Upcoming political tycoon and businessman Zareef Minty gives us some insight as to what makes him who he is.
Dressed in a faded blue skinny jeans and white shirt, topped with a wine-red coloured cardigan, black pointed shoes and Ray-Bans to compliment the look, Zareef directs us to the pool area at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton where we had conducted the interview.
Zareef Minty, aged 20, originally from the North West province in South Africa, son to a defence attorney and a sibling to two qualified lawyers, LLB student at the University of Witswaterstand, , tells us about his inspirations, aspirations in the political field as well as in the business arena. Naturally, coming from a family that are all inclined to politics and law, Zareef found it rather encouraging and easier to follow the same field of career as his family as he knew that he would have the support and backup in the field, however, Zareef makes sure to confirm that law and politics are a definite passion and not just a “family-trade”.
From a young age, Zareef had a unique sort of ambition, an ambition which he knew he would establish and that would develop him to be the person he aimed to be. From his schooling days, Zareef was part of his school’s first team Hockey as well as a part of many student clubs at his school, as Zareef says “being a part of the “jocks” as well as the “nerds”, I was drawn to two circles and I knew that I needed to balance that and eventually I did just that.” Remarkably, Zareef has his own clothing line and talent company Self Made Billionaire (SMB), this clothing line was established at the time when Zareef was in grade 10. He felt the need to be more than just an academically and sports engaging student, he felt the need to establish himself and make his mark amongst the stars. With a slight smirk, Zareef states that there are big plans and announcements coming up for SMB. In addition, Zareef is an aspiring author and is currently writing his own book titled Empire which features successful stories of prominent businessmen and politicians. This book will be nationally available as well as available on the net.
Moreover, Zareef is a part of many major organisations and social clubs on campus of which he plays many roles in them. Zareef had initially joined the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) which was during the time of his first year on campus, with a proud smile, Zareef states “this is when I met all the relevant people in the field of politics and it was just so humbling to be an associate to them.“ Having done campaigns for student run organisations of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at university is definitely not as exciting as being an integral part of a political party which encouraged opportunities for parliament candidacy and fifth in line for presidency. Zareef is the Youth President of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) which was founded in November 2013 by author & businessman Gayton McKenzieand businessman & socialite Kenny Kunene. Being approached on a personal relation level, Zareef felt that he was able to bring something to the political party that would be unique and innovative amongst the youth.Zareef claims that his relation with Kenny Kunene tracks way back to before the establishment of PA, he further goes onto saying “Kenny is a good friends of mine from years and years ago and I just couldn’t turn down his offer to join his party and also I knew that it would give me a sense of development, experience and help me build my image amongst the political circles.”
Every year the Mail & Guardian, select 200 individuals who play a prominent role in developing South Africa, the people selected each year come from across all sections of society and symbolize the best that South Africa has to offer. Astoundingly, Zareef has made it to the top 200 of the Mail & Guardian in the Politics and Government category.He added, “I am extremely excited to be on this list and my next goal when it comes to achievements and lists would be making the Forbes Africa most influential young people list.”
Been well-established comes with admiration, Zareef carefully expresses that the three people that he admires belong to three different categories. In terms of lifestyle, Zareef admires supermodel Lee-Anne Liebenberg’s husband Nicky van der Walt, “I admire the way Nicky carries out himself, and it just brings out the best in him. If you look at him, you will see a humble and selfless gentleman who has a great wife.” In terms of business, Zareef excitedly admits that he admires mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, Zareef goes onto saying “Patrice is such phenomenal being, the way he comes up with ideas and concludes business deals is just mind-blowing”. Lastly, with a slight sigh and pause, Zareef mentions that in terms of politics, he admires Cyril Ramaphosa. Cyril is a business minded person and essentially is the backbone of the ANC. furthermore; Zareef admires the way and manner in which Cyril maintains the actions of the ANC and hopes that Cyril will step up and take over from President Jacob Zuma once his term as president has ended.
Coming to Zareef’s weaknesses and strengths, he timidly admits that although he is good at balancing things, prioritising is something he needs to work on and he adds on to saying that “ it is more of a hierarchical concept that I need to work on and decide what is the most important thing I need to do.” In terms of strengths, marketing and networking are his forte, Zareef proudly claims that he is able to market almost anything and everything and that too in a short span of time but obviously this all comes with experience. Zareef considers Kenny to be the inspiration behind this skill, he goes onto saying “Kenny has a unique way of marketing things and I try to grasp the way he thinks and does things because you never know what you need to do to become relevant to society and essentially it is all about being relevant to society.”
Moving onto Zareef’s religious beliefs, he halts at the question and goes onto explaining that there were certain challenges that came with religious beliefs and knowing that he was going to be further exposed to a lifestyle that contradicts his beliefs, he had the support and respect of his fellow political party members. Zareef proudly states “Kenny and Gayton understand my religious beliefs and they genuinely respect those beliefs as well as they respect me and to such an extent that Kenny had attended a Friday Muslim Prayer in Houghton just to understand my religion and began to value it.” Zareef shamefully says that “I had gotten so much of negative criticism from the Muslim community as they felt that I was associating myself with a person who led a totally different lifestyle from me and all I wanted them to do was support my ideas and see what I am capable of doing for the community.” This probably posed as the greatest challenge of joining the PA and clearly Zareef has overcome it.
Being in the political limelight obviously meant being in the social limelight, and the social life for Zareef would comprise of spending a day with his family as he hardly gets to see his family, he considers family and close friends to be a vital part of self-development and goes onto saying that not a lot of people, especially in the corporate world value and appreciate their family. Zareef does not drink any alcohol or smoke, he proudly declares “I will never touch alcohol and that’s just me.” In addition, clubbing is not his thing. A productive day in the life of Zareef would be waking up for early morning prayers, heading to gym, doing interviews with media houses and television broadcastings, university studies, organising political events and finally heading home in anticipation of getting into bed!
Other than politics, Zareef aspires to be an influential businessman and believes that the fundamental basis of achieving this is to adhere to “the triangle”, according to Zareef, business, law and politics make up this triangle and these three aspects are always linked. Zareef goes onto adding “it is important that people get this concept as it will broaden the horizons of business.”
“Politicians should be able to dress as if GQ is after them” – Zareef Minty
Relationships to Zareef are definitely not about settling! Zareef believes and bashfully explains that that his significant other should be “confident, know her identity, faithful, loyal, very social, stunning, brilliant personality, business minded and lastly be someone who can offer me advice.” As for now he still has not found his “Beyonce”. Still not seeing the Harvey Specter resemblance? Relationships will happen in due time, as for now, Zareef aims to achieve fifty goals every year. Since 2008, Zareef writes down these goals in a diary and follows up on them throughout the year. As for this year, Zareef has achieved 26/50 goals and hopes to accomplish the other 24 goals before the end of this year. Starting to see the Harvey Specter resemblance? These goals and resolutions range from personal achievement to social and political achievement which will bring about change.
Future politicians and businessmen could heed on the advice given by Zareef, he explains “well, the best thing to do is to learn from your own as well as other people’s mistakes, you will have to make some of those mistakes to learn. Also, you really need to socialise and network and accept advice from everyone, everyone has something to offer. Lastly, educate yourself, get a degree and engage in extra-curriculum activities.”
Comparing himself to someone else, Zareef believes that he is a really controversial person and that does not bother him at all. Zareef feels that he could be compared to controversial businessman Zunaid Moti and Kenny Kunene, both gentlemen have something unique to offer and are always at the top of the business game and this for Zareef is a crucial position and concept in business.
In conclusion, Zareef aims and hopes to continue inspiring people and bring about change in our communities and in people’s lives. Zareef would like to be remembered as a legacy, someone who brought about change in Africa and fought for what was right. Zareef calmly ends off by sharing his favourite quote “an inch of movement is better than a mile of intention.”
Favourite colour: Black Everything
Favourite sports: Hockey
Favourite Country: Dubai
Favourite food: 2min Noodles
Essential item: cellphone, its everything!
Favourite trend: Italian, chinos and laid back hair!