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Vega School students Robyn Phillips and Azra Kazi have received Golden Muses at the PromaxBDA Africa Awards for their campaign: ‘Brave is Sexy’.

The PromaxBDA Africa Awards looks beyond creativity and production value and focus their attention on how successfully objectives are met and how effectively the ‘message’ of the entrants’ campaigns are communicated. Entries must have been aired, broadcasted, published or released for the African market, or commissioned by African based companies. PromaxBDA is considered the leading global resource for education, community, creative inspiration and career development in the media and media marketing sectors.

The pair are both second-year Visual Communications students at Vega School, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE).  Phillips and Kazi were selected as the winners from student entries across the African continent. In addition to receiving the coveted award, the duo will also receive a one-month paid internship at T+W, a Johannesburg based movie Production Company.The ‘Brave is Sexy’ campaign is based on similar media campaigns by Lovers Plus and We the Brave. Its basis is to empower young people to take ownership of their sex lives and be proud to practice safe sex.

Phillips and Kazi explain the rationale. “Research suggests that many young students are embarrassed to go into a store to ask for condoms, or to go for HIV testing. It seems safe sex remains an off-limits subject. We wanted to take on a controversial subject and contribute to breaking down what remains a taboo subject matter.”

In drawing inspiration from the two brands, they adapted from We the Brave the concept of reversible packaging, which allows one to remove a first layer and see what’s on the reverse side; and from Lovers Plus, an NPO working in the area of sexual health, the theme of safe sex.


“The concept of reversible packaging has both a physical and a metaphysical aspect: peeling back the top layer of packaging reveals our bold message that it’s good to practice safe sex and to become aware of what their HIV status is,” says Phillips. In fact, the clever packaging asks whoever opened it to take a pledge advocating safe sex.


Although the campaign was an academic assignment, both women are keen on the messaging of the two brands that they adopted, and intend on approaching both companies  to establish if those brands could use their work. “We selected We the Brave and Lovers Plus because we are passionate about what they do. We would certainly like it if our work could be of some value to them,” continues Kazi.


“We’re still stunned at the award. It is completely unexpected, especially as we’re both still in our second year,” echoes the duo. Both say it has boosted their self-confidence. “Imagine what we can do in our third year!” The one-month internship with T+W will also enhance their careers, as they gain exposure and showcase their work to the team at one of the leading agencies in the industry.


Kazi attributes their success to the unique learning model at Vega. “I believe I wouldn’t have achieved this if it wasn’t for Vega. Here, students are friends with lecturers; it is an intimate environment and a very hands-on practical approach to creative education.”


“You get a lot of personal attention compared to bigger institutions. Everyone wants to be on campus – there’s so much passion for the industry, and for what it can realise,” concludes Phillips.


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