This week Ornico courted controversy online when it announced the speakers for its South African Social Media Landscape 2020 event happening digitally next week.

Billed as a deep dive into the local social media landscape, including surveys from leading brands, agencies and communicators, where they share their predictions on social media usage for the next year.

The problem – as many local social media users noted – was that the panel of speakers for the event was severely lacking in regards to Black speakers. To say the panel looked a bit pale is an understatement.

Realising it’s misstep a bit too late following dissent on social media, Ornico decided to change change the speakers for the event.

This morning the firm notified Hypertext that new speakers had been selected.

The speakers now include:

  • Lebogang Kunene, from YOUKNOW
  • Lebo Lion, chief marketer at BEOPLE SA
  • Sylvester Chauke, founder of DNA Brand Architects

Interestingly, Chauke was one of the voices on Twitter questioning Ornico’s lack of diversity when selecting speakers. We’re glad to see that Ornico has chosen to engage directly with the vocal voices who opposed it and that the firm is willing to learn from its mistakes.

Ornico’s Oresti Patricios and WorldWide Worx’s Arthur Goldstuck will also be speaking at the event.

While Ornico really should have thought a bit deeper about this event before announcing speakers, we commend how quickly it responded to the matter and how willing it was to admit it was at fault.

Given all the hub-bub surrounding this event this week, we are keen to see what sort of insights the speakers can reveal next week.

For those who are still interested, the South African Social Media Landscape 2020 is free to watch online but you’ll need to register via Quicket.

Hopefully this situation presents a teachable moment for all South African brands.

Ornico’s updated speaker list for the South African Social Media Landscape 2020.