Dr Chris van der Merwe is not only the founder of what grew into JSE-listed private education group Curro and its sister company, tertiary education company STADIO.
His other loves include cars and making wine. His latest project - due for launch soon - is his Dune Cat, a rebuilt vehicle with which one can tackle the dunes in Namibia.
Van der Merwe grew up in humble surroundings in the Cape Town suburb of Goodwood.
"It was just my mom (a widow), sister and me," he recalls. "My father passed away when I was only three years old, so I never knew him," he remembers. "Today, when I look back and reflect on my career, I realise the vital role my mom Freda played in giving me a solid upbringing, education and, importantly, self-confidence. She believed in my potential."
The family would sit around the small kitchen table, trying to come up with ways to stretch the meagre income his mom had from his father's pension. This was the start of entrepreneurial thinking for Van der Merwe.
First to go to university