Jan Malan

Namibian-born, Jan Malan, director of Umzingeli Productions, is one of Africa’s leading show producers. ‘Umzingeli’ means ‘hunter-gatherer’ in Xhosa and Zulu, as the company prides itself on finding and nurturing fashion and beauty talent that hails from Africa.
Since starting his show production career in 1985, his momentous work, energy and positivity towards the industry has led him to stage high-profile productions in 20 countries spread over four continents.
Using his powerful knowledge of the events industry, he brainstorms truly innovative concepts and execute them professionally with an enthusiasm that can only be described as electric.
The conceptualization of M-Net’s “Face of Africa” Model Search in 1996 kick-started a career that has since led him to 35 countries in Africa.
His endeavors have not only highlighted the beautiful women of Africa, but also exposed Africa’s fashion talent to the world.

Jan-Malan_P1My Definition Of Success | Making a difference in other people’s lives.
Setting realistic goals and then achieving them.

I Am Driven By | Fear of mediocrity. Fear of disappointing the people closest to you.

My Highlights | Conceptualising, staging, scouting and living, the Face of Africa Model Search. (1997 to 2010)
Being instrumental in the success of so many young women as well as fashion designers from different parts of the African continent.
At the age of 25 I set myself the personal goal of becoming one of the best show Director/Producers on the African continent. Setting out and achieving this goal I am most proud of.


The Difference Between Good And Great | Apart from sheer hard work, persistence and determination, ingredients often over-looked is:

  • Empathy
  • Mindfulness
  • Always ready to go the extra mile.
  • Take your ego out of it.

A Key Talent |

  • Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
  • Get organised.
  • Understand your clients’ wants and need by asking the right questions and listening.
  • Constantly find ways to surpass their expectations.
  • Always ask the question “How can I do this differently?”
  • Bring an element of surprise to the production.
  • Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal…
  • Don’t be too dogmatic with the process, think more organically.
  • Focus on the outcome.
  • Be open to criticism and adjust your thinking when required.
  • The best ideas come out of the blue when you are under severe pressure.
  • Learning how to deal with many different people, individually and in groups.
  • Keep your cool and stay kind.
  • Respect everyone that is contributing to the production.
  • Make them feel that they are part of something magical that is about to happen.
  • Do not accept mediocrity.


Jan-Malan_P2The Characteristics Of Success |

  • Being humble
  • Listening
  • Aim to please
  • Be super-organised
  • Give clear instructions
  • Be time-conscious
  • Don’t cut corners
  • Avoid falling into the trap of repetition, be prepared to do things differently…
  • Never say NO… (Only say no when you have given the request some thought and saying yes will affect the outcome of the production negatively)
  • If someone ask you a question, never answer “I don’t know…” If you don’t know tell them you will get back to them and find out the answer…There is always Google 🙂


Principles I Live By |

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Don’t gossip
  • See the good in everyone
  • Treat other people’s feelings as your own
  • Honour your commitments
  • Go the extra mile
  • Show gratitude

Critical Skills I Develop | Re-inventing and refining production documentation.
Public speaking and working with large groups whilst under the spotlight of the media.
Instantly grasping and understanding clients’ wishes and needs.
Refining my talent for mood, texture, music and design when producing shows.
Refining the ability to read an audience and then to take them on a journey.

Lessons I Have Learnt | Never, ever, assume anything.
Be meticulous with your bookkeeping and never take money for granted.
Don’t expect loyalty from your clients, even if you think you have earned it.

Jan-Malan_P3Performing At My Peak | Exercise every day. Energy begets energy.
Arrive before anyone else.
Be prepared (Failing to plan is planning to fail)
Get more than enough sleep.

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Motivational books, too many to mention, I always have around three titles lying around.
Read, Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey and Deepak Chopra.

My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I am working on becoming a formidable force in show direction/production in the USA. Just started working with an American production company to realise this dream.
This includes bringing more designers from Africa to show at New York Fashion Week.
Continue to work on the continent producing ground-breaking shows in unexpected places.

On Inspiring Others | I am lucky enough that students are all keen to intern with us. I take on 3 or 4 interns per project. I throw them in at the deep end and then gradually figure out what they good at and then give them the freedom to excel in it.

I Am Inspired By | Baz Luhrmann, Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Ford

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