Koos Bekker’s Billions by T.J. Strydom
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In Koos Bekker’s Billions, business journalist T. J. Strydom takes a detailed look at Bekker’s life and career, evaluating business decisions and identifying successful patterns on the way. Ultimately, he lands on fifteen of the most standout and effective strategies employed by Bekker during his incredible rise to extraordinary wealth – making Koos Bekker’s Billions not just an interesting look into a personality from whom we seldom hear directly, but also an illuminating read for anyone looking to make their fortune in high-stakes business.
Koos Bekker, South African businessman, is the chairman of the media group Naspers – and that’s an entity we are all familiar with, whether we know it or not. Naspers is the parent organisation of Media 24 and Takealot, it’s the largest media company outside of the US, China and India and it has a total value that runs into the billions (in US dollars). He is one of the wealthiest South Africans ever. Full stop.
But and this is what the book explores, how did he manage it? How did he go from working in advertising to jointly founding MNET and MTN and finally ending up as the third richest person in SA (as of 2020)? What were his strategies, and how did he land on the deal – a risky play involving Chinese tech start-up Tencent – that skyrocketed Naspers to its current influential heights?
ANC Billionaires by Pieter Du Toit
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In The ANC Billionaires top-selling author Pieter du Toit investigates whether secret deals were struck between capital and the liberation movement to ensure the status quo remains in terms of economic policy. He also shows how the ANC was completely unprepared to navigate the intersection between business and politics.
Black Beach by Daniel Janse van Rensburg
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Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we know what prison is like. As South African businessman and survivor Daniel Janse van Rensburg can tell us with full horror and force: we do not.
In 2013, Janse van Rensburg travelled to West Africa to “finalise a legitimate airline contract with a local politician.” Before long, and without explanation, he was arrested. His passport was confiscated, and he was held without trial in torturous and unspeakable conditions that rival Guantanamo in sheer inhumanity. His eventual release was short-lived, and he was rearrested… this time to be sent to Black Beach: a globally notorious and widely feared prison fearsomely famous for its brutality and unfettered abuse.
For more than a year, Daniel survived through little more than faith and the occasional glimmers of humanity offered by his fellow inmates. Black Beach is the thrilling, staggering and heart-breaking account of his ordeal from his initial capture and near-escape to his excruciating, deeply traumatic incarceration. It is a reminder that anyone can fall victim to the powerful and the corrupt. But it’s a reminder, too, that the human spirit has reserves of resilience that are almost boundless.
Takka Takka Bom Bom: A South African War Correspondent’s Story by Al J. Venter
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Venter, whether you are familiar with his reportage, is a man with an incredible story to tell. Several, in fact. He is one of the oldest war correspondents still active and has personally witnessed conflicts (and the atrocities that go with them) stretching all the way back to the sixties.
But it began humbly… with little more than a hunger for adventure and more than a small amount of youthful gutsiness. In the sixties, in search of experience, Venter ventured from Cape Town to London over land. Thus began the stellar reporting career that would take him to 25 different conflict zones across the world. Venter knows far more about war, violence, and upheaval than just about all of us and, with global conflicts persisting, it makes good sense to delve into his wealth of wisdom.
Rhodesia, Sudan, Angola, The Congo, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia… the list goes on. Venter has witnessed more significant conflicts than most of us are able to remember.