BONI MCHUNU was born and educated in Pietermaritzburg. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing, a diploma in business management and diploma in project management. Recently, she attended the international executive leadership development programme at Wits and London Business schools.
Mchunu's first job was with ABSA and her responsibilities related to marketing the financial services of ABSA. This was followed by then working for another corporate giant, Unilever. Of her time there, she says, "I believe it was some of the best marketing experience anyone can get, as I worked in different categories from home, personal care to foods. That's where my marketing game was enriched." During her stay at Unilever, she worked on brands such as Ponds, Sunsilk, Skip, Knorr, Rama and more.
Her most recent position before East Coast Radio (ECR), was being part of the executive team at Tourism KZN. The opportunity to work for the provincial tourism authority, representing KZN and South Africa, she says was one of the highlights of her professional career.
Notably, she got to travel to more than 72 countries around the world and in her own words, "The experience cemented the fact that South Africa is the best country in the world and solidified my pride in being proudly South African." Mchunu says she worked well within the tourism trade, internationally, nationally and domestically. "At Tourism KZN, I was responsible for marketing and promoting KwaZulu-Natal as the best tourism destination, locally and abroad. I led provincial projects such as Tourism Indaba, provincial brand re-alignment, World Travel Market in London, SA Express Direct route launch addressing air connectivity and more. Marketing and promoting the Province of KwaZulu-Natal included stakeholder management domestically and abroad, which translated into increased tourism growth for the province, as well as strategic brand management and destination positioning."
Now as General Manager at KZN's No.1 Hit Music Station, she says that she absolutely loves that East Coast Radio has so much influence in the lives of the people living in the province. "ECR gives us the platform to make a difference in people's lives by influencing and connecting KZN to the world. We are proudly KZN as we are a brand that considers ourselves as a fabric of KZN that binds people together. KZN social matters, matter to us whether funny, sad, social, or lifestyle, are all important to us."
Boni Mchunu credits her success to her father who encouraged her and her four sisters to take their education seriously. A particular statement he made had a profound impact on her as a young girl and has stuck with her ever since - "The decisions you make about education today, must be the decisions you are happy to live with tomorrow".
Despite the usual every day challenges at home, at work and in the community, the greatest challenge that she has faced has been seeing people judging her based on her gender and race. She does not let this get to her and her biggest career highlight is that she has been able to move from different industries with ease. "The experience gained from all these industries has been enormous for me, but most importantly, the experience has taught me that business is business, regardless of the different industries."
However, Mchunu says that discipline is a bridge between her goals and achieving them, "In everything I do, I believe focus, attitude and discipline has brought me this far." She adds, "I believe in simplicity, authenticity, straight talk and sustainability in everything that I do. Sustainability for me refers to putting systems in place that will build companies that will compete for the future, with or without me."
Mchunu says, "One thing I would like to do in this lifetime, is to create a Boni Mchunu Foundation that will assist the underprivileged kids, especially from the township I grew up in, Imbali Township."