Sunday World

I always aim for the extra mile, says MTN SA boss

Molapisi has risen through the ranks at telecoms giant

- By Kabelo Khumalo kabelo@sundayworl­

Charles Molapisi, the CEO of MTN South Africa, is a man who believes in going the extra mile in his leadership of the telecoms giant’s domestic operations. He says it is important that as a leader he creates environmen­ts that allow people to flourish and achieve, in pursuit of collective goals and then set high standards and back them to succeed. “Throughout my career I have been guided by a quote that’s attributed to the late American author Wayne Dyer, but was first shared with me by a teacher. The sentiment was that we should all aim for the extra mile because it’s less crowded there.

“This deeply resonated with me and I’ve always set myself the aspiration of getting to that extra mile. In leading people, ‘See you at the Xtramile’ has become my mantra and call to action,” he says.

Molapisi succeeded Godfrey Motsa as leader of the South African unit in January this year. Before his promotion, he was group chief technology and informatio­n officer since January 2019.

He has been with the MTN group since 2009, and previously ran the group’s Zambian business for over three years and also worked for MTN in Nigeria in various roles for almost seven years.

Before that he spent six years at Telkom South Africa.

He regards Nelson Mandela as the most influentia­l South African of all time. “His strength, humility, empathy, intellect and achievemen­ts are just some of the many traits that have made him, in my opinion, the most influentia­l South African of all time.

“But I have another South African to add. It’s the South African who comes from nothing, from any one of the thousands of villages in this country, who does all in his or her power to become educated.”

Having reached the dizzy heights of his career, Molapisi

See you at the Xtramile has become my mantra and call to action

still remembers his teacher in Standard 1 to 4 (now grade 3 to 6), Andrew Makanye Lehobye.

“A selfless human being, the best educator and the ultimate definition of an Xtramiler.”

When not providing strategic leadership for MTN SA, Molapisi takes time to read a good book. He regards Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” as probably the book he has most enjoyed.

He is a fan of Orlando Pirates. “Pirates is my local team though I suffer from the nostalgia for the legends of old. I love cycling (and rode my first 947 last year) and this year I will be riding it with my son, Kgosi, as well as a team of more than 80 Mtners, which is hugely exciting.

“Spending time with my wife, who gives me a lot advice and counsel, provides an opportunit­y for reflection.”

His wife is a businesswo­man and a reverend. He says they both love gospel music as it grounds them and evokes a great sense of gratitude. But they also enjoy a broad range of different genres of music.

“She’s more into deep jazz, maskandi etc, a great fan of Paul Simon’s Graceland. I play anything from soul, gospel, Afro pop, kwaito, reggae, house, country and amapiano. Recently I have been blasting Phil Collins’ Both sides of the story, Sbu Noah’s Ngafunyanw­a, Igamalenko­si by Lusanda Spiritual Group and Sankomota’s Now or Never.”

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 ?? / Debbie Yazbek ?? Charles Molapisi is at the helm of MTN in South Africa.
/ Debbie Yazbek Charles Molapisi is at the helm of MTN in South Africa.

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