Nahana – Re-imagining Transformation!

Nahana Communications Group - AdFocus Transformation Award
Nahana Communications Group - AdFocus Transformation Award

Recently at the annual Financial Mail AdFocus Awards, which have become a landmark in the South African marketing and communications landscape; Nahana Communications Group was recognised with the Transformation Agency Award. The accolade acknowledges agencies in South Africa that have led the industry in diversity, equity and inclusion transformation efforts.

As one of the five awards that recognise the impact made by agencies in marketing and communications to advance the industry towards more diversity and inclusion, the Transformation Award is one that has the most meaning for Nahana Communications Group.

“We are most grateful to have been recognised for Transformation, a pillar that truly serves to create diversity in equity. Whilst it isn’t at all easy, it is about a consistent desire to see people get equal opportunities and to represent the demographics of the country at all levels of our business. We are so proud of the people we work with, those that have committed to transformation by being open to these changes. Nahana means “Imagine” or “think about it” in Sesotho, and it’s our staff that continuously do this to see the world as it should be and not as it is, to truly live it in our daily lives.” said Thabang Skwambane, Group CEO of Nahana Communications Group.

And in an industry that has over many years been criticised for making few efforts towards transformation, Nahana Communication Group, as articulated by the Award Judges, stands out as the exception. The group has been known to rewrite the industry quota when it came to factors around equity, training and development of its people, extending further out to society as a whole. Diversity and Intentional Inclusion are the terms influencing the very fabric of its operations and are woven into its beliefs at Nahana.

Skwambane says “Our focus now goes beyond transformation; we need to focus on women in our organisations as well as marginalised communities to ensure they have a voice and a seat at the table of opportunities.”

The group achieved its goal of 51% Black-ownership in 2018; which now sits at 55% black ownership and 40% being female. Since then, Nahana Communications Group has gone to form a broad-based scheme, which together with The Maharishi Institute owns 10% of the business, wherein all the funds from dividends pay the tertiary education, a full four-year Business Administration Degree, for over 150 disadvantaged black women.

Learning and Development are at the heart of the transformation agenda at Nahana, with an investment of almost R10 million annually into various programmes and staff training. The group’s flagship graduate programme has been operational for over 25 years and employs between 20 – 35 graduates annually, providing a robust curriculum comprising of masterclasses, mentorship, and industry experience.

The group also grooms the next generation of industry leaders through a year long Nahana Leadership Incubator programme; designed to equip future leaders of the business with leadership skills and affording them coaching with a life coach, mentorship by one of the group executives and a GIBS Postgraduate course.

The Group continuously plays a proactive role in advancing transformation across the board, whilst serving as a responsible corporate citizen. In 2021 when businesses were devastated by the countrywide looting, Nahana invested in 10 small businesses in affected townships in Gauteng and KZN.

Nahana Communications Group also established The Nahana Foundation, an NPO entirely funded by the companies within the group, providing financial and specialist marketing services support to various organisations and in 2022, put in over 5,000 pro bono hours towards supporting these NGOs and PBOs.

“We believe in the power of advertising through unique specialist marketing and communication skillsets that are the right fit for clients and the diversity that reflects our very diverse nation. This award isn’t another addition to fill up our famous award alley, it’s a reflection of our leadership, our people, and our belief systems that make up the very essence of our business,” concluded Skwambane.