Paul-Joffré Esterhuizen, South Africa

We travel to the beautiful city of Cape Town for today’s Sovereign Story. Based in the South Africa office, Paul-Joffré Esterhuizen is a business development consultant who joined Sovereign more than three years ago. A proud South African, this super keen golfer knows a thing or two about wine and is passionate about all things European.

We asked Paul-Joffré about his name and he was happy to tell us the story. He explained that both his parents are South African, his father being from a long established Afrikaans family (hence his surname) and his mother whose background is “more English in style”. He was named Paul-Joffré after his maternal and paternal grandfathers respectively, the latter being French Huguenot in origin. Paul-Joffré told us that such “double” first names are common in South Africa, although the more American practice of joining surnames together on marriage is not so widely seen.

Paul-Joffré grew up in and around Cape Town and went to school near Stellenbosch – an area world famous for its wines, to which we shall return. He studied for his law degree at Stellenbosch University graduating in 2017. The campus is surrounded by more than 150 wine farms and during his studies, Paul-Joffré enjoyed his part-time job at the Rust & Vrede Wine Estate.

Paul-Joffré is part of a large family that was always meeting up for braais (South African barbeque) and other social occasions. They introduced him to wine at a young age and he is very knowledgeable about the subject. He considered going into the business but had always dreamed of a career in the law so wine has become one of his main interests outside work.

After graduation, Paul-Joffré articled for two years at De Klerk & Van Gend Inc (DKVG), a leading law firm in Cape Town. At the end of his time at DKVG, he decided that commercial law was his chosen path and he began looking at opportunities to further his career.

Already familiar with Sovereign, Paul-Joffré was attracted by its international network and wide range of services offered. By coincidence, before his job interview, he attended a quiz night hosted by the Sovereign Art Foundation joining a team that included Coreen van der Merwe; he joined the team soon thereafter.

For the first 2½ years, Paul-Joffré’s title was Executive Legal Assistant to the Managing Director. Essentially this meant running the practice behind the scenes and getting involved with all legal aspects of the business. Working with both Coreen and Richard Neal, the experience he gained was invaluable allowing him to develop and he became Business Development Manager in June 2022.

Starting his day with a work out at the gym, he develops relationships with clients looking to set up trusts and international companies. Where required he introduces tax consultants and other professionals and highlights the elevated number of international residency enquiries seen from South Africans at present. His work brings him into contact with Sovereign offices worldwide depending on client requirements.

For Paul-Joffré, 2023 is a momentous year as not only will he turn thirty (for which he says he is “so ready”) but he and fiancée Sumé are to be married in December. Both South African, the couple have been dating for six years. Sumé’s father was a viticulturist in Hermanus, so once again wine makes an appearance in his résumé! He is not yet a wine collector telling us, with a sheepish grin, that “his taste does not suit his budget” at this stage. Keen to learn more, he helped establish a private couple’s wine club in Cape Town where guests are educated about the subject in a social setting.

Paul-Joffré’s favourite sport is golf and the Cape Town summer league he helped create is now in its third year. With the sun setting late in the evenings, it is easy to fit a quick round in after work. His other passion is travel. Always keen on seeing more of the world, he took a long trip about eight years ago backpacking through Eastern Europe with a friend. He remembers travelling lightly; his spare shoes dangled outside his pack the whole time. Covering many countries on the trip, this started his love affair with Europe that continues to this day. Having Monaco-based godparents who own a farm near Nice has certainly given him a passion for the continent as a whole.

A large part of the enjoyment comes from the food wherever he travels. At home, he and Sumé loves to cook becoming more “adventurous” as he grows older with the right wine pairing of course.

Fiancée Sumé is a successful chartered accountant and she too is a keen traveller, sharing his passion for Europe.

It was a real pleasure speaking to Paul-Joffré and thank you for your time. We wish you and Sumé well for your wedding and future life together, wherever it may lead. We raise our glass to you both. Cheers!

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