Prince Ndlovu

Name: Prince Ndlovu

Organisation: Sanlam

Title: Senior Media Manager

Years in the industry: 11 years

Where did your career begin?

I started off at Starcom in 2009. I began in June and Kevin joined about a month later. We became known as the 'bad boys' of the industry at that young age. 

There's definitely love and respect between all the guys in this shoot...

Funny enough, we had this conversation at the end of last year when Kevin got promoted. We were remembering 10 years ago when all we could say was, "We can't wait to be senior strategists". Fast forward 10 years and we have all achieved so much more than that. It is great to be surrounded by people who want you to do well and who drive you to do well. I've known most of these guys in this shoot since we were kids and they still challenge me to do better every day. I'm so glad the Afropolitan brought us all together for this shoot!

What is your media superpower?

One of my biggest superpowers is that I'm solutions driven. I know that in order to grow you always have to find the solution to any problem. 

 Once upon a time, six interns entered the media field and proved that hard work, grit, creativity and pure determination are the right qualities to get you to the top.

What made you so solutions driven?

Boarding school! When you're in a boarding school, you learn to be independent quickly. It's tough as a kid, finding your way, but you have to find a way to make yourself happy and independent and so you make a plan. Anyone who has ever lived or worked with me knows I never dwell on a problem – I move on to the plan.

In your opinion, what's a big risk to the media world right now?

The greatest threat is how quickly or slowly brands can adapt to change. The pandemic has brought about so much change very quickly and brands who have always done things a certain way will need to adapt quickly to meet the needs of the consumer or they won’t make it.

Is there still room for traditional media in the "new world"?

I think digital is a massive environment and all media platforms can evolve and learn to operate in the digital space. There are many great examples of media that has moved from a linear space to a digital space and who have become better off for it - it can be done!

There's been talk about equality in the industry. What does this mean to you?

Regarding race, the biggest thing to consider is that the majority of the South African market is black and so our marketing messages need to resonate with black consumers. At the moment, race equality is not quite there yet because the people who have been part of the industry for a long time, and who are white and predominantly men, need to share their skills with up and coming black professionals to balance the industry. 

What about equality for women?

I also think it’s hard for women in the media space, in fact in all industries in this country. I know many women who have been doing amazing things in media, but it is a cut-throat environment where there's very little hand holding. We need to give women more opportunity to be heard. 

What adversities have you had to overcome?

Coming into an environment that is filled with people who are very different to you was difficult. It was hard to find a mentor and hard to find a way to stick out in a place where I felt that I didn't belong. But the solution was to involve myself in many things that were happening at the agency. I was doing pitch work, in brainstorms, creating profiles for strategists, adding my point of view where I could, and if there was an event I would ask to be part of the team that put it together. I got people to trust me and to be comfortable with me in their space, but most of all I made sure I always added value. 

What has been your greatest career success?

There's been a few, but to be where I am today, I needed to start somewhere. So, my greatest success was probably being one of the first people to join the Amasa Learnership Programme. From there I got to join Starcom and learnt from some amazing people. 

Where will you be in 10 years’ time?

I want to make a place where creative people can express themselves. Whether I will be on the client side, or agency side, I just want to be able to give people opportunities to express themselves and to grow from the ability to do so. 

Prince’s influencers…

Best book: I love sports, so the books I loved reading most are In Black and White by Jake White and To the Point by Hershelle Gibbs. Both these books proved that what people perceive of you is not the person you are.

Best film: The movie that changed me was Remember the Titans with Denzel Washington. It's an American football movie and it was all about how you must rise to break stereotypes. I still shed a tear when I watch it now.

Best live performance: I'm a hip hop music fan and I enjoyed watching JayZ live.

Best experience: I did something I never thought I would do... I went hiking! It was 20 km and I struggled quite a bit, but now I'm sitting at home wishing I could do another hike.

Best place: Anywhere that involves camping! I am a big fan of camping and have actually introduced most of the guys in this shoot to camping, too. We try to do two camping trips a year, especially to places with no signal (like Magaliesberg). When there's no signal then you just listen to music and talk. Camping is definitely my happy place.

 Watch the interview here: