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Behind the Selfie Interview South Africa

#BehindtheMask: Thule Ngcese, creative director at Boomtown Jhb

This week we go behind the mask of Thule Ngcese, creative director at Boomtown Johannesburg.
Thule Ngcese, creative director at Boomtown Johannesburg
Thule Ngcese, creative director at Boomtown Johannesburg

Could you briefly explain what your role entails?

My role is to build Boomtown’s presence in Johannesburg by recruiting, mentoring and growing a team of amazing creative talent. And, collaborate with the agency’s other teams, problem-solving within the categories our clients are active in and be a thought leader across the company.

I also help iterate and improve the category processes and resources to enable amazing creativity across a wide range of projects and customer use cases. In addition, I am a trusted advisor on strategic accounts, articulate and present work and creative direction when needed, provide insight and leadership to successfully grow and develop our customers. I also aim to drive learning and development and build and deliver training and initiatives to continuously grow and upskill the team.

What’s really behind your mask - literally and figuratively speaking?

Behind the mask is Thule Ngcese, a father to Sierra, an entrepreneur and creative from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape. A creator. An artist. A dreamer. An investor. A product builder. A curious being who loves to build and create things. Someone who loves technology and mentoring young black creatives. The founder of Yumo, a digital platform for small businesses to advertise for free. A Barca and Orlando Pirates fan. Painful, I know. Someone who loves F1, architecture, music and solving problems.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

Growing up I really wanted to be an entrepreneur and architect. I fell in love with architecture at a young age and would draw big houses from my grandmother's house in Mdantsane NU3. The desire to be an entrepreneur comes from my grandfather and grandmother, and from just the pure love of building my own products.

How did you end up in the creative industry?

I really didn't know I would end up in the creative industry. I wanted to study something in computer science, but I loved art. My aunt was the one that got me into the creative industry (UNM - formerly PE Tech) and I fell in love with it, starting my career in Cape Town and ending up in Johannesburg.

You joined Boomtown as creative director towards the end of 2021. What has the journey been like?

The journey has been both great and challenging. Getting Boomtown Joburg running harder and faster amid the pandemic. Finding the right talent. Getting clients to be brave. Solidifying an agile business model.

Our Boomtown Joburg vision to build brands that make consumer’s lives better is more attainable now than ever. This helps us solve business and everyday life challenges by translating them to design, technology, experience, commerce and advertising.

What excites you most about your career?

What excites me is building brands that make consumers’ lives better through design, technology, experience, commerce and advertising. Also, nurturing young Black creative talent and seeing them win in this industry is a passion.

What has been the highlight of your career?

My career highlights have included being awarded locally and internationally for the work I have done. And having the opportunity to collaborate with the creative industry's most gifted talent.

When you're not busy working, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?

When I am not busy working, which is never, I spend time with my daughter or with a few friends - Mpume Mgavu, Sifiso Nkabinde, Andile Khambule and Rebaone Makodi. This could be anything from going to each other's places or going somewhere that's not too crowded.

How will you be kickstarting 2022?

We are kickstarting this year by setting ourselves some goals - winning awards with the work, doing brave work that delivers great business results and being disruptive in everything.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions – I’m still not done with the things I want to do from five years ago.

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