Spitfire’s Katlego Baaitse, capturing the funny of South Africa

Chances are, the name Katlego Baaitse has been ringing in your ears more frequently, and there’s good reason for it. Currently, everything he touches is catching the attention of the top judging talent, who all seem to be playing a game of ‘Katlego Bingo’ because they all agree; that he is a formidable performance and comedy director. With an insatiable appetite for big-scale world-building Katlego is consistently surprising us with work that is as excellent as it is eccentric.

Spitfire director Katlego combines his knack for comedy with uniquely South African nuances that always feel very ‘Katlego’. His style is quirky, offbeat, insightful and often unexpected. His aspirations are to continuously create work that subverts South African stereotypes and explores the complexities of our cultures with a fresh and unique perspective. ‘I’ve always been a little bit left to everyone else’s right, but I will never go off course, I am there for creatives and there to breathe life into their work while making them feel 100% safe in my hands, that’s my role,’ says Katlego.

What most people don’t know about Katlego is…

Katlego has spent almost 14 years in the industry, first on the agency side at big shops like Ireland/Davenport and Joe Public where he worked as an art director, motion graphics and 3D specialist and in-house film director and then Spitfire as a full-time commercials director.

He’s 40 years old…. we know right? Bottle that, please! We were all fooled but behind that Pharrell baby-face is a dad of two – a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old!

He speaks four different languages, something which allows him to navigate South Africa a little more insightfully. ‘Coming from Soweto, I was the first black child to attend the Afrikaans school I was sent to, yeah…I vaguely remember even making it onto the cover of a magazine because of it. Wow, something that also gives away my age,’ says Katlego.

With multiple Loeries, Bookmarks, One Show, Creative Circle and IDIDTHAT Craft Awards, judges have consistently praised Katlego’s commercials, and the accolades he’s gathered are a testament to his talent. Only a few weeks ago he had 5 finalists, 1 silver, and 1 gold award at the Loeries – a particularly tough year to win.

We first began taking notice of Katlego’s work back when he was awarded Best of Craft by Greg Gray in March 2020 for the ‘Everyone’s Talking About it – Kentucky’ campaign for Chicken Licken. With a very small team and some really clever framing of the big city he had to shoot in, Katlego built an entire world for the film and with no actors to work with he directed the real Kentuckians to deliver nuanced and memorable performances.

Greg Gray said of the direction: ‘(…)Katlego Baaitse mimics the conventions of the genre so effectively that viewers are immediately drawn in. He employs a cinematic doccie-style approach, with what appears to be authentic local interviews, underpinned by a Southern soundtrack and a well-paced edit. The way the narrative unfolds arouses the curiosity of both the viewer and the ‘documentary’s’ protagonists and keeps them guessing until the very end. I think this is a great piece of work both in its idea and execution.’

The campaign also won a Gold at Loeries 2020 and Katlego went on to be ranked amongst the top 10 directors by Creative Circle that year.

Chicken Licken ‘Everyone’s Talking About It’

Katlego’s work on KFC PI-Diaries, for which he was awarded a Gold at Loeries and Bookmarks, 1st in Film by the Creative Circle and an IDIDTHAT Craft Mention of which judge Grant de Sousa, director at THEY said, ‘…Performance nuances are very funny and love the subtle digs at the other brands. It’s tongue in cheek and I feel this campaign will shake this category up.’

The KFC PI Diaries – Part 1. The Brief

The KFC PI Diaries – Part 2. The Chase

The KFC PI Diaries – Part 3. The Verdict

Or how about Katlego’s most recent spot for Castle Lite? The entire 90 seconds are basically told by the actor’s eye movements, with an effortless performance and a captivating visual style. Judge Brendan Hoffmann, ECD at Joe Public Cape Town, awarded it a Craft Mention and said, ‘Katlego brought this story to life really well with great performances, comedic timing, clever titles and some interesting camera transitions. That ice skater gets me every time.’

Castle Lite

Of YAP, Mzi Kumalo, Founder and Director at Olamuk, said when he awarded Katlego a Craft Mention, ‘Katlego does a good job with this piece, using the medium cleverly to deliver a fun energetic piece with a sprinkle of humour. It’s visually compelling and does a good job of communicating the offering of the product/service.’


Katlego does a lot of work and the quality of his projects is always on point, infusing them with uniquely South African perspectives that somehow seem new and fresh. Among our favourites are also Nedbank’s Reality Check’ (which has just received a Ciclope Global Finalist), KFC’s ‘Steve Harvey’ and ‘Liefde in die Pandemie’ for Comedy Central (which nabbed an impressive 8 Pendoring Awards).

Comedy Central ‘Liefde In Die Pandemie’

KFC ‘Steve Harvey’

Nedbank ‘Reality Check’

Safaraaz Sindhi, former Creative Partner at Ogilvy South Africa and current Copywriter at AMV BBDO says, ‘Working with Kat is always refreshing. He’s always open to collaborating, always bringing fresh, exciting ideas and builds to the table with an intent to elevate the work as much as possible.’

So, as Katlego looks ahead to the future, we’re pretty certain that we can expect nothing less than the unexpected. Wanna (s)talk some more? Spitfire on IDIDTHAT and Company Website.

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Executive Producer: Liesl Lategan

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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