It is with profound sadness that Ogilvy South Africa shares the news that Molefi Thulo has passed away. This ever humble, always inspirational human will leave a massive hole in the industry that he loved so much, and to which he gave so much.
Molefi began his career as a copywriter in the 2000s. He quickly showed his gift for humour, writing some of South Africa’s most loved campaigns. In 2009, he moved to Ogilvy, eventually making it his home and rising to become executive creative director.
Over the decade that Molefi spent at Ogilvy, he managed to always find magic – in people, in brands, in the most challenging briefs. He truly believed a great idea could come from anywhere, and used this as an invitation to anyone who loved advertising as much as he did. He shared his great gift with fearless generosity.
Aside from his iconic work, which moved advertising forward in a time of industry transformation, Mo produced some of South Africa’s and Ogilvy’s most awarded work – for clients like KFC, Lucozade, Coca-Cola, DStv, AB InBev, Philips and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, among many others.
This son of the Free State made a proper dent in the universe. He made it to the top of the global ad industry, winning multiple Cannes Grands Prix and recognition at the toughest festivals in the world. He was a respected industry leader, sitting on festival juries and industry bodies. Serving on the Creative Circle board, he worked to uplift the industry and to create opportunities for others.
But if you met him on a street in Cannes, Melville, Barcelona or Qwa Qwa, you would never know any of this. He was humble about his own achievements. He was far more interested in celebrating the success of others, than the pile of accolades and awards he had accumulated.
According to the official statement from Ogilvy South Africa, "Mo leaves us with a measure of just how wonderful a human being can be, what the best of us looks like. We send our deepest condolences to his family, to all who knew him across the creative industry and to everyone whose lives he touched. He will be sorely missed. May his magical, nurturing soul rest in peace. Tsamaya hantle motswalle a ratehang."
A date early next week to celebrate his extraordinary life and his legacy is still to be confirmed.