BACKSTORY: Entrepreneur Mandla Sibeko
We question entrepreneur and founding director at FNB Art Joburg Mandla Sibeko on his top tip for doing a deal, his biggest regret and lockdown routine
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Your business partners have to be people you will be able to sail with through good and bad times. I now look at values and principles above everything else.
What was your first job?
I worked as a programme manager at loveLife.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was less than R10,000, and contributed towards my flat. One luxury was buying myself YSL cologne at Stuttafords.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
To invest in my passions.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am actually a somewhat shy person.
What is your lockdown routine?
I help my wife with feeding and changing nappies overnight as my beautiful baby daughter was born during lockdown. I drink green tea, skip for 20 minutes, start work at my desk at 8.30am and begin Zoom meetings.
What is your biggest regret?
I generally don’t have regrets; I have lived through poverty and affluence. I try to have a "failing forward" attitude.
How do you cope with load-shedding?
I don’t cope — its a huge let-down by the government. Eskom was a blue-chip company.
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 have generally been the type of person who has said it is never too late to start something new. I also don’t know what I will be doing in 10 years’ time.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Some shares I purchased and let go too soon as part of those BEE schemes with major corporates.
What has been the worst purchase you have made?
Choosing cars over property.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
I have always put my heart first for SA; a big part of my youth was involved in social development.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
Realise that this is the most defining presidential term since Mandela. This is the presidency that will make or break SA.