A Roar­ing Suc­cess

SLOW Magazine - - Must Go -

The im­pres­sive Leeu Col­lec­tion in Fran­schhoek com­prises a large part of this pic­turesque vil­lage in the Cape Winelands. Leeu Es­tates, Leeu House, Le Quartier Français, Mullineux & Leeu Fam­ily Wines, Marigold Restau­rant, and Tuk Tuk Mi­cro­brew­ery are all part of this re­mark­able brand. The man be­hind the Leeu mar­que is Analjit Singh, a highly re­spected busi­ness­man from New Delhi, In­dia.

Singh, who made his for­tune found­ing the in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful con­glom­er­ate, Max Group, has re­cently stepped down from his role of chair­man and is now spend­ing his time, en­ergy, and fo­cus on build­ing the Leeu Col­lec­tion.

Leeu, as well as be­ing the Afrikaans word for “lion”, is the San­skrit deriva­tion of Singh, and is the per­fect link be­tween Singh’s newly found love for South Africa and the man him­self.

Af­ter en­coun­ter­ing Fran­schhoek al­most ac­ci­dently seven years ago dur­ing his first visit to South Africa, he gave him­self over to the hands of fate, be­liev­ing whole­heart­edly that the sense of be­long­ing he felt was noth­ing short of destiny.

SLOW spoke to Singh (A.S) about his de­vel­op­ments in South Africa and other parts of the world, and what it feels like to have re­placed the “busi­ness of life” with the “plea­sures of life”.

In 2010 you came to South Africa for the Fifa World Cup, and two years later made your maiden in­vest­ment in the val­ley of Fran­schhoek. Can you tell us a bit about how this hap­pened and why you think you felt that such a deep sense of be­long­ing in the val­ley?

A.S: This was serendip­ity and destiny at its very best. I hadn’t stepped foot onto the con­ti­nent of Africa un­til then. Ac­tu­ally, I don’t even re­call hav­ing any con­tact with any coun­try on the con­ti­nent un­til this point. The only point of ref­er­ence was per­haps ge­og­ra­phy lessons in school. I was ini­tially spell­bound by the beauty of the Fran­schhoek Val­ley and the Winelands – the na­ture, life­style, peace­ful­ness of the en­vi­ron­ment, air qual­ity, and so on. But I re­alised very soon there was much more to it. The na­ture of the peo­ple in the Cape and their warmth be­came very close to my heart.

The Leeu Col­lec­tion started off with your ini­tial pur­chases of the 40-ha farm Klein Dassen­berg, and the two ad­join­ing farms, Dieu Donné and Von Ort­loff, to form Leeu Es­tates. It has since grown in leaps and bounds in the small val­ley of Fran­schhoek, and the Leeu touch is ev­ery­where. What made you de­cide to ex­pand?

A.S: Well, one thing led to an­other. I guess it has been a case of fol­low­ing one’s nose and heart. And there is noth­ing wrong in that. In fact, it is “all good” – a lovely new ex­pres­sion I have learnt from those close to me in Fran­schhoek.

What has the re­sponse from the lo­cal busi­ness own­ers res­i­dents in Fran­schhoek?

A.S: Over­all, very wel­com­ing and con­grat­u­la­tory, and I ap­pre­ci­ate that a lot. That said, we have been noisy in the vil­lage over the last cou­ple of years, build­ing and ren­o­vat­ing, and I am grate­ful for the pa­tience the com­mu­nity has shown. We are gen­er­ally qui­eten­ing things down now.

Do you have any plans ex­pand­ing fur­ther?

A.S: Yes. We are very keen to do a bou­tique ho­tel in Cape Town, and we also ac­quired ho­tels in Lon­don and Florence dur­ing the past months. Lo­cally, we are been and of look­ing for­ward to open­ing Le Quartier Français af­ter its re­fur­bish­ment, launch­ing a gin and spe­cial­ity ton­ics, open­ing La Pe­tite Colombe in Le Quartier Français, and ex­pan­sions at Leeu Es­tates and Leeu House. We are also re­fur­bish­ing Linth­waite House in [Eng­land’s] Lake Dis­trict, which will re­open in De­cem­ber.

What do you free time?

A.S: My work is plea­sure for me. Plus, I love spend­ing time with my team and col­leagues. I am a great be­liever in “we” not “I”. I also en­joy land­scap­ing, hor­ti­cul­ture, de­sign, walk­ing, and na­ture. I am a hills and moun­tain chap, more than a beach per­son. In all this I find spir­i­tu­al­ity. Fi­nally, it is easy to tempt me with a glass of some­thing close to sun­set.

Who or what in­spires you the most? A.S: Teach­ings from saints and sages, my own jour­ney, truth, and a few very spe­cial peo­ple in my life.

Lastly, what ad­vice do you have for those pas­sion­ate about get­ting in­volved in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try?

A.S: The ad­vice is the same for hos­pi­tal­ity or any other sec­tor: find your con­nec­tion and pas­sion. Work very hard. Be fo­cused. Busi­ness is not only about money. Com­mu­nity-build­ing and build­ing in­di­vid­u­als is an in­te­gral part. Mak­ing money is one thing, but it is what you do with it that is the key.

A lion of a man, Singh has cer­tainly made a roar­ing suc­cess in the Cape Winelands.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Leeu Col­lec­tion, visit www.leeu­col­lec­tion.com. like to do in your

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