Inspired by a family friend and Dr Nthato Motlana, a local doctor in his hometown of Sasolburg in the Free State, Mangcwatywa thought medicine was the best way to make a difference. However, destiny had other plans for him.

“I was in my fourth year of medical studies when I read an article about one of the first major black economic empowerment deals and I was captivated. I’d discovered a new path. I still wanted to be a man of stature and a professional, like Dr Motlana, a medical doctor by profession, but I also wanted to be an astute businessman helping the community in other ways.”

After graduating from medical school in 2001 and completing his internship and community service, Mangcwatywa swapped his stethoscope and white coat for suits and boardrooms.

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His first role was as the Business Development Manager at Clinical Research Centre (now Synexus), where he was responsible for attracting international clients to conduct clinical research in SA.

He then did stints at a number of prestigious companies, including global Swedish pharmaceutical company Novartis SA, where he started out as Medical Adviser for the Cardiovascular & Metabolism portfolio, before moving on to head up the medical affairs division, Litha Pharma.

His next job, as the Medical Director at pharmaceutical giant Adcock-Ingram, further honed his business skills and helped catapult him to his present position.

His new role involves providing visionary leadership and helping the company solidify its position as one of the top medical aid providers in SA. Ironically, the company was co-founded by his mentor, Dr Motlana.

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“He was one of the people who inspired me to think beyond medicine and widen my career trajectory to include interaction with mainly black doctors, businessmen and legal professionals, so I’ve come full circle. Being exposed to diverse, admirable leaders have shaped my thinking and way of working while being able to travel globally has taught me about other cultures alternative forms of leadership,” says Mangcwatywa.