BACKSTORY: 27four MD Fatima Vawda
We question Fatima Vawda, managing director of 27four
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
It’s all about people as they represent the culture of an organisation. Price can always be negotiated but culture cannot.
What was your first job?
Lecturer in the department of computational & applied mathematics at Wits University.
What’s the one movie you could watch over and over again?
The Great Escape, a classic American war film starring Steve McQueen backed by the anthem-like Prussianesque march soundtrack composed by Elmer Bernstein.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Beware of the unconscious biases that exist in corporate SA.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m still working my way through Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The book focuses on the sources of global wealth and income inequality and the interventionist policy mechanisms that could be used to arrest the threat of worldwide social and economic instability.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
Walking the streets of the medina in Fez in Morocco.
What is your biggest regret?
Not learning how to code.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I consider myself an expert baker.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
R3,500. I spent it all on my mom, who made so many sacrifices as a single parent.
How satisfied are you with how our democracy has shaped up after 1994?
Winston Churchill once said: "Never let a good crisis go to waste." Today we have another opportunity to reclaim the trajectory to inclusive economic growth and to again become a shining beacon of hope for the future.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Like every other South African, buying Naspers shares in the early days.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Finding the time to do absolutely nothing.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
When asset managers talk about the delivery of "consistent superior investment performance".
Which living person do you most admire?
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate change warrior who is holding global leaders accountable on the threat of climate change.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Having no purpose.
How would you set about fixing SA’s jobs crisis?
First we need to destroy the legacy where individual greed overrides public good; where development goals and related pathways to increase access, quality and equity of public goods are hijacked by narrow interests. Then we need to focus on strengthening the social capital within our communities through dealing with the crisis in our education system.