South Africans are good at many things, but not many are excellent at many things at once. Thebe Ikalafeng is one of the few who seems to excel at everything he touches. He is a global African brand and reputation architect, advisor and author, and he is taking the world by storm.
Founder of Brand Leadership Group, the award-winning pan-African brand and reputation advisory firm, Ikalafeng has worked on over 100 brands across the continent, and his perspective and experience on building brands and reputations in Africa is incomparable.
If you haven’t heard of him yet, you should make a point of finding out more. In the meantime, here are ten things about him that highlight why we think he’s the man of the moment:
- Ikalafeng holds BSc and MBA degrees from Marquette University in the USA. He is a qualified Chartered Marketer (SA) and has completed executive education at Wits Business School in South Africa, as well as Harvard Business School in the USA.
- Ikalafeng is non-executive director of Mercantile Bank Holdings (a subsidiary of Caixa CGD, the Portuguese state-owned banking corporation and the second largest bank in Portugal). He is also non-executive director of JSE-listed Car Track Holdings, which operates in 20 countries across the world, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). He is deputy chairman of South African Tourism, chairman of Brand Finance Africa, and serves on the advisory boards for Henley Africa Business School and IC Publications.
- He is a former trustee and chairman of the Marketing Board Sub-committee of Brand South Africa, and has served on all notable industry bodies, including five years as chairman of the highly acclaimed Loeries Awards in South Africa. He was also a jury member of the global design award, Red Dot, in Germany.
- He has been to over 50 countries in Africa!
- New African Magazine has named him on of the “100 Most Influential Africans”
- He summited Mount Kilimanjaro (5 895 m high) on Nelson Mandela’s birthday (18 July 2015) with a team led by the Nelson Mandela Foundation
- He started his career at Colgate Palmolive in New York
- Before founding his own company, his career culminated at Nike as group marketing director for Africa. Here he led Nike to the #1 brand across Africa, grew the business over 450% and earned over 75 local and global awards, including 10 Cannes Lions and IMM “Marketing Company of the Year” Roll of Honour.
- He has been recognised as one of the “Top 10 Thinkers in Marketing” in an Ipsos survey among business decision makers in Southern Africa and one of the “Top 10 Africans to follow on Twitter” by How We Made It In Africa.
- The book that has the most profound impact on him was “Makeba, My Story” by Miriam Makeba. It made him realise that the struggle for a better world is not just for politicians but for everybody.
We are proud to feature a South African like Thebe Ikalafeng – his work in putting Africa and South Africa on the map has ensured that we are a force to be reckoned with.