Featured mentors

Judge Bernard Ngoepe

Bernard Ngoepe is Judge-President of the Pretoria High Court, and has served as acting judge of the Constitutional Court. With an illustrious history on the bench, and a string of awards and honorary degrees, Judge Ngoepe is not one to rest on his laurels. Whether it’s advocating for taxpayers’ rights as SA’s first tax ombudsman, or weighing in on the SASSA debacle, Judge Ngoepe is widely regarded as a man of integrity and a champion for human rights. Since his days co-chairing the Amnesty Committee of the TRC, he has stressed the importance of the judiciary as a watchdog for the people. He is currently a man in search of a Premier League football team, as his beloved Moroka Swallows has been officially relegated to the fourth division.

Marc Lubner

Marc is CEO of outreach organisation Afrika Tikkun, and co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Smile Foundation. Recipient of innumerable awards – most recently the Conscious Companies Award – Marc ascribes his higher calling to a legacy of philanthropy passed down from his grandfather, Morrie, and his father, Bertie. ‘My grandfather built a business around the principle of caring for people and their businesses. My father made a life of it. This is the culture in which I was raised.’ He lives his creed, as he spearheaded the integrated cradle-to-career model at Afrika Tikkun, which focuses on early childhood development and post-matric training.
And through the Smile Foundation, over 2 000 children have undergone life-changing surgery in SA.

John Nicolakakis

Roman’s Pizza dates back to the 90s when John’s father, Arthur, purchased a struggling pizza joint with the aim of reversing its fortunes. Roman’s Pizza introduced a 2-for-1 deal, and the rest is history. John is now CEO of a brand that records the highest sales per square metre in the industry. But it is passion that’s at the heart of this family business. ‘My father and I love this brand like you would love a child, always nurturing it, always looking after it.’ John believes in leading by example and considers himself a lifelong learner. His mobile number is on the company website and he regularly engages with customers directly. And he expects the same from all head office personnel. This all confirms that Roman’s is rooted in family.

Bernie Brookes

The man from down under is currently CEO of the Edcon Group, and was MD and CEO of the Myer Group until 2015. He has a strong philanthropic ethic, serving both the industry and various charitable organisations, like the Salvation Army of Australia and institutions supporting cancer research. He has spent 35 years working in the retail industry in India and China, and is the recipient of many retail awards. Bernie’s approach is open and engaged, and his presence has been felt on the shop floors of the Group, as he’s worked to turn it around. This is Bernie’s last ‘full-time gig’, but he’s determined to retire on a high, taking on non-executive, not-for-profit and private equity roles. And he’s going to catch up with his kids and grandkids.

Anda Maqanda

Anda began his career as an electrical engineer with Volkswagen. After deciding it wasn’t for him – and with his father’s disapproval ringing in his ears – he launched his own power company. It never even got out the water, but that did not deter the intrepid Anda. In 2010, he relaunched AM Group and never looked back. AM Group provides engineering consulting, design and construction services across Africa, and his clients include Eskom, De Beers, Metrorail, and Heineken. But Anda has not limited himself to the power sector. He is founder of Kasi5000 (township internet cafés). In 2015, he was named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 promising young entrepreneurs in Africa. He believes that you should always strive to deliver more than you promise.

Mauritz Lotz

With three decades as a music producer, composer, solo artist and session guitarist under his belt, Maurtiz is something of a musical legend. He’s worked on over 4 000 recordings as a session guitarist, composer or producer, and has performed with global legends like The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Ice Cube and Roberta Flack. Locally, he has supported, mentored and inspired practically every major musical star. With enough awards and accolades to fill a rock stadium, he nevertheless remains gentle, soft-spoken and ridiculously modest. In his own words: ‘what really resonates at the end of the day will remain… a great song, a moving piece of music, a painting or piece of literature… whatever the artistic expression, let it be bold and truthful.’

Malcolm Gooding

One of the most instantly recognisable voices in South Africa, Malcolm refined his accent from an early age to combat what his Welsh mum called ‘the deleterious effects of the local patois.’ Landing his own show in the 60s, he got to play the music of the Youth Revolution. At the same time, he lent his voice to Squad Cars, that legendary Springbok Radio serial. Malcolm has since voiced anything from commercials to documentaries, finding time to achieve an Honours in History. His voice has been described as ‘a blend of fine sand and smooth English marmalade’.  His latest passions include landscape painting, olive farming and good South African wine.

Angus Taylor

Angus is an award-winning sculptor and artist who tackles demanding materials on a scale that most artists would avoid. His works are monumental and hard to ignore, and he works with a remarkable range of materials in his Pretoria-based studio. Two decades ago, he founded Dionysus Sculpture Works (DSW), where he honed his skills as a master craftsman. DSW is a sought-after foundry for other celebrated artists, and serves as a mentoring hub for younger artists. Angus is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, and his first international solo exhibition in 2017 at Everard Read, London, was a sell-out. His inventiveness positions him as a post-modern artist, and his work can be found in collections in Africa, Europe, North America and Australia.

Dr Taddy Blecher

Actuary, management consultant and educational entrepreneur, Taddy heads the Community and Individual Development Association (CIDA) and the Maharishi Institute, a self-sustaining organisation that has helped to create free access to six institutions of higher learning. He is also co-founder of the Imvula Empowerment Fund, which facilitates access to holistic university education for unemployed youth from 17 countries across Africa. Taddy is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Leader for Tomorrow Award. He has spent years teaching Transcendental Meditation to township youth to help direct their lives in a positive way, and co-founded the Branson School of Entrepreneurship with Sir Richard Branson.

André Retief

André heads the André Retief Coaching Institute. After a personal epiphany, André found his calling as a certified Life Coach, and has never looked back. He is currently National President of COMENSA, the SAQA-certified professional coaching and mentoring body. His background as a business owner perfectly positions him as an executive coach. André is a member of a networking group, BNI (Business Network International), where he previously served as president. COMENSA partnered with Ikamva Youth three years ago to provide mentoring opportunities for young people. André has been a motivational speaker at Wits Business School, the South African Department of Health, and SACAP. André’s life mantra is “practice what you preach or change your speech”.

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