‘Money makes you ugly! If it was no object, I’d give it away!’


79 days ago

My car is 18 years old! It really runs on God’s grace!

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

My best money decision is giving it away… The joy of seeing people grow; it’s how you change this country! I have no need for flash…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

Money makes you ugly... I’ve seen immensely wealthy people; I’ve never seen them laugh from the pit of their stomachs… people who are wealthy always want more… Enough is as good as a feast!

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

Every week The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews a famous person about her or his attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.) as part of his weekly “Make Money Mondays” feature.

This week Whitfield interviewed Professor Jonathan Jansen of the University of Stellenbosch.

Jansen was born, one of five children, in Montagu (Western Cape) in 1956 and grew up in the poor, violent Cape Flats.

He mother was a nurse who reared him in “a bubble of decency” amid constant harassment, police brutality, murder, rape and suicide.

It was, in his words, a miserable, horrendous childhood.

Jansen dodged bullets, finished High School and went to the University of the Western Cape.

He became a household name after 2009 when the University of the Free State (UFS) appointed him as its first black president.

Relations between white and black students were in turmoil, with racial incidents making regular headlines.

It is there at UFS where he earned his “healer” moniker.

  • What does Jansen believe about money?

  • Does it keep him up at night?

  • Does he spend like crazy, or save compulsively?

  • How did his childhood experiences of deprivation shape his views on money?

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for more quotes from it).

Stellenbosch is extremely wealthy and quite cut off, I think, from the rest of South Africa in many ways. It’s a university that is very well run and resourced, and it’s grappling with hard questions about transformation and the like. It’s a wonderful place to be…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

I grew up in a home with parents who loved each other… and, so, it [his upbringing] was a bit of a bubble… in many ways we were shielded… I benefited from that…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

Without my mother’s salary we would be in trouble… my father would give away his shirt… he was warm, compassionate and kind.

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

In Montagu we lost property on my mother’s side… we lost property on my father’s side…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

I can’t remember a day when there wasn’t food in the house… I do believe that a lot of that had to do with my parents who were giving…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

My parents taught me… even when you don’t have, you give away…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

The Wynberg synagogue in Cape Town invited a Muslim community from the area to break their fast on a Friday in the synagogue. I was so emotional when I was invited to this! Because that’s giving! Giving isn’t just money…

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

I’m not the kind of person you’d want to interview for your show!

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

I’ve got a funeral policy… but it’s not like there’s millions hoarded away. I don’t see the point…! I’ve never lacked. My kids have never lacked. And I don’t think we ever will.

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

If I had a whole lot of money I would make major investments – and oversee those investments - in pre-school education. We’re fighting at the wrong end of the educational spectrum. We shouldn’t go where the noise is, but where the need is. On only one thing is the educational research unequivocal, and that is investments in pre-school education has long lasting effects… Make sure every child has access to quality pre-school education.

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of Stellenbosch

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This article first appeared on 702 : ‘Money makes you ugly! If it was no object, I’d give it away!’

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