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A Decade of Gert-Johan Coetzee

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Brand Voice by Gert-Johan Coetzee

A  fashion designer who believes you can never dream too big, Gert-Johan Coetzee is revered as one of South Africa’s most celebrated designers; synonymous with his signature style, sophistication and panache. Gert-Johan doesn’t simply design dresses, he designs relationships and delivers dreams for his dynamic and esteemed clientele of women in Business, Entertainment, Politics and Royal African Families.

Fashion courses through Gert-Johan’s veins, and has been his passion since he was eight years old, designing dresses for his pencils, out of tissue paper. Over two decades later, his dedication to dressing women how they’d like to be addressed, has seen Gert-Johan rise to the top of his game in South Africa; dressing newsworthy women like Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Miss Universe 2018 Demi-Leigh Nel- Peters, Miss World 2014 Rolene Strauss, and Media Personalities Minnie Dlamini, Lerato Kganyago and Bonang Matheba, to name a few. His talent has an international scope of significant superstars including the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Kourtney Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari, Lauryn Hill, Kelly Rowland, Fantasia and Tiwa Savage.

A decade of designing is a formidable feat, as the Fashion Industry is fast-paced, and as an Entrepreneur in an ever-evolving environment; in order to achieve the commercial and creative success that Gert-Johan has enjoyed in his ten year tenure, requires passion, perseverance, determination and a delicate balance between business and creativity. 

His successful collaborations with global brands such as McDonald’s and Ferrari speak of his commercial understanding of business, which is a rarity in the creative world of Fashion. Without self-discipline, success is impossible, and in the enterprise of Fashion, success is not exclusively measured on making profits, but in the creation of brand value; which Gert-Johan has mastered with his eponymous empire. In addition to his Couture and Bespoke Bridal Collections, Gert-Johan has created GERT, his Casual Wear Collection as well as an exclusive Ready-To-Wear Range available at selected luxury boutiques. His Menswear range adds to his impressive portfolio.

Gert-Johan has become an influential individual in his own right, and debuted his career in television as a mentor on Project Runway South Africa. With a passion for mentorship and sharing opportunities and knowledge, Gert-Johan has established a bursary programme that sponsors two new students annually, with three-year bursaries in Fashion Studies at his alma mater, The Northwest School of Design. 

Gert-Johan is also a Social Activist who uses the power of his platform to highlight social issues. From breaking down prejudices to breast cancer awareness, from championing education to addressing violence against women; as well as raising awareness about endangered wildlife and eco-consciousness in fashion, Gert-Johan’s bi-annual collections, shown at SA Fashion Week, have sparked conversations with their social focus.

Gert-Johan has won numerous awards, including South Africa’s Most Promising Young Designer in 2006, at the age of 19, and South African Designer of the Year in 2010. He’s also shown at International Fashion Weeks in Canada, Angola and Nigeria and has a growing following across the African continent.

In his illustrious career, Gert-Johan has created some of South Africa’s most memorable masterpieces, and together with opening SA Fashion Week SS20 in April this year; the upcoming Gert-Johan Coetzee Retrospective, taking place in Sandton City’s Diamond Walk, in collaboration with Martini Dolce 0.0. from the 19th of March until the 26th of April 2020, will showcase some of his most iconic creations as well as the women who wore them.

In addition to the Retrospective, in celebration of a decade of Gert-Johan Coetzee, comes a passion project expertly crafted in the heart of Grasse, the perfume capital of the world on the French Riviera, in the same perfumerie where some of the greatest fragrances such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Dior and Balmain are manufactured. A signature scent that is anchored in authenticity, inspired by Africa and reflecting her essence; but artfully constructed by the finest French noses, comes Gert-Johan Coetzee’s first foray into fragrance.

Double Platinum Eau de Parfum by Gert-Johan Coetzee comprises a cocktail of memory and emotion; and is reminiscent of Rustenburg’s signature platinum mines, where Gert-Johan grew up. Designed for the diverse South African men and women who wear Gert-Johan Coetzee’s Collections, the delicate combination of the softness of rose, which represents feminine fragility, paired with the smoke of masculinity, comes a sophisticated scent offering aromatic abundance in every spritz.

“A signature symphony of success,” every detail of Double Platinum is deliberate, and Sarah Langa, the face of Double Platinum Eau de Parfum, embodies the epitome of a Gert-Johan Coetzee woman – confident, kind, powerful and graceful with a sophisticated soupçon of sex appeal.

This is the beautiful beginning of a brand new direction for Gert-Johan and his Business Partner, Brand Manager and husband Vicky Visagie, as they branch into diverse dimensions for the Gert-Johan Coetzee brand.

Double Platinum Eau de Parfum was launched on the 27th February at Skins Cosmetics in Sandton City, Johannesburg, and will be exclusively sold at this outlet.

Brand Voice

Charmaine Mabuza Honoured With FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Social Impact Award

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Brand Voice by Zamani Holdings and ITHUBA

Group CEO of Zamani Holdings, Charmaine Mabuza was honoured with the Social Impact Award at the 2020 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit held in Durban ICC recently.

This award recognizes Mabuza for her measurable philanthropy that has positively impacted the lives of many South Africans for the past 21 years. 

At the top of her philanthropical projects is the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Scholarship Foundation which she founded with her husband, Advocate Eric Mabuza in 1999. The Scholarship Foundation started in Mpumalanga, where the Mabuza’s business hub is centered. Speaking to Ukhozi FM in an interview, Charmaine Mabuza said that together with her husband, they funded this foundation straight from their pockets. “Both my husband and I come from humble beginnings and we know what it’s like to not have means to study further, especially when you believe that education is your way out of poverty. So when we started making good profits from our small businesses at the time, we decided to dedicate a portion of our personal income to funding tertiary education fees of previously disadvantaged children”, said Mabuza.

Powered by Zamani Holdings, the Scholarship Foundation later expanded its reach to the rest of South Africa, supporting over 160 students countrywide, many of which have qualified as Doctors, Chartered Accountants, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and many more. The 2020 Scholarship Foundation programme launched on 13 January, with an intake of 21 students.

Zamani holdings has empowered the rest its group of companies to roll out CSI initiatives that truly transform the lives of ordinary South Africans. At the forefront of these initiatives is ITHUBA, the South African National Lottery Operator and Zamani’s flagship company.

In July 2017, ITHUBA launched the ITHUBA Female Retailer Development programme, specially designed to empower women who own spaza shops and informal supermarkets, who currently sell National Lottery products, from all around the country. This included women from previously marginalized communities in the rural outskirts.

In collaboration with reputable institutions such as Regenesys and the University of Johannesburg, this programme has upskilled over 100 women in retail business. The latest group of 14 women graduated in October 2019 at the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus, each being awarded a qualification in Advanced Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation.

Zamani’s Social Responsibility initiatives include:

  • ITHUBA Graduate Programme: An annual skills development programme for graduates within the Marketing, Finance, IT, PR, HR and Logistics fields, with intake of 13 students in 2020.
  • Youth Enterprise Development:  Eradicating youth unemployment through developing upcoming entrepreneurs and helping them build sustainable, profit making business. 
  • Housing project: A project that builds houses for employees in the lower income brackets, who have been in the employment of the company for 10 years and more.
  • A media campaign to condemn femicide and violence against women.

“I firmly believe that education is key to eradicating poverty and injustice. This is why all of our initiatives are based on imparting knowledge and skills. Through education we empower, through education we liberate” said Mabuza.

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FOCUS ON NIGERIA: The Next Level For Africa

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“Foreign companies, especially oil prospects and development companies, have been in Nigeria for about two generations – 40 years and above and so on. So, they know the environment. They stayed that long. They continue to invest because they know the potential Nigeria has in oil and gas and the capacity of the people to learn and work hard.” H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria

With the recent re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has secured an additional four years with an administration that is dedicated to the nation in its efforts to continue its path toward bringing Africa to the next level. With the largest population on the continent, domestic demand in Nigeria continues to rise while resources and favourable demographics are attracting the strong flow of FDI. As one of the leading markets in the continent, investment possibilities in the country cannot be overlooked. Improved macroeconomics, which are supported by recovering oil prices and production, has ensured that Nigeria maintains the title of the largest economy in Africa. This title is largely aided by Nigeria’s powerhouse of GDP generation: oil and gas.

Nigeria has seen strong and steady growth in the oil and gas sector over the past sixty years when petroleum was officially discovered. To bring the reality of the oil and gas industry into perspective, the first quarter of 2018 reported that sales of crude oil made up 76.3% of Nigeria’s export earnings, bringing in about US$11.7 billion. In the same time span, processed oil products (e.g. condensates and lubricants) earned an additional US$1.75 billion, which accounted for an additional 11.4% of the total export earnings. In regard to contributing to the immense success of the industry, Segun Adebutu, CEO of Petrolex says, “As integrated energy conglomerate with strategic investments across the energy value chain, we are committed to building communities, transforming lives and driving economic growth and development in Nigeria.”

Driving economic growth and development is ultimately the central goal of His Excellency President Buhari’s administration. H.E. President Buhari says, “The administration is committed to responsibly managing our oil wealth endowments.” The administration’s commitment is further brought to life through a focus on infrastructure development. Nigeria currently has several on-going and upcoming gas projects in the works for the rapid development of the country’s energy sector. One such project is the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline. The AKK pipeline is a continuation of infrastructure built for the domestic gas market. “The AKK pipeline is part of the Gas Master Plan,” says Emeka Okwuosa, CEO of Oilserv. “It is going to move 1.5 billion scf of gas a day and provide resources for power generation and other energy requirements. It is not only a development of the north; it is such for the entire country. So, this single project can transform the whole of Nigeria in terms of industrial capacity.”

The implementation of the AKK pipeline will only further Nigeria’s potential in the industry, specifically by monetising the incredible opportunity in the gas market. Focus on this type of infrastructure is testament to how the current administration is embracing the Gas Master Plan, which is poised to help Nigeria become the gas hub of West Africa while improving the socio-economic development of the nation. Recently, State Minister of Petroleum Resources, Hon. Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva has declared 2020 as “the Year of Gas”, and this proves to be true as the country makes moves to capitalise on gas and improve its local energy distribution. With an extensive roadmap in place, the gas revolution is on the right track to usher in Buhari’s vision for a next-level Nigeria.

Reflecting this dedication to the next level of the sector, Chief Tunde J. Afolabi, Chairman & CEO of Amni, speaks of the potential of gas in the country: “Given that Nigeria has three to four times more gas than oil, companies such as ours should focus more on gas; in our discovery of gas reserves we should look to harness and monetise the gas as we go along. The government is making a requirement that when looking for oil, companies must find a solution for the gas before they are allowed to produce oil.” This mentality will inevitably evolve the prosperous sector toward new avenues and make even greater use of the natural resource. 

While the oil and gas industry continues to sustain further growth in forthcoming years, FDI remains crucial for the sector and new investments keep being launched to make sure it continues sustained growth and development. Tein T.S. Jack-Rich, Founder and President of Belemaoil, says “Nigeria has been pretty predominant in the oil business. Nigeria has great potential. We have the demographics to decide the right economic framework.”  Investment opportunities range from upstream oil and gas production, such as deposits or drill wells, or in downstream production that focuses on the post-production of crude oil and natural gas activities, such as seen in refineries plant production, or sales. Within any level of exploration, extraction or production, the partnering opportunities are immense.

Under the guidance of H.E. President Buhari’s administration and the Gas Master Plan, the oil and gas sector is destined to spur economic growth and drive industrialisation with linkages to other key sectors such as construction, ICT, power, railways and agriculture. H.E. President Buhari is confident in the future of Nigeria, saying, “We have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.” As such, the upcoming years are sure to prove that the “Year of Gas” is, in reality, a new era for the industry, which will further signal a new age for Nigerians by creating jobs, facilitating investment, and offering greater access to electricity. While it is known that oil is a constant, Nigeria is showing that gas will continue to play an increasingly important role to ensure that the nation progresses forward towards the next level.

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Leadership In A Disrupted World

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Even our thoughts about disruption are being disrupted. Is it radical change? Is it total displacement? Do we need entire new paradigms? Can we manage it? Is it avoidable? Is it permanent or temporary? Is it reversible? The common mistake we make is to minimize its effect and then “beat” it into a shape that we understand and manage it from there. The challenge is to lead inside a wave of disruption, the art is to initiate disruption to our own benefit. If we only respond to disruption, we have lost the game already.

We are increasingly engulfed by a disrupted world. Our ways of work are irrevocably changed. Our futures will not be the same as where we come from and are presently. Disruption and the future go hand-in-hand.  How do we prepare for disruption?  By making sense of the future landscapes that we will navigate on. How do we lead others into coming revolutions, such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we experience at present?

What is disruption? Disruption is the interruption or disturbance of the accepted norm that becomes a force that changes the way things are done, values, societies and often beliefs. It is so abrupt and impactful that there is often not time to prepare for it. To thrive in disruption, we need to navigate landscapes of the future. When is this future? The future is at this moment, tomorrow and thereafter, often stretching beyond an era in time yet to realise, that lies outside the everyday planning, strategic management and intervention scope.

The future approaches at different speeds for different business environments. We can thus shape the future to create landscapes from our imagination. To thrive in the unknown, even the short-term unknown, we need leaders with the courage and skills to venture into and beyond the immediate future. Leaders shaped for disruption are at ease with fast evolution, revolution and the transitions which take place among eras of technology, business and economies. Although they cannot always anticipate disruptions, they are prepared to be thrown into them and guiding others through the turbulent and complex eras of change.

The Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM) of the University of Pretoria and the Team Building Institute (TBi) have joined forces to create a leadership development concept – Leadership in a Disrupted World. This is a learning and participative journey that puts future perspective to themes that leaders need to address to shape, influence and navigate disruptive landscapes that they will guide others on. The journey will unlock the combined knowledge of future aware leaders for being at ease with disruption and creating an environment where collaboration, teaming and personalisation are used to draw on experience and to lead towards future leadership qualities to deal with disruptions of many kinds. This experience is ideal for all leaders in a broad spectrum of industry where, especially engineering and technology management play a disruptive role, and change leads to complex environments evolving rapidly and need to be dealt with. Leaders that find that existing leadership theories fall short to assist them in handling current and future challenges should be seeking new ways of thinking about the future and to prepare themselves and their organisations for disruption.

The GSTM has graduated many Masters and PhDs in Engineering Management, Project Management, and Technology and Innovation Management students over its existence of more than 30 years. This has resulted in a common body of knowledge of engineering and technology management. Engineers that qualified through the GSTM are playing a leadership role in their industries, academia and government in Africa. With the speed of change brought about by technology, lifestyles and geo-political influences, these leaders have to remain resilient to future disruption. The GSTM has built future thinking into its courseware and research and now offers this understanding in the context of future leadership as a continued service to its alumni and other industry leaders through this workshop.

TBi supports a vision to improve self-understanding, intra- and interpersonal relationships in a social or team context. This unique value proposition (scientific method of training) distinguishes TBi from other service providers. TBI’s approach is to integrate inter- disciplinary concepts that are usually viewed as separate entities The TBi methodology also known as Adventure-related Experiential Learning (AEL), finds its roots in the disciplines of Psychology, Philosophy, Human Movement Sciences and Business. The AEL method of learning guarantees immersivity, novelty and engagement of participants in discovering new perspectives to facilitate change.

Dr Anthon Botha is a physicist, strategist and future thinker. He has more than 30 years of experience in the management of science, engineering, technology and innovation. He spends a lot of time imagining the future, creating mental images for leaders of what is to be. He developed novel ways for future thinking and has used this in both academia and consulting to assist leaders to think strategically about the future after painting future landscapes and making choices on their preferred futures. He currently provides extensive business consulting in the management and commercialisation of knowledge, technology and innovation and facilitates debates and events in the field of science, engineering and technology. He is a part-time academic at the GSTM

Dr Chris Heunis holds a DPhil from the University of Pretoria. He specialises in Organisational Development and has been consulting locally and internationally for the past 25 years. He co-founded TBi as a niche company that specialises in interpersonal and intrapersonal behavioural dynamics. He appeared on several radio and TV- programmes including Carte Blanche, Business Beat, Maatband, Take 5 and recently on Prontuit. He believes that the success of business leadership starts with being mindful of the needs of others.

Content provided by the University of Pretoria

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