BACKSTORY: Doctors Without Borders’ Zanele Dhludhlu
We question the financial director of Doctors Without Borders
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Thorough preparation and a healthy dose of self-awareness. Be clear on what is needed and what you can offer.
What was your first job?
During school holidays, at high school, I worked as an office assistant for a local construction firm.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
R400. All of it went towards helping make ends meet at home.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Build resilience. Life will throw obstacles at you, and it’s important to know how to recover and move on from them.
What are you reading at the moment?
Sihle Bolani’s We Are The Ones We Need.
How would you fix Eskom?
Get the right people in the right positions. Qualified and experienced people hired on merit and not on political affiliation. Push to make Eskom a profit-making entity that can afford to invest in renewable energy.
What is your biggest regret?
I spent a lot of time worrying about the future and missed being fully present for very important parts of my life.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
My faith is a big part of who I am becoming. It keeps me grounded and centred. In addition, I have a wicked sense of humour.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I wish I had bought shares and started saving much earlier in life.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
By definition all virtues are positive, but patience is overrated.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
Have a fearless imagination, and be mindful of your internal dialogue.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And, if so, what would that career be?
I stumbled into finance a couple of years after starting a career in logistics. It has been the best detour of my life.
If you were president, what would you change tomorrow?
Push for full and fair implementation of all the elements of our constitution that restore human dignity and a good quality of life.