EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH C.E.O OF DITSHEGO MEDIA - TEBOGO DITSHEGO


Tebogo Ditshego is the Group CEO of Ditshego Investment Group, CEO of Ditshego Media, Chairman of the South African Reading Foundation, and Judge in season 4 and 5 of SABC 1 programme One Day Leader. In 2017, he was selected to serve as a judge in the Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence Awards.

He grew up in Kagiso, which is in the West Rand of Johannesburg and started his first company Ditshego Media in 2011. Three years later, on 5 February 2014, he was listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s top 30 African Entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

In November 2016, Tebogo Ditshego received the “Nestlife Assurance: Young Business Achiever of the year” award at the BBQ Magazine awards.

He is the founder of South Africa’s biggest online book club Read a book SA which has over 39,000 followers on Twitter, and over 15,000 books recommended by its followers. Tebogo Ditshego is the author of bestselling fiction book “Kasi Nerd” which he published and distributed through Ditshego Media. It was launched on 22 April 2016 and is available at Exclusive Books & Van Schaik Bookstores.

On 24 January 2017, Tebogo Ditshego was voted as Avance Media’s most influential young South African in business. He went on to participate in the Austrian Leadership Programme organised by the Austrian Government, for International Business Leaders in March 2017. In 2015, Tebogo Ditshego was listed as one of Fast Company Magazine’s top 100 most creative South Africans in business.

Tebogo Ditshego was nominated for the University of Johannesburg’s Alumni Dignitas Award in 2015, which honours graduates who achieve a dynamic legacy of accomplishment. He represented the University of Johannesburg twice consecutively at the annual Southern African Communications Conference for his Honours research essays.

He holds an Honours Degree in Communications from the University of Johannesburg and he has a certificate of completion in a Business and Entrepreneurship course from the University of Wisconsin in the US.

SEIF KABELELE: What is the greatest mistake you’ve committed in your current position and how has it contributed to building your mental capabilities as a leader?
      TEBOGO DITSHEGO: I made three mistakes that really stood out in the early         
            Ages of starting Ditshego Media;
Using the spray and pray method. I wrote a standard email and sent it to the various companies who we wanted to work with. This almost led to a couple of successful deals being made, but it didn’t quite work out. The lesson I learnt from this inspired Ditshego Media’s slogan “Tailor-Made Solutions.” We don’t offer any two clients the same solutions because every organisation has unique objectives, dynamics and challenges, which we need to resolve.
SEIF KABELELE: How did you go about developing your brand as a young entrepreneur?
      TEBOGO DITSHEGO: My brand was built like the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids.     
       With an ambitious long-term vision, a solid educational foundation, and at a
        Standard that put us in a position to inspire future generations of Africans.
        You have to take it one step at a time and live your brand, so that it can
        Withstand challenges when it is put to the test.
       SEIF KABELELE: You launched a company and failed. Why?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   The company failed mainly because it was started without capital, the market wasn’t too receptive and because I was a novice in the world of business.
SEIF KABELELE: What lessons did you apply when re-launching the business in 2011?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   We went from being a mass producer in terms of marketing services to a marketing company that offers Tailor-Made solutions. As you would know an outfit that is tailor-made makes you look much sharper than one that wasn’t designed especially with you in mind.
SEIF KABELELE: How did you succeed in building the reputation of this new business?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   Our team constantly goes the extra mile and continuously comes up with innovative solution that place us a step ahead of the competition. We’re very agile and responsive and the company’s philosophy comes to life in our work and the results we achieve for our clients. So this helps us with our brand because we don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk.
SEIF KABELELE: How has social media enabled you to grow the company?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   It has cut out the middleman and provided us with a platform to showcase our offering for all to see. Social Media was a game-changer because companies could no longer use their decades of experience to gain an edge over startups, it leveled the playing field.
SEIF KABELELE: What book changed your life?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   “The African Origins of Civilisation” and “Precolonial Africa” by Cheikh Anta Diop. These books played a major role in developing my pride in Africa and shaped the lenses through which I view the continent. It also shattered stereotypes about Africa being a dark continent, because this indeed is the cradle of civilisation.
SEIF KABELELE: What inspired you to start ‘ReadABookSA’? And why did you choose to do it via twitter?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   I envision an Africa that leads in invention, innovation and knowledge production that is globally competitive, In order for Africa to reach its full potential we need to develop a culture of reading and hunger for knowledge. So I started ReadabookSA and used my marketing expertise to spread a culture of reading and also to make it cool to be intelligent, hence I coined the term IntellectualSwag.

SEIF KABELELE: What is the one thing that young people that want to emulate you would have to learn to sacrifice or do without in order to get to where you are?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   A winner is a loser who is to stubborn to give up. Never give up.


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