Lessons from Hello Ambassador creative festival: Part 1

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to attend the Hello Ambassador creative festival in Johannesburg at the Sci-Bono, I met and got to listen and learn from a collective of insanely talented creatives. I left the conference on Saturday afternoon feeling optimistic, inspired and revived.  These are some of the pearls of wisdom I picked from a few of the speakers at the conference.

After a brief introduction from the founder and creative director of the Hello Ambassador Elisma Uys-hanekom about the theme of this year’s Hello Ambassador’s conference ( What it means to be a citizen) the first speaker that kick started the conference was the former CEO and co-founder of Nandos Robert Brozin. He spoke about the beginning and the journey of Nandos as a brand and as a restaurant, further elaborating the mission of Nandos with interest to creative upliftment of African creative talent. Below are some of his amazing insights on business and the role of creatives in the continent.

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  • As Africans you can stand eye level with the rest of the world; he emphasized the fact that as South Africans we have achieved so much, and therefore we should be unashamedly proud of where we come from. Our heritage gives us a unique perspective on how we approach problems and how we divice solution. This idea of celebrating, encouraging African design is my passion, I believe even more so after the conference that there is so much potential in this continent, we just need to believe in our creative spirit as a continent.
  • Get involved- catch a game: you cannot just sit back and say well what is the government doing for me, he strongly believes in the idea that if you want change/progress you have to get involved, you have to ‘catch a game’. You can just sit back and wait for the world to give you what you want, you have to get your hands dirty, participate!!
  • When you are changing people’s life’s with an open hand, there’s nothing like it, it’s personal; when it comes to giving, give with an open heart and the universe will give back to you ten folds.
  • ‘Change the rules’, we cannot play the game according to how the rest of the worl plays the game, we have to bend/break/change the rules in respect to our environment!

The other speaker whom I enjoyed was Dillion S. Phiri who is the founder and creative director of the creative collective; Creative Nestlings, which aims nurture and connect young African talent to business as well as each other. The aim of the collective is to create and foster an environment that supports and celebrates creative collaborations, and one of the things Dillion highlighted was the fact that passion alone is not enough and that as creative entrepreneurs we need better support structures in place, which is what his organisation aims to achieve. Creative Nestlings has a membership that any creative can utilize to connect with like minded people for a fee of R500/yr, they aim to be dot/people connectors; you can find out more information about this organisation at http://creativenestlings.com.

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Dillion concluded by saying that passion alone is not enough, creatives in the continent require a support structure that wil aid in the materializations of their creations and that’s where Creative Nestlings comes in.

My ultimate favorite talk of the conference was by musician Tumi Molokane, formerly a member of the collaborative group Tumi and the Volume.


Tumi a prolific poet and mc, shared his truths with us as being:
1.Insulate yourself by doing the work outside of the light, do it because you love it, because it sets your soul alight not because of the accolades, and give yourself time away from the noise, learnt to know when it is time to regroup and analyse your thoughts, away from the hype.
2. Reject the prawns: don’t miss the light because you are busy focusing on the dark, open your mind and eyes and be alert.
3.Seeds over trees-focus on the process not the results, by making sure that the process is executed well you are in turn guaranteeing good results. He explained that all too often we study the result to figure out the process- the horse before the cart!! Concentrate on the seeds and the trees will flourish.
4.Survive the break: In today’s society most of us are broken by hearing the words no too many times, stay strong, survive the breakdown and carry on.
5.Insist: insist on who you are, insist to be seen, heard. Insist on being accepted and taken as you are, do not alter yourself/brand in order to please a small group of people, be who you are always and the world will thank you for that honesty.
6. Rob the church: fuck the empire-if the system doesn’t accept you or your work as it is then change/bend the rules.Follow thine heart
7. Serve, be useful: higher purpose, purpose of yourself as a citizen
8. Remember your compass: this relates to your moral compass, remember who you are.


The last speaker I had the opportunity of listening to was the highly acclaimed executive Creative Director Fran Luckin, whose  won a myriad of design awards and is one of the country’s celebrated creatives. Her talk focused on the relationship between the muse and the plough mule, you being the mule.

  • She reiterated the words of American author Elizabeth Gilbert with respect to the relationship between the grunt work and the mystery. ‘There is a contract between the plough mule and the mystery, you are the plough mule and the mystery will show up, maybe and maybe not, but you won’t know unless you out in the work.
  • She also spoke about the technicalities of creativity, the time in relation to creativity: the aspects of creativity that realizes the results of creativity is the grunt work, the working out of the details, what is required to make the creative idea a reality.
  • Remember the grunt work is part of the creative process.

Listening to these amazing speakers that made me realize that there is infite amount of amazingly creative talents in the continent, it was such an honor to learn from these amazing people. Check out part 2 of my lessons from Hello ambassador soon up on the blog.



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