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#Newsmaker: Nkanyezi Masango - Cape Town could become the next Cannes

Last month the Perth Advertising and Design Club (PADC) announced Cape Town as The Skulls 2018 judging city with chair of judges, King James CD Nkanyezi Masango.
Nkanyezi Masango
Nkanyezi Masango

Someone PADC President Mark Braddock believes is “at the vanguard of the new voices rising in creative communications and someone who is a big advocate for the power of the creative industries to positively affect social change”.
I absolutely believe in the power of our industry to affect social change. The first step is democratising the creative business itself by making it accessible to kids in townships, which is why I started Blackboard alongside Tseliso Rangaka and SJ Myeza, an initiative that raises awareness for our industry in high schools. The second step is encouraging clients to play a more meaningful role in society – beyond just selling products.

I interviewed Masango to find out what this opportunity means to him and for SA, as Cape Town is this year’s judging city…

BizcommunityCongratulations on becoming chair of judges for the Perth Advertising and Design Club’s The Skulls 2018. How do you feel about it/what does it mean to you?

I’ve always admired Australian advertising and design. So, to have the opportunity to play such a key role at Skulls 2018 – where the work is going to be of a high calibre – is an enormous honour.

BizcommunityWhat does it mean for SA, that Cape Town is this year’s judging city?
It confirms that our diverse culture and creativity have become respected globally. It’s also a great opportunity for the two creative communities to inspire each other and exchange ideas. Besides, who wouldn’t want to come judge in such a gorgeous city? Maybe we might end up being the next Cannes – except the wine is affordable.
BizcommunityWhat does your role as chair of judges entail?

As chair of judges my role is to select local judges for each of the four juries, and then I’ll be driving the objectives of Skulls and helping ensure that the judging process is fair – for instance, if there are debates I’ll make sure everyone’s point of view is heard. I’ll also be flying to Perth to do a talk at PADC and take part at the ceremony on the awards night.

BizcommunityWhat excites you most about this opportunity?

I’m excited to see the work from Perth. Some of my creative heroes like Matt Eastwood come from Perth, so clearly the city produces great minds. I can’t wait to draw inspiration from the new wave of creativity that’s coming out of there and meet the creatives behind it.

BizcommunityWhat do you love most about your career and being a creative director in particular?

I just love the challenge of solving problems with creativity. Every day presents a new problem which leads to a fresh creative solution.
I think creative direction is about generosity. It’s quite a selfless process because you spend a lot of your time helping others be better, and when your team achieves success, that’s so rewarding.
Fortunately, I work with insanely talented people, which makes my job very fulfilling.

BizcommunityWhat has been your greatest learning?

The greatest learning for me has been that the best work is often rooted in good relationships with clients. When the relationship is strong, so is the work.

BizcommunityWhy is diversity in the space important to you, and in general?

Creativity is based on insights and life experiences. Without diversity, it means the creativity we offer as an industry is very limited, and we end up with work that doesn’t connect with the majority of the population because we’re drawing inspiration from such a small pool of insights. It’s not sustainable.

BizcommunityWhat did it take to get to where you are today?
Icaro Doria once wrote that ‘your career is a collective effort’. This is so true in my case. Where I am in my career has to do with the amount of people who’ve believed in me and gave me a shot, such as Graham Lang and Alistair King. The only rule I’ve stuck to from day one is to work with people who I admire. I’ve never chased money, I chase great mentors.
BizcommunityComment on the current state of advertising and what its future looks like to you.

It’s an exciting time right now because everything is changing. Creatives can no longer choose between being in traditional or digital. As a creative, you need to understand every medium. So, I think in the near future, we won’t even say ‘digital copywriter’. It’s as ridiculous as saying ‘billboard copywriter’.

BizcommunityWhat are you currently reading for work?

I’m currently reading Manage Your Money like a F#cking Grown Up. It’s totally irrelevant to my work, but very necessary!

BizcommunityTell us something about yourself not generally known.

I’m happiest in the wild.

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram

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