Namibian-born, Jan Malan, director of Umzingeli Productions, is a leading show producer in Africa.
Umzingeli means ‘hunter-gatherer’ in Xhosa and Zulu, the company prides itself on finding and nurturing fashion and beauty talent that hails from Africa.
One of his major accomplishments was the conceptualization of M-Net’s “Face of Africa Model Search,” which kick-started a career that has since led him to over 30 African countries. His endeavors have not only highlighted the beautiful women of Africa, but also exposed Africa’s fashion talent to the world.
Since 1985 not a year has gone by without his momentous work and his energy and positivity towards the industry that has led to staging high profile productions in 20 countries spread over four continents. Using its powerful knowledge of the events industry to brainstorm truly innovative concepts and execute them professionally with an enthusiasm that can only be described as electric.
Malan pioneered “Africa Designs” for M-Net and AngloGold, a pan-African fashion designer competition, in the year 2000. This was the first time that African designers showed on schedule at New York Fashion Week. Following this international milestone, Malan staged four more shows for designers of African descent on schedule at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York between 2001 and 2010.
Noticing his talent for organization and eye for detail he was asked to serve as a venue manager for IMG in 2001 and 2002 under the guidance of New York Fashion Week founder, Fern Mallis. Not one to sit back, he applied his new knowledge and magic touch to the “Fairlady South African Fashion Awards” in 2003 and subsequently won a Golden Loerie (The South African Advertising Awards) for it.
Malan is constantly looking for fresh, captivating, venues and many of Umzingeli’s shows have been held in unique locations such as train stations, art galleries, city halls and theatre spaces.
He produced shows at various fashion weeks across the continent including South African, Cape Town, Durban, Joburg and Africa Fashion Week, Mozambique Fashion Week and Swahili Fashion Week in Tanzania. Further afield he was responsible for Delhi Fashion Week in India for two consecutive seasons in 2008/9.
But regardless of an impressive client list, which includes names such as Elton John and Tyra Banks, Malan has continued his passion for community work giving of his time to produce shows for the Witwatersrand Hospice and other charities. Some of his proudest moments includes being appointed as a goodwill ambassador and show director for Sun International’s “Positive Rocks,” official producer for the “Catwalk the World” initiative by the UN World Food Programme and his current membership of the “36 Boutiques Style Council,” South Africa’s premier online retailer based in Cape Town.