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Global African thought leader, advisor, commentator and author on branding.


Thebe Ikalafeng is the founder of Brand Africa, Public Sector Excellence and Brand Leadership and recognised as one of the Top 10 Thinkers in marketing. He is widely recognised in Africa and the world and has featured in global media, including CNN, BBC and CNBC Africa.

  • Africa Inside: Building Great Brands and Businesses in Africa
  • Africa, the Good News: Peace, Prosperity and Unity.
  • Brand You: For Inspired Performance [Personal Branding]
  • Brand, the Beloved Country [Nation Branding]
  • Customer Experience: The New Competitive Differentiator [Branded Customer Service]
  • Made In Africa – Inspiration for Design, Brands and Culture
  • Celebrity Branding: Lights, Camera, Action [Celebrity Branding]
  • Intellectual Property for African Competitiveness and Wealth Creation


He has facilitated various leadership and branding related workshops internationally.

Thebe’s keynote addresses are shaped by his extensive corporate, advisory and board experiences over 100 brands and businesses in Africa and travels to over 60 countries globally, where he gained an incomparable perspective and knowledge on building African and global brands.

He is the founder of the award-winning pan-African brand and reputation advisory firm, Brand Leadership Group.

Equally at ease with an audience of one or thousands, he has addressed diverse audiences in all the continents at blue-chip organisations and events such as Intel in the USA, South African Business Club and Brand Finance Forum in the United Kingdom, ICCA in China, Icograda Design Week in Spain, Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association in Dubai, DHL Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention and Meetings Africa in South Africa and EY Strategic Growth Forum Africa.

Whether you’re hosting a major event or you just need a fresh perspective, Thebe Ikalafeng will inspire the audience with ideas that energize, excite and empower.

Named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine, he has summited Mount Kilimanjaro and been to over 70 countries across Africa and the world.

Brand Leadership (he is the founder) has been recognised as Fin Week “Marketing Services Agency of the Year, 2008” and in 2015 was inducted into the Rebrand Hall of Fame for Excellence in Branding.

In a distinguished corporate career which started in brand management in Colgate Palmolive in New York and concluded as chief marketing officer for NIKE for Africa and in consulting, he has won over 75 awards globally in marketing and branding.

He is non-executive director of Mercantile Bank Holdings, Car Track Holdings, and WWF South Africa (WorldWideFund for Nature). He is deputy chairman of South African Tourism and chairman of Brand Finance Africa. He is a member of the Henley Africa Business School and IC Publications advisory boards. He is a former non–executive director of Foodcorp Holdings and a former Trustee of Brand South Africa. He is Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa, and founder of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands and Public Sector Excellence.

He has served on all notable industry bodies, including a 5-year tenure as chairman of the prestigious Loeries advertising awards in South Africa, and as non-executive director of Marketing Federation of Southern Africa and the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa, and vice-chairman of the Brand Council of Southern Africa, and judged leading industry awards locally and globally, including the Loeries locally and the acclaimed global design award, Red Dot, in Germany. He is founder of the Africa Network of independent Africa-focused marketing, media and branding agencies across Africa.

Thebe is co-host of the CNBC Africa Marketing, Media and Money Show and has addressed diverse audiences in most of the leading African and global capitals.   He has been featured in global and Africa media such as CNN, BBC, CNBC Africa, FT, African Business and New African.

Born in South Africa, he 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 and is a qualified Chartered Marketer (SA).

He writes, speaks and advices on branding, reputation, sustainability and related matters globally focused on Africa.

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