Championing Authenticity In The Advertising Industry
Sibulele Siko Shosha is a woman of many words which comes as no surprise when you consider that she is the founder of a trailblazing creative solutions company committed to conquering “guessed culture” in the advertising industry.
Sibulele’s foray into the advertising and marketing industry began with a career in journalism.
After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, she returned to her home city of Cape Town to start her career. “The idea was always to positively contribute towards the telling of authentic Cape Town stories; whether it was through magazine articles, books, or television programmes,” she explains.
Growing up in Khayelitsha, but having gone to high school in Camps Bay, Sibulele was always exposed to the great socio-economic gap in Cape Town. This was not just area-based, but through human experiences as well.
“That difference is something that I saw as valuable. As the years went in my career I got to see other opportunities for storytelling in advertising, marketing, and digital content creation.
“I have a HUGE issue with guessed culture (the misrepresentation of any culture by the industry) so my focus has always been about authenticity and correct representation.”
Staying True To The Legacy
Looking at the creative economy in South Africa and her journey through the ranks as a black woman Sibulele says while there has been a significant change in the industry over the years transformation has been slow.
“The creative economy in South Africa is very white and extremely male. As a black woman, you are seldom seen as an equal or colleague, but rather a tool to polish up BBE scorecards. On top of that, there is the “all black boys club” where your function as a black woman there is that of being the “little sister” who has potential but will never really get there. This is the reason why I always say that black women within the creative economy are the fourth listened to in the boardroom.”
Even today, 13 years later Sibulele finds herself having to be aggressive towards breaking man-made glass ceilings in order to be heard and have her experience and craft respected.
“I do not think I have overcome the challenges, but I have been maneuvering them through not being afraid to challenge and have those tough conversations. In most cases, it is at the risk of being an angry black woman and in some cases, it is at the cost of landing deals. It is however very necessary and important for me to stay true and authentic to the kind of legacy I want to leave in this industry.”
The Dumile Group
Sibulele’s company the Dumile Group has had many faces and journeys. The agency was started in 2008 as a content production company for publishing under the banner Dumile Media Consultants.
“The idea of having the business was carrying on a dream that my later father Dumile Siko had to open up a film production company after I had graduated from University. The attempt was short-lived when I tried to get into the film industry straight after University. This is why I got into publishing. I also see this as a more valuable journey as my learning has been that ultimately everything is about storytelling and now I am lucky enough to be able to tap into those different types of storytelling through the Dumile Group.
“The company is now under a group banner with two entities; Dumile Brand Boutique and The Narrators Africa. The goal is to further grow and penetrate other markets within this space.”
Today the Dumile Brand Boutique offers through-the-line brand communication services, which include, but is not limited to; advertising, marketing, and digital. The Narrators Africa is a TV production company that focuses on ideation and production for television and film.
Looking ahead Sibulele would like to grow the brand to become a household name. “There are agencies now that are easily identified through the work that they produce. I would like for the Dumile Group to be that kind of business that is associated with quality, award-winning, and world-class work.”
Offering advice to the budding female creative entrepreneur out there she says to start with what you know to get to where you want to grow to.
“Because we are in the perception business, we sometimes fall victim to wanting to conduct ourselves in a way that fits the perception of how we would like to be seen. There is value in not knowing, the is merit in opening yourself up to learning. That can only be done through exposing yourself to those who have done this before you, but also through collaborations,” she concludes.