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Godfrey Marema. Picture: Supplied
Godfrey Marema. Picture: Supplied

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Active listening. I think it’s a critical skill to have in order to gather all the information needed and pick up on small nonverbal cues.

What was your first job?

Graduate trainee at Volkswagen Group SA (VWSA).

How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?

A few thousand rands that I spent on my rent, groceries, and petrol to drive to work.

What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?

How to use a credit card, which was offered for free back then.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

In 2007, I was the manager who oversaw the last Citi Golf production at the Volkswagen plant in SA. That is one of my proudest moments.

What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?

I lost some money trying to be an entrepreneur, but thanks to my wife’s guidance I realised that I do better in the corporate sector.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?

Early in my career, I associated myself with the older and wiser people who had been in the industry for a long time, and I absorbed as much information from them as I could, which I still use today. I also invested a lot in my education and chose courses that were relevant to my skills. None of it was luck, it was all intentional.

What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?

We do not always get what we want, and that is not going to change.

What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?

Young man, there is a reason you are on this path  — therefore don’t give up and continue to face the challenges that come with it, because it will make you a stronger person in the future. Also, take more risks.

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?

Besides trying to go the entrepreneurial route, at some stage in my career when I wasn’t feeling challenged enough, I moved from a technical role to sales and marketing.

If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?

I would reduce the number of cabinet ministers, and have all the ministers’ performance reviews linked to economic growth.

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