From Bushbuckridge to MultiChoice CEO

If anyone is looking for an example of the power of a good education and hard work, MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela is the perfect fit.

Mawela grew up in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, where his mother raised seven children on a small monthly budget.

The family did not have money for tertiary education, and his mother made a huge sacrifice: getting money from a “loan shark” to pay for Mawela to study engineering.

The loan, which his mother was never certain to be able to pay back, made it possible for Mawela to realise his dream of becoming an engineer.

He graduated with a BSc Electrical Engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and from there hard work carried him to the top.

His first job was as an engineer in training at Sentech, where his salary was in the region of R5,000 per month.

This job gave Mawela a great foundation in the ICT and broadcasting fields, and through his career he served in numerous managerial and advisory capacities.

Mawela took the reins at MultiChoice SA in November 2017, a challenging time in the pay-TV market.

Online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are putting pressure on traditional pay-TV players, and the company has also faced political issues in recent months.

Mawela told MyBroadband he likes these challenges, however, especially when you see the results which hard work bring.

He also credits the team around him for the successes of the company.

“With the CEO position, in some instances everyone expects that you will have answers to everything in the business,” said Mawela.

“The truth is that you are as good as the team you lead, if you have a weak leadership team, you will not be able to achieve the results.”

His advice to advancing in a career is simple – there are no shortcuts in life.

“If you want to succeed, there are a few elements that you need to have as part of your DNA,” said Mawela.

“I would describe them as being hardworking – if you are given a job, make sure you do it as best as you can. Excellence should be the driving force behind everything you do in life.”

Mawela’s tech and business choices

MacBook Air Deal

Which smartphone do you use?


Which laptop do you use?

Macbook Air

What is the best gadget you have ever bought?


What is the worst gadget you have ever bought?


What Internet connection (fixed broadband) do you have at home?

Uncapped ADSL 10Mbps

What is the best investment you have ever made?

Buying Phuthuma Nathi shares

What is the worst investment you have ever made?

I bought a second had car and immediately had problems.

What is the best business book you have ever read?

Winning by Jack Welch

Now read: New CEO for MultiChoice South Africa

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From Bushbuckridge to MultiChoice CEO