BACKSTORY: Makhosazana Khanyile
We question Makhosazana Khanyile, CEO of the National Film & Video Foundation
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Be decisive, be informed, and, like Al Pacino’s character says in The Devil’s Advocate: "No matter how good you are, don’t ever let them see you coming."
What was your first job?
Trainee journalist and editorial assistant at Drum magazine.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
R2,200 and I still have a Momentum life policy I took out that very month as well as unit trusts. My father worked in a bank, and he ensured I was financially responsible from the of age 19, and it’s always been that way.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
That no-one really cares about what you achieve, nor do they even remember, but that long after you are gone, people will remember how you made them feel.
What does SA need to do to get itself back on its feet post-lockdown?
I think collaboration with the corporate sector is key. I believe a caring government would want to position itself as an enabler above all else.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I’m really good at Trivial Pursuit; my head is full of useless facts. Oh, and I’m the most unco-ordinated person you will ever meet.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Definitely property; I think I got into the game slightly late — I think about the very first piece of property I ever owned at the age of 25 and regret, to this day, selling it when I bought a bigger place.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Humility … [it] is weaponised against women and I think it’s a great shame.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal." I’m not sure who said that, but I believe it’s 100% true. So, go ahead and shoot your shot and fail, be it in business, life or love, because you won’t die.
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?
Plenty, and I still might. I hope that all the work I’m doing can inch me closer to working for the UN.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would consult with the FBI, the CIA, the works, to figure out how to put together a specialist unit dedicated to the eradication of gender-based violence and how education can assist from a young age with suitable interventions to rid the country of this scourge.
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