OUR TEAM

Meet the team.

Meet our professionals at Ambani.

Ambani

Management.

Shoni Makhari

Shoni Makhari - CEO

In the past two decades, Shoni has started two businesses, turned around two others and held senior positions in JSE-listed companies as well as advising multinationals and large parastatals on corporate and business strategy, corporate governance best practice and building and managing corporate reputation. Shoni’s first professional employment was as a financial controller at First Rand Group before joining Business Report, initially as a sub-editor and later as the Banking and Insurance reporter. While at Business Report he was awarded a scholarship to Cambridge University, UK where he did research in the financial services sector as part of the Wolfson Press Fellowship programme, sponsored by PwC.

Before starting Ambani Reputation Management, Shoni held several senior positions both in corporate and agency environment including Media Relations Manager-Nedbank, Associate Director-Empowerdex-the country’s first BEE advisory and rating agency, Associate Director-Nkonki Inc (Auditing and Business Advisory), Managing Director-MS&L South Africa, Corporate Communications Director-The Communications Firm, Managing Director-Underline Communications and CEO Flow Reputation Management. He led teams that launched some of the most iconic global brands in South Africa such as Virgin Mobile.

Shoni was a training facilitator at The Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ). He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification.

His community work includes serving as one of the 14-members appointed by the Minister of Tourism to the tourism sector B-BBEE Advisory Charter Council. Shoni is also an SME mentor at Black Umbrellas. He also served a three year term as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Housing Company Tshwane.

AMBANI

Directors.

Nicole Walters
Nicole Walters - Business Unit Director

Nicole Walters is Ambani’s highly experienced Business Unit Director, and she has held various senior roles with the company during the past decade. In her current position, she is responsible for internal processes, innovation, quality control, overseeing respective departments, as well as ensuring that Ambani serves its clients effectively and efficiently. She previously worked as a client service specialist for Rand Merchant Bank and has vast
experience in the financial services sector.

Nicole obtained a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Bethel University in Minnesota, in the USA. She also holds a BA Corporate Communication Degree from the University of Johannesburg.

She is a natural-born leader with an ability to think beyond the confines of traditional constructs. Her calm demeanour and professionalism enable her to easily gain the trust and respect of her colleagues and other senior professional counterparts. As a dynamic and results-driven professional with a career spanning well over a decade, Nicole has a passion for developing and nurturing a spirit of excellence among her colleagues and strongly believes in creating authentic connections.

In her spare time, Nicole volunteers at several community empowerment programmes. Using her strong written and oral communication skills, she believes in bringing about a change where there is a need. Those who know her can attest to her open-mindedness, authenticity and fierce loyalty to those she holds dear. She has acquired sufficient life skills that have enabled her to handle any given situation, both in her personal and professional life with compassionate thought and to follow through with the appropriate course of action.

Brand

Champions.

Margaret Naidoo - Junior Client Service Manager

In Margaret’s role as a Junior Client Relationship Management, she has grown to be a valuable member in the coordination of our team’s client reporting structure. These organisational capabilities have extended to the clients that she services.

Margaret is diligent, approachable and creative. She is adaptable and can assimilate into a variety of industries quickly and efficiently, researching each client before working with them.

Besides her organsational skills, she genuinely cares about people which is why she is an asset to our clients who have corporate social responsibility programmes. Having volunteered with several children focused non-profits, she has a clear understanding of how companies can assist beneficiaries and how these activities translate into publicity opportunities.

Having had exposure to the operational aspects of businesses in the marketing, events and PR industries, she approaches client services with an entrepreneurial mindset, seeing each unit as individual brands within a greater organization. This gives her a well-rounded level of experience that complements our range of clients. 

Fiki Masilela - Client Service Director

With a wealth of experience spanning over a decade, Fiki is an accomplished communications professional based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently serving as a Client Service Director at Ambani, she offers a comprehensive suite of services to clients in various sectors.

Previously, as a Public Relations and Content Specialist at Dark Fibre Africa, Fiki played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s external communications function, managing diverse communication strategies, and maintaining strategic relationships. This included driving an impactful thought-leadership programme.

In her earlier roles as Client Services Director at Ambani Reputation Management and Senior Consultant at both Meropa and Text 100 Global Communications, Fiki Masilela demonstrated expertise in crisis communication, strategic account management, and fostering positive relationships with key journalists. She has navigated both global and local public relations landscapes, delivering impactful results for clients such as Monash South Africa and TNT Express.

Fiki holds educational credentials including a General Certificate of Education from Hermann Gmeiner High School, an undergraduate Business Administration qualification from Midrand Campus, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from Milpark Business School.

Pipe Yatt
Piper Yatt - Trainee Client Service Manager
Piper brings fresh talent to Ambani, having joined the team as a Trainee Client Service Manager. She is keen to hone her passion for public relations and reputation management as she learns the ropes in the corporate space. Piper is particularly excited about the opportunity to be able to help craft stories that tell the true stories behind brands and their core values. She is excited about being in the public relations space which she feels is a vital platform to help companies gain exposure and build credibility through consistent messaging. After matriculating from Northcliff High School, in Johannesburg, Piper obtained a Bachelor of Information Science Publishing Degree at the University of Pretoria in 2022 and then went on to complete a BA Honours Degree in Strategic Brand Communication at IIE VEGA Bordeaux School in 2023. Piper previously worked for Fedhealth as a call agent and was also an academic tutor at the University of Pretoria, assisting lecturers in classrooms and helping students to understand and complete their projects. Additionally, she also worked as an in-store salesperson at Cosmic Comics and considers herself to be a huge fan and collector of DC comics, manga, pop figures and figurines. Her work experience to date has made her passionate about communicating and working with people, which has helped her to develop strong and effective communication skills. Piper also lists social media management, editing, copywriting, creativity, publishing and HTML and CSS coding, among others, as some of the skills that she has developed.
Shade Manenzhe
Sade Manenzhe - Trainee Client Service Manager
Sade joins Ambani as a Trainee Client Service Manager, eager to develop her career in the Public Relations (PR) industry. Having completed a marketing qualification, she is well-positioned to gain experience in the closely related fields of reputation management and PR. Sade is excited about being a bridge for communication between brands, their client and the media. She is also delighted with the opportunity to help businesses get their message across to a wider audience. After matriculating, Sade studied at the University of South Africa between 2019 and 2023, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management Degree. She has a year’s work experience in sales and three years as a Marketing Assistant at a transport and logistics company. Despite just starting to develop her career and having limited work experience, Sade’s willingness and dedication to learn and grow makes her a valuable addition to the Ambani team. She lists her skills as including time management, problem-solving, communication, adaptability and flexibility, attention to detail organisational, multitasking and computer skills, as well as an ability to handle pressure in a work environment. She describes herself as an introverted extrovert, who is passionate about reading and an individual who strives to achieve the heights of excellence in everything she does while committing to always fulfilling her duties with honesty, integrity and fairness.
AMBANI

Media.

Tshililo Manenzhe - Media Director

Tshililo, or Chils as she is affectionately known at Ambani, is the quintessential ideas factory. For Chils, no idea is too small or too outrageous but they must all be thoroughly examined before they can be classified as fit for purpose.

She holds a BA in media studies from the University of Venda and has worked for over 10 years as a Media Specialist in PR and communication. Over the years, she has built strong relations with key journalists and has worked on various accounts such as ACSA, Hollard Daredevil, SASRIA, Tiger Brands, Human Research Sciences Council as well as the JSE CSI flagship programme where she was overseeing and executing media and public relations strategies. Her experience includes developing communication plans for clients in various sectors of the economy, media liaison on behalf of clients, social media management, media strategy development, researching and packaging topics to use as basis for engagement with journalists.

Busie Gcali - Media Manager

Sibusisiwe, affectionately known as Busie is a Journalism and Media Studies Graduate with good communication and language skills. Busie is a driven and goal-oriented person who is confident in her abilities.

She is extremely motivated to constantly develop her skills and grow professionally in the PR industry. She has previously worked as a photographer and has explored opportunities in the creative industry as an actress and voice over artist.

Busie works closely with the Media Team to build close relationships with the media and distribute press releases and statements. Her dynamic skills also opened an opportunity for her to support the Digital Marketing team by assisting with content development and social media management.

AMBANI

Digital.

Lerato Malefahlo - Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Lerato has over 10 years of marketing experience and a successful track record in planning, leading and executing various marketing projects in various industries which include professional bodies, training, education and technology.

Lerato completed a Bachelor in Commerce (B.com) from the University of South Africa and other industry related courses. In her current role, she provides strategic counsel on digital campaigns, performs market research, and creates content to aid in the success of marketing campaigns.

She is passionate about growing brands and changing customers’ perspectives on brands through various digital marketing initiatives. Her hands-on approach has earned her success through various projects that she has embarked on.

Phathu Nengovhela - Social Media Manager

Phathutshedzo is adept at developing and maintaining detailed administrative and procedural processes that reduce redundancy and improve accuracy. She has previously worked in the FMCG and Risk industries. Her diploma in Human Resources has equipped her with the skills to work effectively with different departments, coordinating information and managing processes.

In her current role as a trainee in the Digital Marketing team, she is responsible for implementing digital marketing campaigns which include social media, newsletters and internal communication.

She has a great understanding of digital marketing best practices and strong communication skills.

AMBANI

Associates.

Shenanda Janse van Rensburg

Shenanda Janse van Rensburg is a communications consultant with over 19 years international experience specialising in reputation management, strategic communications and crisis communications. She has a successful track-record of protecting corporate and individual reputations and leading teams for JSE-listed companies. Her intimate knowledge of best practice and ability to drive excellence was gained during many years in senior and executive-level positions for local, multi-national and listed firms including South Africa’s first National Lottery operator, Uthingo, Cell C, Altech and Altron.

She started her career as a public relations account executive in London where she worked on two of the UK’s most significant campaigns at the time, including a public awareness and education campaign driven by the UK Government on Y2K and a Public Relations campaign to increase international ticket sales and visitors to the Millennium Dome in London. Other clients included the Royal Bank of Scotland and The UK National Lottery.

During her career, Shenanda has built personal credibility as a reputation management, public relations and communications expert because of her intimate understanding of business and her ability to anticipate how stakeholders will react to events. She is known for being diplomatic and perceptive with the ability to articulate views with clarity and impact.

She holds a B.Com degree from the University of Johannesburg.

Martin Czernowalow-Writer/Editor

Martin Czernowalow is a highly-driven and ambitious professional whose experience spans more than two decades. After completing a BA Degree (English, Criminology and Psychology) at the University of Pretoria in 1997, he has held a number of senior positions at leading ICT, B2B and mainstream publications within the South African media industry.

Martin has proven himself to be a successful leader and editor, with a natural flair for writing, creativity and critical thinking. These attributes have seen him play pivotal roles in the positioning of publications as leaders in their respective markets. His ability to excel under pressure and interest in tackling challenging project has gained him the respect of colleagues and clients within the industry.

In his previous position as News Editor of the South African national daily newspaper, The Citizen, saw him successfully lead a multi-city newsroom and manage a team of journalists in a high-pressure environment. In his current position, Martin is a freelance content specialist who offers writing, editing and consulting services to agencies, companies and publications. At present, he is responsible for producing high-level content in various formats for several major local and global brands, in line with their corporate messaging. With Martin’s many years of experience and wide-ranging skills, he is a valuable asset and a capable leader for any project or position that he undertakes.

Nomfundo Mtshali - Graphic Designer

Nomfundo embodies the essence of creativity and dedication, boasting over 5 years of experience in the dynamic field of communications. Her passion for design ignited during her pursuit of a Public Relations Management Diploma at the University of Zululand, where she graduated in 2019. Following her academic endeavors, Nomfundo embarked on a career trajectory that saw her thrive in various roles at two distinguished creative agencies, shaping her into the seasoned professional she is today.

Renowned for her fresh and minimalist approach, Nomfundo’s creative vision is a testament to her commitment to excellence and innovation. Drawing inspiration from her experiences across diverse sectors and clients, she has honed her skills to deliver visually compelling narratives that resonate with audiences on multiple levels. Nomfundo’s journey as a graphic designer is characterized by her relentless pursuit of perfection and her unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of creativity. She believes in the power of simplicity to convey complex messages, employing clean lines, bold typography, and strategic whitespace to craft visually arresting designs that leave a lasting impression.

Nomfundo brings not only her expertise in graphic design but also her passion for innovation and her steadfast commitment to delivering exceptional results. Collaborating seamlessly, she transforms visions into tangible realities, leaving an indelible mark on every project she undertakes.