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Welcome to TopCo Business Unusual

Ever wondered what’s different about successful people? Business, policy and society are interwoven… and the future always allows us to see things differently. What sort of life do we really want? A disrupter is always looking at things from a different perspective. Let’s take a journey away from short termism and start looking at a better future. Meet the interesting people changing Africa – and the way we work, think and live.

Head of Google South Africa talks about digital skills post COVID-19

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media engages in critical conversation with Alistair Mokoena to discuss the importance of digitalisation in businesses. From embracing failure to boosting accessibility – they unpack it all in length. Alistair shares valuable messages of hope and purpose surrounding the challenges that all families and businesses are currently facing.

Theo Baloyi, CEO of Bathu Shoes – a proudly South African success story stepping into Africa

In our podcast this week, Karla Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Topco Media speaks to Theo Baloyi, Founder and CEO of Bathu Shoes – a truly South African business success story. While living with his uncle in Alexandra, Theo completed a BCom Accounting degree and went on to work in South Africa for two years and then the Middle East. It was during his time in the Middle East that the 30-year-old accountant-turned entrepreneur saw a gap in the sneaker market. He noticed that on a global level there was something missing − an African sneaker brand portraying an authentically honest African story. After months of researching and conceptualising, Bathu was born in 2015, launching 100 pairs of Mesh Edition sneakers to the residents of Alexandra, Soweto, Thembisa and Midrand. In 2016 after releasing another 400 pairs, the Bathu website crashed a mere four hours after the announcement of the release. To say the brand took off would be an understatement.

Leanne Manas on the secrets of being a successful journalist and the importance of being heard

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Head of Marketing, Karla Fletcher, sits down with Leanne to discuss a host of topics, from the importance of having a safe space to what keeps her grounded in South Africa. Leanne shares some of the vital lessons she’s learned throughout her career and dives into what it really means to make a change.

The importance of staying in your lane with Becky Motumo

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media Head of Marketing, Karla Fletcher, sits down with Becky Motumo − Sports Talent & Brand Manager for Caster Semenya and Carol Tshabalala. Becky is also a radio personality and fitness model who believes whole-heartedly in empowering young South African girls and pointing them in directions which they may not originally have considered. She believes in recognising what you’re good at and knowing how to use it.

Hearing vs listening. Talking youth entrepreneurship and active listening with Lincoln Mali

What makes Lincoln Mali so refreshing and interesting to talk to is that he places such importance on interpersonal relationships within the workplace. He attributes much success in the workplace to simply listening, not judging and being present.

On this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with Lincoln, the Chairman of Diner’s Club South Africa, who has been at Standard Bank for 19 years.

The benefits of being audacious and taking risks with Tara Fela-Durotoye

Tara Fela-Durotoye is an entrepreneurial powerhouse. But more than that, she is real. As a beauty entrepreneur, lawyer and founder of House of Tara, she has received multiple national and international awards for her contribution to the industry and active role in entrepreneurship and empowerment among women. Although Tara is undoubtedly an expert in the field of entrepreneurship, she remains open to learning new things and takes ownership of her mistakes. Tara’s philosophy for getting what you require? Have the audacity to ask for what you want and make no apologies for it.

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with Tara to discuss entrepreneurship, the key to being able to sell your product and the hard truth that relationships (in all areas of life) take work and consistency.

Scaling up, profitability and incentives – Business Unusual podcast with Robert Paddock

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media sits down with Robert Paddock Co-founder at GetSmarter, Executive Director at Hubble Studios, Board Member at Injini, and CEO at Valenture Institute.

Youth Innovation Entrepreneurship Design Institute’s Jayshree Naidoo on entrepreneurship and choosing your own path

In this week’s Topco Business Unusual podcast, Karla Fletcher sits down with Jayshree Naidoo − CEO of YiEDi.

According to Jayshree the output of entrepreneurship is innovation. In terms of entrepreneurship, Jayshree knows what she’s talking about. As a technical expert in helping entrepreneurs, Jayshree and her company focus on innovation and strategy consulting, incubation design and management, entrepreneurship and supplier development and digital and eLearning solutions..

Janine Ahlers on looking inwards and addressing the misconceptions around coaching

As a professional Integral Coach and Academic Director of the Centre for Coaching , Janine Ahlers is a guru in the field of Integral Coaching − a form of coaching with a sound theoretical base. In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher sits down with Janine to discuss the ins and outs of coaching, why we should always look inwards and the secrets to successful leadership.

Colin Coleman on South Africa’s current realities and how we can triumph through our 3 main challenges

On this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with Colin for a dynamic and informative discussion ranging from how we can address South Africa’s current challenges to what’s needed to drive a culture of entrepreneurship. Colin’s insights are equally optimistic and realistic as he dives into the three main challenges which South Africa is facing at this point and how we can combat them. Among other topics, Colin and Ralf discuss the notion of debt spiral, how we can make the most of our dynamic economy and the problem with rigid ideological boundaries.

Talking leadership and value-creation with Nedbank COO, Mfundo Nkuhlu

When we talk about a great leader, we talk about someone who not only teaches others, but learns from them too. Nedbank COO, Mfundo Nkuhlu likes to think of the idea of teaching and learning as a constantly revolving spiral − we grow toward those above us while we bring up those below us.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, sits down with Nedbank COO, Mfundo Nkuhlu. Having worked at Nedbank for over 15 years, Mfundo holds a diverse range of skills after working in various facets of the company. Not only is he an expert at what he does, Mfundo brings with him a wealth of knowledge on topics such as employee relations, the importance of mentorship and where digital transformation can take us.

Going digital and understanding technologies with Adi Kaimowitz

Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media speaks to National Business Award finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year, Adi Kaimowitz – CEO and founder of Virtual Actuary.
In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, speaks to Adi about digitising consulting processes, changing the way we have been doing things and implementing digital changes going forward.

Reinventing business models during the pandemic with Kate Moodley

Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media speaks to Kate Moodley, author of I INC: Be the CEO of your Brand and Franchise Director for Discovery Consulting Services. Kate is a former Top Woman Business Woman of the Year and Top Women Executive winner at Topco Media’s 8th annual Top Women Awards.

Facing challenges head on: In conversation with EOH CEO, Stephen van Coller

“If you know the enemy is coming, you don’t wait until they come around the corner to see how big their guns are; you put your biggest guns forward in preparation.” This is EOH CEO, Stephen van Coller’s response to fighting a battle in which you don’t know what to expect, like COVID-19. With over two decade’s worth of financial services experience, Stephen brings with him a wealth of knowledge, not only within the facet of business, but life as a whole.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with Stephen van Coller to discuss a wide range of topics, from the way COVID-19 has increased cohesion in the workplace to why surrounding yourself with individuals different from you is so important.

Talking COVID-19, leadership and failing forward with Sygnia CEO, Magda Wierzycka

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Ralf Fletcher sits down with renowned businesswomen, billionaire and anti-corruption activist, Magda Wierzycka. Magda, who defines the notion of building yourself from the ground up, is a powerhouse and force to be reckoned with in the South African economy. She’s built seven companies, is currently preparing for her role as CEO of The Apprentice South Africa in 2021 and runs for two hours a day on the treadmill..

Looking to the future with Standard Bank’s Funeka Montjane and Khomotso Molabe

“The job of leadership is to create more leaders” – Funeka Montjane

This week we are joined by Standard Bank SA’s Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking, Funeka Montjane, and Chief Information Officer, Khomotso Molabe. In conversation with Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, Funeka and Khomotso share their insights on the significance of one’s heritage, their tips on how to keep up with change and why entrepreneurship is so vital right now. They discuss the importance of giving the South African youth a chance to move forward in their own ways, while simultaneously taking on the responsibility of becoming role models.

Surviving COVID by going 100% digital – extreme entrepreneurship

Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media speaks to Andrew Smith, CEO and co-founder of Yuppiechef – NBA Digital Company of the Year.

Andrew Smith started Yuppiechef in his lounge, with co-founder Shane Dryden, in 2006. They had no money, 32 products and 1 brand. Today they have 7 shops, 400 suppliers and their e-commerce-first principle has served them well during lockdown. In this podcast – which is a must for all entrepreneurs – Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco, speaks to Andrew about surviving COVID, the enduring appeal of retail shops, the importance of customer service, the pain of being an entrepreneur – and not eating the spinach plant before it is ready.

Dr Glenda Gray – Freedom of Expression and Equal Opportunity


Born and raised in Boksburg, South Africa, Glenda Gray knew from the age of six that she would become a doctor. In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with the leading physician, scientist and activist. As the first ever woman president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, Glenda has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is a strong activist for the equal rights of women and girls, and was listed as one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes Africa in 2020. With a strong view that as a society, we need to provide young disadvantaged individuals with opportunities in science and technology, Glenda shares her hope for the future in terms of education and how equal opportunity will play out in the coming years.

5 principles of success from a car retailer to tech entrepreneurs

In this week’s Business Unusual Podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down to chat to Essa Suleman, Director of Woodford. Essa places “customer excellence” at the heart of what he does. This differs from customer service in that he shifts focus away from simply providing customers with service, rather focusing on providing them with the excellence he believes all customers deserve. Having worked at Woodford for over ten years, Essa has a wealth of knowledge in the field of car rentals.

Luc-Olivier Marquet – Social Change & Importance of Interpersonal Relationships

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher is joined by Unilver SA Executive Vice President, Luc-Olivier Marquet. Born in France, Luco has worked in some of the most sought-after destinations in the world, from Mexico to Miami. He joined Unilever in August 2013 as Vice President for Unilever West Africa and Vice Chairman for the Board of Unilever Ghana Limited. Having worked all over the world, Luco brings with him knowledge not only in the realm of the workplace, but also on an interpersonal level. Ralf and Luco discuss the challenges we are facing as a society during this global pandemic, the current social justice movements that we are seeing and how, when it comes down to it, the time for change is now − we are facing a sense of urgency and have no more time to waste.

Aisha Pandor talks Sweepsouth, transformation and the power of women

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher is in conversation with local powerhouse Aisha Pandor, co-founder of SweepSouth. Aisha is the daughter of Naledi Pandor (South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation) and brings with her a wealth of knowledge both inside and outside the workplace. With a PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Cape Town and an entrepreneurial, forward-thinking verve, Aisha is an inspiration to all South Africans.

The lighter side of life: a chat with Nik Rabinowitz

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher sits down with Nik Rabinowitz. As a giant in the South African comedy scene, Nik has seen it all. With an uncanny ability to leave his audience in stitches, he knows exactly what to say and when to say it. That being said, comedy aside, Nik also has a very well-rounded view on society and the world at large. He brings with him knowledge about how life has changed since COVID-19 and whilst he acknowledges the realness of the consequences we’re currently facing; he also looks to the lighter side of things – perhaps something that many of us forget to do. Nik and Ralf discuss the way that life as we know it has transformed in recent months, as well as the opportunities we are now afforded with regards to self-exploration and growth. 

Transformation, Mars, African Space Agency and Life with Adriana Marais

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher sits down to talk with Adriana Marais − theoretical physicist, technologist and aspiring extra-terrestrial. Adriana’s goals are big: to understand our world and beyond. Adriana is the founder of Proudly Human, which pioneers new frontiers in research and technology for a resilient future on Earth and Mars. Having recently visited the Antarctic interior and the Oman desert on location scouts for Proudly Human’s Off-World Project, she is used to extremes. Adriana and Ralf discuss a wide range of topics, from what it means to truly think globally, to the importance of seizing the moment and making the most of what we have right now.

Dawie Roodt, Chief Economist, Efficient Group – Opportunities for Africa


In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media is in conversation with Dawie Roodt − one of South Africa’s most respected, expert economists. Dawie dives into the nature of economics and the way it is often only perceived as revolving around money. He discusses the human element of economics as well as the way we can expect the economy to be moving in the near future.


Leila Fourie, CEO, JSE – Opportunities for Africa


This week on the Top Women podcast, Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher is in conversation with Leila Fourie, who has held the position of CEO at the JSE since October 2019.
With a career that spans more than 25 years, Leila has worked in the capital markets, payment systems, consulting, investment banking and retail banking.


Trending with Dion Chang

This week on Topco Business Unusual podcast, we converse with trend strategist, Dion Chang – innovator, creative thinker and walking ideas bank. His company Flux Trends specialises in understanding the consumer mindset and identifying unexpected business opportunities.


Talkin success with Paddy Upton

In this week’s Business Unusual Podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco is in conversation with legendary cricket coach, Paddy Upton. With four degrees under his belt, positions as head coach in international T20 cricket, mental coach to professional athletes, business coach and university professor, Paddy truly encompasses the notion of an all-rounder.


Brett Archibald – Lost at Sea

Having fallen overboard unconscious off a surf charter boat in the middle of a stormy night, being stung by Portuguese man of war and jellyfish, eaten by small fish, attacked by seagulls, hit by a shark plus surviving the ordeal of swimming for 28.5 hours alone in the Mentawai Straits in the Indian Ocean, entrepreneur and successful businessman Brett Archibald is now a sought-after corporate speaker.


Dineo Molefe, MD at T-Systems South Africa

One of the most challenging things in life is to balance work and family and having the determination to ‘make it’ in a world where leaders are not born but made. Dineo Molefe, MD at T-Systems South Africa can testify that it takes sheer determination and the will to educate oneself without the privilege of financial support

Brett Loubser, CEO, Tencent Africa Services – Why tech is key to accelerating economic growth

Brett Loubser is the CEO of Tencent Africa Services, and is responsible for the operations of JOOX – a popular music-streaming app – in Africa. He has been working in the mobile industry since 1997, and has worked for a number of mobile companies including Nokia, MTN and Samsung electronics.

Clem Sunter podcast – Ralf Fletcher, CEO TOPCO Media

Flags of the future to watch

In our most recent Topco Business Unusual Podcast guest Clem Sunter, Topco CEO Ralf Fletcher discusses: What the future might hold.

Clem Sunter Joined Anglo America in 1966 in London, through its gold division, then moved to its Zambia division and later moved with them to South Africa in 1973.

Muhammadh S Amod podcast – Ralf Fletcher, CEO TOPCO Media

In this episode, Topco Media CEO Ralf Fletcher spoke to winner of the Fast Growth Company Award at the 2019 National Business Awards, Boon Africa’s CEO Muhammadh S Amod in a Business Unusual podcast 

Principles for leading africa’s most established Multinational and staying relevant in Africa

Driving a digital and productive economy is dependent on addressing our skills shortage, today I’m joined by Iain Williamson the acting CEO of Old Mutual Group. who exudes a quiet and considered confidence, a measured and honest approach to challenges, not one to shy away from any hard conversations and happy to get stuck in and engage. 

How to successfully navigate digital transformation to survive the greatest crisis in modern history.

Our lives have been turned upside down. We all have so many questions and not enough answers… what will we look back and say we should have done, could have done? We take a leap into the future of a digital world of business with two best-selling authors and gurus of digital transformation – Salim Ismail and Tony Saldanha.

MBS 228 – Ralf Fletcher, CEO TOPCO Media

In this episode, Matt chats to Ralf Fletcher. Ralf is the CEO of TOPCO Media and Africa Tech Week where Matt and Ralf connected. 

Topco Masterclass

Masterclass Episode 1 : OTTC & Topco Media

Key insights you will learn:

• Addressing the training curriculum gap in the South African higher education sector.

• The need for lifelong learning programmes.

• How we can create a sustainable, environmentally, self contained city for artisans – Skills City Africa.

• The importance of “building, showing and doing” during training.

• How to link curricula to the needs of society.


Masterclass 4 Episode series: CYBERTEC & Topco Media

CYBERTEC Masterclass Ep.04 – CYPEX – Rapid Application Building

Key insights you will learn:

• Gathering specifications more quickly

• Build database applications more quickly

• How to consolidate hundreds of “free roaming” Excel sheets and create professional database driven applications

• Moving from APEX to Open Source faster

CYBERTEC & Topco Media Masterclass: Artificial Intelligence & Data Science for Business Applications

Key insights you will learn:

• How artificial intelligence can be used for business

• What is possible and what is not

• Developing a strategy to obtain the data necessary

• AI and data at the core of a business strategy

CYBERTEC & Topco Media Masterclass: High Security Databases for Enterprise Applications

Key insights you will learn:

• Being aware of common security threats

• Protecting against data leaks

• Giving secure test data to developers

• Handling database security

• Automated database security audits

Masterclass Episode.01: Top 5 Data Trends for Africas

Key insights you will learn:

• Being aware of common security threats

• Protecting against data leaks

• Giving secure test data to developers

• Handling database security

• Automated database security audits

Masterclass Episode 2: Simplify and Topco Media

Join us for an indepth discussion with Carolyn McKechnie, a certified Information Privacy Professional and admitted attorney, Marc Privett, General Manager of Simplify, Henneri Crous, Head of Sales for Simplify and Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher as they discuss the practical tools to gear your business for POPIA compliance.

Key insights you will learn:

• Get an overview of the POPIA act and how it will impact your business

• Understand why compliance is not only mandatory, but essential for corporate governance

• Understand how the POPIA Act will affect recruitment

• Get practical steps on how to gear your recruitment processes for POPIA compliance

Masterclass Episode 1: Simplify and Topco Media

Join Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, Marc Privett and Henneri Crous, General Manager and Head of Sales for Simplify respectively. As they deep dive into the conundrum of hiring during the lockdown and its impact on the future of work. How do we engage within a new digital environment. Simplify is a subsidiary of Media24 Group.

Key insights you will learn:

• Gain insights into the impact of hiring during the lockdown

• How you can use this time to improve your hiring processes, your employer brand and ensure hiring compliance

• How to effectively engage with candidates in a new digital environment

• The long term impact of the future of work and the working environment

• What forward thinking companies are doing to tackle the hiring challenges head-on and using the disruption to their advantage

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