Durban, KwaZulu Natal: The Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) hosted a Meet & Greet and region relaunch event dubbed “In conversation with the PRISA CEO – Victor Sibeko” at the Riverside Hotel, Durban North on Thursday, 12 September 2019.
The call to this meeting was met with mixed feelings but what stood out was the enthusiasm mostly from both Seasoned professionals already in the industry and new entrants, Young some employed and others in their final year of studies.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Executive Officer – Victor Sibeko said he was delighted this day has come after long silence and the demise of PRISA Durban region. he reported that PRISA faced several challenges like any other member based organizations. These challenges vary from harsh economic times which result in either companies not registering their staff or members re-considering spending money on membership. Among these challenges, lack of volunteers to run the regional structure as well as national office support further complicated the matter.
“This meeting is meant to precisely assist REbuild, REjuvenate and REalign PRISA to the current challenges with relevant programmes. Surely with the attendance and active participation of the legends present PRISA is destined to Reclaim its right space and claim its yester-years glory” said Sibeko.
The meeting was graced by the attendance of Mr. Dante Mashile – PRISA ex Board member, Education, Training Research Committee member and the now defunct PROVox Centre for Communication Management board member; The chief host so to speak, Mr. Philani Mabaso, PRISA Durban former chairperson and ex-Public Relations Officer of AmaZulu Football Club and currently Mpilo Business Solutions founder and CEO.
In attendance was Public Relation stalwarts Paul Godwin and Pat Bonini from Nerve Marketing. Young and enthusiastic Mnqobi Mthethwa from Ikhono Communication; Zekhethelo Ndlovu, Communication officer from Harry Gwala District Municipality,
Simphiwe Dlamini, Communication Officer eThekwini Municipality took time off his busy training schedule to attend; Sihle Mavuso from Indy Media who played Paparazzi during networking
Nqobile Mncwabe, a final year Public Relations Student at Durban University of Technology; Siphelele Mtshali from Goodwork; Phakamani Sithole, enthusiastic professional in the making that travelled all the way from Richardsbay to attend the meeting, and many more members.
After long dead silence of PRISA’s presence and regional structure, the talk of having a PRISA meeting seemed more like a far fetched dream. One thing though is that, it was a dream come true. Sibeko says “There were doubts as to whether this will happen or not. To be honest, I had so much hope, defied all odds and believed we shall overcome. The same way we have and continue to rebuild PRISA in other regions so it shall be in Durban. I commit to the course with many other professional and subscribe to #IamPRISA #RisePRISA”
“Even in the midst of hopelessness and negativity from certain corners, cabals and prophets of doom that called, in-boxed me and sent emails, I chose to stay positive and handle the matter professionally. I am delighted that I have strong support from PRISA past presidents and we have all taken a stance and adopted the hashtag #IamPRISA.” said Sibeko.
“Let us work hard and not give up hope. Much as we are open to criticism, we appeal on members to also allow us a fair chance to consult. All we would like to see is collaboration in our bid to REbuild PRISA. To all Public Relations and Communication Management professionals, you can only achieve the best in one way by surrounding yourselves with progressive profession’s initiatives and stick around as genuine members.” added Sibeko in closing.
In closing Sibeko said “To all the other Public Relations & Communication Management professional dreamers out there, don’t ever stop or let the negativity disenchant you or your spirit. If you surround yourself with the legends and actively participate in the profession’s activities and networking events, anything is possible… One day, you will be able to do exactly the same… Inspire others.”
Sibeko thanked The Riverside Hotel for the venue sponsorship. Special thanks for the Food & Beverage Manager Mr. Heath, Hotel Reservation Manager Roger and Mlungisi who took care of us.