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The One Club of Creativity Special Section

Two South Africans named winners in global One Club's Young Creative competition

Sands Mathura, associate creative director at Sands Mathura in Cape Town, and Lauren Mitchell, group creative head at Accenture Song in Johannesburg have been named winners in the global Next Creative Leaders competition and The 3% Movement.
(Left) Sands Mathura, associate creative director at Sands Mathura in Cape Town, and (right) Lauren Mitchell, group creative head at Accenture Song in Johannesburg have been named winners in the global Next Creative Leaders competition and The 3% Movement
(Left) Sands Mathura, associate creative director at Sands Mathura in Cape Town, and (right) Lauren Mitchell, group creative head at Accenture Song in Johannesburg have been named winners in the global Next Creative Leaders competition and The 3% Movement

They joined the 32 other young creative winners from 16 countries in the competition produced by the One Club for Creativity. The 3% Movement recognises women, trans, and non-binary creatives on the rise.

Lauren Mitchell

Mitchell is also one of four South Africans who will be part of the global jury for The One Show 2024. View Mitchell's work here.

Sands Mathura

In her interview with The One Club, Mathura says she entered to share her learnings thus far, with others who may come from similar, non-advertising backgrounds.

"I want to be a bridge between industry iconoclasts, and the young, queer, neurodivergent creatives just starting in the industry. A conduit for unconventional perspectives to reach a global platform."

Her current inspirations are Camilla Clerke and Sanele Ngubane:

"Camilla, my previous ECD. She is a force of nature. Cam makes everyone in her care feel seen and propels them to want more for themselves and the brief on their table."

"Ngubane wrote the first Cannes Gold-winning isiZulu radio commercial. He consistently pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with the spoken word. Be it in isiZulu, English, Afrikaans, or any atmospheric sound that can be harnessed for his craft," she says.

Asked what she thinks the future of creativity will look like, she says, "It’s colourful. Filled with diverse voices from varying socio-cultural backgrounds. It’s an egalitarian, democratic space. Where curiosity and compassion thrive. Where respect is earned not demanded."

View Mathura's work here.

A global platform for young creatives

Now in its ninth year, Next Creative Leaders is a free portfolio competition that identifies, celebrates, and gives a global platform to qualified creatives across all regions who are making their mark with both their work and a unique point of view on creative leadership that’s changing the industry for the better.

The winners are announced in five regions, and Mathura and Mitchell are the only two from Africa in the Middle East & Africa category.
They are joined by their Middle East colleagues:

  • Maram Ashour, associate creative director, Dubai
  • Michelle Ko, creative director, FP7 McCann Dubai
  • Rana Sadek, associate creative director, Impact BBDO, Dubai

This year saw an intentional move to a more global footprint and this boosted entries from Latin America and Asia, which put them on par with European entries for the first time ever.

Next year the One Club says it will focus on growing applicants in the Middle East and Africa.

Winners were also announced for the APAC, Europe, Latin America and North US regions.

Diversity, mentoring, and advocacy

Entrants were judged on four to six pieces of creative work and information about how they — and their work — are pushing the industry forward and making a positive contribution in terms of diversity, mentoring, and advocacy.

“For nearly two decades, The One Club has provided programming that helps improve the industry's diversity and gender equality,” says Kevin Swanepoel, CEO, The One Club.

“We’re proud to co-produce Next Creative Leaders, a competition designed to identify, elevate and give voice to creatives around the world who are making a real difference, opening doors, and inspiring the next generation.”

Not the usual suspects

"It's amazing what happens when you overtly invite creatives who aren't the 'usual suspects' to share their work,” says Kat Gordon, founder, CEO at The 3% Movement.

“As every member of this year's jury can attest, there is an embarrassment of riches to be found. The fact that many of these talented creatives also use their gifts to improve the industry itself makes Next Creative Leaders more than a creative competition, but a community-fueled driver of change. 3% is so proud to partner with The One Club for almost a decade on this initiative. It matters."

Each NCL winner receives a one-year complimentary individual membership with The One Club, with opportunities to participate in future One Club awards juries, and complimentary tickets to a One Club professional development conference ($1,000+ value), panels, and mentorship events.

The One Club will host a free webinar on February 29 at 12 pm EST, featuring select Next Creative Leaders winners and some of their groundbreaking work.

Branding for the latest Next Creative Leaders competition was designed by Selina Kehuan Wu, an MFA candidate at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, and a Type Directors Club TDC69 competition winner.

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