Gugu Sithole-Tyali Shows Us How to Take Over the World of PR

As you know, we’re always so incredibly proud when we see amazing women who are not only succeeding in their respective careers but uplift other young women for success too!

With over 10 years’ experience, Gugu Sithole-Tyali took her once small side hustle and turned it into one of the most respected PR companies in the creative industry.

Sprout Creative PR is not only completely black-owned, but they also have an all-woman team, and together, they eliminate the misconceptions society has of women working together for a bigger and greater purpose.

Below, Gugu shares a bit about her challenges, successes and how she is using her talents to empower other women on the come up.

 Tell us more about Sprout PR?

We’re a budding, black-owned, creative boutique, specializing in brand communications. Our talents lie in strategic public relations, digital marketing, brand development, creative content creation, and event curation.

Turning a side hustle into a business has been interesting, to say the least - @ZuluGirl1 Click To Tweet

What do you think is the most challenging part of being in the industry?                                             

From the perspective of being a startup in the industry, the challenges are endless. I’ll stick to three that have been particularly pertinent to Sprout over the last couple of years.

Carving a niche for ourselves:

In the beginning, there was a temptation to do a lot of things, often more than what our business could handle. As soon as we stopped trying to be everything to everyone, and played to our strengths as a team, we were able to carve a space for ourselves.

Currently, that’s working with brands in Fintech, Agritech, AI, etc. We also have a love for and wide-ranging experience in the lifestyle sector, so we’re excited to see that portfolio grow.

Staying competitive:

As a young and small agency, competing with the well-established agencies can be pretty tough. They’ve got long track records and name recognition going for them.

We’ve found however that being small has its positives, so we’re working hard to take advantage of those. We’re adaptable, have a niche specialization, and I think we’re way more invested in our clients and their brands.

We’ve also been lucky to get extensive exposure to design thinking and Lean Startup methodologies. Adopting and implementing those practices has allowed us to collaborate with clients in a way that harnesses our shared strengths, and has resulted in them viewing us as partners, rather than vendors.

Assembling the right team:

This one’s a biggie. Striking a balance between hiring experienced professionals and being a training ground for up-and-comers – something close to my heart – is tricky.

We’re fortunate to work with clients who are passionate about entrepreneurship/startups, and so as long we’re working our butts off, staying accountable, and are passionate about their brands, they’re giving us the room to figure this part out.

We’re working hard at it though.

As soon as we stopped trying to be everything to everyone, and played to our strengths as a team, we were able to carve a space for ourselves - @ZuluGirl1 Click To Tweet

We have heard about your difficult journey, tell us a little more?

Turning a side hustle into a business has been interesting, to say the least.

Nothing could have prepared me for the hardships of this journey. But, it’s also been an incredibly fulfilling, and the best part is that it’s helped me find my tribe – smart, creative, hardworking, tenacious women (and men), who are overcoming similar challenges every day.

They’ve helped me find the good in these hardships. I’m most grateful for them.

We are so inspired by your All Woman staff, how has the dynamic been, and have you had any criticism?

I’m proud of the fact that with each day we’re dispelling this myth around women not being able to work together. We live by one, simple rule: Collaboration over competition.

It’s formed the foundation for how we deliver for clients, deal with conflict, and show support to not only the members of our own team but women in our broader network. It’s also a value that’s been extremely helpful in the hiring process.

Have you had any challenges in the industry as a black-owned company?

I think a lack of belief in our value is probably one of the biggest challenges faced by black-owned businesses in general, it’s not industry-specific.

As a black business owner, I think I’ve often let this self-doubt negatively influence my decision-making. I’ve charged less for services, bent over backward for clients who didn’t necessarily deserve it, etc.

I realize though that this made me part of the problem because it does us a disservice by diminishing our worth. I feel like I’m currently in a season of truly backing not only myself but my team and our ability to deliver.

How is the future looking for Sprout PR?

If the caliber of the brands in our portfolio (the likes of Standard Bank, DHL Supply Chain Africa, Switch Innovation, and the African Fintech Unconference) is anything to go by, the future is looking bright. We have a long way to go and lots of learning to do, but we’re up to the challenge.

What advice do you have for anyone trying to break into the industry?

I have a few pointers…

  • Work on those writing skills, they’re key to your arsenal.
  • Stay at it. Persistence is essential to getting over the rejection of your ideas and stories.
  • Learn to network. You never know when a contact will help you land a dream job or client.
  • Take good care of your online reputation. How else is a brand going to trust you to take care of theirs?
  • Break into the industry with an agency that’s breaking into the market. Startups are a great training ground.

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Nkateko Eulander Nanni: Spirited, Confident and Independent woman

nkateko- eulander- nanni

Nkateko Eulander Nanni is a 33 year old Auditor for a top milling company in South Africa. She also runs an NPO for children affected by eating disorders and autism; in addition to that, she is being trained to run a Macademia farm.

One of the paths her work has led her to was being nominated to enter the Mrs Mpumalanga pageant, which is a build up to becoming a contestant for Mrs South African. Already a top 16 finalist, she has become popular because of her charity events and fundraising for women, children and the physically challenged.

Who is Nkateko Nanni in a sentence?

Nkateko Nanni is a spirited, confident and independent woman; who is intelligent, opinionated, has a good sense of humor and a good heart.


How old are you? Where and how did you grow up?

I am 33 years of age, and was born in Majembeni Violet Bank B in the rural areas of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, South Africa. My parents, Mr and Mrs Mokoena, are both academic’s, my father is a retired principle and my mother is a high school teacher. I have a twin sister, Eurocia; we were raised in a Christian, very structured and principled home.


How are you contributing to the South African economy?

I provide mentorship to young people and I am working on building my own Forensic Auditing firm.


What is you greatest achievement?

Other than the work and outreach work I’ve done, which I’ve received humbling results from; my other technical achievements are my studies. I have obtained a national Diploma in Internal Auditing and a certificate in Bookkeeping.


Tell us about your family life?

I am married to Franz Nanni; my soul mate, my smile keeper. He is a beautiful man inside out. He is the one that knows me truly and has love for me always!

I am also a mother. My daughter Zoé is my life, she is the reason I strive for perfection daily. She is the very motivation why I wake up and want to leave a lasting legacy for her and XiluvaXama, my New NPO project.

nkateko-eulander-nanniWhat other business are you involved in?

My husband and I run Nanni’s Paradise, a macadamia nuts farm. My husband is a medical professional turned macadamia farmer, and he is training me to run the Farm- and I love this new duty.


Tell us more about your organization

Our Non-Governmental Organization is called  Kago Yabana.

Kago Yabana Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Nelspruit, South Africa. It was founded by 6 active members who are now the executive board, and who give leadership support, volunteerism and advice about all the programs in the organization.

We set up early childhood development centers and youth managed multipurpose centers throughout identified areas in RSA. Our work also allows us to provide and advocate for children’s rights and their development in communities, especially in the rural areas. We liaised with government and other institutions towards Early Childhood Development policies, formations and implementation in accordance to the needs we come across in this sector.

We undertake capacity building for HIV/ AIDS awareness and eradication. We invest in food security, women & children well being and empowerment.


Tell us about a project which is close to your heart?

We have been raising awareness and funds for Hlayisani in a township called Ngondini, it is a group of houses which act as a refuge village for women who have been abused, who have been affected by substance abuse, and who may have nowhere else to go. It’s a Safe Haven for rape and human trafficking victims

This haven has been providing computer lessons for those that can’t afford to go to school due to a lack of funds. We provide laundry and run other Developmental Programs.
Another project I enjoy, which I have just taken up is mentoring Logan Monareng, Miss Ehlanzeni finalist 2018.


What is a cause you are committed to as Mrs Mpumalanga and Mrs SA runner up?

My causes are: Eating disorders, depression and alcoholism among children. Another important factor that I will be supporting is autism, as it is not supported a lot.  I have started reaching out to friends that have kids suffering from the disorder.


What other events has your organisation created?

A few months ago we did an event for Mandela day, 18 Minutes of service, in a village close to Ngodini, Mpumalanga, at the Hlayisani Center. As Kago Yabana we partnered on this project, providing food parcels and food pack donations. We also cooked and did maintenance for houses.

In August 2017 we held a fund raising charity event, in support of autism and benefit for the Children with Eating Disorders Foundation. I managed to raise quite a large amount of money. All fundraising and ticket prices were donated to the Foundation.

What more should we expect from Nkateko Eulender Nanni?

The upcoming Official launch of my NPO: XiluvaXamama

I am currently doing the following annual events:

Annual Charity walk/run

Annual Eat Drink & be Giving

Annual Charitable Couture Fashion Show

The Red Dot Project

Mentoring 5 children next year and establishing the Colibri’s Make-up Artistry (beauty)

Do you have an inspiring story to share with us?

Let us know more about you and your story  here.