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How to be… the tenacious Sudhir Ruparelia

Illustration by Chrisogon

Illustration by Chrisogon

LIVING THE LIFE: If anyone asks you about rich people in this country, Sudhir Ruparelia’s name will most likely come to mind first. The intriguing part about this guy though is his resilience after the storm he faced last year and then his chiller attitude.

If there was a dollar for every time you were told a building was owned by Sudhir, you would be a millionaire. The guy literally owns the whole of Kampala. Kampala Road is littered with multiple buildings believed to be owned by Sudhir. Even the kaloli that chill at City Square are believed to be endorsed by the man. How crazy is that! Elsewhere, he is one of the most recognisable businessmen in Uganda with interests in banking, real estate, hospitality and education among others. Once East Africa’s richest man with a net worth of $Ibn, Sudhir has earned his stripes in the business community and Ugandans overall for many years. This is particularly for building a business empire that has tapped into many core service areas, and an empire that has also created many jobs for Ugandans. Despite all this, Ugandans were chanting when Crane Bank, one of his companies was declared bankrupt. His plight was a party and victory for some. Let’s face it, we all hate our landlords, especially if they smoke cigars and are bored enough to organise goat races, but why hate on Sudhir? It’s like some people’s prayers were answered. Anyway if the property mogul excites you, here is how you could be like him:

Take risks!
Ugandans believe taking a risk is when you are walking around with a smartphone with 5 per cent battery life. Okay well, that is hella risky. Like honestly, how will the world move on when your phone blacks out? Imagine the plot, the gossip and the hot pics on Instagram. That is the Ugandan logic right there. I am talking about risks that scare you to death, for example ‘high-fiving’ the guy who ‘banjes’ you in a bar with a smile.

If you have ever shown up to a date with only a ka loose 20k and enjoyed yourself without a heart attack, I salute you brother. If you can do anything without fear, such as investing your money in something you have no idea about, you are the real MVP. Sudhir returned from the UK in the late 80s to start a Forex Bureau, a business that birthed so many other business ventures.
If you can take these kinds of risks, you might have your business empire soon. And if you have driven a car with the fuel gauge buried below the “E” mark for years, you are a risk taker my friend. Embrace the businessman in you.

Be carefree and generous
Sudhir Ruparelia is not stuck-up. How many times do you ever see the guy packaging his stocky frame in an Italian suit like some other high-flying businessmen? They probably wouldn’t fit anyway, so why bother. The odds are that you will find him in his custom-made t-shirts and shorts directing those formally-dressed managers to handle their tasks. Oh the world can be unfair! He likes a good party too and those fat cigars he smokes from time to time. To imagine that Uganda’s richest man organised goat races and Ugandans flocked Munyonyo to take a look was stuff of a genius. Ugandans like feeling busy, as if others don’t work. What do you own brother? Loosen up.
To be like Sudhir, make time for your people regardless of how much you work. And what is money if you can’t give it to some charity causes. Ugandans want to watch their money pile up in the bank as if they are watching a television show. Dude, there is someone less privileged. It is high time you sized down your account balance for a good cause.

Comeback king
Last year was rough for Sudhir. Who knew Sudhir would ever stumble? I mean, this is a guy who has so many properties and is ranked as Uganda’s most moneyed guy. You don’t expect problems to surface. Problems should be shy to come into such a person’s life. His worries should be how to spend not where to get the money from. Those should be the worries of a certain Asuman dealing in car spare parts down in Katwe, but that is life. Problems are not selective. We should not act surprised if Sudhir cannot afford Internet bundles. Stuff happens. Sudhir always bounces back though. He has been sued, his businesses threatened but he still pulls through.
To be like Sudhir, don’t give up. Prepare your comeback. Don’t allow to be bullied by the problems of this world. Ignore the ‘yagwamu’ chants and prosper. In case you banje me, I will be at Kabira chilling.
There you have it. Go be like the property magnet Sudhir Ruparelia.
2016

THE YEAR SUDHIR LOST OWNERSHIP OF HIS CRANE BANK
To imagine that Uganda’s richest man organised goat races and Ugandans flocked
Munyonyo to take a look, was stuff of a genius.
editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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