The interesting hobbies and activities your favourite finance leaders do to unwind


Have you ever wondered what South Africa’s top financial leaders favourite hobbies are? We took a look.

Aside from bringing life as we know it to a halt, last year’s hard lockdown gave us all the opportunity to devote more time to some of our favourite hobbies, while others developed new ones.

Our finance leaders are no exception: for Sage FD Jordaan Burger (pictured), working remotely allowed him to spend more time in his favourite environment, the garden, where he grows and collects cycads.

Green-fingered FD
Cycads have been a lifelong passion for the horticulturist financial director and working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown has given him more time to admire and nurture his collection.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to admire my cycads in my garden during the day. I also enjoy reading up on them. Growing cycads from seeds is a real exercise in the importance of patience. It takes time and effort to prepare seeds for the germination box and to ensure the moisture and temperature are just right,” he said.

Not only have these palm tree-like succulents been around as long as dinosaurs, they can also set you back a pretty penny. According to Jordaan, the very rare ones can set you back thousands of rands. “It’s not uncommon for the rarer species, such as Encephalartos hirsutus, to be auctioned off for more than R50,000 at cycad auctions, and that’s for a plant you can take home on the passenger seat in your car.”

Read more: Sage FD Jordaan Burger shares his passion for collecting cycads

Navigating Covid-19 and the ocean
Anglo American Platinum CFO Craig Miller didn’t let Covid-19 slow him down and obtained his skipper’s licence in October 2020. Craig also puts his licence to good use and whenever he and his family are on holiday in Knysna, they take the boat out on the lagoon and go tubing.

He says spending time outdoors gives one a different appreciation for nature: “It makes you appreciate some of the wonders of nature, but also the power of the elements,” he says. “Things can change so quickly at sea.”

He explains that the boating has taught him to be much more prepared for changes, like the tides or weather. “It’s like anything in life, it teaches you to be more cognisant of your surroundings.”

Read more: CFO Craig Miller charting a course at sea and in business

A love for carpentry
Metropolitan Retail CFO Etienne le Roux not only has a knack for numbers, but if you asked nicely, he could probably build you a brand-new kitchen unit from scratch, since his other talent besides financial risk analysis is carpentry.

Etienne grew up on a farm in Villiersdorp, where his grandfather taught him carpentry at a young age. “We did carpentry for our farm workers. My grandfather would buy the wood and we would make furniture that we then sold to our workers for cheap prices,” he explained.

Today, Etienne has a small carpentry workshop in his backyard where he spends most of his time making toys for his four young children. However, he does still enjoy making furniture for his house now and again. “I often tell my wife that we should start our own company, making and selling kids’ toys.”

Read more: CFO Etienne le Roux’s simplified approach to Metropolitan Retail’s “Reset and Grow” strategy

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