Discovering the soul of BOSASA

Every high performance employee in a business seems to march to these war songs: Keep the eye on the ball. Always watch the bottom line.

BOSASA CEO Gavin Watson talking to Orange farm kids

Does it mean business only has an ear for soulless, high performance human machines? Focus on performance and productivity has earned big business the criticism of soullessness in pursuit of profits.

There was a time in the history of human kind when customers knew the manufacturers of products by name. Today all you hear is, we don’t know the manufacturer of this product anymore.

The bigger the company, the more the owners don’t even get to be seen behind their products or services. With price-fixing another spoke in this grinding wheel, the disdain with soullessness could only get worse.

What gives a company its soul?

It all begins with some soul searching. At BOSASA we see soul searching as a “deep and anxious consideration of our emotions and motives or of the correctness of our course of action.” And we know we can safely declare, it is well with our soul. Our collective conscience is clear.

We look inside our BOSASA home for feedback. Our Sondolo technicians call BOSASA home. They seek to return when their contracts have run their course despite tempting offers from our competitors and we value their loyalty to their home. They know they are not mere employee numbers but people with names and families.

Raymond Ackerman put his photo, brand promise and signature on every no-name brand product sold at Pick n Pay in order to avoid the notion of a large, faceless grocery store whose owner is unknown

While our clients are institutions, they are represented by people whose beneficiaries need human and a humane service.

How have we uncovered the soul of BOSASA?

  1. We place directors who have decision making powers at the forefront of client interface;
  2. We are agile enough to adjust to our clients’ needs;
  3. We do not shy away from placing the Group CEO in the middle of our BOSASA Social Investment (BSI) initiatives where he had to personally interact with young children in the mining township of Khutsong in Carletonville and Orange Farm in the Vaal.
  4. Our BOSASA Social Investment initiatives go beyond the practice of appointing intermediaries to handle CSI. We go in knee deep and experience the emotions, fatigue, excitement and gratitude with our beneficiaries knowing that we are blessed so we can be a blessing to others.

BOSASA, this is where the heart and soul of progressive change lives. Leading with soul, BOSASA Group CEO regularly reflects on the spirit of the company he leads and inspires teams to reach for greater heights of performance with passion, purpose and fulfillment.

Our systems do not mimic those faceless, automated, impersonal systems. We pride ourselves in keeping a strongly interpersonal interface. Our call centre and JOCC are operational interfaces and not relationship management tools. Our directors who accept legal responsibility and have decision making powers are our relationship managers.

Dr Thembi Modungwa, an EAP consultant at BOSASA Group who also sits on various boards both within the Group and outside, puts it succinctly: “In this organisation, everyone counts, irrespective of one’s birth history, age, education and class. What counts is one’s potential contribution, and managers are taught how to identify this in their teams and are expected to maximise it.”

Then she continues, “We are taught to think: ‘What can I do for the communities around our business units?’ We never leave a community without a footprint.”

She concludes by saying, “Potential employees see a future in this company. They see a Group with opportunities for their unique contributions.”


We are neither a chorus of angels nor a congregation of saints. But we know that our hearts and souls are in the right place.


Velile Phato

Velile Phato

Senior National Content Coordinator
Velile is the founder editor of Bosele, a BOSASA corporate journal. During his early years of heading the magazine, he ventured into other areas of marketing including branding, corporate video production and online content. With his mettle in print, Velile established and is editor of Bosele magazine and editor of video and content website, Transforming Lives as well as senior national content coordinator across all media platforms from print, digital and multi-media. With him, inspiration comes standard. He is a follower of Les Brown.
Velile Phato