Groovin Nchabeleng, Chairman of BANA, adds, “Launching an entity like BANA has been a long time coming as this industry has remained untransformed and largely dominated by multinational agencies from other parts of the world.
Nchabeleng says he offers clear evidence of the inertia of transformation, explaining that there was only one black-owned ad agency in 1991, about eight in the early 2000s, now nearly 30 black-owned agencies receive less than 2% of industry spending of R58 billion.
The scope of the industry is vast, covering casting, production, creation, media planning and media buying, adds BANA. These services power advertising above the line, below the line and across the line.
Nchabeleng says, “There are over 6,000 South Africans working in the sector and influencing over 60 million people. The least that can happen is that these people should be given the lion’s share of this industry. In addition, we call on clients to demand that local agencies be preferred when dealing with the South African market.”
According to BANA, the main site of minimal or no transformation is on the side of customers who channel the bulk of their spending to multinationals. The implications of the dominance of multinational agencies in this space are social, cultural and economic.
This means that the under-representation of black agencies has a ripple effect that impacts the industry’s role in reflecting and redefining post-apartheid South Africa in its own image.
Therefore, Boitumelo Mohube, CEO of BANA, argues that “the time is always right to do what is right”.
However, the creation of BANA does not imply that there will be no more competition between member agencies, nor that their peers must defer to them. The problem is that black agencies can’t even get their foot in the door because they operate in an environment that is not conducive to fair competition.
The inescapable argument from 10 years ago that black agencies don’t have enough experience, expertise or capacity is now redundant in 2022.
It’s a new era for the industry and “the time to play small has come and gone,” says Bongani Gosa, Vice President of BANA.
The overarching problem that BANA aims to address is the question of representation, in terms of black professionals and agency owners in the industry, and the authenticity with which black people are reflected by the industry.
With the first aspect, multinationals can claim that they have regularly absorbed black talent. However, advertisers and clients cannot make the same claim, as evidenced by the 2% share of ad spend by black agencies.
Nchabeleng adds, “It is inconceivable that we have allowed multinational corporations to subvert local black-owned agencies and tell us our own stories. We must finally take the initiative and allow South Africans to tell South African stories.
BANA, during the launch, recognized and honored the legends who led the transformation program to the dawn of democracy. These industry pioneers are:
- Happy Ntshingila
- Real Khoza
- Peter Vundla
- Denis Mashabela
- Beatrice Kubheka
- Peter Vundla
- Letepe Maisela
- Dimape Serenyane
- Jannie Ngwale
- Nkwenkwe Nkomo
- Beatrice Qubeka
- Horace Mpanza
- Madala Mphahlélé
- Nimrod Mkele
- Gary Morolo
- Tholi Ngwenya, and
- Eric Mafunay.
Going forward, the association concludes that it is committed to becoming the engine for the discovery, growth and development of young black creative talent. Young black creatives will have a reason to choose to enter, succeed and stay in the industry because it is commercially viable for them.
The founders of BANA are:
- Groovin Nchabeleng
- Bongani Gosa
- Boitumelo Mohube
- Bra Willy Seyama
- Lufuno Makungo
- Malebo Lesejane, and
- Palesa Gcaba.
For more information, www.bana.org.za.
Black Advertising Agencies Black Agency Network Association BANANA Industrial Development Corporation IDC black ad agency Thembi Siweya Groovin Nchabeleng