MANDLA Madwara might be a top business brain but he loves his fun, and relaxing when he is not at work, or fulfilling his new role as the president of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
From humble beginnings in New Brighton, Madwara started out as a trainee technician in the 1980s.
After being involved with politics, moving to Tanzania, and a scholarship in Scotland, the budding entrepreneur moved back to Port Elizabeth, and started up his own company in the early 2000s.
The Lovemore Heights resident who owns Bedevco (Beneficiation Development Corporation) in Walmer says family always comes first.
He divides his time between business ventures and his family – wife Nomakazi, 45, and their three children Siviwe, 13, Olwethu, 26, and Michale, 16.
“Your family is your support. When business is not going well, they are your support system.”
Spending quality time with his wife and daughters is important to Mandla, and the family go on regular holidays together whenever they can.
The businessman enjoys travelling and has been around the globe, taking a special liking to Asia. But he prefers to not go alone.
“I have seen the world when I was in exile, but travelling with your family is a different experience all together.”
The Madwaras moved to the hilly suburb of Lovemore Heights three years ago, and have made the neighbourhood home.
It is a “family suburb” said Mandla, with good security and privacy.
“I enjoy the view, which is one of the reasons why we moved there. The wind is the only problem,” he laughs.
To take his mind off the daily grind, Madwara, 52, has started a new hobby – golf – after discovering that it can be quite fun.
“I did not like it before, but now I am looking forward to becoming a golfer,” he smiles.
The entrepreneur watches sport in his spare time, especially football – a sport he played passionately while growing up.
He is also an avid reader – devouring books, newspapers and magazines when he is not attending meetings. He is also a director at Triangle Events South Africa which organise the annual Ironman South Africa triathlon.
“I like to walk and will often go down to Woolworths to get the paper.”
Mandla stays active by going to the gym where he can be found doing laps in the pool, or peddling away in a spinning class.
Socialising is important to him and it is a time when he can loosen his tie and have a drink with some mates.
“It is nice to socialise, it puts you in a good mood. We sit around and talk about everything,” said Mandla.
Although he relishes his time away from work, Mandla has a true passion for entrepreneurship.
“When asked about a childhood memory that sticks out in his mind, he recalls something he told his mother during the school holidays.
“I remember asking my mom: ‘When will school be closed forever? I don’t want to go back’.”
Ironic coming from a future leading businessman and CEO.