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Youth Month Content Feature

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#YouthMonth: Oryx+Crake's Mbongo Junior Koyana discusses the link between freedom and creativity

This Youth Month, we pick the mind of Mbongo Junior Koyana, founder of Oryx+Crake. Koyana started the digital marketing agency three years ago and currently holds the chief executive officer position at the company. He possesses a postgraduate degree in management from the University of the Witwatersrand and has experience in HR, talent management, business analytics, administration and research. Koyana believes in innovation and persistence above all else.
Mbongo Junior Koyana, CEO at Oryx+Crake. Source: Supplied.
Mbongo Junior Koyana, CEO at Oryx+Crake. Source: Supplied.

Why did you want to join this industry? 

I have always had a passion for digital and when we were approached with the prospect of advertising on digital platforms, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to join the industry and hopefully make a meaningful contribution to the discipline. 

BizcommunityAs a young person, what do you think you bring to the table that is unique/different? 

We are always checking in on the latest trends in order to appease the target audience for each campaign. 

What has been the most difficult learning curve for you? / What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt? 

The biggest lesson that I have learnt is that you always need to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. 

One of the most important things for one to survive in the industry is to always be inventive and make sure that you are utilising the correct strategy for each campaign.

What advice do you have for other young people looking to enter the industry? 

They should continue to try and get their ideas through even when they are rejected, they will help in other campaigns if they are not suitable for that specific one.

Why should young people look to work in this industry? What opportunities does it offer? 

There are many opportunities in the industry, especially in digital marketing. 

There are many different ways to advertise on digital platforms, and online applications are constantly evolving. 

This makes it interesting because you always have to stay ahead of the game and know all the latest ways that people are advertising.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? / What would you like to achieve in your life? 

In 10 years, I would like to have established Oryx+Crake as one of the leading digital agencies in the country. 

I would also like for it to expand beyond just digital and maybe look at other disciplines within the industry, such as production and traditional advertising methods.

What is the significance of Youth Day to you?

Youth Day has many different meanings and what it stands for. 

For me, it is important because it symbolises a commemoration of sacrifice. It is a time when we can reflect and gain awareness of the harsh realities of apartheid and how we have progressed. 

We also use the day to promote and inspire confidence in the youth population to shape their future. This is important because the country is dependent on future generations.

What do you feel is the most important right young people have today?

I think freedom of speech is the most important right because it allows us to be creative and share our opinions that may help shape the future.

What is one of the liberties you are grateful for today that weren't available to or were hard-won by earlier generations?

The fact that we are not restricted to traditional ways of doing things is one true benefit because it means that we are able to be who want to be and do what we want to do, and that is very important when it comes to expression and creativity.

Name one thing you would change for today's youth

Our unemployment rate is getting worse. Therefore, I would like more opportunities to be available for them. There is a talent pool of graduates who remain jobless, even though they are ready for work. 

Older generations often comment that the youth today "have it easy", but it's not necessarily true. What are some of the challenges youth are currently experiencing that other generations might not understand?

The youth today face many challenges such as:

  • Anxiety and depression: The pressures of modern life, academic stress, and social comparisons contribute to rising rates of anxiety and depression among youth.
  • Access to mental health care: Stigma and limited resources can make it difficult for young people to seek and receive the mental health support they need.
  • Job market instability: The transition from education to employment is fraught with uncertainty due to economic instability and a competitive job market.
  • Student debt: Many young people graduate with significant student loans, which can impact their financial stability and delay milestones like homeownership.

All of the above are growing concerns for the youth because it affects their motivation. 

It is discouraging when you are affected by these aspects, so we need to ensure that we provide the youth with the support they need to overcome these challenges and allow them to prosper.

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