JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 8 December 2021/ African Media Agency (AMA)/: The Financial Mail Adfocus has honoured renowned marketer, Thebe Ikalafeng, with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to marketing, branding and the industry in a standout global African career that spans over 25 years. The Jury agreed that not only is Ikalafeng a legendary marketer, but what set him apart is his consistent commitment to his purpose which is to see African brands compete on a global scale.
In his acceptance remarks and reflecting on the significance of his and others careers when he returned home from his studies in the United States at the cusp of the new post-apartheid South Africa in 1994, Ikalafeng said: “We needed examples and evidence that we can be excellent at what we do – not black excellence – excellent against any measure,” he said.
In reflecting on how he evolved to a purpose-led agenda that has taken him across every country in Africa after he left corporate, Ikalafeng says he had to ask himself fundamental questions: “Is our work purposeful – what difference does it make? I wanted to make a difference that would matter, and to be authentic in what I do – and leave Africa in a better state than we found it,” he says.
As the first indigenous African chairman of the premier advertising awards, the Loeries and the Financial Mail AdFocus awards and throughout his tenure on all significant industry boards, he championed the creative industry’s transformation and advocated for an Africa-focused agenda.
He dedicated the award to the many people who had an impact in his career across the world and challenged this generation to work towards purposeful work that will contribute to the transformation of the continent for the better.
Ikalafeng is widely recognised as the pre-eminent and authoritative global African branding thought leader and the foremost advocate for a brand-led African renaissance to transform the continent’s wealth and global stature. He has built a formidable reputation in a distinguished career which spans over 25 years since he began his corporate career at Colgate Palmolive in New York, USA and an award-winning tenure as Chief Marketing Officer for NIKE Africa.
He is the founder of the award-winning Brand Leadership Group, a pan-African branding advisory firm; Brand Africa, a non-profit pan-African movement with a brand-led agenda to drive Africa’s image, reputation and competitiveness; Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the widely referenced and only pan-African survey and ranking of brands in Africa; Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Places, the pan-African initiative to recognise and rank Africa’s leading nation, city and destination brands for tourism, investment and citizen mobilisation, and Africa Brand Leadership Academy (ABLA), a post-graduate institution to build the capacity for Africa-focused brand leadership.
He has previously been named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine in 2013 and 2015, and one of the 100 Most Influential Creative People of African Descent in support of the United Nations ‘International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’ in 2021.
© African Media Agency (AMA)
About Financial Mail AdFocus Awards
Established in 1990, the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards are a landmark on the South African marketing and communications landscape, recognising agencies and individuals, not just for their creative and marketing skills, but for their all-round business acumen. For More Information on the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards visit www.adfocus.co.za