BACKSTORY: African Liberty’s Phumlani Majozi
We question Phumlani Majozi, senior fellow at African Liberty, on his top tip for doing a deal, his biggest regret and the one investment he wishes he’d made earlier
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Consult. Hear what others close to you and whom you trust, think of the deal.
What was your first job?
I was a garden boy. Believe me!
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I think it was R60. I used it to pay for my bus ticket to Rhodes University — where I had enrolled for a BCom degree.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
That self-confidence is crucial in the business environment — one will struggle to succeed without it.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I work for arguably the world’s top historian — Niall Ferguson. Google him. He’s a wonderful man.
What have you most enjoyed/disliked about lockdown?
I’ve enjoyed the flexibility. Sometimes I can jog or walk during lunch-time — that wasn’t possible when I worked from the office. What have I disliked? Being unable to see the people I used to see every day. I miss seeing and talking to my colleagues in person.
What, if anything, would you have changed about SA’s approach to lockdown?
I think the initial lockdowns should have been targeted and regional. I also think they have been kept for too long — causing enormous damage to livelihoods.
What is your biggest regret?
Dropping out of French school back in 2013. I loved, and still love, the French language. I’d be far now. I travel the world as often as I can — and a strong command of French would have been very helpful.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Anything US tech is clearly the best, or would have been the best, investment in the past 10 years.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
I think "hope". Wishing gets us nowhere. We have to take action — and get things done.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
My commentary on SA has been quoted by Time magazine — and I have appeared on BBC World News as a commentator.
If you were Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would definitely take on the fight against labour unions, who are pushing back against pro-market reforms.
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