Executive Insights

Why former BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale wants to buy a farm

Business Insider SA
Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa, speaking at the Trialogue Business in Society Conference at the Wanderers, Johannesburg. Picture: Brett Eloff
  • At the age of six, Bonang Mohale vowed to buy a farm one day.
  • His dream was sparked by constant visits to a farm in the Free State during his childhood.
  • Apart from joining Bidvest as a non-executive director, as well as starting a business to help start-ups, he will finally be making his dream a reality.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Former CEO of Business Leadership South Africa Bonang Mohale finally plans to live out his childhood dream.


"Growing up, with my family, we used to visit a farm in the Free State," he tells Business Insider South Africa.

"I loved that lifestyle, breathing the clean uncontaminated air and living off the land, eating what we today call 'organic food' is what intrigued me from the age of six."

He made a vow then that he would work hard to make his dream of buying his own farm come true. And following his retirement in June, he can finally start looking for one.

The type of farm he finds will dictate what farming he will be doing. Both livestock and crops appeal to him.

The bigger challenge will be convincing his wife and two daughters, with whom he lives in Bryanston, to move out there with him.

"All three of them are very strong willed women. The idea of a farm for them is a place where you work."

While setting up the farm, he will be commuting to and from Bryanston.

Born and bred in eTwatwa in Benoni, in Johannesburg's East Rand, he is one of seven children. His father was from Lesotho and mother from Letswana in Arlington in the Free State. His father worked for Spoornet, now known as Transnet.

"My parents were very productive, unlike us who are very lazy," he jokes.

Having served as chairperson of Shell South Africa Holdings, Executive Vice President for Alliances for South African Airways and chairman at Global Village Holdings, among other things, he has been far from lazy.

Apart from retreating to his in-house library, he will also be joining the Bidvest Group as a non-executive director.

Mohale told Fin24 that he will be dedicating more time to his latest start-up following his retirement from the business body.

He co-founded SiSibenza with Marc Lubner, Gary Woolf and Andrew Robinson in early 2019. The business will not develop its own business models, but will work with global start-ups to bring them to African shores to support local start-ups.

"Disruption is the only way to engineer change," he told the business site.

"I’m looking forward to being able to dedicate more time to improving the local business environment. The more focus there is on kick-starting our economic stagnation, the more chance we have of solving a range of socio-economic woes and improving our global competitiveness."

Busisiwe Mavuso has taken over from Mohale. 

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