A partnership between Business and Arts South Africa NPC, the Department of Arts and Culture and the National Lotteries Council, the Debut Programme identifies emerging creative talent in all nine provinces in South Africa and supports them with knowledge and skills development. Have a look at the winners:
Western Cape: Siphokazi Jonas
Siphokazi Jonas holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature, and an undergraduate degree in Drama and English, from the University of Cape Town (UCT). She founded the writing and performing arts company Wrestling Dawn Arts (Pty) Ltd in September 2017, with the aim of training and equipping writers and performers through workshops on craft and business. This will be supported through the launch of monthly poetry and dialogue sessions, as well as high-quality professional poetry and theatre productions. Wrestling Dawn Arts will also collaborate with schools through workshops and performances, to bring to life prescribed poetry, while stimulating interest in contemporary spoken word. As a writer, performer, and poet, Siphokazi has written, produced, and performed in several one-woman poetry shows. She has also written, produced and performed in a multi-genre theatre production.
Siphokazi was nominated for a 2016 Broadwayworld.com South African Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and she made history as the first African poet ever to perform at Rhetoric in Los Angeles. In 2018, she presented her debut as a director for The Widow as part of Artscape’s New Voices programme, she has been a featured act at numerous poetry sessions and festivals in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and has judged poetry slam competitions. She has also performed with several renowned South African musicians. In her capacity as a speaker, she has been a contributor to two national conferences, and her engagement with writing and performance extends to the academic field.
Northern Cape: Nosipho Mtabani
Nosipho Mtabani, aka AfriKanQueen, is a young black art activist who has dedicated her life to the cultural and creative industry. She is a child from the rough streets of Number 5, a location in Kimberley, and a granddaughter of poetry. She is the director of the eponymous Mtabani-AfriKanQueen Arts Production, an entity that promotes and protects creative and performing arts, and also functions as a catalyst for rehabilitating the culture of literature, and enhancing the development of arts business. Nosipho is a potent, prolific performing artist, creative writer and co-author who uses poetry to transmit a profound message to civil society, as well as to redeem and restore the culture of Kwantu in a much-Westernised society. She has been a creative writer from early childhood, continually attending workshops to harness her creative writing, and is currently managing a book club – Hushe Segolodi Community Book Club – that focuses on early childhood development through literature. Nosipho regularly arranges poetry sessions, conducts creative writing workshops and performs at various events. She has film, media and television experience, and holds certificates in Adult Basic Education and Project Management. Not content to remain idle in her learning, Nosipho is currently registered as a Communication Science student at Unisa, and her current project involves advancing her writers’ mentorship programme into an annual project.
North West: Rehilwe Mooketsi
Born and raised in a township in the North-West Province, Rehilwe Mooketsi is the project co-ordinator of the Rehilwe Mooketsi Organisation, author of Sophisms in the South African popular music sector and black womxn bodies, and a BA student at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She is a 2019 DAC BASA North West Debut Programme top achiever. She has research interests in tackling the challenges and needs of the South African popular music-making sector, and the broader creative economy and labour market, from a socioeconomic and policy development perspective. Mmadikatara is a cultural and creative project initiated by the Rehilwe Mooketsi Organisation, aimed at de-enveloping and strengthening the position and narrative of young black women, queer womxn and other bodies that suffer from exclusion within the local popular music sector. Through Mmadikatara, the organisation explores a model that seeks to communicate the economic participation and opportunities for black women in the popular music sector within the confinements of dignity. The entity organises a series of live performances and dialogues orientated at songwriting, aimed at mature singer-songwriters, to innovate and develop a potential market for their music. Furthermore, these events are produced to decentre conventions of how talent should be discovered and managed within the local music sector, as a site that comprises just a fraction of a larger talent-based economy, which affects the majority of young, black, poor and talented South Africans. The organisation currently works with university music societies around the country.
Mpumalanga: Lerato Ditshego
Lerato is a 25-year-old from Mpumalanga in Siyabuswa, who studied Television and Film Production at Boston Media House, graduating in 2017. During her final year, she registered her own film and production company, now known as Exodus3 Productions. This was after countless attempts to apply for internships and entry-level jobs with no success. She does not recall a time in her life where she aspired to be anything other than a filmmaker. Her passion for visual photography, filming and storytelling started during high school, where she would walk around with a camera, looking for inspiration. Growing up, Lerato was always passionate about storytelling, from writing stories and making up imaginary characters, to encouraging her friends to play out these stories. She is passionate about empowering other black female photographers, challenging the status quo in this male-dominated industry, and is adamant to defy the odds. She aims to achieve this through investing her energy into female empowerment and focusing on her growth, with the hopes that her gift and abilities will prove to society at large that women are as capable of performing as outstandingly as men. She believes that women should be able to penetrate the same spaces as men, without fear of being subjected to harsh criticism or their skills and capabilities underestimated. Her biggest desire is to turn Exodus3 Productions into a reputable production company that empowers, mentors and hires more black female photographers. Her biggest achievement since the commencement of her career was winning the DAC Debut Award, where she came out as Mpumalanga’s top achiever; she explains how great an honour it is – to not only be recognised for her hard work, but to also represent her province.
Limpopo: Ntebatse Mokone
Optix Legacy (Pty) Ltd is a photography company based in Polokwane, and founded in 2016 by Ntebatse Mokone, a passionate photographer who established the company after it became clear to him that there was a gap in the photography market in Polokwane, and in the Limpopo Province as a whole. Ntebatse has brought his unique approach and technique to fill this void and to create what is now Optix Legacy’s ultimate style. Optix Legacy brings publication-quality imaging to its clients using the latest in photography techniques, lighting and equipment. The mission of Optix Legacy is to combine technical proficiency with aesthetic intuition to produce rich, beautiful imagery. The company views each assignment as a call to create something new, and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with clients to define and achieve the desired look and feel for their photographs. Although its speciality is people and event photography, it prides itself on its versatility and flexibility. Its broad capabilities and diverse range of styles have allowed the company to provide for a wide array of clients, ranging from private individuals to public corporations. Assignments have included advertising, actor/model portfolios, corporate annuals, editorials, family portraits and wedding celebrations. In 2019, Optix Legacy was announced as the top achiever of the DAC Debut Programme for Limpopo.
KwaZulu-Natal: Msizi Msomi
Msizi Msomi is the founder of AlphaOmega Holdings, a production label that assists talented youth from underserved communities to enhance their talent in the music industry. He is an advisor to young up-and-coming entrepreneurs, offering career guidance. Prior to starting AlphaOmega Holdings, he was the founder and director of Impuphumo Trading and Zaza Entertainment. Msizi has several diplomas, including one in Project Management, and an N4 in Mechanical Engineering. He received further training in people management, from Kwelanga Training, and was appointed GMR2.7 at the Department of Labour. Msizi was both DJU/Oskido I Believe Programme Winner 2013 (in KZN) and the SHELL Global Safety award runner-up for 2013. Msizi has discovered several artists in the music industry, who he is currently grooming (with the help of West Newskool, Phil-T, Brian Fuze and Nozipho Sibiya (from Oasis Worship)). He has also collaborated with artists such as Neo Ndawo, Gee General, Scelo Gowane, Cheeseman Child, Khuley, and Loki. Aside from his activities with AlphaOmega Holdings, Msizi has been in the refining industry for more than 17 years. He is an appointed Mechanical Maintenance Terminal Supervisor, ensuring a safe, healthy and secure working environment, and ensuring that all permanent employees, and service providers on-site, under his leadership and guidance, are protected.
Gauteng: Xolisile Qwesha
Xolisile Qwesha, a graduate in Textile Design and Technology from the Tshwane University of Technology, founded Ilaphi Creation in 2017, mere months after graduating. Ilaphi Creation is a textile design and screen-printing company based in Thokoza, which designs its own African-inspired patterns and makes a variety of products, such as cushions, placemats, table runners, beach bags and pencil bags. Ilaphi Creation has showcased its designs at several events, and is currently a supplier for a number of online and physical stores. It is also part of a programme, by Tiro Matjiu of Uhuru Group (Pty) Ltd and Growth Wheel Online, that aims to promote and grow small businesses.
Free State: Tshepo Phamotse
Dopeshots is a creative hub, comprising graphic and digital design, print media, marketing, branding and clothing manufacturing. It believes in African creatives using their art to earn a living and wants to further enhance the impact of African creativity in the global business and design environment by providing punctual, effective, unique design and clothing manufacturing services. Its obsession with quality, competency and unique customisation in all its services sets it apart. It strives to be better in order to make African creatives better. There has always been a significant gap between big companies and smaller start-up companies with regard to quality, competency and production, not forgetting that bigger companies have always had more room to experiment with design and manufacturing. This is in contrast to smaller companies, which are inclined to streamline a service in order to make ends meet. Smaller companies avoid ambition and extensive plans. In 2017, Dopeshots was formed to curb this recurring problem. Not only does Dopeshots exist to fight for a place at the echelon of design and manufacturing, but to be a beacon of hope for many people, for them to believe that even they can use their minds and skills to make a living.
Eastern Cape: Cinga Dyala
Cinga Dyala is the published author ofSihle Tells the Tale, a book that vividly portrays the issue of an absent father, and how this affects a child, especially a boy child. In 2017, she registered her own company – Cinga Entertainment and Events (Pty) Ltd – under which she was running her child development programme with drama society Iingcambu Zempumelelo Creative Arts. In 2018, she founded a movement advocating for art in spaces where it is considered a hobby. The movement was created at the time when Cinga received a Catalyst Grant from BASA, and was working towards launching the annual Inkcubeko Yomntwana Arts Festival. The movement specialises in drama, poetry, storytelling, music, dance, modelling and photography, facilitating these art forms to children from Mdantsane primary and high schools. Cinga now runs a children’s show at Kumkani FM, where she hosts guests on air for a book reading session, and also creates space for children in art, to learn to talk about themselves as brands through interviews. The World of Art Movement is now a registered non-profit company, and is looking into creating a partnership with the Department of Correctional Services, where the programme will extend to inmates. The movement’s main idea is to start from the root to replant a new mentality of what art is all about.
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