This week I am in South Africa. At the moment I am literally flying from Johannesburg to Durban in a single-engine Pilates PC 12, a very upscale Swiss-manufactured plane. I am told pilots will know and appreciate the plane. It is supposedly the safest plane in the world, which is somewhat comforting as we bounce through a few storm clouds (and thunderstorms later tonight of the way to Cape Town!). My business partners and hosts, Dr. Prieur du Plessis and Paul Stewart of Plexus Asset Management, have kept me busy, but it has been fun.
This week's letter is the text of the keynote speech I gave last night at the Raging Bull awards in Johannesburg. There are a number of awards given to the various mutual funds (called here a unit trust or a collective investment scheme) that had the best performance in their respective categories over the last 3-5 years. The winning funds had some very impressive performance indeed. It was a black tie dinner with about 400 attendees. It was one of the more elegant events I have attended in my life.
Before we get to the text of the speech, a few thoughts on my impressions of South Africa so far. It has been about 12 years since I have been here. My last visit I drove from Jo'burg to the administrative capital at Pretoria, a distance of about 30 miles. It was basically farm land between the cities.