From Classes Under a Tree to SA’s New Reserve Bank Governor – Kganyago’s story

SA Reserve Bank governor (SARB) Lesetja Kganyago gestures during a media briefing in Pretoria, October 6, 2014. Reuters_Siphiwe Sibeko

Appointed last year to the helm of Africa’s most important central bank, Kganyago has come a long way from the school boy who attended classes under a tree in the 1970s because the single block of classrooms could not house all the pupils.

On Friday, Kganyago, South Africa’s second black central bank governor, went back to his roots to buy bread, cooking oil, maize meal and sugar with the first batch of banknotes bearing his signature.

“We are very proud of him. He has put our village in the limelight,” said 38-year-old traffic controller Thomas Malepeng in Maribana, 350 km (200 miles) northeast of Johannesburg. “He has come a very long way from his very humble beginnings.”

One of his primary school teachers, Jerida Makweya, said South Africa had become a more racially inclusive country since the fall of apartheid, allowing her former charge to assume one of its most influential jobs.

“He was very, very intelligent, this one,” the now-retired Makweya said. “I saw his potential from a young age and I’m glad he fulfilled it.”

President Jacob Zuma appointed Kganyago as governor last year to succeed the respected Gill Marcus.

On taking the reins, he vowed to protect the value of the rand, support balanced and sustainable economic growth, maintain a stable financial system and keep inflation under control.

“Those of us who do not borrow money, the way in which the Reserve Bank touches us is with the notes and coins that we put in our pocket,” he said as he made his purchases.

Prices have largely held stable under Kganyago’s tenure, allowing the central bank to keep rates on hold since a 25 basis point increase last July.

Source:  SA the Good News via Reuters