Businessman and superstar

2014-10-13 00:00

DURBAN businessman Vivian Reddy is so particular about planning his life to the finest detail that he has even planned his own funeral.

From the speakers to the undertakers, Reddy has penned a 30-page document detailing how his funeral will play out.

Reddy said: “Anything can happen to me, so I stress the importance of planning your life. I want my funeral to be a celebration of my life … I always want to be the superstar, so why should my funeral be any less?”

Reddy said: “My children and my wife know what’s in my will. I have planned my own funeral because I know that most funerals bring about divisions, and I don’t want to create unhappiness when I depart.”

Reddy said he had seen many families feuding over assets, and he did not want that to put a dampener on his legacy.

Reddy (61) plans to retire from active business at the age of 65. After 36 years of running a successful business, he will dedicate the rest of his life to his family.

Reddy does not shy away from talking about his humble beginnings. He said growing up in a family with nine children in their modest Greenwood Park home was not easy.

His father was a teacher and earned R3 a month.

It was at the age of 10 that Reddy learnt how to serve others.

“My father taught me that service to humanity is the best work of life.”

At the age of 16, he was elected to lead South Africa’s first Boy Scouts Jamboree in Japan.

This is where he got the rare opportunity to meet Neil Armstrong, who would later pave the way for his successful career.

He said to me: “Young man, if you can dream it, you can achieve it, and perseverance prevails when all else fails. I held on to those words for ever.”

Reddy said had since renovated his family home because he never wanted to forget where he was from. “People don’t want to be reminded that they were once poor. They want to forget their past,” said Reddy.

He said he knew that people criticised him for his political connections, but he said he did not really care.

“I joined the ANC in 1990, and I knew Zuma back then. He used to play pool with my children. He is the godfather of my kids. I knew these guys when we all had nothing,” said Reddy.

Reddy said he loved his family.

“We set goals together and play together. You have to make it exciting, even with the family, because with kids it is not the expensive things that you buy them, but the quality time you spend with them. I still have pillow fights with my kids.”

He has been married to Sorisha Naidoo for 11 years now. So how do they keep the fire burning?

“Our relationship is warm, and we also set goals for our relationship. We have date nights twice a week, and we try consistently to keep attracted to one another.”

The Orlando Pirates fan said you could never have too much money.

“The more money you have, the more money you can give away.”


Vivian Reddy in a nutshell

Durban businessman Vivian Reddy says he will retire from active business at the age of 65. he says he will dedicate the rest of his life to his wife, Sorisha and his five children. The couple adore their pugs, Max and Mace.

PHOTO: matthew Middleton

Born: 22 February 1953

Wife: Sorisha Naidoo

Children: Five

Grandchildren: Five

Education: Greenwood Primary, Sastri Park Secondary School and Springfield Training College

Career in brief: Studied at Springfield Training College for two weeks. Later he decided he wanted to be an electrical engineer after a brief encounter with an engineer. He then got an electrical apprenticeship and worked for the company for four years before he was fired.

He started Reddy’s Electrical with R500 and an old bakkie.

He changed Reddy’s Electrical to Edison Power and the rest is history. Today Reddy has business interests in casinos, healthcare and property.

Best business deal: “I invested R300 000 and that turned into R30 million, and later into R300 million all in three years.”

Worst business deal: “I received a substantial fee to take a major South African company to a state in Africa whereby, in lieu of my R30 million fee, I was offered a 5% shareholding in the company. I took the fee because of an emotional decision based on the political and social uprising in the country. In hindsight, it was not a clear business decision, because today that 5% share is worth R1,5 billion.”

Business advice: “One of the business successes is effective networking. Business today is largely done with good relationships and contacts. You are only as good as your last deal, as people will judge you by your failures and not by your successes. And always do your best.”

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