by Herman Manson (@marklives) The Make Beautiful Agency, launched by Zwelakhe “Zee” Tshabangu in June 2016, has been acquired by M&N Brands, the network which owns Avatar Agency Group (formerly Avatar South Africa). The Make Beautiful Agency was named as our runner-up MarkLives Agency Leaders One to Watch in Joburg in 2018 — the agency from which agency leaders expected great things in the year ahead.

Avatar Agency Group consists of Avatar Joburg, Avatar Cape Town, Avatar Durban, Avatar PR and Avatar Media Agency.

Zibusiso Mkhwanazi, M&N Brands co-founder and CEO, says he has always admired Tshabangu’s work, his creativity and the creative hot shop he’s built at Make Beautiful. M&N Brands will use the agency to house conflict work and plans to build it into a fully fledged full-service agency.

Housed with Avatar

M&N has acquired a 51% majority stake in Make Beautiful and will offer it the network’s support, as well as additional management capacity. It will be housed within the larger Avatar Agency Group. Tshabangu retains a shareholding and remains the engine and visionary driving the future growth of the agency, says Mkhwanazi.

Mkhwanazi also says that the success of M&N Brands has led him and co-founder and Avatar MD, Veli Ngubane, to consider how they can share knowledge and resources to ensure success for other black-owned and -managed agencies. One way is working together with smaller agencies to build a new generation of sustainable black-owned and -managed agencies, and The Make Beautiful Agency will be a test case for future deals made in a similar principle.

“This is an exciting milestone for our agency. Since we opened our doors just under five years ago, we’ve been building our brand while admiring Avatar’s growth from afar,” says Tshabangu in a media statement released to MarkLives. “In them we saw what we wanted to one day be and this deal catapults us closer to our dream. Avatar represents black excellence and what possible in our industry. They have the awards, track record and industry accolades to support that fact.”

See also

Updated at 10.19am on 9 December 2019.


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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