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Seeing that it’s the first week of November, I think it’s safe to conclude that 2016 has proven to be the year of the “most”. From the #StateCaptureReport, #ZumaMustGo to the #InfluencerGate, and this is only the first week of the 11th month. I can fully understand why some people are calling for 2016 to be shut down! Another trending topic that caught my attention this week was #RealTalkWithAnele with its New York take over, as a means of kick-starting the second season of the popular SABC3 show. Since its July premiere, I had not managed to catch more than three episodes of the daily show. When the social media commentary started pouring in for the New York-shot episodes, featuring Quantico star Pearl Thusi, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah and “My Name Is” hit-maker, DJ Zinhle, I knew I had to make a plan to catch up on the episodes on Youtube, due to the show’s awkward 16h00 time-slot.

I decided to start with Dj Zinhle’s interview, because I was interested in getting to know her a little better. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I had never heard Zinhle speak prior to watching this particular interview. I’m happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I felt like I was watching a woman that was very aware of her strength, who was on a conscious journey to become the best version of herself. I know many found the manner in which the interview was carried out to be a little distractive, due to its location and set up. Strangely for me, I was so engrossed in the conversation, that the cars in the background and the wind blowing her curly hair made the interview that much more authentic. It felt like I was watching a casual catch up session between friends, I guess that’s what gives host Anele Mdoda the edge over her peers.


Through the interview, I got to discover that Zinhle is a former Marketing professional, and I remembered someone telling me that Zinhle started off at AB InBev (formerly South African Breweries), before pursuing her career as a Dj. I am a huge fan of the way Zinhle carries her brand and of the strides she has taken in establishing her hugely successful brand, ERA By Dj Zinhle. In one of my earlier articles, titled: “Redefining the Celebrity Brand Model”, I wrote “Dj Zinhle is one of the few local celebrities that have been brave enough to redefine the celebrity business model. She has done such an incredible job with her watch/accessories brand, and has expanded her distribution channel, partnering with retailer Legit, smaller boutiques, as well as rolling out her successful pop-up stores concept.


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During the interview, Zinhle also told Anele that her “brand is not about selling watches”, she “sells inspiration”. I found this to be quite profound, because as a brand you don’t want to base your business on selling a tangible product, because that can always be replicated. Sustainable brands are those that are built on genuine foundations. This week, the mother of one took things further by launching her very first Era store, in Johannesburg’s Newton Junction Mall. Between her demanding Dj career, her FUSE Academy (school for upcoming female Djs), Entrepreneurship, her Brand Ambassadorship work with Albany Bread and Motherhood, I don’t know how Zinhle manages to do it all.

Images: Andile Mthembu

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