‘Meet the Boss’ is How we made it in Africa’s new interview series, where we pose the same 10 questions to CEOs, executives and business owners across the continent.
Gcina “Mama G” Manyaka, McDonald’s Franchisee, South Africa
1. What was your first job?
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
I think it would be my late mother because she was an entrepreneur herself. She used to sell traditional food at the market.
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
That everybody is serving customers to the best of their ability. And no customer complaints; sometimes I get customer complaints at eleven o’clock at night.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
I’m passionate about what I’m doing. I love the job. I love the brand. I’m confident that the brand is the best in the world. And that their systems are the best in world.
5. What are the best things about South Africa?
South Africa has got a lot of opportunities and it is just up to us to grab them and make use of them. There is a lot of mixing with other cultures and we are open to one another. I think we are all eager to learn from one another and to be successful.
6. And the worst?
Kids that fall pregnant. Drug abuse. Children not wanting to go to school.
7. Your future career plans?
My plan is to grow with McDonald’s. I don’t want to marry anybody else except McDonald’s. I’m going to have three more restaurants, which will be drive-thus in Soweto.
8. You do you relax
I listen to music. Sometimes I have a glass of wine. I like watching 3rd Degree.
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?
The sky is the limit. Never let anybody say that you cannot do something. If you stick to your plan and your dream, you will achieve what you want to achieve. So we should get up and not wait for the government to feed us. The government has funding now . . . which helps entrepreneurs to further their dreams.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential.
[We] must not be lazy. [We] must take the bull by its horn and look for advice anywhere. You must not think that you know everything. Even myself, I have got to ask questions. It doesn’t mean just because I’m the boss I know everything. You must look for people who can help you to grow.
Gcina Manyaka opened her first McDonald’s restaurant in Jabulani Mall, Soweto, in October 2006. In less than a year of operation she obtained her second restaurant at Maponya Mall. In 2008 she was awarded the Trail Blazer Award from the Business Woman Association of South Africa for her achievements.