BACKSTORY: Banking Association of SA’s Bongiwe Kunene
We question Bongiwe Kunene, MD of the Banking Association of SA on her top tip for doing a deal, lockdown routine and biggest regret
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Do your research and be prepared.
What was your first job?
I was a temporary teacher in Empangeni, where I taught economics and Zulu.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I can’t recall how much it was. But it barely covered the cost of the bedroom suite I bought my parents.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Introduce yourself to people you can learn from, even if you think they won’t care to know you. You’ll learn from being around them.
What is your lockdown routine?
Wake up, work, check in with family, friends and colleagues, back to work, sleep … repeat.
What’s the first thing you plan to do after lockdown?
Take a sho’t left to one of my favourite small towns: Clarens or Dullstroom.
What is your biggest regret?
It’s not a regret, but I often wonder about the roads not taken.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I love dancing, even though I don’t think I’m very good at it.
What is the most overrated virtue?
Patience. I love people who are impatient: who want to get things done, without being reckless or impulsive.
What is something you would tell your younger self that would impress her?
"Bongi, you are all right. The person you are now will cope with the changes and challenges ahead."
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
The one thing I should have invested in sooner is my emotional, mental and physical health. It’s the best asset I will ever have.
If you were Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would invest in a lot of public-private partnerships, make the state smaller, deliver services through the private sector wherever that is possible and put in place aggressive service-level deals and contract management procedures.