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Since age nine Kuzwayo's peers have gathered around him to hear his tales; now he reaches a greater audience

By unknown | Apr 30, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Lihle Z Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali

For as long as he can remember, Muzi Kuzwayo, TBWA Hunt Lascaris's newest managing director, has been telling stories to his peers. When he was nine-years-old his friends would gather at his home to listen to his tales. They called him "Muzi the liar".

Today Kuzwayo is telling stories to a significantly wider audience. He is the best-selling author of Marketing through Mud and Dust and most recently There's A Tsotsi in The Boardroom, which takes a look at how black people deal with the challenges of the boardroom.

Thirty-nine-year-old Kuz-wayo was born in Springs, east of Johannesburg, which was then a small mining town. He remembers a time when people from different race groups lived together peacefully, until the apartheid era Group Areas Act forced the blacks to move to townships. Kuzwayo, his parents and younger sister then moved to Kwa-Thema where he started his schooling.

"Growing up in the township was petrifying," says Kuzwayo quoting political activist Steve Biko, who in 1975 said: "Township life alone makes it a miracle for anyone to live up to adulthood."

Kuzwayo matriculated from Kenneth Masikela High School in 1984 and thereafter studied towards a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree at Turfloop University.

"Science was just one big drag for me," he says. "I had wanted to do journalism but my mother said they killed journalists and that left me with no choice but to pursue something safer."

Writing came very naturally to Kuzwayo who had been writing since an early age and even after completing his BSc he knew that he wanted to be in a creative field. In 1993 he joined advertising agency Ogilvy in Cape Town. He later founded his own marketing consultancy, The Kuzwayo Agency, which in 2003 merged with King James Advertising.

Kuzwayo is well respected in the marketing and advertising world and has been described as an emerging market expert. He says that his grandmother's teachings got him to where he is today.

"My grandmother was the most amazing person I have ever known. She taught me everything I know," he says.

She encouraged him to read and he remembers that the only way he could get out of doing his chores around the house was to bury his nose in a book.

Kuzwayo and wife Ntombi have two daughters. He says a good laugh and the simplest things in life, such as photography and cycling, give him the most pleasure.


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