Change the world


Reasons to be proud - #R2bP: Three Nelson Mandela University design students have earned an honour at Africa’s most prominent advertising and marketing awards, the Loeries, for their campaign that changes the conversation on gender inequality.

Honours students Sibuyiselwe Nhlangwini, Mseki Mkinase and Thembelihle Buthelezi were briefed to create a mobile-first stories ad campaign for the UN’s HeForShe campaign, as part of the annual awards’ Student Facebook Challenge in partnership with the UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance.

They came up with an unfamiliar approach to the conversation by addressing men.

“We realised that a lot of the existing awareness campaigns are directed at telling women what they can do to combat inequality – but how about we focus on the perpetrators?” Nhlangwini said.

“That’s why our campaign speaks to prominent men who have made incredibly problematic statements that perpetuate stereotypes around gender inequality.”

The campaign, titled “Changing the Conversation”, is modelled by male leaders US President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Xhosa King Zwelonke Sigcawu and their controversial statements about women.

The students were challenged to submit a captivating 15-second video and design a campaign suitable for use on Facebook and Instagram.

In the video, a cursor can be seen editing the leaders’ problematic statements to shift the focus from victimising women to teaching men what to change in themselves to curb gender inequality.

“The idea was to bring the men, who are always left out, into the conversation and show them why their statements are a problem and how they actually create a problem in society,” Buthelezi said.

“The reason we included men from outside South Africa is because it’s not just a South African problem, it’s a worldwide problem.”

Nhlangwini and Buthelezi made history by being the first black women in Nelson Mandela University’s art and design department to win a Loerie award.

“Making that kind of history is the cherry on top and it’s actually our goal to push the next designer and the next black woman after us to know that this is our time to shine,” Buthelezi said.

Mkinase, the only man in the group, said it was time men appreciated the important role women play in society, and treated them equally.

He said such campaigns were a chance for men and women to exchange perspectives.

“This project also really helped me understand the subject from a woman’s point of view and I got to share my perthe spective on gender inequality as a man,” Mkinase said.

The students said the experience of being in the presence of industry greats and talented peers enhanced their hope in Africa’s creativity and future of the continent.

“Being nominated on its own was great news for us but when, while on our way to Durban [for the awards], we found out we actually won we were really blown away because we were just going there to support our lecturer, who had also submitted work,” Nhlangwini said.*

The students also represented the university in the Woolworths Student Portfolio Day, where more than 40 top students from around SA were invited to showcase their individual portfolios and engage with industry professionals.

The students won the bronze accolade.

The Vega School students took first place for their “Know Her Name” campaign.

* The students in fact found out on the way to the awards events that they had been shortlisted - but not that they had won the award. That they found out at the ceremony

To view the work of the students go to:

INCLUSIVE MESSAGE: NMU students, from left, Mseki Mkinase, Thembelihle Buthelezi and Sibuyiselwe Nhlangwini won bronze in the 2019 Student Facebook Challenge at the Loeries. 

This article appeared in The Herald of 28 August 2019 written by Zamandulo Malonde

Contact information
Mr Mike Swanepoel
Director: Digital Learning Experience Design & Innovation
Tel: 27 41 5042293