Sankirtan, Sandton City Mall, Johannesburg

I was on the phone to Rupa this afternoon, finalizing our tickets to Cape Town, when I saw a familiar-looking face in the crowd. He had a serene and distinguished face. An aristocratic face.

It suddenly dawned on me who it was: Patrice Motsepe, one of the richest men in South Africa. In a somewhat exuberant mood, I half-forgot about my telephone conversation and called out, ‘Patrice!’. Trying to identify where the sound was coming from, Mr Motsepe finally recognized its source. I said something like, ‘We’re meeting all the celebrities in the Mall here today’, and he smiled. I was taken a little by his warmth.

I then resumed my conversation, but remembered that this was an opportune moment to connect with a powerful man. So, I caught up to him, shook hands, and gave him my card. ‘Please check out my web-sites’, I said. He did not seem fazed at this unusual encounter. I said to him, ‘I am a monk.’ He said, ‘This is special.’ He was most charming and very aristocratic. I offered pranams, and he returned the gesture.

Mr Motsepe, it was nice to meet you!