When asked how he takes denigration he constantly receives from people, especially on social media, in his line of work, Quinton van Rooyen, the sometimes dubbed controversial businessman, said: “Lions don’t lose sleep at the opinions of sheep”.
However, the 55-year-old husband and father of two said his biggest profound wish and inspiration in life is the urge to improve the lives of Namibians through business.
The Durban-born businessman is the managing director and CEO of Trustco Holdings, a locally listed company that has branched out, specialising in insurance, finance, education and media, to mention a few.
Education and role models
Quinton possesses a Bjuris, LLB and Doctorate in Business and Leadership (Honoris Causa) from the International University of Management (IUM).
Here in Namibia, he was brought up in a mainly working-class manner. “To be fair, and like most Namibians of my generation, I was brought up and disciplined by everybody, who insisted they had a bigger interest in me than my parents, apart from my parents, grandparents, teachers and everyone employed in the household, even the neighbours. That was the time before discipline became a human right but was believed to be a human responsibility,” he stated.
His father, Jack van Rooyen, was first a clerk in the railways and later a karate instructor, whereas his mother, Marie, was a clerk of the high court in the capital and later a fitness instructor. “My dad is from Pretoria, and my mother from the deep South – Karasburg,” shared Quinton.
Some people have expressed that Quinton has kasie vibes in terms of mannerism, which means he is relatable, and does not portray himself in a particular way. Some people would say Quinton is a black person trapped in a white person’s body.
“We all get influenced by the environment during our lives. My dad used to give karate classes in the townships during the 1970s, and I learned a few things by joining him there,” outlined Quinton.
He said: “I’m stared at with open mouths when I greet people with a friendly “Uapenduka nawa” (How are you? or Did you wake up well? when directly translated from Otjiherero) or “Matukondjisa” (We are trying/hustling). I can also swear quite comfortably in Khoe-Khoegowab, a language close to my heart,” bared Quinton.
Past time and indulgences
The exposure to different tribes in the country and the love for his fellow countrymen and women have made it possible for him to have the ability to dive in hands and feet in a smiley, marathon chicken or pap en vleis in Katatura, Tseiblaagte or a near-frozen beer at a Cuca shop at the Okatana/Okalongo crossroad with its tropical beach-like white sand and Makalani palms at sunset, plus he does not mind a glass of white wine or two, especially on a Monday.
“Well, as a Namibian, I have an immense love for the outdoors and nature – and from that, hunting and braai naturally follows. I enjoy responsible hunting, as I am sure many Namibians do. I also enjoy reading (but not long books).”
Working for a company that specialises in media, it is no doubt that Quinton would be one of the uncles on the family WhatsApp group who reply to each query because communication is vital.
“I am very active, personally, on my social media. I enjoy engaging in debates with everyone about anything, at least while they remain civil and present interesting arguments.”
A day in the life of Quinton
Whether you are the boss or not, it is important to always have a plan for the day - and looking at Quinton’s list of itineraries, one can tell that simplicity will always be key.
“I get up quite early, read the news, and then follow it up with breakfast and a quick exercise session. Afterwards, it’s off to the office, where I touch base with my executives every morning. We focus and execute on our daily priorities and align it with our strategy. After work, I like to spend time with my family. I try to make every average day an extraordinary day.”
Food for thought
Quinton said timing is as important in business as it is in life. “I have stopped counting the millions I have lost in bad business deals over the years.” Hence, he would tell his 20-year-old self ‘start investing in the shares of publicly-traded companies as soon as you can’.
He said successful entrepreneurs can execute on their vision. In terms of business and to anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps, they should be prepared to have restless nights. “Be prepared for many sleepless nights. Operating as an entrepreneur in a corporate environment means working long hours. You always need the support of many other people.”
Quinton said it is a great satisfaction to share success with those who stood with you through difficult times.