Innovative and unconventional – two adjectives often used to describe Whitey Basson, the Chief Executive Officer of Shoprite Holdings and one of Porterville’s finest exports. Born in January 1946, Basson’s father was a farmer and politician and his mother a housewife. After completing matric at Rondebosch Boys High School in 1963, Basson headed to the Boland where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1970 after obtaining a BCom CTA from Stellenbosch University. Today Basson is one of the country’s most respected retailers. He steered the Shoprite Group from its humble beginnings in the 1980’s as an eight outlet, Western Cape-based operation to what it is today: a multi-billion, international retail giant with more than 136 000 employees and stores in 15 countries. He is a hands-on entrepreneur with a unique understanding of the supermarket retail industry. Along with his ability to grow brands, Basson also has the business acumen, courage and vision to turn loss-making operations around. It is for these and other achievements that Stellenbosch University conferred an honorary doctorate on Basson in December 2010.