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Opportunity Issue 99

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

INTERVIEW WAYA WAYA

INTERVIEW WAYA WAYA GLOBAL CONNECTION Opportunity spoke with serial entrepreneur Patson Phala about his business journey that started in rural Limpopo and has taken him to dealing with Saudi Arabian investors via a university lecture hall in the Netherlands – and his forthcoming book. Company profile Waya Waya Global Connection – Investing tomorrow, today VISION To be the most reliable service provider company in Limpopo and globally in ICT and mining services. MISSION • To constantly provide our customers with high-quality, affordable services • To create sustainable jobs for the people in the area • To empower women and youth with skills • To promote growth in the area in ICT and media • To promote mining services in our community • To achieve employment and empowerment equity goals • Subsidiaries include: • Waya Waya Global Financing • Waya Waya Global Mining Resources • Waya Waya Global Media and Telecoms • Waya Waya Global Estates and Properties • Waya Waya Global Trucking • Waya Waya Global Courier Services • Waya Waya Global Events and Exhibitions Contact Patson Phala Tel: 078 649 0106 and 079 125 1300 Email: Business: patson@wayawayaglobal.co.za | Personal: pphala877@gmail.com Website: www.wayawayaglobal.co.za 60 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

INTERVIEW Where did you grow up? I grew up in a rural area in Limpopo in a village called Jane Furse. Did you have an early exposure to business in any way or did you see any entrepreneurs who gave you inspiration? I was always a crazy person who knew how to make money during school holidays. I was going from house to house, planting some grass and some plants and then I was paid on that basis. It was what today you might call a garden service but we didn’t know the name. A few friends and I wanted to make money for Christmas. Did you use that experience as a young man? I am from a family of eight and I am the last one. I did not work on a computer as I grew up but I taught myself how to use a computer. My first business was Waya Waya Communications where we were doing printing and making copies for our communities. We then added T-shirt printing in 2010 for the World Cup. So you did not work for a boss? I never worked anywhere, I never worked for anyone, because I helped myself. I didn’t want to go to university but at the same time I didn’t want to work for anyone, so I started my little business. It was called MUCAP, which was an acronym for multi-faceted consultancy. I didn’t know anything about how to start a business but then I got inspiration from reading a magazine called Succeed. Were you inspired to start writing then? While I was still at high school, I think I was doing Grade 11, I wrote my first article that was published. It was titled “Our Lazy Boozing Teachers” about our teachers spending most of their time at the beerhall or at the nearby shebeen after school and not generating income. It was published by Drum magazine. I was concerned about that, so that’s why I started becoming an entrepreneur. Have you continued writing throughout your career? Yes, when I was still at high school, I wrote some songs. My first song was published in a magazine called Jive. That was in the early Nineties. They published my song and then I went further to write a poetry book with an organisation called COSAW, the Congress of South African Writers. The book never saw the light of day, it was never published. I never got it back, I left if there. Please tell us about your latest book project, the book “Who Am I”. “Who Am I” came into being when I started questioning the system of education globally. In 1999 I was invited to Leiden University in Holland to speak, which I did in 2000. I was invited to speak to 24 university professors from around the world. Me, without matric! They were taken by surprise by my level of understanding and communication and public speaking. So much so that they were asking if I had ever had tertiary education. I replied that, no I hadn’t, and I am not interested in going on to tertiary education at the moment, because it is not looking into the personality of a learner or each individual. Our system focusses only on getting a degree or qualification but they forget that you are a gift from God. Who am I? Why am I not fitting into the system? So, that is in my book. So the book is mostly about education? It is more focused on why more black people are not successful in numbers. Is it due to greediness and looking after number one? Due to the political manipulation of voters, people wanted to become leaders even though they did not have the qualities to become leaders. Some wanted to run into businesses because they saw some people succeeding; they wanted to come into business, but with no knowledge of themselves first. What prompted the University of Leiden to invite you? It was through a young PhD student named Barbara Oomen who is now a professor and a doctor of sociology. At that time, she was doing research in South Africa. She went straight to the University of Limpopo where she wanted to find some students who were studying for the same career as she was. The students she met were not willing to go out to meet rural communities to understand how they live. Then they called an NGO called Hlahlolanang (Help One Another) which was working on malnutrition in rural areas. They gave her my name. We met in Jane Furse and I drove her around, introduced her to our nearest police station, our shopping malls and all these other government buildings before sunset. www.opportunityonline.co.za | 61

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