CEO OF M-NET SOUTH AFRICA Phahle is a classically trained musician who has worked as a teacher, television presenter and a studio manager and senior producer for the BBC. She is the first black woman to hold the top position at M-Net South Africa. As the director of local general entertainment channels, Phahle launched the VUZU and Mzansi Magic channels, which she counts as her career highlight. There are two things, the first being education. I was awarded music scholarships as a child and had access to excellent education, the best teachers and musicians. The big break in my career came after joining my first band, the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra. The founder had an ambition to create music with young, black, classicallytrained musicians. After moving from the UK to SA, and joining M-Net, I was given the opportunity to make new channels for new audiences. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The fact that my parents recognised that I was talented in music – they tried hard to expose me to the best musical education. If anybody is good at something, whether it’s music or computers, to be successful you need to follow the 10 000-hour rule. Being a musician is great when you are 18 or 21, but I had no academic or vocational qualification. When I wanted to move into business, it proved quite a challenge. Eventually I got my MBA – that feels great. Another challenge was when I pitched my vision for a local entertainment channel, Mzansi. The first time I was rejected, and it was difficult for me. Mzansi represents so much of what I believe in – to tell local stories in local languages. I went back and revised my idea and presented it in a better way. I am glad I didn’t give up.
THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IS DIFFICULT TO BREAK INTO. WHAT DID YOU DO DIFFERENTLY TO SET YOU APART? WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST DIFFICULTY THAT YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME?