Spokesman and ANC social media strategist
Phakamile Mbengashe, or Phaki for short, was born into a very politically aware family. With a Harvard graduate mother who chaired the ANC Women’s League in the Eastern Cape, and a medical doctor father who was a stalwart ANC member, Mbengashe’s home while he was growing up often had senior ANC leaders like Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Joe Slovo and Joe Modise staying the night.
Mbengashe joined the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) when he was 16. His mother used to take him to her ANC meetings when he was young, so the culture of politics became second nature to him.
After a brief period in the private sector after he graduated with a BCom in marketing management, Phaki joined the public service, feeling the country needed more people who are willing to invest their skills in its progress.
At just 29, he is now the spokesman for the deputy minister of trade and industry, Mzwandile Masina, and has been instrumental in the development of government’s Black Industrialists Policy and ensuring the South African public knows about and understands the programme.
Considered the ANC’s key social media strategist, Phakamile was responsible for popular social media campaigns such as the #IAMANC, #AmandlaChallenge and #ZiReadyiComrades and #SishodaNgawe, all of which were used to rally support for the ANC and to direct the public to the party’s policy information and news updates.
Mbengashe is also an astute political leader within in the ANCYL, and holds the position of chairperson of the popular suburban ANCYL Branch Ward 82. He is a convener of the ANCYL in Tshwane East, a member of the ANCYL Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee’s Subcommittee on Communication and is on the ANC’s National Elections Task Team.
Mbengashe believes the future is always an opportunity to do better than yesterday. Keeping humble, and being selfless and grateful for what he has, is very important to him.
“The vision of a better future for all South Africans keeps me inspired to do the work I do. The slightest hope that our work as government and a vanguard liberation movement can change lives gives me the strength to continue,” says Mbengashe.