#BehindtheSelfie with... Luyanda Peter, MD of Harambee Communications

This week, we go behind the selfie with Luyanda Peter, MD of Harambee Communications in SA and Botswana.
Peter captions this: “The many faces of Luyanda.”

1. Where do you live, work and play?


I live in a world-class African city, also known as Jozi. My work time is split across our main offices in Bryanston and Gaborone. I play in both suburbia and the townships – I never turn down an invitation to a shisa-nyama.

2. What’s your claim to fame?


In my youth (and about 20kgs ago), I summited Mount Kilimanjaro and climbed up to the Mount Everest Base Camp. I had illusions of grandeur and wanted to climb the highest peak on each continent, but life got in the way.

3. Describe your career so far.


An awesome journey of more than 20 years, with 16 years on the client side. I started off marketing beer, then moved to sports retailing and financial services and ended up at a sports media company. I worked with some of the brightest minds in marketing and advertising, while being exposed to different markets and cultures.


The last four years have been a constant high – starting an activations agency, expanding it to a full-service BTL agency and opening an office in another country, Botswana. The second half of the journey has just kicked off.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


Two incredible humans – Yanda and Azile – who keep me grounded and honest.

Travel, sports, travel, gadgets, travel, reading biographies and watching documentaries. Did I mention travel?


5. What do you love about your industry?


The fluid nature of the industry. I love the fact that we are constantly on our toes, trying to come up with new ideas and concepts.

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


There is nothing average about a typical workday. The only constants are dodging taxis in the morning traffic, admin, concept generation, supporting team members and business developments.


I also read anything and everything I get my hands on, as you never know where a new idea could come from.

7. What are the tools of your trade?


iPhone, MacBook, Moleskine and a Bic pen.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


All the clients who are giving small agencies a chance. They usually get a better product at shorter turnaround times and lower prices.


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

  • The unrealistic payment terms and late payments are a real pain for small agencies. A big job/campaign can severely disrupt your cashflow.
  • The no-fee pitching process is also a problem, as it drains resources for no guaranteed return. The agency’s IP is thus given away for free.
  • The word ‘transformation’ is bandied about but not taken as seriously as it should be taken. Some companies completely ignore it and others find loopholes around it.

10. What are you working on right now?


On being a better human…

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


AI, AR, machine learning, immersive experiences and gamification. There seems to be a new buzzword every week.

A term I use a lot is: “Are you serious?” This is usually when the client tells us the campaign budget and timelines.


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


When I’m doing my 30-minute run/walk (gotta get those Vitality points!)

The problem is that I usually have so many ideas that I forget to write them all down.

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


The ability to speak absolute gumph about any topic and sound like I know what I’m talking about.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


With new devices I always rip open the packaging, throw away manual and spend a few hours trying to figure it out. I then go to the dustbin, get the manual and set up the device in 10 minutes. So I fancy myself a technophile, but I fear the truth might be different.

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


Dodgy content from my high-school matric class WhatsApp group and lots of travel and family pictures.


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

  • Be prepared to make coffee, print and bind documents, and be a general dog’s bottom.
  • Don’t kiss every ass, kiss the right ass.
  • Learn how to survive on peanuts.
Simple as that. Follow Peter on LinkedIn and Luyanda_Peter Twitter; and follow Harambee Communications 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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