Interview: Siyanda Dzenga

Influencer Interview: Siyanda Dzenga

Words by Naledi Sibisi

It is Monday morning and I have the pleasure of having one of my favorite faces in South Africa’s media and influencer landscape keep me company over a phone call and a cup of coffee. The digital brand strategist is more commonly known as a fashion, travel, beauty and lifestyle influencer. Originating from the Eastern Cape, Siyanda Dzenga has gradually captured her audience through her inclination towards beauty and fashion. “The influencer field is about passion; it is an extension of who you are at your core. You put a lot of effort into making it look effortless so that is where the passion comes in. There are so many pictures I do not post because I feel like ‘this is not a reflection of who I am’ so I am conscious of how that could compromise my standard” Having studied media and communications at The Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Dzenga then moved to Cape Town for work purposes as an intern. She recalls that she had always had a keen interest in magazines.

I worked for a film magazine when I started and then I switched over to associated where I worked for Good Housekeeping magazine as a content producer. I worked for Cosmopolitan magazine as well but then I realized I was not after an editor title. I was becoming more interested in beauty and I was certain that I did not want to work for an agency”. Upon figuring out what she wanted the rest of her path to look like, Dzenga then found herself in a position where she was the digital marketing coordinator for Estée Lauder in line with her ambitions to break into the beauty industry. “I was managing Jo Malone, Clinique and Bobbi Brown. I eventually resigned because I was studying Brand Management at Vega. I did not want to be a writer but I really enjoyed the marketing aspect and the digital marketing industry so I decided to pursue that”.

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Much like her chosen career path, she acknowledges that she enjoys how there is constant change and evolution at every stage. “I wanted to start an entrepreneurial journey so I started to consult for small businesses in terms of giving them visibility and sorting out their SEOs. I also partnered with this company and we are focused on bridal experiences”. She tells me that her central focus is on empowering and educating women, particularly those who are at the stage in their lives where they are considering getting married. The platform allows women to learn about the more legal aspects, pre-nuptial contracts and financial options when getting married. “So many of us have similar stories particularly when it comes to the things we do not know. There are so many things I did not know when I was getting married. These things include what to consider when upgrading your house or car or getting a joint account. I am at a point in my life where women are the thing I am most passionate about. I’ve made it my goal to invest my time in empowering women and helping them figure those things out”.

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Having established herself in a niche market, Dzenga finds herself striking the balance between what she is passionate about and making that a lucrative move. In addition to this, she is also the Founding Director and Strategist at Imbewu Digital Communications Agency. On a typical day she will meet with clients and educate them on geo-targeting and driving content to deliver to their audience by setting up their websites. “If I am not busy with meetings, I am spending a lot of time on my couch creating visuals to send to brands for the sake of creating partnerships for the agency. This period between May and July is typically very quiet because brands restart their fiscal policy in July”.

On how she has been able to sustain herself as an influencer throughout she offers the following insights. “You need to know who you are, what your tastes are and what you would like to stand for. It is easy to look left and right and see what other people are doing and how they are curating content” she continues, “If you want to stand out, you have to figure out who you are and make that the relatable aspect. South Africans love relating. The content people end up liking the most will be a simple photo of me standing outside for example because that is just me in my element. I don’t have to try too hard or overthink it”. As she gears up for the second half of the year, Dzenga is looking forward to more travel experiences as well as having more of an impact on the media landscape and changing it. “I want to use the platforms that I have and use my voice to encourage people to do more - particularly in the influencer space. Maybe people do not think they have enough resources; I just feel like there is a shortage of diversity in the industry”.