WORDS: Rolland Simpi Motaung

A qualified engineer, Mteto Nyathi has been fixing business problems with in-depth strategic thinking and emotional intelligence. His astute business problem solving capabilities have been beneficial to companies such as Tiger Brands, Nampack and IBM SA. His brilliant turnaround skills were groundbreaking at Microsoft SA, MTN SA and currently Altron. He managed to steer these companies from declining sales; dissatisfied customers; frustrated employees and traditional business models towards profitable innovative organizations with happy employees and customers.

Throughout his professional journey he has been critical of the subtle negative attitudes from the white male senior management who proclaim “there is a darkie here running wild” sentiments even in post-Apartheid South Africa. The author is critical of the black professionals who show more disdain and mistrust towards other black professionals which dismisses the assumption that black professionals “have each other’s backs” in corporate South Africa.

He is also critical of the burning issue of white monopoly capital and its use by different parties to justify their disdain or likes. To the black entrepreneurs he challenges that there should be an effort to stop complaining and start building innovative businesses or better yet “come with a better alternative” in order to address social ills and forge a way to effectively compete locally and globally. To the multinationals corporations, as he did at Microsoft SA, he challenges for more diversity, more understanding of the socio-economic challenges instead of egotistical and ignorant strategies that neglect black management expertise and shut out black SMMEs that could be empowered to add more value to the economy. Finally, the author challenges government to open up more platforms of strategic discussions of how private and public can better work together to rebuild and drive the country towards a better future

This book is for anyone (especially black professionals) seeking an African business model of ethical leadership, strategic thinking to solve African business problems and transformational leadership toward a diverse corporate culture. It’s a book for black entrepreneurs to get an idea of how key decisions makers in corporate South Africa operate when seeking out partnership or funding. Black public sector managers should also read this book, in order to see that there are many black CEOs willing to work with government on good governance principles to move this country forward. “At heart I’m an engineer. I want to encourage people to fix things, not to raise false hopes.

Mteto Nyathi has demonstrated prolific turnaround strategic capabilities in his 30 year professional career and this book is a key contribution to African business literature that is needed now more than ever.

Book: Betting on a Darkie
Author: Mteto Nyathi
Publisher: Kwela Books, 2019

 

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