By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Boniswa Pezisa, Net#work BBDO's Group Chief Executive is this year's Loeries Hall of Fame inductee. The Hall of Fame was introduced by the Loeries in 2008 to recognise dedicated individuals who have contributed to the building and elevation of the creative and brand communications industry.
"Boniswa is well respected as a committed leader and advocate for transformation in the industry. She is also a former chairperson of the both the Loeries and the ACA commands great love and respect from the industry which she has served for three decades. We are honoured to be able to add her to the Loeries Hall of Fame," says Preetesh Sewraj, CEO of the Loeries.
"I am relishing and enjoying this moment in my career and am truly honoured that a size four shoe can stand amongst giants like Nunu Ntshingila, Mike Schalit, Robyn Putter, Nathan Reddy and Nkwenkwe Nkomo further affirming my belief that black child your dreams are valid," says Pezisa.
The mother, business leader, community builder and activist joined the industry back in the late 80's and already in the early 90's, even before the dawn of democracy, was involved in projects focused on transforming the industry with the simple focus of inclusion for all.
"As a black female I was aware from the beginning, even when I did not have the language for it, that I was part of a revolution and carried a huge burden to be a conduit for change, diversity, innovation, inclusion and integration," says Pezisa.
She says while she is happy with the inroads made to date, to which she has contributed, she is well aware that transformation is not a destination but a continuous journey and there is still a lot of work to be done especially in bringing women and the youth to the fore.
"It's heart-warming to see the prominent rise of the likes of Neo Mashigo, Xolisa Dyeshana and women like Nombini Mehlomakulu (who was once my intern and now taking a seat at the table of transformation), as this is testament to all the efforts towards inclusion. I am thankful to Net#work BBDO, who from the beginning embraced diversity, for the support they have given me, the space to express myself and explore ideas as well as valuable time to serve the industry on various committees and boards," says Pezisa.
A lover of life, hats and other accessories, she has a wide ranging experience in delivering break-through communications strategies across a wide range of diverse sectors from retail, auto-motives, finance, FMCG to telecommunications, hotels and petrochemicals.
Pezisa says the power of Ubuntu which sounds so cliché is powerful and has been an anchor of her career. "Take the greeting Sawubona for instance, it is packed with such depth. It means, I see you, I acknowledge you, I submit to your presence and you matter. This is my approach to clients and their brands, to my team, my community, my family. This is part of consciousness which I believe has contributed to my where I am today."
Asked about what the future holds for the petite firebrand, she replied, "This is not the end but just the beginning for me. For me it's service, service and more service. I've been blessed with much and have so much to give back. Africa is a youthful continent, and my passion is for young people and women and I believe I can make a real difference especially in people development. I want to cultivate a culture of serving which is a channel for building a progressive industry.
On how the lockdown affected her, she says "It's been a year of great reflection and digging deep and the award has come at the right time.
"I have always maximised on every opportunity along my career path. I hold the door and if someone opens, I budge right in. I will not stop breaking down barriers that hinder transformation," Pezisa concludes.