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Lessons from Happy Ntshingila and Herdbuoys: Don’t Mess with King Goodwill

Black JerusalemFred Khumalo hugely enjoyed Happy Ntshingila’s memoir Black Jerusalem, which recalls the key moments in the establishment and growth of Herdbuoys, the world-beating advertising agency. He enjoyed an especially good guffaw at Ntshingila and Co’s gaffes involving a certain King of the Zulus:

Lesson number one: don’t mess with the king of the Zulus, if you are a South African who aspires to some power and influence in business and society.

Many businessmen, trying to penetrate the black market and who forgot to treat the king with due courtesy and respect, have over the years burnt their fingers.

Remember when the lottery authorities launched their marketing campaign under the slogan Tata machance, tata mamillions?

The king and his subjects objected loudly to grammatical errors in what was sold as a Zulu slogan. The correct slogan should have been thatha ama-chance (which in itself is not pure Zulu).

Anyway, the Lotto administrators had to quietly resort to a new advertising jingle.

The book I’ve just finished reading, Black Jerusalem, by advertising guru Happy Ntshingila, amplifies the influence that the king has over such matters of public discourse.

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