My whole life I have loved words. My earliest memory is of me paging, frustrated, through my grandfather’s copy of Farmer’s Weekly, because I could not decipher the scribbles on the page. I was five years old and couldn’t wait to start school so I could learn to read.
I published my first short story in 1996.
But while I ‘dabbled’ in creative writing, the practicalities of earning a living, led me towards business. Initially as a small clothing manufacturer with a single retail outlet. Ever the activist, I soon became involved with an NGO, lobbying for the rights of traders and workers. It reminded me of my school days, resisting the Apartheid government. By 1997 the NGO had succeeded in it’s objectives. A public company with 100 shareholders was registered in 1998. Later that year, our organization won an accolade at the National Small Business Awards, presented by former President Nelson Mandela. It was phenomenal but I was exhausted; the politicking and networking had drained me. I stepped back from my social responsibility to focus on personal development. I enrolled in the University of South Africa for an undergraduate degree and graduated with a Bachelors in Communication.
Halfway through my degree, however, my former colleagues asked me to return to the organization, now a property management company. I was elected as Director and Company Secretary. The role of Company Secretary was a particular responsibility. I had to ensure the company met it’s legal and statutory requirements in line with the Company’s Act of South Africa. I knew nothing about compliance or the King’s Report on Corporate Governance. I had to learn fast.
In 2001, the shareholders elected me Managing Director, making me responsible for the management of the company. By 2002, one company had grown to two. In 2003 I part-owned a franchised hardware retailer and closed my manufacturing and retail business. In 2007, I enrolled in another undergraduate degree at the University of South Africa, graduating in 2012.
2010 brought the soccer World Cup to South Africa, along with many infrastructural changes. The premises where we operated our core business had to be redeveloped. Although I had secured rights to another franchise in the restructuring, I did not have an appetite for a retail. I had burned my fingers in the hardware business, and I didn’t like the franchise model. I called a shareholders meeting. After a amicable discussion, we decided to wind up the company. I had learnt as much as I was ever going to about running a public company and I was relieved but happy to be closing that chapter.
During these years I wrote many reports and business plans. I also took responsibility for the company’s marketing, advertising and public relations. I now run a home-based business, but am also pursuing freelance writing. It satisfies my creative craving while putting food on the table.
For fun I run marathons and ultra-marathons. When I’m not running, I hike. I trekked to Everest Base Camp in 2013. And in 2015 summited Mt Toubkal in Morocco, the highest peak in N Africa.
I love to travel and I find nothing more compelling that traveling to a new place to run a race or climb a mountain!
Blog Post, Article
University of South Africa, Bachelor of Arts (Communication)
University of South Africa, Bachelor of Commerce (Strategic Management)
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