Thebe Ikalafeng

Founder and Chairman, Brand Africa and Brand Leadership Group

South Africa

Thebe Ikalafeng, Chairman, Brand Leadership Group

Thebe Ikalafeng is arguably the foremost global African branding authority. In a distinguished corporate career which started at Colgate Palmolive in New York and concluded as chief marketing officer for NIKE for Africa, he won over 75 awards in branding, marketing and communication globally. He is the founder of the award-winning Brand Leadership Group and has worked on over 100 brands in the public and private sector branding, political branding, destination branding and reputation management across Africa.

Brand Leadership has been recognized by Fin Week Magazine as “Marketing Services Agency of the Year, 2008” and in 2015 was inducted into the Rebrand Hall of Fame for Excellence in Branding. A fellow of the Institute of Directors, he is a non-executive director on the boards of South African Tourism, Mercantile Bank, Cartrack and WWF South Africa. He has held several other directorships in several public and private sector organizations. He has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine. He is widely quoted and consulted globally as the pre-eminent authority on branding in Africa. He has judged awards on design, marketing, branding and leadership across the world, including the Red Dot Design awards in Germany and St. Gallen Symposium ‘Wings of Excellence’ in Switzerland, and has served as vice-chairman of the Brand Council of Southern Africa and as the first African chairman of the Loeries.

Ikalafeng holds BSc and MBA degrees from Marquette University in the USA, completed executive education at Wits Business School in South Africa and Harvard Business School in the US, and is a qualified Chartered Marketer (SA).

He has summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest mountains in Africa and Mount Elbrus in Russia, the highest mountain in Europe. He has visited and/or worked in over 100 cities across Africa and the world, and been to 44 countries in Africa. He writes, speaks and consults on Africa-focused branding, leadership and related matters