It’s almost become a norm for people from underprivileged places to go seek for greener pastures, but Nicholas Xhonxa vowed to be the one to bring that city life back into the townships. Nicholas is the co-founder of SSA Ads, a 100% black-owned business specializing in “Below the Line advertising (i.e. brand activations campaigns, promotions, flyer distribution, etc.) and brand development. Our focus is to bring brands into townships as we pride ourselves of understanding the cultural dynamics, consumption trends and demographics.”

“This is a traditionally white-dominated industry with only 27% being black owned ad agencies, which gives us mass opportunity to tap into it and to grow SSA as a brand and offer alternative to the traditional old and well established white owned agencies,” he says.

Nicholas co-established SSA Ads in 2015 but started operation early in 2016 after doing market research to see whether it was a suitable industry to venture into.

“It’s always been my dream to be a business person; I’ve been working on this for many years. I’m basically the face of the agency as my brother (who’s a co-owner) is a graphic designer by profession. I’m out there doing brand awareness and representing the company.”

As part of their ‘personal growth’ plans, Nicholas successfully completed a nine month business development programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). To add a cherry on top, he emerged as the top student, winning the 2016 Absa Top Small Business Owner Student.

“Thanks to the USB for offering us the opportunity of this kind, which helped us to shape our businesses and pave our way forward,” says Nicholas with ecstasy in his voice.
A proud product to have been nurtured in the dusty streets of Gugulethu, SSA Ads is a living proof that grass can grow from tar.

“We’re helping township business increase their market share in the market. We want to be an alternative for them and lure the big companies as well. We serve as an alternative in the market, bring brands into light and expose them.

“We go beyond brand advertising, the target market has to be aware of a brand without seeing any adverts.” Nicholas adds that more and more ad agencies are moving into the township as there are opportunities for growth.
He admits that there are challenges such as “clients not paying in time” and the threat that crime poses to their business and clients, but they “have managed to pull through,” nevertheless.

“There’s someone I’m currently mentoring. It’s exciting. It’s good to impart your skills to other people. [My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is] plan, plan! I’d urge all aspiring business owners to do their planning. Assign a mentor to help with the implementation of the planning. Have a comprehensive and clear market strategy, and understand your clients,” he concludes.


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Or call the following numbers for more information: 021 839-1354 – 083 359 3329