A native of Zimbabwe, James Makawa is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Africa HD, a global media company with offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and Los Angeles, California. Mr. Makawa’s 25 years of executive management and entrepreneurial leadership in media and entertainment includes extensive experience in cable television, distribution, marketing, production, financing and operations in Africa, Europe and the United States.
From 1990-1994, Makawa was an independent producer and host of a nationally syndicated TV series titled “Travel & Adventure”. As co-creator and producer Makawa was responsible for hiring and identifying production and on-camera talent for the show.
Makawa co-founded the African Barter Company (1995), the first barter syndication company of its kind in Africa, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. As President of the African Barter Company (1995-2001) Makawa was responsible for matching advertisers with high quality imported programming as well as negotiating and acquiring programming from CBS, NBC, Paramount, MGM, Endemol, Columbia Pictures, Carsey-Werner and 20th Century Fox. Makawa was also responsible for negotiating air-time with public and private television stations across 23 counties in both Anglophone and Francophone Africa. He established and managed seven regional offices across Africa.
Mr. Makawa is a co-founder of The Africa Channel (www.theafricachannel.com), a 24 hour cable and satellite channel currently broadcasting in the United States, Caribbean and the United Kingdom. Makawa spearheaded the creation of The Africa Channel from inception in 2002 to its launch in September 2005. Makawa served as Chief Executive Officer of The Africa Channel until mid 2009. He led the company’s efforts in fundraising, program acquisition, marketing, ad sales and content production as well as initiated negotiations with some of the world’s largest cable and satellite carriers, including Time Warner, Comcast, Direct TV, EchoStar, Cox, Charter and News Corps BSkyB in the United Kingdom.
A sought after public speaker and moderator, Mr. Makawa was among a select group of visionaries asked to speak at the TedX 2012 conference held in Malibu, California. On February 2, 2013 Makawa will join a line-up of speakers, entertainers, change-makers, and spiritual teachers at the third annual GATE Story Conference, a gathering of individuals who believe in the transformative power of entertainment and media to change the world. The event will be held at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, California.