I attended the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) this past Thursday and it was truly an inspiring evening.
It’s been a busy week and I had a lot of work to do. Taking Thursday night off was not part of the plan, but I felt I needed to try attend more of the Forbes/CNBC events before they take me off their mailing list. I’ve been invited to the AABLAs for years but never attended.
I tried to tell myself maybe it would be good for networking, but these dinner situations never really are, unless you’re prepared to work the room… which I was not. So, I sat diligently at my table and made small talk with the people around me and just took the night in.
I was completely blown away. There are people doing phenomenal things on the continent. Each category was shortlisted to 3 finalists and they were all extremely worthy contenders, very tough competition.
I enjoyed seeing the founder of King Price as a finalist. He was one of the judges in my panel the Accenture Rising Star Awards, as well as seeing the co-founders of We Buy Cars who are brothers. I’ve sold a car through them and had the best experience. It was great to learn about their business, from how they started to what they’ve built today.
It was great seeing Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa walk away a winner as Business Woman of the Year – the only black female CEO of a JSE listed company. Representation matters and she’s had a phenomenal, inspiring business journey over the years.
As the programme seemed to come to an end and I thought I’m so glad I came, I can go home now… they announced the Lifetime Achievement recipient. Up came a man that looked like a Rockstar with his wavy long white hair, Mr Allen Ambor, the founder of Spur Corporation, and he completely stole the night! His electrifying energy which you could tell he definitely had in his 20s when he started the business, was something to aspire to. I literally thought to myself, I would love to still have that type of energy and passion about life and business in my 70s.
I managed to get a pic with him, and I would definitely like to attend one of his business talks in future. The Spur slogan is “A taste for life” and he is the absolute personification of it.