSTV there to excuse us. “As you can see, this is a very relaxed environment.” he begins. “I believe that the office should not be the type of place where people spend their time looking at the clock waiting for five o’clock to arrive. They understand that as long as they deliver, they can enjoy themselves as much as they want.” Wale’s unusual management style includes a compulsory prayer meeting for staff on Thursday’s and video shooting the Sunday service at Randburg’s Redeemed Christian Church of God which his company does for no fee. “It is only because of my strong spiritual walk with God that I have come this far,” he says. Wale’s long journey to success began when he moved to Lagos after secondary school. His family could
not afford university fees and as a result he got employed by his aunt as a houseboy doing such menial tasks as cooking, cleaning and feeding the dogs. He was later introduced to the owner of an audio-visual shop where he got a job as a trainee. “Each trainee had a cardboard box in which he would put his clothes and store away. Then at night when the kiosk closed, we would open up the box and lay it on the shop floor as a bed. It was not easy but I learnt a lot about shooting events and editing. I also managed to enrol for a part time degree in performing arts.” Wale worked for two years at the shop and thereafter was employed by a couple of other small industry players while doing freelance assignments like shooting crusades. He then applied to the top professional outfit in Nigeria and was selected as a digital editor out of a field of 50 applicants. “That is where I learnt animation and how to use a professional camera. My editing skills improved and as the company had relationships with advertising agencies, I did a lot of work for very big brands like CocaCola and Unilever. I excelled to the point where about 90 percent of the commercials shown on a leading TV station on any particular day would have been shot by me,” he recalls. Then a regional director at a leading beverage company, Mike North asked Wale to assist him in the production of a documentary. The piece won a TV journalism award and North was promoted as a result. He gave Wale an editing system as a show of appreciation.
“I realised that I was being underpaid and requested a pay rise from my employers. I was earning about R300 a month and when they declined to increase it, I decided to resign. I was fortunate to get a big crusade shooting assignment whose proceeds I used to start Planet Image Nigeria.” Using the contacts Wale had in advertising, Planet Image got several assignments to produce promos in Nigeria. Everything was going swimmingly until an intimate friend forged his signature and he was stripped of all his possessions. “Having lost everything, I decided to move to SA. I had previously met Gerd Muller and Mario Nicollet at a film festival and they allowed me to work for their production company in Johannesburg for no pay. I used the experience to understand the South African market and realised that in this country, it is difficult to get assignments without a proven local track record.” It was then that Wale decided on a new strategy. He would come up with ideas, shoot a few episodes and sell the programme to an interested network. He returned to Nigeria in 2004 and pitched the show Star Zone featuring Nollywood entertainers to the newly launched Africa Magic. The show was approved and with the proceeds he purchased equipment which he used to produce Star Zone South Africa and Star Zone Ghana. “With the profit I made with each show, I reinvested in equipment and increased the number of
programmes I had on the channel. In 2008, I registered Planet Image SA and we had a variety of programmes including Chillers, Teenage Rampage, Africa Weekly and an animation production for kids called Growing Time.” By 2009, the company had almost 11 programmes on DSTV with Wale Akinlabi now a household name as producer. In 2010, Africa Magic commissioned Good Morning Africa which prompted Wale to invest in the studios from which the company presently operates. In 2011, he started an internet radio station streaming from www.planetradio. co.za . “I am inspired by the founders of Multichoice who began their platform in a caravan. I hope to continue working with the company and dream of having my own TV channel.”
Wale, who recently turned 39, lives in Blairgowrie Johannesburg. Although he does a lot of work in Nigeria, he believes that SA is the right base for his company. “Nigeria has a lot of talented hardworking people but the environment is not very conducive. When a Nigerian comes to a place like SA where systems work and business is orderly, he can do very well as long as he adapts his thinking to the local way of doing things. I am a living example of that.” Planet Image employs 17 people from about ten nationalities and Wale attributes the success of the company to their passion and hard work. He is married to Caroline who runs a salon in the Johannesburg CBD and together they have a three year old son named Abiola. - KC ROTTOK
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or me, the year 2011 was all about an emotional and spiritual pilgrimage. The intention was to find my purpose in life in the course of that year meaning that 2012 would begin with me being a wiser and more informed member of society. In the true spirit of the movie “eat, pray, love” and against all advice from a number of individuals, I resigned from my job and took a hiatus from my postgraduate studies. I lay on my bed and stared at the walls. With all the free time I had afforded myself I had a great deal of time for leisure including nights outs, frequent beauty treatments and reading mostly spiritual novels. As the year drew to a rapid end, I realised that spending an entire year relaxing had not actually brought me any spiritual enlightenment. I had eaten and gained a great deal
of weight which I strangely enjoyed, I loved which is the most important thing in life and I prayed a great deal. But I still did not find the meaning of life. I realised that life is a constant journey and where we are unlikely to
“We spend our lives waiting for the ideal path to appear in front of us, but what we forget is that paths are made by walking, not by waiting....” find out its meaning. It is likely that our purpose in this life is to live it to the fullest. Love deeply, laugh freely and devour each day you are given. It is a broad profound experience and to limit its meaning to a single isolated
definition is cheating oneself of an enormous experience. A beautiful quote sums up my year: “We spend our lives waiting for the ideal path to appear in front of us, but what we forget is that paths are made by walking, not by waiting.” Travelling was the only thing left to complete my year and what better place than my home country Uganda which I had not visited since I was five. After being born in South Africa and living my entire childhood and young adult life here, the experience of home was intense. It was great to be welcomed at the airport by your people and to walk in the streets hearing your home language being spoken widely. Nothing compares to being around people with the same mannerisms as you and even though the roads were bumpy, the knowledge that they were travelled by my forefathers was enough to bring my life full circle. The most enjoyable part of my trip was that I didn’t have to spell my surname even once! And not once was I asked “you look different, which country do you come from?” It gave me a sense of belonging that I never even knew I lacked. When I now speak about my heritage, I can speak confidently, because I have experienced the sights, sounds and smells of my country. I can look back on 2011 as the best year ever and now it is time to join the race again and be a functional part of the wheel that keeps the world turning. This past year equipped me to make the new one even better! Sheila Lynn Senkubuge
â€œI am based in South Africa purely for operational reasons but my work is largely within the entire continent and takes me to areas like East Africa which I feel I have a deep connection with.â€? 46
LEE KASUMBA – From ‘Y’ to ‘O’
eslie ‘Lee’ Kasumba was appointed manager of the TV music portal Channel O Africa in April 2011. The Ugandanborn inspiration holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from Wits University and was previously a DJ at the youth station 99.2 Y FM as well as editor of Y Mag. We caught up with her before the December break for this interview at the MultiChoice offices in Randburg, South Africa. What is your typical day at Channel O like?
I really do not have a typical day. For instance, when I joined the channel I was asked at short notice to pack and go to Nigeria and ended up spending a week there. This is a new position that was created to manage Channel O in the East and West Africa regions. It was a natural fit for me as I have a passion for the continent and given my background and the work that I have done so far in my career, I feel that I understand the music of the continent well enough to fulfil that role. Channel O Africa falls directly under MNet Africa which is managed by Biola Alabi and we get involved wherever there is a music element. A good example is assisting with artist selection for Big Brother eviction shows. Except for say, our Monday management meetings, my work is largely dependent on what is going on at a particular time. For example we could be doing a piece on the Tanzanian Independence Day and I would be responsible for co-ordinating this with our Dar es salaam MultiChoice office and local video jockey (VJ) to get the material ready to air.
Pic courtesy of Channel O
What have been the challenges and successes for you since you joined the channel?
The search for VJ’s from each country was very exciting. The experience differed from country to country and it has been amazing to be a part of making people’s dreams come true. One successful VJ said that a long time ago she wrote it on a piece of paper that she wants to work for Channel O alongside KB (Kabelo Ngakane) and with artists from all over the continent. That for me is very fulfilling as all I have always wanted is to be involved in work that can change peoples’ lives. I have also enjoyed travelling around the continent. In fact, I was recently telling one of my colleagues that I need to travel again soon! These eight months have been awesome, the best part being the people that I work with. Their passion and professionalism are things I had not previously experienced. One challenge has been coming to grips with the whole corporate structure here which I am now very familiar with. TV is also different from radio as it takes longer for one to see the end product of what you are working on. What change do you and your team wish to bring to Channel O Africa? Channel O Africa focuses on Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria. For technical reasons it has a separate satellite dish feed from what people would be watching in Southern Africa. Research has shown that the audience in these countries
want to see more of themselves in what they watch and as such we are keen to address this by airing more local content. Our aim is to discover and showcase new artists while increasing people’s familiarity with existing ones. We want to be the home of African superstars by telling their stories but not in a tabloid sort of way. They do this well in places like America and it has been proven that the better one knows the artist’s story, the more likely one is to buy his or her album or go to his or her show. We believe that it is time to ensure that African artists don’t starve or end up moving overseas in the search for greener pastures. Additionally, we want to get artists to rally behind the continents issues through the Africa Dreaming campaign, a good example being Nonini’s participation in addressing the misconceptions about albinism in East Africa. How many people do you manage and what is your management style? I am responsible for the various VJ’s as well as a number of people in the different country offices including those who shoot our material. I like to have a vision for what we are aiming to achieve which I put on paper and share with the team. I always feel more comfortable asking the people around me what they think even when I know what I really want. It is important for us to weigh out the pros and cons and that way the team will be more comfortable with the eventual direction we take.
Lastly, how Ugandan are you? I have dual citizenship, Ugandan and South African. Uganda is home for me. I was born there and speak Luganda fluently. Even when we moved to SA I was surrounded by the Ugandan community here and travelled to Uganda at least once a year. When we first moved here, white South Africans were very hospitable to me and I learnt to speak Afrikaans fluently though I do have some understanding of the other South African languages. It was a challenge on radio sometimes when people would speak their languages or about how they grew up. That is why this position is perfect for me as it has no restriction
when it comes to a particular region or culture. I am based in South Africa purely for operational reasons but my work is largely within the entire continent and takes me to areas like East Africa which I feel I have a deep connection with. - KEITH KUNDAI
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Hanging on with Hannington
My Pretoria to Kampala Road Trip ravelling from Pretoria to Kampala over five days was a beautiful expedition albeit very dangerous, tiresome and requiring immense preparation for any first-timer. A colleague and I filtered through Martins Drift which is the SA Botswana border post and had a flawless drive through the narrow roads that led to the Zambian border. Unfortunately we arrived shortly after the 6 p.m. cut off time and had to join the border post community for the night. There were over 100 loaded trucks waiting to cross over into Zambia. I wondered how much in contraband goods they contained destined for places as far as Uganda. Border posts are special. There are wiry, mean-looking men hanging around shops and night clubs as their wives tend cooking pots in make shift tents. One trucker told me it is easy to spend a week there before being cleared. The following morning we boarded a ferry that was meant to take us into Zambia in thirty minutes. However, we spent over three hours as the old thing malfunctioned along the way. Panic-stricken, we found ourselves stuck on the water with rain pouring down as we waited for mechanics to sort out the fault. Finally we drove onto the land of the mighty Chipolopolo. It is a country with a quiet demeanour, open smiles and an astonishingly
beautiful landscape. I noted a street named after a former president of Uganda, Milton Obote. Once in Lusaka, I found an internet cafĂŠ in which I updated my Facebook status: â€œ1800kms down, plenty more to go!â€? Zambian girls are pretty and dress conservatively. I quickly stopped one pretending to ask for directions. We asked her to get into the car to take us to a mall where we could have fun in the hope that we could trick her into joining us for the night. She joined us but after a few hours she abandoned us after probably smelling a rat. After a lonely night, we left for the Tanzanian border. After about fifty kilometres, I realized that I had left my phone at the hotel and we had to do a U-turn and was ecstatic to find that it had not been stolen. Later that day we got to the ZambiaTanzania border post of Tunduma which is infested with thieves who lay in wait for unsuspecting victims. As soon as we left customs, we were tailed by unmistakable thugs for several kilometres
but were fortunate to shake them off. I suspect that the thugs are part of a syndicate involving both custom officials and hotel owners. The displeasure of being in Tanzania is compounded by the fact that this section of the country is scorching hot, rugged and hardly any Tanzanians we met could understand English. It took us two whole days to cut across this heated part of the country and we finally arrived at the Mutukula Ugandan border post. Finally things were familiar. Finally, I was home. Hannington Kasirye
Niels B e r t s c h a t
â€œThe platform has grown to build a network of hundreds of thousands of expatriates in over 200 cities. There are about 1700 members in Johannesburg alone.â€? 50
Internations Johannesburg Host nternations GmbH is a German registered entity that provides an international social networking service for expatriates worldwide. In Johannesburg, there are two hosts who coordinate the groupâ€™s activities German Johannes von Weyssenhoff and Dutchman Niels Bertschat. We got to chat to the latter about his journey to SA and Internations Johannesburg. How did you end up in South Africa? I used to work for a hospitality company known as Mise en Place - a European entity that assists students with part time jobs in the industry. The company was involved in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and was also selected to assist Match Hospitality in SA for the subsequent tournament in 2010. We partnered with a local professional services company who assisted with the training of individuals who would be engaged to work with us during the tournament. That is how I ended up in SA. We trained 5,000 previously disadvantaged people to attend to all the VIP Suites in all the selected stadiums during the 2009 Confederations Cup Tournament and the World Cup in 2010. After the World Cup I decided to stay on in the country to continue working with the local company.
Why did you opt to stay in South Africa? I like the honesty of the South African people. I think, unlike in Europe, what you see here is what you get. People here are also very positive; constantly smiling. I like the wealth of culture in the country and the weather is amazing. I was also doing well with the company that I was working for which I have since left to start my own business along the same lines of career development. In addition, I live here with my German girlfriend who has a contract with one of the big four audit firms in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is also not as fast as Europe. It is at times frustrating but on the other hand it is less stressful. I can send a work email over the weekend and not worry about following up on a response until the following Monday. There are also nice affordable houses for rent in the city. Tell us about Internations. Internations was founded by three German entrepreneurs; Christian Leifeld, Philipp von Plato, and Malte Zeeck, and has been online since September 2007. During their careers as international consultants and foreign correspondents, the founders faced typical expat issues themselves. Since then the platform
has grown to build a network of hundreds of thousands of expatriates in over 200 cities. There are about 1700 members in Johannesburg alone. How is the Johannesburg Internations community doing and how did you become one of the hosts? I was introduced to the community soon after I arrived in the country and participated actively in the monthly meetings. I am also the organizer of a monthly Dutch community meeting in Johannesburg known as the Netherlands Borrel. It is an informal gathering that was started by a Dutchman based in the USA. When the opening to be one of the hosts at Internations came up, I was interviewed by a panel at the Munich office and eventually selected. It is a voluntary role and our responsibilities include monitoring the online Johannesburg forum. We watch out for inappropriate posts such as unsolicited advertising. We also organize community monthly meetings; so far we have had Thursday evening gatherings at various hotels in the Sandton area. About 100 people attend each meeting, about a third of them being South Africans. Other than Internations Johannesburg, there are similar groups in Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria. - Keith Kundai
The Last Word
THE WORLD IS ENDING, WHAT’S YOUR LEGACY? “In the end, it is about the depth of one’s character as opposed to the depth of one’s wallet…..” t the end of last year I really took it easy and tuned into the world. I listened to people and read what they had to say on blogs, emails and social networks. It struck me that many are not happy. They bear some bitterness towards their jobs, their parents, their spouses or some other element of their existence. They forget that there are many out there who can only wish that they had these things in their lives. It is about time we started taking ownership of our lots in life. There really is no greater power out there plotting our demise. Sometimes you rise and sometimes you fall, that is this thing called life. It’s a rollercoaster and we just have to ride it. I believe this is the end of the world that the doomsayers have been pointing at. The financial systems are hanging on by a frail thread. Good for them! It is greed that got us to where we are and that had to readjust itself sooner or later. Societies are standing up and shouting – the Arab spring, occupy Wall Street and closer to home the Nigerians are telling their government that it is time for it to be honest. It is the new world order. This material world that we live in needs to be toned down because it is less human and humane and all about Christian Louboutins and Ferrari 458 Italias. I am not saying that all those things are bad or wrong, but the actions and thoughts that many are employing to achieve them are what is causing a profound decay in the lives we live. 52
Quite early in the year 2012, I had a proper lesson of what this life is all about. Two things happened. First, I read a book my sister gave me at Christmas called “The Leader Who Had No Title”, by Robin Sharma. It is one of those self help titles and perhaps not applicable to everyone but it hit a big fat cord in me. I was left feeling all positive about life. The second thing was the passing on the 3rd of January of a man who had been close to me for the last 28 years. When I reflected on his life, I gathered many subtle lessons. I spent half of my growing life at his house and just through observation and the way in which I related to him and his family, I was always reminded of what this life was really all about. Life is simple! It is all about being honest, being humble, treating each other with respect and just being there to help your fellow man when you can. It is about the depth of one’s character as opposed to the depth of one’s wallet. It is about the soul and the lessons you leave behind for the lives you touch because that is all you leave. B e grateful you are reading this. Be
grateful that you have a few months before the world ends to work towards being the best you can be. We don’t know when and we don’t how, but our days are certainly numbered. All that will matter in the end is the testimony to the life that you have led. Keep smiling my dear friends, because whatever it is that you are going through, good or bad, it will end. But you on the other hand, will learn and grow. Yaw Peprah is a self employed entrepreneur pursuing interests in business advisory, consultancy and commodity brokering. www.mondaymail. blogspot.com
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Published on Mar 4, 2012