Regarded as the continent’s pre-eminent luxury accommodation offering, the Saxon is among a handful of prominent businesses, across multiple fields of industry, developed by the first generation of the Steyn Family portfolio. These also, notably, include Telesure Investment Holdings, Shambala Private Game Reserve and Steyn City.
Led by Gen-2’s TJ and Louis, Steyn now has its feet planted in the entertainment industry.
“Music and the arts are among the most influential forces in existence because of their ability to transcend any and all barriers,” explains Steyn Entertainment Managing Director, Dale De Ruig when asked about the company’s 2014 inception.
“A significant amount of world music has its roots in Africa, and the continent continues to be a major contributor to global culture. But we haven’t realized our potential yet. With Steyn Entertainment, the goal was to actively participate in establishing the continent as a legitimate artistic force, as well as an operational and sustainable territory for the South African industry and the rest of the world.”
You might be familiar with Rocking the Daisies (RTD), the Cape Town-based, Billboard-ranked Top 50 Festivals in the World entrée in 2022. Running for almost two-decades, the festival has garnered international critical acclaim and won the hearts of core music audiences after a focused cultural transformation upon its acquisition by Steyn Entertainment in 2016, as one of their first major commercial endeavors.
An annual calendar fixture, audiences upwards of 15,000 flood Cloof Wine Estate over the span of three days to enjoy immersive activations and spectacular live performances that have historically featured the likes of Stormzy; The 1975; Focalistic; Kehlani; Mac Miller; Nasty C; Sho Madjozi; Clean Bandit; Black Coffee; Riky Rick; J.I.D; and many others. While the festival affords local audiences the opportunity to enjoy rarely seen international talent, Steyn Entertainment insists that one of its emphases is in showcasing the diversely remarkable local landscape, supported by a level of world-class production not commonly associated with domestic shows.
The success of RTD subsequently helped to establish a foundation for a myriad of ventures into the entertainment realm and the talented individuals who are innovating them:
In the City – a mid-scale live music event set to the backdrop of metropolitan Johannesburg and Cape Town. Occurring multiple times a year, the event unifies more relatively-focused and discerning pockets of music lovers under a common eagerness to experience burgeoning acts from around the globe;
The Marabi Club – the world renowned and award-winning jazz club inspired by an improvisational style of jazz called ‘Marabi’ that evolved in the buzzing suburb of Doornfontein in the 1920s. The distinguished venue boasts an evocative fine dining experience and a pristine, intimate vintage interior. A restaurant and cultural hub, universally adored by enthusiasts of live music, over the years the space has played host to the likes of Hugh Masekela, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, Jonathan Butler, Carmelo Anthony ,Kelly Rowland, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, among others. The brainchild of TJ Steyn and Dale De Ruig, The Marabi Club is managed by Sicelo Mayiyane – a talented purveyor of elegance with years of experience in the hospitality industry.
STAY LOW – established in 2020, the cutting-edge independent boutique record label and management company has quickly come to represent a return to counterculture within the entertainment space. This is due to its commitment to artistic integrity and unconventional practices. Boasting some of the finest emerging and established talent on its roster, STAY LOW is dedicated to empowering artists across various disciplines and bridging the gap between African talent and the rest of the world. The imprint is headed up by Vaughn Thiel – a serial entrepreneur, award-winning executive producer and strategic savant who is blazing trails in the music industry; and Fred Kayembe – an all-round creative force, visual architect and head of strategy at the company.
Steyn Entertainment’s property venture, TS Property plays an integral role in the business’s ecosystem in that it houses the Steyn Entertainment headquarters in one of its principal investments – Hallmark House. Designed by genre-shifting modernist Sir David Adjaye, the art hotel is aptly tucked away in Johannesburg’s robust art precinct, Maboneng. Inside the breathtaking monument are forty-six luxury hotel suites draped in MAXHOSA AFRICA by Laduma Ngxokolo; ten floors of residential apartments; the old school charm of Cutters Barbershop; a rooftop venue boasting a 360-degree panoramic view of the Joburg skyline; conferencing facilities throughout and the notoriously extravagant, award-winning double story penthouse collaboration with Grammy winner and icon, Black Coffee.
Hotel Operations Manager Jason Pienaar is the driving force of Hallmark House, having occupied almost every position in the building from the bottom to the top over the course of seven years. While Tanja De Ruig – Head of Events – is the prolific architect responsible for facilitating some of the country’s most noteworthy functions, including high profile weddings, spectacular galas, birthday celebrations and the most sophisticated corporate functions on the calendar.
Working across all the facets of the business, widely celebrated media specialist and businesswoman, Kim Jayde Robinson brings a wealth of expertise and specialized skills to her coveted role as Head of PR, Marketing and Sponsorship. And University of Rhodes graduate and finance specialist Ndana Tendayi’s progressive approach to the Senior Finance Manager role has transformed the business’ general operations indelibly.
One might be lead to believe that a roster so talented is merely an act of good fortune. One would be mistaken. An organization as vast and complex as Steyn Entertainment’s requires the kind of intentional focus, inspiration and painstaking management necessary to thrive in the volatile industry of entertainment.
Operationally, this all begins with De Ruig, the 38 year-old visionary who has earned a reputation as one of the sharpest strategic minds in the business. An impressive two decades of entrepreneurship under his belt, brokering some of the most important entertainment business deals of recent times, and exponentially growing the business’ network beyond South Africa’s borders – the Steyn Entertainment and TS Property MD is the picture of leadership.
The team’s expertise perfectly position Steyn Entertainment to offer strategic, production and creative support to projects and businesses beyond the company’s own portfolio. Over the years these partners, collaborators and clients have included the likes of Nampak, Diageo, AB InBev, Distell, H&M, Maybelline, Mercedes Benz, VISA, FNB, ABSA, Woolworths, Pernod Ricard and MultiChoice.
Between Steyn Entertainment and its counterpart TS Property, the companies’ work force sits in the region of 100 dedicated permanent employees. Additionally, approximately 3,200 jobs per annum are created through ancillary projects; a critical tenet of the company’s value system and objectives.
“It has taken us a number of years to arrive at this point. We are very proud of what we have developed and are continuing to build at Steyn Entertainment,” says De Ruig.
“This team is not only special because of its talent and ability. It is also special because it exists as a bold and intentional statement about our commitment to positioning Johannesburg as the epicenter of culture and commerce on the African continent, and one of the greatest cities in the world.”
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