This Soweto-born tactical thinker started his entrepreneurial path early, paying for his schooling by managing a tuckshop. Today, he’s the co-manager of a private equity fund.


Menzi Mbatha
Menzi Mbatha
Image: Marc Shoul

F Menzi Mbatha, The co-founder and managing partner at Greystreet Capital, which focuses on mining investments, the thrill lies in “unlocking value”. “I enjoy starting something that begins with a geologist kicking dust and results in
employing people and feeding families,” he says.

Greystreets’ Texas-based partners, Denham Capital — a private equity firm with more than $8.5-billion under management globally — controls a $200-million committed pan-African fund. “We focus on South Africa, while our partners deal with the rest of the continent,” Mbatha says. “No two mining projects are ever the same, which makes for a dynamic setting.”

Mbatha has had a varied career, with stints in marketing, consumer development, and property. His last role was as chief investment officer at mining investment company Afripalm Resources, where he worked under Lazarus Zim.

“I wore suits for 10 years of my corporate life. My friend and mentor Lazarus Zim schooled me,” he says. “But once I established myself on my own, I had to loosen that top button and exhale.

If I can avoid a suit, I do.” Mbatha inherited his stylish genes from his late father, who wore Florsheims and tailored trousers. “He was an exceptional, creative, and dapper man. Matching his flair is beyond me,” Mbatha says.


MBATHA WEARS

A vintage military jacket with red piping bought in Spain, worn with an Etro shirt,
Prada slim-stretch jeans — “they’re so old, they have more patches than an old war tank” — a Hermès belt, and slick Paul Smith shoes. He finishes off his look with a Rolex Datejust and his signature black beads and pearls from Mauritius. “Whether strings, beads, or bangles, I always wear jewellery on my wrists,” Mbatha says.


MBATHA RECOMMENDS

Music? The Soil. Restaurant? Workshop 55. Fragrance? Terre d’Hermès. Book?
Season of Hope by Alan Hirsch. Film? The Giant is Falling. Store? Bon Ami.

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