Nothando drives hard to sell SA

Nothando Mathe. Cicra 2008.Pic. Unknown
Nothando Mathe. Cicra 2008.Pic. Unknown

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Don't let her pretty face fool you, Nothando Mathe has a steely core. She has a no-nonsense approach to her work, which has earned her respect in the workplace.

Mathe has steered a tight ship as SA Tourism's country manager for the South African Development Community market and has been responsible for marketing South Africa as a leisure destination to the SADC region, which has been a growing market since 2006.

She has recently added the newly created domestic market to her portfolio - where there is no in-tray awaiting inheritance.

This market includes creating demand for tourism, as is seen in SA Tourism's well-known Sho't Left campaign that started in 2004.

The campaign aims at promoting a culture of local holiday travel, targeting ordinary South Africans and their families who want to see more of their country but don't know where to go.

The 36-year-old mother of two's job entails strategy development, project management and marketing management.

"It's a great time to be taking on a job like this. With the Fifa World Cup coming, we aim to take the campaign to a higher level. We aim at selling South Africa to young upcoming individuals, independent couples and families," she says.

Mathe recognises that it's the friendly, helpful and hard-working people in the tourism industry who make it what it is.

"Most people now know about the incredible beauty and diversity of South Africa.

"But it's the people, the work ethic and the fun-loving approach that are especially great for tourism," she says.

Born in Lamontville, Durban, Nothando holds academic qualifications in public relations and marketing.

She cut her teeth in the field in 1994 by joining Electronic M-Net as a public relations intern. This position gave her crucial leverage with her colleagues, as she worked on all M-Net-sponsored events and their CSI projects.

She later worked as the marketing officer responsible for programme marketing, where she gained extensive experience through working in west, east north and Southern Africa.

After leaving M-Net in 1999, Mathe joined the Vodacom Group, where she focused on expanding the emerging market subscriber base.

She later joined Vodacom World Online (the Internet service provider for Vodacom) as the content manager.

Mathe went back to broadcasting in 2002 and joined African Broadcast Network (ABN)as marketing programme manager, where she worked with broadcasters all over Africa, creating demand for TV content in the Anglophone countries.

Next stop was Start-up technology company Accelon at its Johannesburg head office as group marketing and communications manager. Her achievements at Accelon include successfully launching the company in Nigeria and later in Ghana, establishing the in-market marketing team and appointing in-market service providers.

Today Accelon is regarded as one of the most successful VSat providers (providers of broadband satellite Internet service) in Nigeria and Ghana.