This August, Lionesses of Africa is featuring the talented women entrepreneurs who are changing the PR, media and communications landscape in Africa through their innovation, products, services and their passion for what they do.
Some of the names and companies are well-known - others are new to the scene - but all of them are making waves through their work in creating memorable PR campaigns for their clients, producing great brand communications strategies and campaigns, and producing world-class media platforms and channels in television, radio and film, not to mention the published media of magazines and newspapers.
Let's introduce you to some of these amazing women....
Mo Abudu, founder of EbonyLife TV, Nigeria
Mo Abudu is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife TV, Africa's first and fastest growing black entertainment and lifestyle network. Mo Abudu, Nigerian media entrepreneur and talk show host, is the first African woman to launch a Pan-African TV channel. The channel currently on DSTV Channel 165, as well as in the UK on the TalkTalk platform, providing premium, original and home-grown programming to its ever increasing viewership. She has received many awards In recognition of her outstanding work in media and her services to humanity, and was most recently honoured with an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Babcock University. Read more from Mo here.
Khanyi Dhlomo, founder of Ndalo Media, South Africa
Khanyi Dhlomo is the Managing Director of Ndalo Media, which she founded in 2007. She is also the founder of DestinyConnect and the founding editor of Destiny Magazine. Before starting her own media company, Khanyi was editor of True Love magazine for eight years. In 2013, Khanyi ventured in retail and launched Luminance, a high-end fashion and lifestyle department store. Khanyi was named most influential woman in South African Media by The Media Magazine in 2003 and made the 2011 Forbes list of 20 Young Power Women in Africa. Read Khanyi's '100 Lionesses' profile here.
Uche Pedro, founder of BellaNaija.com, Nigeria
Uche Pedro is founder of BellaNaija.com, a company that develops and delivers exciting online content aimed at Nigerian and Pan-African audiences. Uche’s savvy grasp of media trends has led to BellaNaija.com becoming the go-to lifestyle, entertainment and fashion portal in Africa. Her website has established a loyal following amongst the young, cosmopolitan, upwardly mobile set in Nigeria, with over 1 million unique visitors and 9 million page views each month. Read Uche's '100 Lionesses' profile here.
Basetsana Kumalo, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist
Basetsana 'Bassie' Kumalo is a South African television personality, beauty pageant titleholder, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Her career began in 1990 when she was crowned Miss Soweto and Miss Black South Africa at the age of 16. Since then, Bassie has become a formidable force in the business world and is widely respected as both an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. A Director at Travel with Flair, she also owns her own optical, sunglasses and cosmetic range. In the media space, Basetsana is best known as co-founder and Executive Chairman of Tswelopele Productions, a television production company which produces the popular shows Top Billing, Pasella, Ses’Khona amongst others. In 2011 she was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Read more about Basetsana here.
Patience Stevens, co-founder of Tswelopele Productions, South Africa
Patience Stevens is co-founder of Tswelopele Productions in South Africa, a leading TV production company, accredited by Impumelelo as one of South Africa’s Top 300 empowerment companies. Tswelopele is a Sotho word meaning to lift up, empower and to liberate people. It’s a story of progress driven by the energy and enthusiasm of Tswelopele Production’s Managing Director Patience Stevens and Chairperson Basetsana Kumalo. The company’s flagship brand is the Top Billing TV show that is produced for SABC3, the longest-running entertainment and lifestyle television programme in South Africa. In recent years Top Billing’s success has brought more projects to the reputable Tswelopele brand, such as the Afrikaans weekly magazine programme Pasella on prime time SABC 2, a youth TV show in SiSwati, Ses’khona on SABC 1; a travel series Top Travel which has achieved success locally and on the Travel Channel in Europe and Wealth TV in the USA; Top Dogs, a show celebrating top South African achievers; a talk show No Reservations and in print, Top Billing Magazine. More about Patience.
Diana Opoti, founder of Diana Opoti PR, Kenya
Diana Opoti the founder of Diana Opoti PR is a fashion media professional, avid blogger, entrepreneur and executive producer of the television series Designing Africa, with a hit campaign, 100 Days of African Fashion. Diana is a leading champion of the continent’s fashion design market and has become one of the Africa’s most formidable fashion connectors. In 2014, Diana was nominated as “outstanding Trend Communicator of the year by the continent’s most prestigious awards, The Africa Fashion Awards. More about Diana.
Our Startup stories of Africa's women in Media, PR & Communications
All too often, brands try to break into new markets without having enough local insights. For one strategic communications agency, that scenario was simply not an option for their clients. Innocomm, the brainchild of entrepreneur Jacqueline Boulos, believes in spending time in and getting to know key markets in order to get brand messages to really resonate with local audiences.
Getting brands and messages out to key audiences and markets is key to any customer centric brand, but the key to success is creating experiences that connect the right customers to those brands and products. For entrepreneur Thandiwe Makhanya, this is where her specialist company, A.T.L Events and Promotions, comes in with the solutions.
Shaping the African continent’s positive narrative and opening up the minds of others around the globe to see its full potential, requires making connections with people at a human level. And, there is no better way of achieving this than through the sharing of stories and experiences. Entrepreneur Mimi Kalinda and her company Africommunications Group are both on a mission to harness the power of storytelling to change perceptions of this amazing continent.
They say everyone has a unique story to tell, but often people, businesses and brands find it hard to get that story told in a way that is engaging. But one woman entrepreneur is on a mission to change all that. Chule Gobodo, co-founder of Brainbow Conscious Creatives, is showing clients how to powerfully connect their brands with their consumers using storytelling through film.
Navigating the often over saturated world of business messaging and communications can present a challenge to companies and organisations, both large and small. But Lunice Johnston, founder of the specialist communications company that bears her name, has the solutions and 25 years of experience to match.
Getting the world to see Africa from a different perspective requires the ability to harness the power of storytelling through the visual media, and that is where South African tv and film production company, Sorele Media, comes in. Talented and highly experienced founders, Stephina Zwane and Salamina Mosese, are on a mission to not only produce great content, but also to create a powerful online tv platform to get the right messages across to audiences.
Personality-led brands and businesses connect with audiences because of precisely that - they are created by women entrepreneurs who are big on passion and personality. Rose Sibisi is an entrepreneur who has both of these traits in huge quantities, and her passion for what she does is infectious. Her popular Talk Show, StylewithRoseS, is must-watch television.
For any business, large or small, one of the biggest challenges can be developing and communicating a unique brand essence, one that engages and connects with customers and employees alike. Maruapula Brand, founded by entrepreneur Kelebogile Makhafola, is helping those businesses through this brand maze.
Every successful event needs a great Master of Ceremonies to keep things moving according to schedule and importantly to keep audiences engaged. In Malawi, one of the most popular MCs currently is Judith Msonthi, founder of Judie Emcee, bringing her unique style and personality to enliven any event.
In a world where consumers are bombarded by information 24/7, it can be hard to get a brand and its messaging to breakthrough and connect, and that’s where The Content Agency comes in. The brainchild of South African entrepreneur Liz van Zyl, this specialist business venture creates high impact content capable of making that crucial breakthrough and connecting with audiences across all media formats.
One of the major challenges for any startup is understanding how to effectively to get their brands, products and services out into the marketplace and connecting customers. That’s where marketing and communications comes in, and for South African entrepreneur and marcomms specialist Jolene Roelofse, founder of Bludoor Market, it provided an opportunity to create a solution.
Staying on top of the latest online trends is key in the world of marketing, and for Zimbabwean company 143 Communications, headed by entrepreneur Geraldine Eve Kasambara, those trends bring exciting business opportunities.
Often people speak about finding their inner voice as a means of directing their personal journeys and getting their vision or key messages across. This is certainly the case for Nomalanga Sitole, the South African entrepreneur behind The Voice Within, an event management company creating memorable eventing experiences for clients and attendees alike.
Anyone faced with the tasks organizing events knows just how daunting it can seem, with multiple logistics to deal with and a seemingly unending set of decisions to be made. One South African company is on a mission to make this task so much easier. Seeds Consulting, the brainchild of entrepreneur Samantha Dube, is bringing an end-to-end solution for event coordination, making the job of eventing a pleasure instead of a chore.
Finding a niche in business can often be a challenge in itself for many entrepreneurs, but for Christine Moraa, founder of Kenyan PR company Tendai Communications, her journey was inspired by her personal business experiences.
For all those who love the idea of global travel and filming combined into one unique offering, then the Nomadic Filmland Academy has a great proposition. Entrepreneur Chaymaa Rhou and her film expert colleagues are providing the opportunity for travellers to experience not only fascinating trips to new places, but also the chance to record a film of their travels at the same time.
Many small companies recognise that they need media and marketing support, but do not always have the time or money to develop these plans or produce the media to support their businesses. For entrepreneur Lucilla Blankenberg and her company Off the Ground Media, she is not only providing a great solution, but creating a company that makes a difference to the lives of others at the same time through those efforts.
Many people have a natural talent for words, but turning that talent into a business is not always so easy. One woman entrepreneur, Adedoyin Jaiyesimi, founder of The Sparkle Writer's Hub in Nigeria, is providing a supporting learning environment for aspirant writers to develop that talent and pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams.
In the world of branding and design, standing out from the crowd is always a good thing, and Conté Creatives the Agency, the brainchild of South African entrepreneur Charmaine Ngobeni and her business partner Amanda Sibiya, is certainly doing that. Their unique differentiator in the marketplace is not only a great service offering, but also a wonderful creative portfolio magazine showcasing some great work by highly talented designers.
On a mission to take Africa’s most talented make-up artists to the world of film and television, Project FX Make-Up Show Africa, the brainchild of Rosemary Obi, is looking to supercharge the careers of a new generation of home-grown African make-up artists.
In the world of business, the art of storytelling is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity. People connect with brands through stories and therefore companies are becoming more aware of the need to tell those stories in a way that will best connect with consumers. Entrepreneur and language guru, Mignionette Fair, the founder of Fair Translation and Editing Services, has a passion for helping companies to master the art of language to make that all important connection with customers.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and in the case of South African entrepreneur, Karené Wedekind, she is capturing eye-catching images that can help businesses to portray themselves and their products in the best possible light.
Every mum and mum-to-be knows how important it is to learn as much as possible about being a parent and caring for those precious little ones. Seeing a gap in the market for a focused online and event platform that would bring the best information, networking and support for mums in Kenya, led to entrepreneur Christine Khasinah Odero creating Supamamas, a destination of choice for discerning mums.
Nigerian woman-owned startup 30Watt Media understands the power of exceptional service delivery and great communication, helping companies to make the necessary business shifts from simply selling products to offering real customer experiences. At the heart of the business is an understanding of the power of human capital to make a difference to the way consumers experience brands and businesses.
The world of public relations and brand positioning is a highly competitive one, particularly on the African continent, but Mary Njoki, the founder of successful Kenyan PR firm Glass House PR, is determined to be an industry leader by building a foundation of innovation and creativity.
Any successful business knows the importance of strong marketing campaigns to get key messages to customers and connect them to brands and services. One Kenyan company, Round Square Marketing Limited, founded by entrepreneur Fidelis Wanjiku, is demonstrating a powerful track record in creating campaigns and solutions that delivers to its clients.
A passion to see women-led business in Africa succeed as global brands led entrepreneur Emma Tandoh to create her company, Outspoken Edge LLC, a specialist in the field of digital marketing and content development in Ghana. Her approach is to get people talking about the brands she helps to build, which in turn contributes to their success.
Women entrepreneurs who follow their passion and turn it into a business are more likely to find success, as they are driven each day to fulfil their creative ambitions. Abigail K Photography is the passion of Abigail Klopper, a talented photographer who is harnessing the power of her chosen medium to enrich the lives of others.
Reve Productions is the brainchild of Thanthi Sepeng, one of an exciting new breed of entrepreneurs in South Africa who are finding solutions to key challenges. Her company is geared up to provide clients with a comprehensive, professional and unforgettable service, be it in Event Management, Marketing, Event Logistics Management or CSI Projects.
Understanding the power of an integrated communication approach to help businesses to grow and connect with their audiences is something that entrepreneur Basadi Ohimile knows only too well. Her business, The Concept King, is leveraging her own experience and that of her team, to provide an end-to-end communications solution to her clients, both at home and across the continent.
Why LoA loves Africa's Women in the World of Media, PR and Communications ….
For companies, organisations and brands, making a powerful connection with audiences, consumers and other key stakeholders is key. Creating messaging and campaigns that have the power to reach those audiences is where specialist companies and advisors come into the picture. Here in Africa we are blessed with some of the most talented communications and brand experts who are creating award-winning campaigns for their clients and finding solutions to the most challenging of communications problems. This month, we salute each of these Women in the Media, PR and Communications industries for getting the messages and brands out there! --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa