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#SheSpeaks in the Business of Arts

#SheSpeaks in the Business of Arts

In this post I chat to Actress, Thought Leader and Businesswoman, Nambitha Ben Mazwi- popularly known as “Lady Nam”.

You are more than just an accomplished international actress but a philanthropist in your own right- can you share your journey with us and how the digital economy caught your attention?

We are living in a space where everything is driven digitally and that is just the trend going forward. South Africa is catching up, although slowly compared to New York, where I was based, and I have seen how the power of social media has been a driving force in business. My philanthropy efforts to name a few: “The Lady Nam Blanket drive” in collaboration with News cafe’s “News Cares” initiative have been highly driven through social media and ecommerce as a support. The blanket initiative caught onto my followers and the personal relationship I use to donate blankets solely driven by social media. I have also been able to call for sponsorships and donations through digital platforms for another initiative where we are reconstructing a shack, in Alexandra township outside of Johannesburg, currently used as a creche housing 6 orphans. If anything, digital media is the driving force in connecting the dots, implementation and leads in all my philanthropic efforts.

Tell us more about your women’s empowerment movement and how platforms such as social media and the internet have helped to advance your cause #SheSpeaks.

#SheSpeaks is a woman empowerment movement; this is honestly an extension of how I’m living out my purpose and this is the legacy I want to leave beyond the acting. #SheSpeaks is a movement where I can have authentic conversations with women through social media about topics spanning from mentorship advise, maneuvering one’s dreams and self-esteem. It is a platform to inspire women to find their voice in every area of their lives and once they have found their voice- they walk and speak and live in purpose. #SheSpeaks workshops have different themes such as wealth creation, mental health and creating a business using the arts. This initiative has purely been driven on social media, particularly Instagram through sharing, tagging and reposting. Ecommerce is really the vehicle that drives it as far as the interest, the intend, the purchase and execution.

The Business of the Arts is broad- what opportunities do you think technology presents to help grow this industry- more so for women?

Personal branding is the leverage that one can build consistently through social media. If you stand for something, you have the responsibility to carry yourself in that manner. Your personal brand is what comes to mind when you think of someone. As an example, when we think of Serena Williams and the personal brand she has showcased through her work and social media; we think of excellence, a winner, champion, empowered, self-assured, confident and unapologetic. Brands that align with this messaging then want to align with the artist. Our workshops cover who artists are as individuals, how to align who they are strategically with brand partnerships, as well as how to leverage off that. There must be consistency in your personal brand that can be reinforced through social media.

What have been some of your challenges in growing your brand and business- how have you overcome them?

Since receiving The Accenture Rising Star (entrepreneurship programme), it became clear I need to use my Business Science background to assist aspiring creatives/artists who always seek training and coaching from me with regards to the entertainment industry. I really learnt a lot through this programme, and I was challenged a lot in thinking about my brand and business. One of the challenges have been finding the right team. It has taken me years to build the right team and it is still a work in progress. Because of my career and where I am based in South Africa- a publicist, manager, agent, photographer, videographer – everyone needs to be so committed to your vision and solely driven to your vision. It is a work in progress and the challenge is to find people you can trust in this environment. I now have a manager who is solely focused on me and we work together in helping each other out with our complementary skill set. Another challenge is scaling and growing organically through social media- one has to build a brand that is so strong that you can leverage off opportunities- fortunately my current role in the DSTV telenovela “The Queen” has assisted me in promoting my upcoming initiatives to scale my brand and business. Funding also presents a limitation as artists are not regulated and strategic campaigns to grow one’s personal brand are imperative for industry growth.

You have an exciting workshop on the horizon aimed at empowering people from your hometown, Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape (South Africa). Can you tell us what this will entail and how technology can have a far-reaching impact in such places where resources are limited?

This is a #SheSpeaks campaign and has been orchestrated in its entirety through social media from ticket sales, to creating a huge buzz and sponsorships. Social media has also been a very cost effective and wholistic advertising platform to reach remote places. We complement this with radio and television interviews to drive our messaging and get bums on the seats at our workshop.

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Mpho Sekwele

Mpho Sekwele

Mpho Sekwele, a Dartmouth College (USA) Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders Initiative, has over ten years of corporate work experience in the retail industry for Blue Chip retail companies in Africa. Mpho is an alumnus of the University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand and holds an Executive MBA from IEDC Bled School of Management (Slovenia). Mpho is passionate about youth and women empowerment; through sintuonline.com an eCommerce platform where contemporary African Heritage Clothing and Accessories made by young women in Africa, are sold globally; as well as BantuHikers a wellness, networking and mentorship platform for first generation students.
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