Spotlight On South African Entrepreneur Judy Dlamini

Spotlight On South African Entrepreneur Judy Dlamini

Doctor-turned-entrepreneur Judy Dlamini shows up on multiple lists of the richest women in South Africa, but she says she doesn’t belong on them.

Dlamini is chairwoman of Mbekani Investment Holdings, and she’s on the boards of directors of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies Anglo American, Aspen Pharmacare and Northam Platinum.

A year ago in July 2013, she was worth 124 million rand ($16.1 million), according to TheSouthAfrican. And in 2012, she was also on the list of the 10 richest South African women.

In an interview on CNBCAfrica’s “Women On Wealth,” Dlamini made an attempt to correct the record: “I dont believe those list are accurate,” she said.

Dlamini began her career as a family medical practitioner. “That was the best time in my life,” she said. But when she became a victim of crime, she decided to study full time for an MBA, and then become a businesswoman.

How does she spot a good deal?

Dlamini says it’s a combination of luck, focus “and investment in yourself. It has to be a mutual decision,” she said. “It always helps when you invest in a business if there’s congruence with your value system. That happens to be the case (for Dlamini) with the
pharmaceutical industry.”

Dlamini’s main source of income is Aspen, according to TheSouthAfrican.

How should women be pursuing wealth?

“You have to find a passion and pursue it and if it’s wealth then so be it,” Dlamini said. “If it’s being good at what you do, that’s also important. You need to be ambitious, focus and work hard. Unfortunately there is no short cut.”

On finding work-life balance

“I don’t think you ever reach balance,” Dlamini said. “I think you prioritize. If you get your proiorities right you are better able to be happy. We don’t chase wealth, I think. We chase happiness.”

Dlamini’s advice to young women: “Invest in yourself. We always talk about degrees (higher education) but I do believe relationships are very important. What I’ve achieved is because I’ve been ambitious. Be detailed. Make sure it’s a good deal but more important, you have to be happy with the management team.”