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Our Roots

Pamodzi has a unique history. In 1979, Ndaba Ntsele, Solly Sithole and Ncedi Manyoni founded the company at a time when black entrepreneurs in South Africa were barred from owning businesses, particularly in mainstream sectors. Pamodzi defied apartheid to become a noteworthy and successful business with a strong empowerment ethos.

1979: The beginning:

Ntsele, Sithole and Manyoni initially named their company Inter-Marketing Enterprises only to land on a more appropriate name on a visit to Zambia: ‘Pamodzi’, a Kiswahili word meaning “togetherness”. The new name encapsulates their vision for the company: the development and growth of the collective. Pamodzi Property Construction (PPC) is born, funded by the trio’s personal endowment policies.

1980s: Laying a strong foundation

A massive housing shortage in Soweto presented an opportunity to the company to build what was then called “two room and a garage” in the townships. No new houses were being built by the government for township residents, creating demand for supplementary living spaces and home extensions.

Pamodzi soon begins to construct and sell three bedroom houses in Soweto, on land bought from the Urban Foundation. The company also locates a building society which can grant residential loans to potential clients.

In partnership with a well-known construction company, Pamodzi ventures into petrol stations and helps to develop Soweto, Tshwane and sections of Ekurhuleni. School construction is another focus area for Pamodzi. The group receives a recognition award for the construction of Seana Marena Secondary School in Soweto.

1990s: Reaching higher

A dawning democracy in the early 1990s presents new opportunities for South African businesses, particularly black entrepreneurs. Ntsele and Sithole take the opportunity to approach Nike International in 1993 with a plan to launch the global sportswear brand in southern Africa. Within three years, Nike South Africa secures its brand dominance on the continent.

In 1995, Nike South Africa sponsors the victorious Springbok national team during that year’s Rugby World Cup, in a move which marked the country’s return to international sport. The Nike Care Trust, which develops sporting facilities in underprivileged communities, also builds Sebokeng’s iconic Chris Hani Sports Complex. In 1996, Ntsele and Sithole, together with a group of professionals set up Pamodzi Investment Holdings (PIH), which later becomes a serious player in the South African economy.

A string of acquisitions soon follows: 20% of private hospital group Auckland Investments, South Africa’s largest fleet management solutions company, WesBank First Auto (25.1%), leading BMW dealership Auto Bavaria Motors (49%), JSE-listed IT company Digicore (25.1%), and 45% of Sodexho Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. Additional investments include short-term insurance company Prestasi Brokers, now known as Indwe Risk following a merger with Thebe a leading sports marketing, sponsorship, hospitality and rights-acquisition business. Pamodzi Sports Marketing and Pamodzi Leisure Solutions which owns the five-star Tinga Game Park near the Kruger National Park.

In 1998 Pamodzi purchases 51% of food manufacturing, marketing and distribution company FoodCorp for R1.9 billion, giving it control of leading brands such as Yum Yum peanut butter, Ouma Rusks, Nola mayonnaise and Glenryck canned pilchards. This becomes the largest management buyout in South Africa.

2000s: Leading the market

In 2003, the company acquires 30% of world-class stockist, distributor and processor of stainless steel Kulungile Metals (Pty) Ltd, formerly known as Stalcor. The following year, FoodCorp raises the first high-yield Eurobond by a South African company – and the largest secondary buyout at the time. Pamodzi also buys 28% in Namitech Holdings that same year.

In 2007, Pamodzi launches Africa’s biggest private equity initiative, the Pamodzi Resources Fund with US$1.3 billion from US investors.

That same year, subsidiary Pamodzi Coal purchases a 26% stake in Anglo Coal, through the broad-based black economic empowerment consortium Inyosi. The resulting R7.4 billion company, Anglo Inyosi Coal, is a fully empowered South African company with a resource base of over four billion tons of coal.

Today, Pamodzi is staying true to its history, and continuing to actively seek out new opportunities while introducing a new philosophy for business innovation.

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