What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy travelling, walking and trekking, fishing, going to exotic islands and one my favourite places is Seychelles Islands. Plus my job gives me the opportunity to create new projects which are people-related and always have a social impact on society. It gives me the greatest pleasure when I start something from nothing to something and it is successful commercially and otherwise.
What do you find boring?
Weddings and speeches. Weddings are meant to be fun but then some people speak for hours and you sit and listen to one after another.
In ancient times weddings were enjoyed because they were entertaining and the most you would get is a short speech but today the wedding ends up being torturous.
How would you change the industry within which you operate if given a chance?
Uganda has been quite competitive in every aspect of business and the economics itself will create enough competition and it has become a ground for survival for the fittest and anyone who cannot be fit will exit.
What is your philosophy on life?
I believe that if I follow the 10 principles of the 10 commandments and have integrity and honesty in business plus cater for the destitute, orphans and the under-privileged people of society that fulfils my life.
What has been your biggest achievement as an employer?
Being able to create 6,000 jobs and the numbers are continuing to grow.
What’s your typical day like?
My day starts at around six o’clock in the morning and first I go to the gym then I have breakfast. I then catch up with all MDs and managers of all my companies to find out if there is any pressing issues, then I go sight visiting before I go to office where I work up to 8pm.
After that I can go to cocktails or entertain friends of mine and then go home. I sleep at around between 11 and 11:30pm
What makes your day?
When I succeed in my property business or conclude a deal for any of the group companies, it makes my day.
How many hours do you averagely work?
On the average, I work for about a minimum of 12 hours
How many hours do you rest?
I try to rest for five and a half hours
When was the last time you had a hearty laugh and what tickled you?
I always smile but normally I laugh when I am watching comedy movies and also, there is this health club I go to in Bangalore in India where they have yoga and one of the programmes is teaching us how to laugh.
Who is your favourite movie star?
I like Mel Gibson, Sharon Stone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean Caude Van Damme and my all-time favourite actor is Clint Eastwood.
Which of Eastwood’s movies stand out for you?
I like The Good The Bad and The Ugly and his Spaghetti westerns.
And music, are you a fan?
Yes. I normally listen to soft music, I don’t like the heavy beats.
How do you take off time to relax?
I normally relax over the weekend
What are your other hobbies?
Basically meeting people. I love meeting people and socialising. I like attending fashion shows and enjoy cocktails
How much time do you spend with your family?
We always plan the weekend in a way that we spend a lot of time with the children though they are now grown and have their own social life, and are working but we always try to find time for each other. My wife and I go for holidays together especially during Christmas time and other times when there are functions around the world we travel together.
What satisfies you about life?
As long as I can continue doing what I want and I am happy with it, it satisfies me.
What inspires you and why?
Every morning I wake and say it’s a beginning of a new day and I feel full of energy and wanting to go to work and have a full working day, and as long as I have the same feeling that’s my inspiration of going to work and continuing.
Do you look up to anyone?
Kindly skip that…
What are the latest undertakings you have made as a businessman?
We have supported all kinds of institutes like churches, schools, NGOs every year and now we have set up the Ruparelia Foundation where we will be supporting education, religious, sports and primarily the destitute, under-privileged and orphanages.
What does it feel like to be the richest East African?
Well, it doesn’t change my life. I feel I am now under the public eye more than ever.
If you had a chance to do it all over again, would you choose a different career?
I have been very fortunate that despite all hard work I believe I have the blessing from the almighty God and probably I have been in business at the right time and did the right thing and the right place. I would do what I have been doing. I would not choose a different career.