About Tshego Kekana
Tshego Kekana is a seasoned Strategic Communications expert, with over 12 years of combined
communications and marketing experience. She is an avid negotiator, a business strategist, a
creative and professional executive.
Tshego’s experience has spanned across Africa, gaining in-country communications and
marketing insights, as well as building and collaborating with teams in other African countries.
She has partners in key markets such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Her career highlights include leading PR for brand campaigns such as Standard Bank What’s Your
Next brand campaign between 2017 – 2019. She has also led PR teams across Africa on a pan-
African campaign called Old Mutual Amazing Voices between 2019 and 2020. Winning the Kellogg’s SA Corporate PR account as well as Absa Bank Consumer PR contract for Retail Banking.
Tshego is also the founder of a women empowerment organisation called – The Lioness
Movement – where she leads hundreds of women and empowering them in all aspects of their
lives. It’s a sisterhood that is growing throughout Africa.
She is a speaker, who is most passionate about Youth and women motivation and she highlights her career journey and shares relevant nuggets for gender balance in the workplace.
Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m Tshegofatso Kekana, but you can call me Tshego.
I am from Atteridgeville, Pretoria, and I’m a proud mother of two.
I’ve ventured into the world of creative entrepreneurship. My professional background primarily revolves around PR and communications.
I specialize in strategic communications, with a focus on PR, media relations, corporate event planning, influential marketing, strategy development, and both traditional and digital marketing.
How did you get started in your field or profession?
I humbly embarked on this journey driven by a strong desire to create something meaningful and impactful on my own. I’ve always been a self-starter, often inspired by the success stories of entrepreneurs who’ve turned their businesses into renowned brands. Some might even call me “overly ambitious.” I consistently push boundaries and aim to surpass the limitations life places before us. My initial motivation to start my business was rooted in the aspiration to offer affordable professional PR and marketing services to small businesses.
In 2016, I established Alfa Destiny Communications, which has since evolved into a pan-African, integrated marketing and communications company. With offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as partners in five other African nations, we pride ourselves on crafting innovative content solutions that align with our clients’ objectives. Our services revolve around integrated communications and marketing solutions.
Can you share some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
My journey began when I was unemployed and raising my 2-year-old daughter in Atteridgeville township, with just a laptop and the local internet café as my resources. The hustle was real as I networked and learned the ropes of business. Eventually, I secured a job, but my entrepreneurial spirit kept my side hustle alive. My days were a juggling act between parenting, a 9-5 job, and my business. I commuted daily from Pretoria to Sandton, with early morning and late-night meetings. I started with minimal capital, with the only investment coming from my father, who bought me a laptop and printer to kickstart my venture.
As the business grew, capacity became a challenge, especially when I was a one-person show. In early 2020, I took a significant leap by resigning from my job to focus on my 4-year-old side hustle. Unfortunately, the COVID lockdown hit, causing me to lose four of my five clients and, consequently, a substantial part of my income. I had to let go of my apartment in Midrand and return home, but I never considered returning to traditional employment. I viewed this as an essential part of my entrepreneurial journey and worked tirelessly to rebuild the business.
Another recurring challenge has been assembling the right team. I realized that my inclination to hire with my heart needed modification. I had to find more effective ways to identify and recruit individuals who could contribute to the business’s success.
Throughout my 7-year journey, we’ve weathered income losses, client departures, and team changes. Nonetheless, we remain committed to growth, unwavering in the face of challenges.
What are some of your most significant professional achievements or milestones?
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my career has been working with esteemed brands such as Absa Bank, Kellogg’s South Africa, and Healthgarde. We’ve also had the privilege of collaborating with brands like Portia M Skincare. The transformation of my business from a traditional PR agency to a pan-African, Integrated Communications and Marketing agency stands out as a notable milestone. Our Digital Marketing division in Cape Town is experiencing impressive growth, with three new clients this year. We currently have a dedicated team of 10 staff members in Johannesburg and Cape Town. We’ve also expanded our reach, establishing partnerships in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.
On a personal note, being recognized as a finalist in the Top Entrepreneur Category for Standard Bank Top Women in 2021 was a remarkable achievement. Speaking at various platforms, including Women in PR Ghana, The Comms Avenue in Nigeria, and the University of Johannesburg, among others, has significantly contributed to building not only my personal brand but also the brand of Alfa Destiny across the African continent.
You have a strong online presence and engage with your audience on social media. How do you navigate the challenges and opportunities of digital media, especially in the context of contemporary African culture and society?
Navigating the digital media landscape in the context of contemporary African culture and society is both challenging and rewarding. In my over 11 years of experience, I’ve learned to adapt to the ever-evolving digital landscape. The challenges often revolve around staying updated with rapidly changing platforms and technologies, understanding the unique dynamics of African online communities, and addressing cultural sensitivities. However, the opportunities are vast, from reaching a diverse and engaged audience to fostering cross-border connections within the continent.
As a woman in the media industry, have you faced specific challenges or opportunities, and how have these shaped your career and your perspective on gender equality in media?
Indeed, being a woman in the media industry has presented both challenges and opportunities. I’ve faced gender biases and stereotypes, but I’ve also found empowerment in overcoming them. These experiences have shaped my career by instilling resilience and determination. My perspective on gender equality in media has evolved to become an advocate for diversity and inclusivity. I believe that a balanced representation of voices in media is essential for a richer, more insightful industry.
Could you walk us through a typical day in your professional life?
A typical day in my professional life is incredibly dynamic.
My morning routine includes prayer and meditation from 5am, checking urgent emails, gym and taking my daughter to school. I try to maintain a balance between work and my role as a mother.
My day is then followed by; meetings with clients, team members, and partners.
I spend a significant amount of time strategizing, overseeing campaigns, and ensuring client objectives are met, as well, as leading my group.
My Mantra: Flexibility should be key in the PR and communications world.
Based on your experiences, what advice would you offer to individuals aspiring to enter your field or profession?
To those aspiring to enter the PR and communications field, I’d offer a few pieces of advice: a. Continuously learn and adapt: The industry evolves rapidly, so stay informed about the latest trends and technologies. b. Build strong relationships: Networking is vital; forge connections with industry leaders and influencers. c. Develop excellent communication skills: Clear and effective communication is at the heart of PR. d. Be resilient: You will face challenges, but resilience will help you persevere. e. Stay passionate: Passion is what drives success in this field; stay committed to your goals.
Are there any specific lessons or insights you’ve gained that you believe could be valuable to others?
One valuable lesson I’ve learned is the power of collaboration. Building effective teams and partnerships is essential for success in PR and communications. Another insight is that integrity and transparency are non-negotiable. Trust is the foundation of our work, and maintaining it is of utmost importance.
Lastly, what is your vision for the future of media in Africa, and how do you aim to contribute to the growth and transformation of the industry?
My vision for the future of media in Africa is one of diversity and innovation. I see a media landscape that embraces the richness of African cultures and narratives, using digital platforms to amplify voices across the continent. I aim to contribute by fostering cross-border collaborations, empowering emerging talent, and promoting ethical and inclusive media practices. Through Alfa Destiny Communications and my involvement in various organizations, I’m committed to helping transform the industry into a more dynamic and representative force in the global media landscape.