The Humanitarian Impact of a South African Family Business


What’s your approach to improving impact in society?

I believe in giving time as well as money, and in some instances, time can be more valuable than money… When you look at the biggest donors in the world, what I most admire about them is the way that they have involved themselves in the causes they are subsidizing. And I think they are the role models for the rest of us, not in how much they give, but how much of themselves that they give.

Who has been a particular role model for you?

My mother has always been a giver. She ran the business with a lot of care for the people involved in the business. She is very family-oriented. And I think that is one of the most important qualities that she has given us as children. …Now I head up the CSI committee, which is a choice, because it is the only committee that I want to belong to and that I do belong to.

How does it help to be part of a family business?

When you are in a family business you have the opportunity to make decisions about your own values and how you want to roll those out. You only have to answer to yourself. As my father liked to say: “You make your decisions in the shower.” The responsibility sometimes can be a heavy burden but at the same time you can be agile, you can be very responsive. It is exciting, challenging and special I think.

In what way is it rewarding to improve impact?

For me, it is one of the great motivators. To have money is to do something with it. I think that the greatest good and the greatest giving is to give to people who you will never meet and who will never know what you have done for them.

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