LLA Interview: Thami Nkadimeng, an African voice with global impact.


Please tell us about yourself

I am a South African-born communication whizz who has served as an employee in the communication space in the corporate world for a looooong time (we will leave it at that) and now I use communication for the benefit of society and humanity.  My relationship with words and communication is one that will never fall apart, I view words with smitten eyes and I want to see the best side of them no matter what.


As an African voice with global impact, how do you see your role in representing the diverse cultures, perspectives, and narratives of Africa on a global stage?

My role is quite the opposite actually – we have been so fixated as humans to represent diverse cultures, perspectives and narratives that we began to create silos in the disguise of all-inclusive voices.  What that has done, is create more division amongst humans than ever (this group versus that group and this nation versus that).  My role is to remind us that impact is made when we pull together, in the same direction, for a common cause in our human commonness. Hunger is hunger, poverty is poverty, well-being is well-being and so it carries on; regardless of culture, regardless of perspective and regardless of narratives.  We need to get back to making the main thing…the main thing – by ensuring we put an end to these issues for ALL.  That is how I use my voice for impact.


What motivated you to use your voice and platform to create a global impact? Were there any specific experiences or events that shaped your mission?

When you have a calling on your life it is not something you can describe to anyone else, it is a sense of responsibility you have in your gut that will continue to cry out until you give it attention.  Nothing else will fulfil you, give you joy or a sense of drive but that calling and its adventure. With this in mind, my motivation was not one thing – it was a series of events that kept leading me back into this path until I woke up to the reality.  If you watch my TEDx Talk “ I used My Mind’s Theatre to Become”, you will begin to realise that this would have always landed up being my mission, my only choice was whether I would do it willingly or forcefully. I chose to happily and gladly surrender to my calling.

How do you navigate the balance between honoring your African heritage and appealing to a global audience? Are there any challenges or opportunities you’ve encountered in this regard?

By using the word balance in your question there is automatic assumption that there is imbalance between my African heritage versus the global audience.  I do not need to request acceptance; I arrive and present myself to world as I am regardless of where my voice is being used geographically.  What would the notion of authenticity be all about, if I wanted to appeal?  Whether my authenticity is appreciated or not is of no concern to me –  I am there for the message of humanity not for a personal goal.  Once I remove myself from the glory, it is no longer about the comfort of my stability.  I am kind of like Afro-pop and Amapiano, they have not changed to navigate the balance they remained themselves and were embraced.


In what ways do you believe your African background has influenced your work and the messages you aim to convey? How do you ensure authenticity and cultural sensitivity in your projects?

Being African is my fixed script, it is something you can never take away from me.  Some things are pre-determined for us like where we are born, who are parents are and part of that is me being African. Being African is not my background, it is who I am!  For that very reason the authenticity is guaranteed if I am involved in projects.  I am more concerned about cultural inclusion (I do not like the word “sensitivity”).  Can we call it cultural awareness or rather cultural acceptance?   By virtue that I work worldwide the unwritten key performance indicator in my delivery is on everyone’s  inclusion.  Did everyone understand the message?  Did everyone participate in the conversation whether vocally or mentally because they felt considered in how the communication was structured.  That is my only role to ensure.

Can you share some examples of projects or initiatives where you’ve seen the impact of your work resonate with both African and global audiences? What outcomes or responses have been particularly meaningful to you?

This question is tough for me to answer because it would require self-praise and with the work I do I think the people on the respective projects would be the ones who should be given the role of that.  Yes, we should affirm ourselves as humans but I think we are bordering dangerous lines of self-defined impressive roles we play as individuals lately.  This has shifted the focus we need on the  actual dynamic collective direction.  However, given that I have been named 2023 Top Most Influential People of African Descent under 40, in support of United Nations – it tells me that I am on the right path of impact for humankind.


What do you believe are the misconceptions or stereotypes that still exist about Africa in the global community? How do you address or challenge these narratives through your work?

I love this question (As I giggle for a moment).  We do not live with lions in our backyards and ride on elephants to school and guess what…we even have systems similar to yours in some instances in Africa.  I always laugh at how the media paints Africa in a specific way for a portion of the global community to give the impression that Africa is dependent, that Africa cannot pull through.  I am loving how Africa is starting to voice itself in respective areas and trust me I challenge these embellished false ideologies every chance I get. I am African, do I look helpless to you?  My very presence in these rooms challenges these stereotypes.

How do you actively work towards empowering other African voices and talents to gain global recognition and influence? Are there any mentorship or support programs you are involved in?

I am a MIPADian and my MIPAD family is filled with hundreds of African voices all playing their part.  As we are a family, we certainly have a platform where we share our achievements, struggles and challenges and we are able to empower each other with a strength we call #connectology in our respective journeys.  This is achieved through our respective talents and ensures that we are working in contribution to the collective focus of SDGs as we should – 2030 is around the corner.


What future goals or aspirations do you have for your work and the impact you want to make as an African voice with global influence?

I want to go with my gift to wherever my purpose takes me and where my calling guides me. I cannot achieve global influence without global reach and so I look forward to partnering with global associations, companies and agencies to use my African voice to make an impact.  I have my eye on some specific ones such as Global Citizens, UNICEF and a number of global Corporates who make a significant difference through their respective campaigns and drives.  Let us hope they all see this and it encourages them to open the door for me; and give me a chance to serve them.


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