Khaya: I come from Mount Ayliff in the former Transkei in Dutyini location. I went to Little Flower in Qumbu and then in 1991 I went to Hudson Park High School in East London.
After that I went to study at AAA School of Advertising then dropped out and started working in advertising. I didn’t have a choice and tried to make my way despite that but I don’t regret dropping out. In fact I could say it served me better than I would have been if I had finished my studies.
Getnews: Tell us about your current role. How long have you been in it? What is the organisation’s recipe for success?
Khaya: I work at Coca-Cola SA as a Creative Excellence Manager. My job is to oversee all six brands which include Fanta, Sprite, Bon Aqua and juices in terms of creative content for TV, radio and digital adverts. I have been working there since July last year. The position didn’t exist until they hired me. Before there were brand managers and they only made adverts every two years. The question was; are they able to judge how good adverts are if made every two years only. They realised that all the top markets around the world have this role.
Getnews: What are your current and past links with the province?
Khaya: My mother and my aunt live in Mdantsane and we have family in the village in Mount Ayliff.
Getnews: What is the Eastern Cape’s best kept secret?
Khaya: I think it is tourism and that's partly because people generally go to easily accessible places. But EC also hasn’t voiced its self enough about what it has to offer in terms of marketing. Even Mpumalanga is making a lot of noise than Eastern Cape which has a lot more to offer. So tourism publicity is a minus for EC.
The Eastern Cape spans over a large area and it has a lot of diverse areas within itself. Apart from the beaches there are mountain areas along the Drakensberg. It has the world’s second largest canyons after the Grand Canyon in Nevada, United States. The Coelacanth was discovered in East London. No-one is taking advantage to advertise those things and the Eastern Cape tourism authority should be driving the marketing.
Getnews: If there is one thing you could do to improve the province, what would it be?
Khaya: I think it is empowering people in rural areas. The truth is people think there isn’t much to do in terms of employment and it’s the truth. So they move to large urban areas like Johannesburg and Cape Town. For me the priority would be to develop EC in a number of areas where it is lagging behind. The most important step would be to discipline teachers and students so as to improve education because the current performance in education is not acceptable. Institutions such as Fort Hare, Healdton and Lovedale in the Eastern Cape historically produced leadership of the country like Mandela. It is time to produce future leaders.
Getnews: If you could name the province’s great failing, what would that be and why?
Khaya: I’d say governance. Perhaps it’s lack of will or some of the problems with governance have to do with three administrations of the apartheid era; that is Ciskei, Transkei and South Africa. Bureaucracy could be one of the reasons EC is the way it is. It’s an excuse because something can be done to fix it but we need proper leadership.
Getnews: If you could name one person across the socio-economic-political landscape who is the Eastern Cape best friend? Why?
I cannot think of one (laughs).
Getnews: Where do you holiday in the province?
Khaya: I don’t go on holiday to Eastern Cape, it is home. I frequently go to East London and my home village in Mount Ayliff.
Getnews: Do you support an Eastern Cape musician? Who and why?
Khaya: I support Siphokazi (Maraqana). She’s good and there are a lot of good musicians from the EC like Simphiwe Dana. Musically EC people are gifted and that is why they have taken the music scene by storm especially over the last few years. They give us meaningful music, not the kind that fizzles out after a few months
Getnews: What do you miss the most about living in the province?
Khaya: The further you are from the Eastern Cape rural areas the more you lose the essence of the Xhosa culture that is so relaxing. That’s what I miss when I’m away.
Getnews: What has contributed to your success in media and in your career?
For me, success comes from being curious about the world and realising it’s bigger than you know. People from the Eastern Cape have made a huge impact around the world and have shown us anyone can make a difference.