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Vumile Mavumengwana on the power of taking local work to the global stage

Following on from his stint as a juror for Cannes Lions 2018, creative director and designer of VM DSGN Vumile Mavumengwana is the only SA juror selected for this year's White Square Ad Festival. Here, he explains what he's most looking forward to from the judging experience and the impact of the global creative community recognising Africa and South Africa in particular.
Mavumengwana will serve on the 2019 White Square branding jury.
Mavumengwana will serve on the 2019 White Square branding jury.

The White Square International Advertising & Marketing Festival is one of the largest creative festivals in communications industry of Eastern Europe, with the 11th rendition set to feature Mavumengwana on this year's branding jury.

This is exciting for him as it's a follow up on last year's Cannes Lions judging.

He’s extremely proud to be representing the continent through his addition to the jury panel and says:
It's great to be included and be part of the international community, especially on platforms of creativity and design – both being my passion points.
We caught up for a quick Q&A about judging international award shows, and the impact of judging international award shows on the work he does…

BizcommunityHow did you find out you’d been included on the jury?

I received a LinkedIn message from Anastasiya Kuchur, the festival’s information and communications director inviting me to be part of this year's branding jury. She invited me based on my participation in the 2018 Cannes Lions design jury.

BizcommunityAmazing! Are you White Square’s only African juror this year?

Yes, the jury lists show I’m the only South African judge.

Screenshot supplied by Mavumengwana.
Screenshot supplied by Mavumengwana.

Most of the judges are from Europe, Russia and Asia, with a handful from the Middle East and South America.

BizcommunityWhat does that mean to you?

This signals to me that the international creative community recognises Africa, and South Africa in particular, in terms of our unique brand of creativity and innovation.

It shows interest in our point of view and welcomes us to be part of the voices that celebrate ideas that are truly universal, as well as ideas that connect across cultures in a fresh and new way.

BizcommunityWhat are you most looking forward to, from the judging experience?

Meeting the other judges, seeing the work, the ideas, the craft in particular, and learning from emerging global trends.
International work is always interesting as it comes from a first-world perspective, but there is also work that is universal and deals with subjects we all face as a society – challenges that our local brands also face as our world evolves.
BizcommunityDefinitely. Based on that point, how does judging international award shows affect the work you do yourself?

It definitely elevates it, makes it more global and validates the fact that we need to continue developing our own breed of creative that is distinct work that represents us – our people, our culture and aesthetic.

This is evident in the work that is already making its way onto the global stage through the likes of Nelson Makamo, Trevor Stuurman, Black Coffee, Karabo Poppy Moletsane, Porky Hefer and Laduma Ngxokolo, just to name a few.

Seems award season 2019 and beyond will be full of SA-flavoured inspiration. The White Square XI International Advertising and Marketing Festival will take place from 17 to 19 April in Minsk, Belarus. Be sure to follow Mavumengwana on Twitter and Instagram for his latest updates, and keep up with the latest White Square Ad Fest news on their Instagram feed.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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