Baxolile Msomi
Corporate Communications & Marketing Manager, TOTAL South Africa

What is the best thing about your job? 

My job is very dynamic – nothing remains the same and I love that. For my personality type, this gives me the much-needed challenge and keeps me on my toes. 

The South African marketing and media landscape is fast-evolving and at the helm of three distinguished companies sit three sophisticated, dynamic and beautiful women.

What is your career “superpower”? 

The right attitude…everything else will fall into place.

Where were you before your current position? 

I worked for Jaguar Land Rover SA/SSA as a Marketing Communications & PR Manager.

What is the biggest accolade or achievement you have received in your career? 

Being nominated as a Gumtree Women in Motoring in 2019. 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? 

Everybody believes they are marketing and communications experts, and this can make it challenging to do what we are good at as marketing people.

Who was your mentor or inspiration in life? 

I have a number of mentors and coaches who have all played a different role in my life and collectively, they have shaped the woman I am today, be it in business or personal life. I believe that as people we should not limit ourselves to a mentor because not everybody possesses all the traits needed to develop as a person. 

Describe, in your opinion, the South African media and marketing landscape?

Cluttered and not always trustworthy. I would say stagnant, as well, and the pace of change has been very slow.  There is a need to quickly adapt and also to be flexible to the ever-changing needs of both business and the consumer. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

Still in the marketing field and adding the much-needed value in business. I would love to say in a high up position like a Marketing Director of a big organisation, but titles are just that.

What is the most exciting brand/project you have worked on? 

Vehicle launches because we all love cars, don’t we? Now I get the pleasure of working on what makes a vehicle move, powering them. The best of both worlds! I am very fortunate that my scope is very wide and I get to be part of and oversee multiple projects at any given point. Recently, we launched TOTAL Excellium in our market which is our premium fuel that fights dirt in your engine. Being part of the team that brought Siya Kolisi, the world cup winning captain, as a friend of the brand on board will always be a highlight for me. There are so many exciting projects to mention but that is a perk that comes with working for a great brand such as TOTAL.

What one piece of advice would you give to industry newbies? 

Always try to make an excellent first impression and consistently do so. In our space, results are not always instant; it takes time to build strong brands so patience and hard work is required at all times.

What saying do you most relate to? 

Your success and happiness lie within you.

What is your understanding of the term “Afropolitan”? 

It means having an appreciation that you can be cosmopolitan and still be authentically African. It speaks to being a dynamic African who doesn’t shy away from what makes them unique but understands that we live in an ever-changing society and can’t be one-dimensional in our approach to life. 

How are you an Afropolitan? 

By being unapologetically African in my demeanor. I will evolve and move with the times, but African-ness is at the core of my being. I’m unapologetically African, not only in my demeanour but in my mindset and how I interact with the world. I have deep African roots, very connected to my heritage but approach my life with a world view that recognises that we are more, we can be more, and we should strive to be more.

If you could change one thing about your industry right now, what would it be? 

Prioritise purpose-driven marketing and improve people’s lives. I would also like to see a lot of integration between business and marketing such that it stops being considered simply as a support function but an integral part of operations, and a partner. 

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? 

Hate and the violence that women and children are subject to. 

Quick check

Best book: The Bible. This is the most underestimated book, but it is, for me, the only book that has all the answers I will ever need. A book that helps me get closer to my creator, uQamata, uMvelingqangi.

Best film: The War Room. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched this film and not because I enjoy crying but because it carries such a great lesson about the importance of prayer and how prayer changes things. A must watch, but be warned, there will be an overflow of tears.

Best live performance: A Zonke live performance does it for me – food for the soul! I love her to bits and lately, my go to song is “Ndilimpondo”. This particular song connects me deeply to my roots and it helps me speak to ooFaku, ooZiqelekazi, ooDakhile, whose blood flows in my veins.

Best adventure: Bungee jumping, I am an adrenalin junkie at heart!


Sadika Fakir
Integrated Media & Digital Director, Tiger Brands

What is the best thing about your job? 

My team and the relationships I get to build and grow.

What is your career “superpower”? 

Leading without a title. Leading myself. Leading my projects. Leading right from wrong. 

Where were you before your current position? 

First National Bank (FNB) as Media Head of the in-house media function for the group.

What is the biggest accolade or achievement you have received in your career? 

Accolade: Getting asked to be a judge for Loeries and the MMA Smarties.

Achievement: Being able to grow my team from good to great (and continuing to do so). This will always be a work in progress.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? 

Having to deal with team members who do not share the values of the company or my team, in turn making the environment toxic. Within some of the teams I led, I in fact made some bad hires, in turn impacting the overall performance and culture of my team. It is physically and emotionally draining. It is not that age-old perception that “the leader or line-manager is always the toxic one, but rather sometimes, your employees or team could be toxic”.

Who was your mentor or inspiration in life? 

I do not have just one mentor or inspiration as I have built a network of quite a few over the years and hope to always grow it. You cannot have just one mentor as that would be pretty boring. You need different and sometimes opposing perspective to build your level of wisdom and discernment. My biggest guide and foundation in my life is God, The Father, Jesus, The Son and The Holy Spirit. 

Describe, in your opinion, the South African media and marketing landscape?

This industry comes with both the positives and negatives

Positives: The industry is finally showing transformation in race and gender. More leaders of colour who are female are on the rise. Another positive is the industry continues to evolve itself and grow resilience. I also believe we are world-class in our work, innovative media owners and ability to harness a creative idea from inception to execution.
Negatives: The transfer of skills from the top echelons is moving down the ranks to middle and junior management is not as quickly as it needs to be. The top leaders sometimes withhold their knowledge with a fear of becoming redundant. This hampers the industry. There is also still a silo mentality between creative and media/channels which clients see and want to rectify. Agencies go up against each other instead of working together to integrate on great communication solutions. This is a matter of the bottom line and pride. It needs to be rectified.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

I signed up for channel strategy and advertising for a lifetime. I am all in! I definitely still see myself in channel strategy and advertising, probably still within corporate, however, I am interested in growing my experience into the rest of Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In addition to still growing in media and advertising, I would also want to grow as a leader and start an initiative to help young leaders understand their leadership style. In five years, I also believe I will living my biggest passion to land my own food platform in whichever way or form it comes. I have a deep desire to further my culinary skills and use food as a vehicle to bring people together to talk about things that matter. I would also definitely be furthering my studies in strategic marketing and leadership and possibility starting my qualification in Theology.

What is the most exciting brand/project you have worked on? 

This is really tough as I have been a part of some amazing projects, campaigns and brand teams. Let me give you one from each of my companies over the last 10 years.

Carat, Dentsu Aegis: I was selected to be a part of the Regional & Global Pitch where we pitch against every top global agency group. The pitch was everything you see in the movies, story boards, mind maps, late nights, early morning, flying to London for the pitch, working with global teams.

Nedbank: Working on KeYona Team Search, an integrated platform which included a television show where grassroots aspiring soccer stars were selected and trained through a professional programme. At the end, the team who was trained and selected would play against the winners of the Nedbank Cup.

FNB: Being partners of the Springboks, we decided to launch a Rugby World Cup campaign to get South Africans rallying behind the Boks. We landed an integrated campaign across multiple channels including sending the Kaya FM sports team to Japan to document the Rugby World Cup. Kaya even had to shift time slots of their content bands to cater to the time difference between South Africa and Japan.

Tiger Brands: Whilst I have only been at Tiger Brands for a short period of time, the most exciting thing is that this role is newly developed and integrated, incorporating owned digital, paid digital and paid media which allows for driving truly integrated campaigns and marketing communications. I am so excited for my team and I to drive this change and hoping to inspire the whole industry to follow suit. My Chief Marketing Officer is a visionary and landed this integrated role to ensure we are fit for future.

What one piece of advice would you give to industry newbies? 

Please be true to yourself. Do not oversell or undersell yourself. Speak the truth when you are unable to do something and ask for help. When asked to do something, please do not delegate, but DO THE WORK! Get your hands dirty and learn the technical aspects of our craft.

What saying do you most relate to? 

“Work willing at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” – Colossians 3:23 (The Bible).

What is your understanding of the term “Afropolitan”? 

The Afropolitan is not a demographic, but rather a lifestyle and state of mind. The Afropolitan lives their life with purpose, wanting to make a difference and wants to see the rise of the continent. The Afropolitan is driven, loves life and is resilient. The Afropolitan understands that their past struggles and challenges and those yet to come only build them up for success, growth and elevation. The Afropolitan helps others. Living this life is never just about them. The Afropolitan exudes taste, class and a general good eye for beauty. This is not about money, but rather having the eye and passion. Saying that, the Afropolitan does believe in prosperity, more so wanting to make it driving their own business. They are enterprising and entrepreneurial.

How are you an Afropolitan? 

I strive to find the good and positive in all circumstances. I certainly love pretty and tasty things. A lover of anything linked to a beautiful life: food and drinks, décor and photography. I believe I have been put onto this continent to help elevate her people and be an inspiration to the rest of the world. I strive for inclusivity and growing those around me be to be better and achieve their purpose. Wherever my journey and path take me around this beautiful world (because I do not believe we were meant to live in one place for the rest of our lives), I will walk on the shoulders of everyone who helped me get to where I am and remain proudly African.

If you could change one thing about your industry right now, what would it be? 

Improving the level of work-life balance, and mental wellness. It is a complete disaster and should concern all of us. Many in the media and adverting industry suffer burnout, addiction and depression, and they also suffer unrealistic deadlines and disrespect (to a level of emotional abuse) from some of their clients. This is a volcano waiting to erupt and we need to act. This actually needs to be worked into employee contracts for staff within agencies and when contracts are being negotiated between client and agency.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? 

A lot more kindness to animals.  

Quick check

Best book: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

Best film: Any food-related movie. My all-time favourite is A Hundred Foot Journey.

Best live performance:  I really do not enjoy live performances. Does Disney on Ice count as I get dragged by children?

Best adventure: In my kitchen where I get to be free and where I will not be judged. Where I am my only competition and limitation.  

Katie Mohamed
CEO, Brandfusion 

What is the best thing about your job? 

The best thing about my job is that I have autonomy, creating ideas, building a vision and implementing these with passion and purpose. The ability to learn about trends locally and internationally and use this knowledge to enhance ideas and offer great solutions to clients. The possibilities of owning what you do, working with people, meeting new people, which come with challenges and opportunities, but overall an experience and lessons. 

What is your career “superpower”? 

My tenacity! When things fall apart, I tend to respond with practicality, courage, persistence and determination. The strength of your character is often seen as powerful. This is a huge part of your success, and how to act decisively. Being tenacious also gives you the insight to be a great connector of ideas and people, and a networker. I always say “I’m an inspirator, warrior and connector”.

Where were you before your current position? 

Before I decided to become a serial entrepreneur, I worked at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and my last position was the Channel Champion on the Television side. My job entailed that I bring in revenue for the Channels, be it in sponsorships, alternative revenue streams, working closely with the content hub as well as the production houses. You can never receive the level of institutional knowledge and expertise anywhere but within this giant broadcaster. I am always encouraged and grateful for my time in both radio and television and my passion, networks and expertise has stemmed from my time there.

What is the biggest accolade or achievement you have received in your career? 

I am most proud of being able to achieve success in various stages of my career, my dedication to myself and my work ethic. I am a rainmaker. I make things happen for myself, keep good people around me and get to love what I do at my own pace. I have many accolades and achievements, but to name a few… I was part of the first ever live heart transplant on television and ensured we not only had huge coverage, but also huge revenue stream on that. I was a catalyst of the first storyline and product placement within a local soapie, getting producers to writing this in the story lines. My other achievement was being part of a television show as a producer and presenter with legends like Basetsana Khumalo, Carol Bouwer and Michelle Garforth.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? 

As a girl of colour, when I started out there were very few of girls that looked like me, and it was about image and sexiness that got you further. Understanding that NO could be NOT NOW. At that time, access to opportunities were very limited – it was old school style and staying motivated was a challenge. As an entrepreneur, having access to opportunities that have financial backing, is always a big challenge. We have to try and overcome this by always being a step ahead and planning in advance so we could have low risks. When you have money, you can make more money!

Who was your mentor or inspiration in life? 

My mentor has been Mam Bessie Tugwana (SABC). I spent four years being groomed and guided by this phenomenal human and to this day I am honoured and proud of calling her my friend and mentor. She was and is an inspiring and remarkable woman who had a positive impact, showed compassion, had a clear set of values and taught me to demonstrate confidence and leadership!

Many people inspire me – people who are thought leaders, who create positive influence and impact, and who have immense courage and empathy. People who believe not only in collective power but also use themselves to make a difference. Possibilities also inspire.

Describe, in your opinion, the South African media and marketing landscape?

The media and marketing landscape has changed globally, and even though this has been a reality, for some it has meant opportunities. In the age of disruption, new players are challenging traditional businesses because technology has advanced and re-imagined the possibilities for media and marketing. Broadcasters and platforms need to re-think and re-evaluate the traditional approach and look at how the “one size does not fill all” can be adapted. As marketers we must identify the digital revolution, yet still be positive about some of the fundamental functions of the media society.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

Covid-19 has taught me not to plan that far ahead, however, I will definitely be living and learning each day to be the best version of myself. I will continue to strive to ensure that W-Suite (female empowerment initiative, that seeks equal opportunities for us to be able to participate, contribute and benefit to the development and growth of our society) and The Brandfusion Foundation excels in the educational and transformational space. This, for me, is my true reward that I get to be part of the change we need to create future leaders of our society, thus ensuring economic development and growth that will create a great nation.

What is the most exciting brand/project you have worked on? 

All my projects have been so fulfilling and exciting. As a content creator I have seen this grow right in front of me. Most importantly, my brand, KatieM, has been the most exciting project that I have ever worked on. Seeing this grow using my personal experience and touch has been so inspiring. 

What one piece of advice would you give to industry newbies? 

Identify and understand what exactly you want to do, focus, and concrete goals. Don’t let impostor syndrome stop you, because this is what most of us feel. Don’t be afraid of pursuing. Most importantly, network with other like-minded people, and sometimes hang out with older people within the industry. The amount of knowledge and wisdom that sits there is insurmountable! Never feel entitled.

What saying do you most relate to? 

“We can’t all succeed when half of us are left back.” – Mala Youzafsi. This resonates with me because it is important to remember that the true reward is when we are in solidarity, when we have access to opportunities, when we have a fair share of a seat at the table, and when we connect with our networks. My personal saying is “Live with authencity, intent and purpose” 

What is your understanding of the term “Afropolitan”? 

Afropolitan means that we come from the African continent, with deep rooted cultures and have cultivated a very global outlook.

How are you an Afropolitan? 

I am a African, and an African in the world! I also believe that I am very rooted, but also being African has also shaped my identity even though I have Indian and Afghani ethnicity.

If you could change one thing about your industry right now, what would it be? 

The industry needs to embrace and accelerate transformation. We are still way behind in ensuring women of colour receive great opportunities and leadership positions. 

If you had to change one thing about the world, what would it be? 

Eradicate poverty and ensure every person has access to decent education and healthcare. Of course, the biggest one would be for everyone to be kind and compassionate to each other! 

Quick check

Best book: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (most women have felt like this character some time in their lives)

Best film: Casablanca

Best live performance: Michael Jackson

Best adventure: First trip to Europe experiencing all the charm of different European countries.