#BehindtheSelfie with... Jabulani Sigege

This week, we go behind the selfie with Jabulani Sigege, executive creative director at Hero.
Reflections with Jabulani Sigege, executive creative director at Hero.

1. Where do you live, work and play?


I live in Cape Town and consider myself fortunate that sometimes my work, as a creative at Hero, feels like play.

2. What’s your claim to fame?


I once asked soccer legend Luis Figo to dab at a party we were at. He politely declined.

A.I. evangelist and innovator Babusi Nyoni also created a Twitter bot (@jabscolleagues) that curated all my COLLEAGUE 1 and COLLEAGUE 2 tweets.


3. Describe your career so far.


Career options that I considered, and nearly ended up in before being lured by the siren call of advertising, included journalism, information systems and law enforcement.

After entering adland, I was lucky enough to be schooled by some of the best creative and strategic minds in the business, both at Red & Yellow and a couple of SA’s most iconic ad agencies.

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Now I use what I have learned to help create work that makes a real difference to brands, by authentically connecting them to people.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


Chelsea, Orlando Pirates, running, movies, sneakers, all things pop culture, music, iipanama (AKA spotis, AKA bucket hats) and my son. In reverse order.


5. What do you love about your industry?


That you can create something out of nothing. Something that existed only in your mind before you brought it into being for others to experience. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is!

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists?


Meetings, reviews, brainstorms, and strategy sessions take up most of the daylight hours. Between dusk and dawn, I get some more work done, but always try to make time for a quick run to exhale problems and inhale solutions.

7. What are the tools of your trade?


Notebook, pen, Post-its, smartphone, earphones and a playlist that has songs with no lyrics.


8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


Seriously? There are just too many to mention. But what I can say is that radio is still one of my favourite mediums, and I love that South African creatives who use their cultural capital in this area are killing it. What a time to be alive!

9. List a few pain-points the industry can improve on.


Transformation, sexual harassment and mental wellness.

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For far too long, the industry has let sh*t slide, dragging its feet when it comes to correcting behaviour and changing the narrative around these issues. A new norm is long overdue.

10. What are you working on right now?


It’s 23:25 on a Tuesday evening and I am working on this article so that I can go home. I hope my family remembers what I look like!


11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.


“Big data”, “goodvertising” and “millennials” are some of the current buzzwords being bandied about, like a hacky sack footbag in a University of Stellenbosch res.

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A word I often catch myself using these days is “align” – I’m sure my ancestors have turned their backs on me.

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?


Ideas often come while I’m absolutely not trying to come up with ideas – during a leisurely run, on a night out with friends, talking to my 98-year-old grandfather, or suplexing my son onto the couch.
Office banter is also a great source of inspiration. The comments your unhinged colleagues make might just spark your next award-winning idea. That’s why it’s important to always be present and soak up all that is around you – you’ll be surprised at what will come to you.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?


If I told you, it would no longer be a secret…

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


I love tech, but not in a queue-for-hours-on-the-day-the-new-iPhone-drops kinda way. I was “born analogue, but grew up digital,” as an article perfectly puts it.


15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?


Memes, notes around ideas and screenshots of words and pics that move me.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

  • Never stop being a student. You’re never too experienced, or too old, to stop learning.
  • Raw talent will only take you so far. You’ve got to put in the work to make great work.
  • Be open. To different views of life, to others’ opinions and the truth that your way isn’t always the only way.
  • You are the sum of your experiences. This is your cultural capital – put yourself and your lived experiences into your work to create something that is unique, just like you.
  • Have fun. You won’t get a chance in other industries to change perceptions, behaviours and mindsets as you will in advertising.

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Simple as that. Follow Sigege on LinkedIn and Twitter, and follow Hero on their Facebook, ‏Twitter and Instagram feeds for the latest updates.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, and can be reached at ...
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