These were the words that reverberated across a sea of freezing cold South Africans who had gathered to hear the global icon speak on the balcony of the South African Embassy overlooking Trafalgar Square. Among the crowd was Homecoming Revolution CEO & founder Angel Jones.
For Angel, who had been living in the UK for 7 years, Madiba’s words really marked a pivotal moment. She returned to Johannesburg and put her determination into practice, establishing a non-profit organisation called Homecoming Revolution which was aimed at encouraging South Africans abroad to return home with the messaging, “Don’t wait until it gets better come home and make it better.”
Angel, who had worked at M&C Saatchi during her time in London, set up Morrisjones&Co Advertising in Johannesburg with business partner, Nina Morris.
In 2003, Morrisjones launched the Homecoming Revolution Brand to 20,000 South Africans worldwide with Marina Smithers PR and South Africans Worldwide, inviting students from the Funda Fine Art School & the Vega School of Brand Leadership to participate. Paul Harris, well-known philanthropist and co-founder of FirstRand, believed in the campaign and arranged for FNB to become the founding sponsor. Internationally renowned South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka opened the brand’s official launch in 2004.
What started as a small launch quickly spread into a global campaign, with Martine Schaffer as the Managing Director. Thousands of South Africans around the world wanted to come home. Storytelling helped the campaign go viral. Hearing the true & inspirational stories of people who had returned home, helped give others the push they needed to make the decision to return.
In 2004, then South African President Thabo Mbeki endorsed Homecoming Revolution in his State of the Nation Address, underlining its importance in reversing the country’s brain drain.
The organisation began to host successful events around the world where South African expats could gather to hear about home from London to Dubai, Washington to Sydney, Dublin to Chicago.
On Homecoming Revolution’s 10th birthday, the organisation became a commercial entity with shareholder investment from the Paul Harris Family Office.
The business expanded across the continent to bring African skills back home to Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
A whopping 400,000 professional South Africans returned home between 2009 and 2013, (Loane Sharpe, Economist).
In 2015, Director & Shareholder Faye Tessendorf was brought on and the organisation became a fully-fledged pan-African recruitment firm.
Recent speakers at Homecoming Revolution events have included Thuli Madonsela in London, Alex Okosi and Acha Leke in New York and Thabo Mbeki in Johannesburg.
Other speakers and ambassadors have included: Francois Pienaar, Okendo Lewis-Gayle, Ryk Neethling, Cheryl Carolus, Aly-Khan Satchu, Aaron Mokoena, Yusuf Abramjee, Isaac Fokuo, Eddie Mandhry, Gwede Mantashe, Mizinga Melu, Mmusi Maimane, Mamphela Ramphele, Helen Zille, Lira, Mabouba Diagne, Danny Jordaan and Trevor Noah.
Headquartered in Johannesburg, Homecoming Revolution provides Executive Search & Headhunting services for multi-national companies across Sub-Saharan Africa, working across a host of industries including the Financial Sector, Construction, Healthcare, Consulting & Technology, Media & Telecommunication.
The three core offerings are Executive Recruitment, Candidate Catalogues and Bespoke Events.
Since its inception, the brand has hosted over 40 international events, enjoyed global media coverage and has been the opinion leader on skills repatriation in Africa.
Homecoming Revolution continues to operate with the aim of creating a powerful wave of prosperity for the continent by bringing top skills back home.