The coolest brands, according to South Africa’s youth, were announced at the 19th annual Sunday Times GenNext Awards, held in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg on 20 September 2023. Nike was celebrated as the Coolest Brand Overall, claiming top spot in three of the 76 categories awarded, and building on the success achieved in 2022. Apple and Samsung placed second and third overall, respectively.

The Sunday Times GenNext survey is considered the leading barometer of what South Africa’s youth find on-trend and inspirational and delivers insights that are valued by brand management, advertising, and marketing professionals.

“With some 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. Clearly, understanding the brand decisions of the youth will be critical to future business success,” says Pule Molebeledi, Acting CEO at Arena Holdings, which owns and manages the Sunday Times GenNext brand. “The 2023 GenNext Survey conducted by our partner Yellowwood clearly identifies what brands are sought after in keeping with youth trends of Now, Next and New – where businesses can actually be proactive rather than simply reactive, when it comes to dealing with the challenge of relevance.”

The Awards also celebrate personal brands, and in the celebrity categories MacG (Coolest Local Online Influencer), Siya Kolisi (Coolest Local Sportsperson), Thando Thabethe (Coolest Local Radio Personality), and Trevor Noah (Coolest Local Celebrity) were awarded.

The complete list of winning brands will be published in the Sunday Times GenNext Supplement on 24 September 2023. The Sunday Times GenNext Youth Marketing Conference will take place in Johannesburg on 28 September 2023. To book your tickets to attend, please visit

view the full list of winners

Image source: Arena Events