A trailblazer in the local entertainment industry, Zenzele Hirschfield’s star is continuing to shine. Zen, as she is affectionately known, has stood the test of time in an industry dominated by men, proving that she has what it times to thrive where a few gave a her a chance. Under her Zen Promotions stable she manages music stars and promotes their brands. It has been 15 years since she opened doors. There is a combatant that lives and thrives within Zen. This is what has made and pushed her to become who she is now – a successful woman who managed to prevail in an industry that is very brutal to the light hearted. At the top of names under her stable is rapper Ban T who though new in the industry is already a force to be reckon with, having won multiple awards. She is looking forward to other partnerships with established artists that will soon be taking place. “2017 is going to be my best year. This is where I have always wanted my career to be at and I am glad I have reached that level and still moving on,” she said.
How it all started
Her dream started when she was very young, having grown up as a very active child. She always took the lead when with other kids playing. As she progressed in school to secondary she realised that she was good in English and public speaking. She loved Literature and History. “When I was doing Form II, I won an essay competition sponsored by UNICEF, with the adjudicator and mentor behind that being the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi then,” she said. Masisi taught her a lot about etiquette, how to anchor the words and how to own the crown when she is doing public speaking. In St Joseph’s College she became a prefect for the arts. She realised most of her talents were in the arts. But she had to give up on music because she was troubled by swollen tonsils that were later removed. “I looked at something that I could still do that is within the creative industry but without being in the centre and I realised that event management is the way for me because I was always organising events in school,” she said.
When it was time to go to the university, she already knew where her passion and destiny were because initially she wanted to be a lawyer. She then asked her parents to allow her to correspond and learn on the field about what she thought was her destiny. When they let her do that, she then took some courses. This led to the formation of Zen Promotions in 2002. Most did not give her a chance of success. “They just thought I was a young girl with a dream and I will let it go,” she said. She worked with so many promoters that she admired in the industry even though they later fired her because they thought she was a crazy little girl. Admiring women like Margaret Thatcher showed her that she can conquer anything include doing promotions full time like men. She was then approached by Vee to manage him, and then many followed like Stagga, Scar, Maxy and others. Before she knew it she was working with many artists. She also affiliated with South African stables in order to manage international artists and sell them in Botswana. This included Mafikizolo, Hugh Masekela, Mshoza, and Bulldog.
She faced a lot of challenges, including being accused of relying on her beauty to have a way around men who helped her advance. The accusations and negativity never moved her. She said one of the things that make her work hard is the talent that she sees in each and every artist that she manages. She advised the young ladies that sitting in the same classes with men shows that they can be very competitive in each and everything that men think they can do better. It is not a matter of beauty, she said, but hard work that pays off. “People support you because of your craft; the concepts and strategies that are being developed. People know that behind every great artist there is a manager; a lot of girls came but quit because they could not stand the criticism,” she said. She is inspired more in her work by the biblical women Ruth and Queen Esther. When not working she prefers to chill at home, read a lot, pamper herself and have peaceful nights.