Mavuso Msimang has travelled the world and held a variety of positions
If ever there was a man worthy of being called a citizen of the world, it would be Mavuso Msimang, outgoing chief executive of the State Information Technology Agency (Sita).
Msimang has lived and worked in Canada, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Moscow. His travels began in 1962 when he went into exile after getting into hot water with the then security police for staging a successful boycott of the "institutionalisation of apartheid" at Fort Hare University, where he was a first year student.
Born in 1941 in Edendale, outside Pietermaritzburg, Msimang grew up around missionaries.
He attended primary school in Jobstown, outside Newcastle, where he lived with his grandmother, unaware that his parents had divorced. Only when he returned to Edendale to start high school did he learn of the divorce.
Msimang matriculated at Inkamana High School, a catholic school in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, in 1960, where he was classmates with the likes of renowned businessman and past chairman of Kunene Bros Holdings, Keith Kunene.
"Don't ask me too much about that. When I told my daughter that Keith was my classmate, she said to me, 'so what happened to you, why is he so rich and you're not?'" says Msimang.
In 1976 he graduated from the University of Zambia with a Bachelor of Science in Entomology degree, where he specialised in biochemistry.
In his 65 years Msimang has held a number of positions. He was Oliver Tambo's private secretary in 1971, volunteered for the United Nations, worked for the United Nations Children's Fund in Ethiopia as head of emergency programmes and was the first black chief executive of South African Tourism from 1994 to 1996.
He recently announced that he was stepping down as chief executive of Sita.
"The transition from politics to the corporate sector was difficult for me because I am very political, until today. It almost felt like a betrayal."
l Visit www.sowetan.co.za to listen to Mavuso Msimang