Over the past few years, Gupta has become one of the less appealing surnames in South Africa. The immigrant Indian family which bears it, has become synonymous with much that has gone wrong in the young democracy. So for many South Africans today, a corrupt person is described as having been “Gupta-rised”, someone unethically indebted to another has been “Gupta-ed” and so on. Before relocating to London, Simon Lincoln Reader used to be the Gupta family’s neighbour, having to daily wind his way past their high walled compound in Saxonwold, one of Johannesburg’s better suburbs. In this superbly written piece, he offers a unique perspective. You get exposed to a lot of below the radar stuff living next door to someone. Especially, in this case, a family of “businessmen” whose opportunism has generated enormous wealth in double quick time. Reader’s previous contributions have been wildly popular among the Biznews community. There is no doubt this one will continue that trend. – Alec Hogg
By Simon Lincoln Reader*
I used to live near to the Guptas in Saxonwold, and now I live near to some of their reputation managers in London, which is equally annoying and unnatural, because no man not yet forty should have such extensive experience of such a preposterous industry. But before I am read extracts of a riot act on a Friday afternoon by a jumped-up English reputation manager on her way to Verbier for the weekend, I make the following disclaimer: the Guptas themselves were perfectly reasonable neighbours.