Patience is overrated
Backstory: Sygnia's Magda Wierzycka
Where were you when Nelson Mandela was released from prison?
I was at the University of Cape Town, glued to the TV screen with the rest of SA. The cheering that went on raised the roof.
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Allow people (men) to assume that you are just a dumb blonde. It works every time.
What are you reading at the moment? And what’s the one book everyone should read before they die?
I checked my Kindle. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, by Klaus Schwab, alongside A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James. Everyone should read Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
The Galápagos Islands. It is an incredible place, full of wonderful experiences and animals and birds that have no fear of man. It was an experience tainted only by my teenage son refusing to wear a T-shirt with "I love Blue Boobies" (a bird’s name, for those not married to an avid birder) written on it.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"It is what it is. Move on."
What was your first job?
Selling cheese and cold meats at OK Bazaars in Sunnyside, Pretoria, while in high school. I needed the money.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Hercule Poirot – I am a sucker for solving mysteries. He is followed closely by Carrie Bradshaw — for her Manolo Blahnik shoes.
What is your biggest regret?
Not working internationally when I was younger. I had an actuarial bursary that I had to work off, hence my options upon finishing university were limited. But I would have loved to have worked in New York or London. It is my number one tip for all young graduates.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
My Jewish grandmother taught me to cook, bake, sew, knit, embroider and crochet when I was a little girl. None of these are of much use today, of course.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
JFK, JFK, JFK.
Is there such a thing as "enough money" and, if so, how much is it?
Quoting Wallis Simpson: "You can never be too rich or too thin." Then again, money alone does not buy happiness nor guarantee self-fulfilment. Both are priceless.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Watching crime series. ShowMax is my dream date.
Tell us about a hidden gem in SA that not many people know about.
Cube Tasting Kitchen in Maboneng, Johannesburg. It aims to become one of the top 15 restaurants in the world — in the next six months. And it is well on its way ... but arrive there starving — its 11-course menu is not for the faint of stomach.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Naspers — who knew that a staid, Afrikaans company would bet on Tencent and win the lottery?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience. I just get things done.
When and where are you happiest?
When on an adventure with my husband and sons. We have been to Antarctica (in search of penguins), the Arctic (in search of polar bears), the Amazon jungle (we found piranhas), Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and many other wondrous places that make us truly appreciate the amazing planet we live on. We plan to complete our list of the new seven wonders of the world in the next year.