Country: South Africa
Profession: Media Consultant
Manfred has been involved in marketing, media, and public relations for over 20 years. He is now responsible for the elite media around four of the five World Athletics Label races in South Africa: the three FNB RunYourCity Series Events and the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon, as well as the Two Oceans Marathon.
What has been a defining moment in your career?
Gosh that is a tricky one. There have been a few as my career path has not followed a normal trajectory so to speak. The first moment would have been when I joined a sports marketing company in 1994. I had been involved in tourism for two years prior to that. But working for a sports marketing company allowed me to work in my passion which is sport, particularly athletics.
The next moment was when I was head hunted to work for a production company in 1998 (Sports Shows, which later became Octagon CSI) to do research and scripts for television magazine shows, such as the Old Mutual World of Endurance. We also were awarded the contract to broadcast the South African Athletics season on behalf of the SABC for a period of three years. That meant I travelled the country to interview athletes, which in essence meant I was paid to do my hobby. In 1999, I became the producer of Athletics Alive which was renamed Gijima a year later. During that time, I travelled extensively to follow South African Athletes around the globe and went to three World Championships.
Another defining moment came about in 2015 when I was asked to manage the elite media around the inaugural FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN. This opened another career path for me from producing into media management.
What is your most memorable interaction with a Track & Field athlete?
One of my fondest memories was producing a mini documentary on Hezekiel Sepeng when he won the Silver Medal at the 1999 World Athletics Championships against then World Record Holder, Wilson Kipketer. To this day we are still good friends.
What was the first thought that went through your mind when you heard the Tokyo Olympics had been postponed?
Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. I had been following the pandemic from the early stages in 2020 and saw how many events were first postponed and then cancelled, so this did not come as a surprise. I was a bit surprised that the IOC waited so long to postpone the Games when the writing was on the wall for a while already.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Chocolate…I love chocolate. Generally, I am a frugal person. But if you want to bribe me, use chocolate. Guaranteed success….
When under pressure, what do you say to yourself to help you get through it?
“You’ve been here before and this too shall pass.” It is not always as easy as that though.
What three things you would take with you if you had to be stranded on a desert island for a year?
Lots of chocolate. Coffee and dogs. All the dogs in the world.