I realized my excitement towards business and money at the age of 10 working at my school tuck shop. By the age of 13 several I had worked evenings in the JHB Central Post Office sorting mail, had worked for a marketing company selling Canvas Oil Paintings and subscriptions to a new News Paper called ‘The Citizen’, going door to door in the early evenings in residential areas. I also remember going to work with my father-in-law as his bricklayer’s assistant building factory foundations North East of Jhb.
I went to boarding school for my high school career. It didn’t take me long to see an opportunity to make money. Each Sunday afternoon while everyone was in their rooms for the mandatory 3 hour ‘silent-time’, I would be making cheese jaffles in the hearth of the massive wood/coal burning hot water geysers, to sell to hungry boarders when they awoke. Every holiday I worked in a Men’s Clothing retail store in Krugersdorp and every Saturday 5am to 1pm I worked for the family Butcher in Honeydew, cutting and packing bacon and other meats.
My first very lucrative business came when I was 17, I met a Greek businessman while hiking a lift in the Westrand, we got chatting about his business and before reaching my destination I had agreed to an opportunity to sell biltong from his factory in Florida. He bought me a large suitcase, packed it with 1kg packs of Game and Beef Biltong and every morning I would catch a bus into central Jhb and ride the elevators and lifts of business offices selling my wares on each floor, returning to the factory each afternoon with an empty suitcase. I learnt quickly that to sustain business I needed a little book to take down repeat orders. Business was booming and my Greek friend enthusiastically smiled when he saw me collecting supplies each morning. I remember making R35 profit per day, that was a lot of money in 1976. Unfortunately I had to go back to school to finish Matric.
After boarding school I entered the Military for 2 years of compulsory service. Having learnt everything there is to know about crawling in the mud, I was tought Radio and Telex Communications. During this period I recall earning a substantial amount of money from my fellow servicemen by doing their guard-duties so they could go home on weekends. In my 2nd year I found myself reporting to the division’s Carpentry shop where I enjoyed learning a new set of skills that was to serve me for many years to come. In the 10 years that followed I was called up annually for either 30day or 90day periods to what was then referred to as ‘military camps’ and was deployed in peace keeping initiatives in Soweto, Alexandra, & other townships around Jhb, or sent to the Military Training School in Luhatla, south of the South West African border, to hone in my skills in military communications.
When I left the Army at the end of 1979 I joined the Gold Mining Industry in Evander and later in Randfontien. I worked underground learning all the skills of mining before becoming a officer in Ventilation (measuring and maximizing underground airflow and conditioning). I transferred to the Labour Relations division which ultimately lead me into my career & studies in Industrial Psychology and Labour Law. After graduating in 1984 I became a Registered General Practitioner with the SA Board of Personal Practitioners.
After 8 years in the mining industry I joined a Dutch owned Textile company in KZN as their Human Resource & Training Director. During the era of disinvestment the pressurized Dutch company sold out to a South African holding company. Political unrest at the time grew alarmingly and the company’s labour force became divided as the unrest spilt into the employment arena. I spent most of my time in those years seeking political solutions towards securing a stable workplace, but the external forces would eventually in time, crush the company.
After 8 years in the Textile Industry I took up the executive position of Group Manpower Director for a Flour Mill and National Bread, Bakery & Distribution concern. During this time I served 5 years as a part-time lecturer at the Natal University Business School, lecturing students in the MBA program and undergrad level.
In 1997 having spent 18 years in the corporate world I decided to pursue my own business interests when I purchased two chemical companies, which I still run successfully to this day.
I’ve built 2 houses & renovated 2 more, bought a farm & opened a private guest lodge. Built a recording studio and produced over 40 CDs and given a platform to many artists. One of my passions is flying. I am currently building a fully operational life-size Boeing 737 Flight Simulator in my spare time!
My life is great, I’m married with 4 children + 3 fostered, 9 grandchild, and last but not least 5 dogs. My businesses are successful & flourishing.
And now to a new chapter… helping YOU to master your life in business.