Vuyokazi Sodo Vega’s top honours student leaves her mark on the creative industry

“A three-month stint in Amsterdam with high-flying Dutch brand innovation firm CMK1 changed my life,” an elated Vuyokazi Sodo says.

“When I was in Amsterdam, I was working on a brand pitch at CMK1 and I realised that this is what I truly want for myself. I enjoyed being a creative strategist, and the two qualifications I already had were not sufficient to enable me to operate at this level. An IIE Advanced Diploma in Brand Innovation (ADBI) available at Vega School, an educational brand of The Independent institute of Education (The IIE), was the missing piece in the puzzle,” says Sodo. She had also obtained a PRINCE2 Project Management Certificate while in Den Haag during 2008.

Sodo says she was hooked after those three months working in Holland with a firm where “innovation is a lifestyle”. The firm dealt entirely with clients from high-end fashion houses and fashion boutique outlets, interior design houses, as well as web and film production companies. Upon her return to SA, Sodo enrolled at Vega Pretoria to study Brand Innovation, which changed the trajectory of her career.

It was that passion and desire which ultimately led to Sodo winning top honours in her ADBI course at this year’s IIE Vega graduation. “With this kind of drive and energy, The IIE Vega graduates are brand thinkers who bring a holistically creative and strategic approach to any project they worked on. This is what truly sets IIE Vega graduates apart as real-world problem solvers in all aspects of this ever-changing industry and Vuyo perfectly embodies this,” says Darren Meltz, Copywriting and Digital Strategy Lecturer at Vega.

“I opted for the ABDI because it had the ingredients I was looking for to shape my career. Vega provided exceptional real-time industry knowledge and challenges. Team work is encouraged, which is the fastest way I know to become empowered,” she stresses.

Sodo’s top honours award was sponsored by the Pendoring Advertising Awards. “For the past 21 years, Pendoring has consistently encouraged and rewarded creative excellence in the industry as well as at student level. Clearly Vuyo has what it takes to make a significant contribution to the industry and we wish her well in her advertising career,” says Pendoring GM, Franette Klerck.

Sodo had previously studied graphic design in South Africa and after an internship with an advertising agency immersed herself in everything from copywriting to account management. Like many successful people, Sodo has a rare ability to be able to listen comfortably, analyse what she is hearing and ask the right questions. “Otherwise how do I then draw relevant insights to direct what and how I communicate?

“I chose to study at Vega because it is distinguished for instilling creative and strategic business foresight which is relevant and aligned to today’s industry. Vega creates the kind of skills set I wanted to expand on and be able to use immediately,” continues Sodo.

The ADBI provides the know-how to gain consumer and business insights purely to design and apply strategic brand building solutions, for maximum reach and impact through well-observed contextual brand contacts and channels.

As a 38-year old mother and working person, Sodo acknowledges that part-time study is challenging. “Late nights are not easy after a long day at work but it gets easier after the first three months, especially if you have supportive classmates. Going back to school is a big sacrifice.”

Her advice to others is, “It might be best to research and understand how your new skills will realistically fit into your future plans.”

For more information about launching your career through with an IIE Advanced Diploma in Brand Innovation at Vega, visit