In this exclusive interview, we have the privilege of getting to know Amanda Zungu, the dynamic Chief Visionary Officer and Founder of One Afrika Hut, a transformative creative company that weaves magic through the power of storytelling, with a primary focus on animation. But that’s not all. Amanda’s journey is a tale of two remarkable organizations. The second one, One K (Kidney) Foundation, is a non-profit that educates and supports those affected by kidney disease, driven by her own personal experience of donating a kidney to her brother. Amanda’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the world.
Join us as we dive deep into her journey, learn about her achievements, and gain insights into what motivates her to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation in her industry.
Hi Amanda! Can you tell us about yourself and your companies, One Afrika Hut & One K Foundation?
My name is Amanda Zungu, I am a sister, an aunt, a mother, a wife, a niece, and a daughter. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a belly laugh, quality time with family and friends, the great outdoors, and a good movie. I believe in the power of prayer and I am a woman driven by the belief that “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” a profound quote by Neale Walsch.
I constantly strive for a purpose-driven life, with continuous growth, personal development, and being able to always lend a helping hand to those who are in need. I constantly seek out challenges, aiming to inspire and be inspired by others, recognizing the transformative power of our God-ordained talent, purpose, and individual stories to effect change on a global scale. I believe that art in any and all forms has the power to transform the world.
I am the Chief Visionary Officer and Founder of two organizations, one is called One Afrika Hut. One Afrika Hut is a transformative creative company that strives to turn brands into everlasting legends and legacies through the power of storytelling, using predominantly animation as a medium. The organization also produces authentically African animated films and documentaries, we believe that our stories have a global reach and can change and touch people’s lives in a significant and meaningful way.
The second organization is called One K (Kidney) Foundation, a non-profit organisation that utilizes innovative and creative techniques to educate the public about kidney disease and transplantation, fostering a supportive community along the way and developing fundraising initiatives. This was inspired by my own personal story of being able to donate my kidney to my brother who had chronic kidney disease and failure. I was able to give him the gift of time and give him a new lease on life.
What inspired you to start One Afrika Hut and One K?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit that I believe was inspired by my late parents who were both entrepreneurs. After university I embarked on the entrepreneurial journey and tried various ventures, unfortunately, those were not a success which led me to employment. The last company I worked for was unfortunately liquidated and closed and we were all retrenched as the staff in the business. That was literally the push I needed from God, the END of my comfort zone that motivated me to go back to my passion and begin my life of being an entrepreneur.
I wanted to specifically get into the creative industry as I felt that it needed transformative stories that would turn brands into legends and legacies and that would touch the lives of many in a significant way. I believe that people don’t buy or consume only products they buy stories, and the stories persuade them into consuming a particular product, whether it’s ice cream, a car, or a film to watch.
Outside of the entrepreneurial spirit, I have always had a philanthropic one of wanting to help, whether it would be sharing my lunch, helping an old lady, donating clothes, my time, or money. I therefore didn’t hesitate to raise my hand when my brother needed a kidney. We then started One K Foundation as my brother, and I wanted to extend that same transformative gift to people around the world.
Through educating people about kidney disease and transplantation, removing any stigma, and misinformation, and assisting them to “lean, unlearn and relearn”. Establishing fundraising initiatives to assist families with food parcels, transport for dialysis, and support workshops. While also emphasizing the importance of taking care of our organs because prevention is indeed better than cure.
Can you share any significant milestones or achievements of your business thus far?
I have garnered international acclaim as an award-winning film producer and director. Through my work on the Netflix animation film, “Shaka iNkosi Yamakhosi,” which has not only earned critical acclaim but has also received multiple prestigious international awards. Additionally, through my company One Afrika Hut, I am currently the Executive Producer and Director of the animated TV series, “My Big World,” which triumphed in the Road to Annecy competition. This accolade led to its selection as one of five projects representing South Africa at the renowned Annecy International Animation Festival & Market in France.
I was nominated as a finalist for the IDEAL Propeller Award category as an entrepreneur, by the Young Leaders Connect IDEAL, which is an International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA) NGO initiative. The NGO, One K Foundation of which I am a founder has also partnered with Southern African Transplantation Society for various educational and awareness initiatives and continues the journey of educating and transforming the lives of many on a global scale. As a Non-Executive Director at Get Ready Skills, a non-profit organization committed to equipping unemployed youth with essential skills through innovative mentoring methods, we have managed to place 255 mentees in employment or assisted them with successfully starting their business ventures.
How do you stay motivated and continue to innovate in your industry?
What motivates me is seeing the lives I have touched and transformed or the brands I have elevated through storytelling, animation, and through my philanthropic work. Nothing puts a smile on my face and urges me to keep going more than that. I’m always thinking that the population in South Africa is 60.6 million, Africa is 1.4 billion and the World is 8 billion and I’m like “Come on girl you haven’t even scratched the surface, there’s still a lot of work to be done, a lot of lives to be transformed and brands turn into legends.”
So, in order to reach those people and those brands, I’m always curious, researching, and asking questions in order to stay ahead, improve, and also find innovative ways and solutions to problems in the industry and fill that gap with the solutions my company will provide.
What sets your organization apart from others?
I believe what sets us apart is our resilience, our curiosity, and our solution-oriented approach to delivering the absolute best. Whether it’s brand campaigns, animated films and documentaries or community lead initiatives through our NGO. We possess the unique ability to capture and articulate a brand’s core with elegance and simplicity.
Our approach combines the forces of creativity, imagination, strategic thinking, and of course compelling storytelling to deliver remarkable results. Our unique and unified approach to storytelling through using animation as the predominant medium allows us to authentically connect with an audience, inspiring not just consumption but a genuine identification and resonance.
Our NGO One K Foundation is unique because of our story, our slogan “IT ONLY TAKES ONE” highlights that it only takes one decision, one act of love, one organ, and one change to transform someone’s life and change how their story ends, and my brother and I are testament to that.
Can you share any advice for aspiring females in your industry?
My advice to aspiring women in this industry is the following:
- Stay curious!! Research, read, ask questions, and never be scared or too proud to ask for guidance and advice.
- We are fortunate to have so much information at our fingertips! Watch YouTube videos and educate yourself on a topic you want to master, sign up for free courses online, and master your craft or learn a new skill.
- Please build your LinkedIn and social media profiles so that you can reach more people. Don’t be afraid to post, talk about your business, and inbox people and ask for time to engage on a potential solution you would like to propose for their organization. Entice them by giving a high-level and very short summary of the solution.
- Collaboration is key as the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast go alone, and if you want to go far, go together.”
- Find a mentor, it doesn’t have to be someone in your industry, just someone that has travelled the road and journey in their career or personal development that can give you the guidance you can use. A sounding board for some of your thoughts and ideas before investing a lot of time and money.
- Lastly attend workshops, networking sessions, and seminars and join institutions that provide you with platforms to meet like-minded individuals, elevate, and grow in your craft and overall personal development. I joined the Young Leaders Connect IDEAL this year and it has really been a phenomenal experience for me, I have really had growth and development both in my business and from a personal perspective.
Getting to know Amanda in more detail:
If I had to choose one person, alive or dead, as my inspiration, it would definitely be my late mother. My grandmother who is 88 years old, alive and well and living her best life. Two strong women who have inspired me to be strong-willed, live in my purpose, never be afraid to dream BIG, and know the power of prayer and God.
My favourite hobby is watching a good film, TV series or Documentary, that speaks to the mood I’m in, reading a book, painting, a drink with girls, a braai with the family, and of course undoubtedly finding the best new spots to try out with my husband.
My daily mantra is I am bold, I am beautiful, I live in abundance, I am the light. Everything I touch turns into gold, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I live in my purpose. My words build and don’t tear down, I am grateful for all I have and grateful for more that is to come. I am blessed and highly favoured and will continue to be a blessing to others. In my journey of life and as I journey and continue to learn and grow, I have learned that if you live in YOUR PURPOSE, you lack nothing. God created us on purpose for a purpose.
Thank you, Amanda! What an amazing interview!