Clyde Bodenham is a man with almost 30 years in the fishing industry and a finger in every pie! He’s the President at the South African Tuna Association, Founder and CEO at Molimo Business Zone, and National Chairman at the South African Hake Longline Association, to name just three of his extensive list of responsibilities. What immediately stands out about Clyde is his work ethic, his dedication, and his passion for the fisheries sector.
“I enjoy a challenge and problem-solving. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have been in the industry this long!”
He talks a lot about what it takes to make a success of oneself within this tough, demanding, and ever-changing sector, highlighting the need to be adaptable, especially when it comes to putting in the required time and the effort.
“It takes a particular kind of personality. The industry isn’t a 9 – 5 set-up. You need to put in the effort and be willing to take risks, and you need to do it all with consistency. Success is possible regardless of a person’s background, as long as they are hard-working, honest, and integrous,” he explains.
Clyde got his start in the fisheries sector back in 1992 when he applied for a job at the Department of Sea Fisheries shortly after concluding his military service. It is here that he worked in the resource management department and learnt all about the foundations of fishery management.
“I had the opportunity to visit communities and factories in person and really get to know the people and personalities involved, as opposed to simply sitting behind a desk all day. Personal touch makes such a big difference to how you’re able to do your job.”
From there, Clyde moved onto the Tuna Hake Fishing Corporation as the business development manager, where by his own account he says was fortunate to have been mentored by Ms. Antoinette Moniz, before starting his own business consulting company, Molimo Business Zone, in 2004.
“My life’s passion is to help others. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, so I know what it’s like not to ‘have.’ I also know how to go about turning difficulties into opportunities. All of this cements my vision for Molimo – to make a difference and help wherever and however we can.” comments Clyde.
As a business owner who has pushed through many daunting challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Clyde has some advice for other existing and prospective entrepreneurs. For him, it’s all about maintaining momentum.
“It’s easy to keep going when you have momentum. It’s really difficult to start up again once you stop. Slow down a little bit when necessary, but never stop.”
Clyde also insists that the secret to ongoing success lies in confronting one’s weaknesses, a belief which led him to take up Brazilian Ju Jitsu. The close-contact fighting has forced him to face up to his claustrophobia. He has put the work in and quickly progressed to blue belt, graded and awarded by the world renown Gracie family themselves, which included the legendary Grand Master Rorion Gracie, after which he took things to the next level training with local EFC Couch Gary King in his back yard makeshift cage.
“I enjoy challenging my weaknesses. I think doing so makes you a more well-rounded person, as opposed to only focusing on what you’re good at. It takes perseverance and strength of mind to acknowledge your shortcomings and face up to them.”
While Clyde focuses his attention on self-improvement, he also acknowledges that no powerhouse is complete without the right support. He’s grateful for the team that he has and is proud of all that they’ve managed to accomplish together within the fishing sector over the years.
“I have a fantastic staff here. It’s so important. Without the right people supporting you, everything is more challenging. It takes time to put a team together that shares your vision. I’ve managed to do that. They keep the business fundamentals of the business going to give me the time to do the things that I do.”
Along with helping other companies succeed in the sector, Clyde also hopes to squash the misconception that the fishing industry only revolves around a man with a rod on a boat. He calls on all young, ambitious professionals in South Africa to consider embracing the many diverse opportunities available to them.
“The industry is full of career opportunities. It’s not just a boat out at sea – it’s a lot bigger than that. There are plenty of shore-based operations, factory workers who receive product and add value, second-tier service providers responsible for distribution, your local fish and chip shop, restaurants, and so much more going on in between. In short, the net is very broad!” he concludes.