Helen Zille. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Helen Zille. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

We question Premier of the Western Cape (and former leader of the Democratic Alliance) Helen Zille.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

That I’m actually a softie.

Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.

Whatever substance it is that keeps Donald Trump’s toupee in place.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


What is your biggest indulgence?

The crispy bacon or fresh Bienenstich from Dinkel Bakery in Kloof Street.

What was your first job?

I was a packer at Checkers in Benmore Gardens, Johannesburg. It was a student job.

Which phrase or word do you most overuse?

Very. I am trying to minimise my use of it, but it just slips out.

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Understand what your opposite number’s best alternative options are, so that you know how far you can push the envelope.

What is your biggest regret?

That I learnt so late in life not to waste time regretting things. Now I learn from them and move on.

Where were you when Nelson Mandela was released from prison?

I was already waiting on the Grand Parade in Cape Town, under the City Hall balcony. We waited for many hours before he walked out onto that balcony.

What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?


Is there such a thing as “enough money” and, if so, how much is it?

Enough money is being able to retire, and live decently, but modestly without being a burden on your children.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

Winnie the Pooh. (Piglet is a close second).

What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?

Capitec Bank when shares were R2 each.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading Rogue, by Adrian Lackay and Johann van Loggerenberg. There are two books everyone should read before they die. The first is Happy Birthday to You! by Dr Seuss [“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no-one alive who is youer than you.”]. The second is Animal Farm by George Orwell, the best book ever written on the corrupting effect of power.

When and where are or were you happiest?

When I’ve managed to meet an almost impossible deadline.

Tell us about a hidden gem in Jo’burg/Cape Town/Durban that not many people know about.

Watching the full moon from the Tygerberg nature reserve.


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