We question Prudence Lebina. CEO of GAIA Infrastructure Capital.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I was born with six fingers on my right hand.
How do you handle stress?
Exercise, prayer and sleep.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Chocolate fondant and Oros.
What was your first job?
Working at my aunt’s shop in rural Limpopo over school holidays. Looking back, I learnt the value of hard work and realised that retail is hard and a volume-driven business. I guess this also influenced my later career choices and my decision to become a chartered accountant, ultimately leading
to my current role.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"Such is life" and "Wow ... that’s ridiculous!"
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Deal with the current facts — don’t over-predict the future, chances are that if you try to, you’ll be wrong anyway.
Where were you when Nelson Mandela was released from prison?
I was nine years old so probably out playing in the streets of Soweto.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
I find JFK the most impersonal and unfriendly of all the airports I have transited through. What I dislike most about it is everyone is on edge.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I wish I had invested in property, especially student accommodation. It’s a solid investment with long-term social benefits.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
Fermented grapes ... some call it wine.
What are you reading at the moment?
Undeterred by Rania Habiby Anderson, a motivational read, inviting women to look inside themselves to find the strength to achieve their goals.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Without hesitation — I believe diplomacy and patience are the quickest route to not getting anything done. Being overly diplomatic can lead to one biting one’s tongue rather than taking a stand against what’s wrong, leading to problems further down the line.
When and where are you happiest?
At home watching The Big Bang Theory or having lunch with my kids.
Is there such a thing as "enough money" and, if so, how much is it?
It’s relative. Someone gave my 7-year-old R200 for his birthday
and he shouted: "I’m rich!"