Mamphego Phasha Studios is a 100% black-owned production company based in Soweto, Gauteng. With audio-visual services that assist clients with creative advertising, marketing and broadcast solutions, this production studio fuses innovation with technical expertise to deliver personalised offerings.
The company was founded in 2016 by Tebello Unity Motlhokoa, who admits that he initially didn’t expect to become an entrepreneur. “I did not think of myself as an entrepreneur, which is why I originally went to film school,” he says. Film school, however, is where the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur hit him.
“I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, so I saw the joy that entrepreneurship could bring – the flexibility, the ownership, literally & figuratively, and the joy from success”
Tebello Unity Motlhokoa
Having grown up in the small village of Phokwane in Limpopo, founding a production company of his own was part of realising a dream that had once seemed unattainable.
But dreams, as Tebello would later realise, are never out of reach. Like many others, his early career consisted of working in a few different companies. After a few years of valued job experience, Tebello began to work in-house with one of his current clients. “The experience gave me a broader perspective on running a media company,” he said. And once he had gained that much-needed perspective, he began to work as a freelancer.
It was freelancing that catapulted Tebello into entrepreneurship. Today, he is the owner of the production company that has been contracted to post-produce three of SABC’s new and exciting shows. The first is a docu-series that follows the heart-wrenching journeys of drug addicts going through rehabilitation. The second is a vibrant game show that challenges citizens in public spaces, and the third has reimagined classic columnist advice in the format of a talk show.
While things are certainly looking up for Mamphego Phasha Studios, it has not always been easy. Tebello describes the Covid-19 lockdown as one of the most challenging periods for his business. “Opportunities were non-existent and no-one was shooting,” he says. Moreover, before joining the Black Umbrellas incubation programme, the business struggled with administration and sales. “Before I joined BU my business was performing horribly. We struggled to get clients,” he recalls.
In contrast, Mamphego Phasha Studios now finds itself in a period of optimistic growth. Tebello affectionately describes this new phase as “the better days stage”. The company has managed to create two jobs in May 2021 alone, and the overall outlook is an optimistic one. The founder believes that with the training, mentorship and development support that his business has received, there’s nowhere to go but up. “The incubation programme helped us to face our fears and gave us our confidence back. With the help of our coaches we managed to hire sales staff to assist in getting clients,” he says. In addition to the three SABC shows that the company is working on, there’s also a documentary and a cooking show in the pipeline.
Mamphego Phasha Studios is driven by a fearless optimism that is backed by passion, expertise and incredible support from the Black Umbrellas incubation programme. When asked about how he felt about his business a few months ago in comparison to how he feels about it now, Tebello can’t help but respond with positivity. The company has officially taken up office space in the Black Umbrellas Soweto incubator, an opportunity which will allow them to better service their clients and maintain the kind of productivity that contributes to their development.