Taking 99FM to greater heights with poise
The entertainment industry is a cutthroat business but Zellmari Brandt, the new executive director of 99FM, takes every moment as a learning and growing experience.
20 November 2020 | People
This ‘Baster girl’, as she calls herself, was born in Windhoek and raised in Khomasdal. Her education journey began at Hermann Gmeiner primary school and she finished high school at Jan Möhr. After school, she took a gap year working as a receptionist at the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN). While working there, she was awarded a bursary from the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) to study film and acting at AFDA in Cape Town.
“Part of my bursary deal with the NTN was to work for them as a way to pay back the grant, so during the holidays I came back to Namibia and started working at the theatre. What a magical space!” she says.
After completing her studies at AFDA, NTN offered her a permanent position as a production assistant in 2010. Two years later, she was called to be part of the live events industry and started working at dB Audio Namibia as a production coordinator. She later served as a project manager, an accounts executive and, finally, as the show caller. She believes that her five years at dB Audio shaped her and that she would not be where she is today if it was not for them.
Later on, she tried a stint as a freelancer in the live events industry and after a very depressing period in her life she started listening to 99FM. The station’s content lifted her spirits and she credits the station for getting her out of a deep and dark place.
“I fell in love with the station and started stalking them. I emailed the team and asked if they had any position available for me. I loved what they did and wanted to be in their space and I was willing to work for free. Unfortunately, there was an economic recession at the time so they couldn’t take in anyone. A year later, Christine Hugo (former 99FM director) contacted me and asked if I was still looking for a job, to which I simply replied: ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ I started working at TribeFire Studios (which is a media partnership between 99FM and OneAfrica TV) in June 2018 as the brand experience manager and a few months later I became the 99FM station manager and today, I’m the station’s executive director,” she says.
What makes Brandt really happy in life is the time she gets to spend with her son, Sky, who is literally her sky, she says.
With the world moving into a space where people are tired of hearing about dreams and promises without action, the refreshed 99FM brand is boldly asking everyone to stop talking and ‘Do the Work’. As executive director, Brandt is steering the station in this new direction.
“My team - Che, Skryt, Treza, Sibo, Rukee, Brain, Sharné, Chiro and Chris-Wayne - are industry leaders in their own fields and we’re going to remind our audiences every day to show up, reach deeper, push harder and do the work that is necessary to push yourself, your community, your country and ultimately this continent forward into a future that our children deserve to live in,” she says.
For those who wish to follow in her footsteps, Brandt’s advice is simple: “Learn! Grow! Fall! Fail! Try! Try again! Breathe! Learn! Grow!”