Siya Mapoko and Mapoko Research International introduced their first ever Best Advice Conversations event this past Saturday. Hosted by Siya Mapoko, the author of ‘The Best Advice I ever got and Conversations with JSE ALTX Entrepreneurs’ who is also the CEO, Head of research and founder of Close That Deal SA; the event was aimed at giving the audience the best advice worth giving and best ideas in the entrepreneurship and business industry.

“This event was born out of the volumes of accorded content that I have gathered from the conversations I have had with some CEOs and Business owners over the years, which some I have shared in my books, some haven’t. Then I thought that we could get together and share the information because whenever I get to meetings with these people, I come out feeling like I just earned another degree because of what they say and teach me. It is something that if I implement or share with someone, makes a difference.”

We usually get a lot of information and advice from different people but there are simple principles that we know and we sometimes take for granted which can be the turning point of your life or business that you need. The important question that as an Entrepreneur or business person, you should ask yourself is “Do you apply the principles, does your life or business reflect that you actually know them?”

Before introducing the speakers Siya urged the audience to listen with an open mind and to engage and take advantage of the opportunity.

Chief Operating Officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, CEO and Cofounder of Z Capital Group Amanda Cuba was the first speaker of the event.  She introduced herself as an ordinary girl from Gugulethu Cape Town, who learnt most of her lessons when she was young.



“It’s very interesting how we take for granted those lessons that were learnt while young; because it’s not easy to conceptualize that your grandmother was teaching you to be tenacious, when she told you to do the same thing repeatedly. It’s that kind of discipline that when you apply it later in life assist you to move on to the next level.”

As a young person it is important to understand yourself, as this will lead you to the direction to take later in life. Amanda expressed on how her willingness to learn was and still is one of her greatest aspects especially in the consulting industry and how hard it was for her to learn the concept of asking for anything.
“Asking was a very difficult thing in my life because our education system teaches us not to ask questions especially if you are in a black school, the teacher knows everything all you need to
do is listen and accept what the teacher says. But when you get into the cooperate world, it’s the exact opposite, what makes you succeed is the ability to ask questions, asking for help in everything you don’t understand.”

She urged the audience to make it a point to always be a person who asks questions; “it does not matter whether the person you are asking thinks it’s a stupid question, just remember that in you asking questions you are moving towards your goal”. This is something that Amanda had to learn at a very early stage in business, that as a business person you do not have to do everything yourself because you will burn out, advising people that it is wise not to work in your business but work on your business.

The second speaker was the founder of NEXIA SAB&T, Chartered Accountant and a certified account auditor, a man who started his company with R20K overdraft and turned it into a business that to date has done approximately 2 billion rand in transactions, Bashier Adam.


“There is three pieces of advice I want to unpack as I speak namely; Take a decision to act (just go ahead and do it), Secondly be accountable in everything you do (take responsibility for your actions), Give back (if you successful in whatever way, you give back).”

Bushier continued his speech saying that it is human nature that everyone has an idea to do something but somehow it becomes very hard to take that first step. Taking the first step consists of making the decision that you are going to do it, but then somehow it is in our DNA that we find reasons why we cannot do things. As an entrepreneur what makes you unique is the ability to take that risk that you are just going to do it. As entrepreneurs we bring a different way of thinking to the economy, we break the boundaries simply because of that ability to take risks.

“All of us are very fortunate in our own way, and it is very important to know that as an entrepreneur, you are more privileged than someone else, irrespective of how you got to where you are; you have to sow what’s inside of you to someone else, be a person who gives back. A successful entrepreneur is someone who encourages and empowers others to be successful as opposed to suppressing others”

 The last speaker was JSE veteran Noah Greenhill, former senior general manager of marketing and business development at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, a man who worked behind the scenes for many years ensuring the growth of JSE.


“The big challenge is to see what no one else sees and then take advantage of that opportunity. This is only accessed through the conversations you engage in, the books you read and people you surround yourself with. As an entrepreneur you have to be creative and never to have a ‘me too mentality.”

We tend to rather spend time talking about what’s happening around us, our governance but when you look closely at an entrepreneur’s journey in business and even go back to the very day that he started his business, what was happening at that time did not matter, whether there were government issues or oversize bodies, it did not stop the business from starting. As an entrepreneur you work it out, work yourself around it, we need to stop worrying about things we don’t have power over”, he added.

“The excellence of a business is found in the attention to detail in the very small thing, for example, the attention and quality detail to tea presentation in a boardroom. This will determine the success and growth of your business.”

In closing the program expressed the gratitude towards the audience for being part of the first ever best advice conversations and also announced that there will be more of these conversations to come in future.


By Bradley Brizzy

(Top Image: Event host and facilitator, Siya Mapoko, Amanda Cuba of RE/MAX Southern Africa, Founder of NEXIA SAB&T, Bashier Adam and JSE veteran Noah Greenhill)


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