South African Chamber of Commerce in Japan
H.E. Mr. Lulama Smuts NGONYAMA / Honorary Chairperson
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Jaco Minnaar / Chairperson
Jaco is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. After studying Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg (previously RAU), he worked in the Financial Services industry as an investment manager, trader and Financial Advisor for a number of years. In 2004, he decided to move to Japan, where he has lived and worked ever since. In Tokyo he shifted his career – he is currently working onsite at an investment bank in Talent Acquisition. Although firmly entrenched into his adoptive country, he continues to foster his relationship with his home country through family ties and Martial Arts (Karate).
Francois de Villiers / Vice Chairperson
Francois is from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and has been living and working in Japan for over 15 years. Presently he is working in the logistics & freight forwarding industry for Schenker-Seino, responsible for all field sales activities in Japan. Schenker-Seino represents the Japan division of DB Schenker, a European headquartered global logistics company. DB Schenker has been active in both Japan and South Africa for over 50 years.
Simon Farrell / Vice Chairperson
Simon was based in Cape Town for about eight years as a foreign correspondent for US and UK publications. He also travelled around South Africa to report on business, society and lifestyle for the local press. He was inspired to write two books: South Africa Chic, published by Didier Millet in 2008, and Top Getaways in Southern Africa, published by Reader’s Digest in 2000. Simon's fondest memory is being introduced to SA President Nelson Mandela at Cape Town Press Club in October 1996.
Lungile Christopher Siphambili / Director
Lungile is a Zulu/Ndebele name meaning the good one. My journey takes me from Africa to Japan by the way of the US where I attended the University of Georgia in Athens Georgia before continuing the adventure to Japan and being part of the International University of Japan and Nagoya University. I am thankful and grateful to the African countries of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe who have contributed to who I am. It is time to give back what I can and how I can. I am also grateful to have settled in the beauty that Japan is and looking forward to embarking on the next chapter of my journey in partnership with brothers and sisters from my adopted country of Japan. Business may be the war-cry but we are all learning, sharing in the hope of prospering. Lungile is a member of Out Of Africa Tokyo Consulting Japan KK which provides business consulting services on Japan and Africa, Import/Export business between Japan and Africa, tourism packages specifically tailored to young Japanese and focusing on rural and culture tourism. I also run an NPO focusing on Africa. “I am an African” Thabo Mbeki.
Jennifer Sakaguchi / Director
American by citizenship and residing in Japan for more than 25 years, Jennifer first became involved with South Africa through diamonds in her previous work with the De Beers Group. She currently serves as the Head of External Affairs, Media and Communications for Rio Tinto Japan. Rio Tinto, one of the world’s leading mining companies, has mining and exploration projects in South Africa, and particularly through its mineral sands mining operations at Richards Bay Minerals in KwaZulu-Natal, is a major contributor to the national and local economies and supports the communities in which it operates through its long-standing CSI program.
Takako Yachida / Director
Takako is connected to South Africa through Table Mountain, exclusive purveyor of South African wines. Her primary work is focusing on recruiting and new business development as Representative Director of SecondWays Company, while she also hold South African wine and other events to increase awareness of the country.
Francois Keet / Director
Francois is originally from Port Elizabeth, South African and has been living and working in the wonderful land of the rising sun (Japan) since 2013. He is working in the Information Technology industry for Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc., and is responsible for ERP technology solutions to drive business value. Over the last 20 years, Francois has successfully lead large scale business transformation programs at various Coca-Cola bottlers (including Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, South East Asia and Australia) through the implementation of best-in-class business applications. Francois believes that the SACCJ, with the support of the South African Embassy, is a good platform to build a business network between South Africa and Japan. Francois is a passionate supporter of Springbok rugby, loves South African wine and look forward to meet you at our next SACCJ social networking event.
Rakgwale R. Kubjane / Director Ex officio
Rakgwale (Ronnie) Kubjane is originally from Limpopo Province, Seshego Township in South Africa. A graduate from the University of Durban Westville and Rhodes University. Rakgwale’s area of responsibility at the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Japan include the strengthening of diplomatic ties between South Africa and Japan; encouraging more investment and trade into South Africa, people-to-people interaction, promoting Brand South Africa, the African Renaissance, amongst others. The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in japan collaborates with SACCJ to deepen contacts and engagements with relevant trade and investment institutions in Japan. He support Sports South Africa, and enjoys listing to Jazz/Fusion; and fishing.