Zwelihle Magojo

Now and again in the Wine and Philosophy blog, I will discuss people I have met who have caused me to step back and marvel at one or another characteristic that made them stand out from the crowd. Last Friday, Zwelihle Magojo crashed into that category without much warning.

And when I say “crashed”, I mean it most literally. Without trying, Zweli fits so many stereotypes of high-energy, high-achieving personas that he’s practically a cumulative prototype of them. Shiny, dancing eyes just ready to take on the world. A propensity to punctuate each statement with a funny gesture – even a song-and-dance. An alert mind. A zest for being that just draws you in. Boundless, rested energy coolly tamed so as to not overwhelm the people around him. A heartening interest in what’s happening in his peers’ lives. A thriving portfolio under his belt. And not one ounce of arrogance to spoil any of it.

I was tempted to ask whether he had “awesomeophobia” – that’s the fear of unleashing the fullness of one’s awesomeness lest one overexpose nearby mortals to toxic levels of it – but I was too dazzled by the spectacle of playful, happy human energy to interrupt. I found myself thinking, “Whatever he’s on, I want some!” The great thing is that whatever he’s on, it’s infectious.

I met him after the Progressive Professionals’ Forum meeting with the Minister of Public Enterprise, Malusi Gigaba. At this point everyone had something to say about the speech that had been delivered (as well as the tweets that had been silently flying around during the same). One of the sub-themes running through the speech was the word-picture of “clever blacks”, that is, people that criticize the government without offering any help. Naturally, no one wanted to be identified as a clever black after that. Zweli himself explained why he didn’t fit that category in very succinct, very incisive words, despite the fact that he is clever and he is black. He explained to Lee, Zane and me that he believes that rather than stand back and criticize, he’d prefer, as a young professional, to take a moment out of his busy schedule, step forward and say, “I know I’m sorted. Nobody needs to worry about me anymore. I can be put aside; nobody needs to worry about my needs. But now how do we sort the next person out?  How do we uplift people and give back? That’s what I came here to find out.”
After 2008’s economic meltdown, financial advisors of every stripe inherited a reputation, at worst, as money-hungry, dry, unimaginative charlatans; at best, as imposing, unapproachable disciplinarians who’d say “Ttsk, tsk, tsk” about every financial mistake you’d made before deigning to manage your finances.

Now and then, though, you meet the balanced types who know what they’re talking about and can steer your wealth through choppy waters and dock it at the fair, sunny shores of prosperous retirement.

And, even rarer than those are the Zwelihle Magojos that do this while sorting out the next person and injecting you with a much-needed dose of that playful energy – which you’ll need in order to enjoy your retirement nest-egg in a great South Africa stewarded by like-mindedly progressive professionals.


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