By Ntombi Nkosi
AWARD winning entrepreneur and digital marketer, Mags Shivanda’s humble beginnings in Bloemfontein, are a stark contrast of where she now works and plays.
Raised most of her formative life in an informal settlement by a single mom, who was also a teenage mother, was almost a predetermined conclusion for a dead-end life.
Fast forward 35 years later, the Thaba Nchu born socialite is set to take the media and marketing industry by storm.
Mags is the managing director of Johannesburg based digital media company, Digital Shero, an avant-garde digital advertising and marketing firm.
Now in its fourth year, the company serves big and small brands.
The mother of two, a son Bhungane and daughter Tsotehangis also the founder of Bloemfontein based charity organisation called #BloemGirlsRock.
Defying her circumstances
Mags is the perfect example of how we each have the innate resources that enable us to achieve all that we ever dreamt of and more.
Although raised by a mother who worked as a security guard and later a fast food restaurant, her life goals were limitless. She chose to channel her late mother strength and giving spirit instead of the surrounding.
“I used to iron my mothers work uniform, I can still smell the odour of fat, (fried chips) until this day, it was terrible,” she says.
In 2006 Mags graduated with a Diploma in marketing from the Central University of Technology and graduated with a Diploma in 2006. In 2007 she moved to Soweto in Gauteng where she lived with a friend.
“Leaving home was very difficult for my mother who asked why I was leaving because I already had a job in a retail shop, but I had to make her understand that I did not go to university to work in retail, she gave me her blessings,” she recalls.
After being unemployed for three months, Mags started work as an intern in sales, working her way up through the ranks over the years.
In 2008 her mother visited her at her new house in Midrand,she later died after a short illness.
She gained adequate experience and in 2015, she took an advice from her husband Hlubi Shivanda to start her own company.
And that’s how Digital Shero came about.
Taking digital to the future
Not only is Mags a digital marker, she is also a cheerleader for all things digital. She speaks passionately about how everything will be digitized soon and how consumers should embrace the fourth industrial revolution.
She believes that South Africa is actually wasting by not fast tracking programmes on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
She is already using aspects of this revolution, which includes, smart phones and robotics to provide solutions for her clients.
“There are people who are sceptical about this direction due to fear of losing jobs but already we see new careers being created because of the digital age, so there will me jobs created in the future,” she says.
Through her foundation, Mags mentors 23 girls from Bloemfontein and surrounding areas aged between 14 to 20 years.
She helps them with computer literacy and exposes them to other life skills programmes.
“I asked one of the girls to send me her CV, she had to go to an internet café and needed those people to type it for her, I asked why, she told me she did not know how to use a computer.
“I felt that something needed to be done. I went to the local internet café, I spoke to the owner that I wanted to get my girls to be trained and have access to his facility. He agreed and is even charging me less,” she says.
“I have made sure that the girls become their own tribe by helping each other. Working with girls I got to learn about some challenges they experience at home including abuse. I once cried in my car, I said God why did you choose me because I am such a sissy, my heart is so small. I guess I have to stick it up,” she says.