The power of ‘being within’ – heard and seen, making a positive contribution to the creative economy and their communities; these are the rewards and responsibilities of the graduates of the three-year BASA Debut Programme. The 24 graduates were recently celebrated in a ceremony they collectively chose to have in Cape Town at the end of November 2022.
This was the second iteration of the programme Debut Programme that BASA launched in partnership with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, to offer young emerging creatives (artpreneurs) the skills, funding and training to make a profitable livelihood from their artistic talents.
Working their way through three stimulating phases designed to upskill, challenge and mentor the group of creatives and their small businesses, the 450 initial participants from all nine provinces became 24 participants in the Catalyst phase as the programme became increasingly challenging, requiring the cohort to find their ultimate focus. The final 24 reached their graduation having gained vital knowledge and experience about how to shape and refine their businesses to become sustainable and, importantly, how to be personally and emotionally fit for entrepreneurship.
The second iteration of the Debut Programme also coincided with the difficult pandemic years of 2020-2022. All mentorship, workshops and engagement were moved fully online for the bulk of the programme. The abrupt digital transition, while tough to navigate in the moment, cultivated valuable digital skills and investment in technology for the participants.
It also meant that there was greater public access to the journey of the artpreneurs with a digital art fair. The inclusion of YOCO as a partner on the project, enabled the participants to trade with hand held mobile devices for the digital world.
As the programme closes, it is now up to these Debut graduates to evolve the skills, network and entrepreneurial instincts that have carried them so far. We look forward to seeing how the next generation of artpreneurs celebrates their success.
Tiyani Obedience Sithole
Performing arts | Limpopo
Tiyani is from Malamulele in Limpopo and has been recognised as a jack-of-all-trades. He is a radio presenter by profession, an MC, and an entrepreneur. Tiyani is known for hosting interviews with the greatest talents South Africa has to offer and prides himself on the good conversations he leads them in on air. His MC skills have earned him opportunities to share the stage with South Africa’s prominent artists at events all over Limpopo. His business specialises in social media marketing, providing solutions to the new problems the world faces.
Multi-disciplinary | Gauteng
Nonhlanhla Setheni (Nonny) is a handcrafting creative who designs and makes accessories such as earrings, waist beads, chokers or necklaces, anklets, head crowns, bangles and bags. She loves writing poetry and music, capturing her thoughts on how she views the world. Nonny is also a freelance filmmaker who enjoys working with the camera and taking beautiful moving shots. She grew up in the north of Johannesburg and is currently based in Diepsloot. She uses her skills to teach others, and all her material is affordable.
Film/Digital media | Limpopo
Nthateng Sethemane is a queer photographer, videographer, entertainment writer/blogger and content creator. Nthateng, who was born and raised in Mankweng in Limpopo, runs a small media company called PLAKA Media. Based in Polokwane, it provides media services to companies, events and individuals such as photography, videography, online advertising and promotions, content creation and updating CVs. They offer several types of photographic services, such as creative photography and black-and-white photography.
Multi-disciplinary | North West
Tsholofelo Seleke is a creative with a background in Fine Arts. After completing her Honours degree, she began exploring ideas around access, narrative and collectivity. She is working on completing her Master’s in Fine Arts. She has also freelanced as a graphic designer and writer. From an artistic background, she is able to create visually stimulating imagery that is conceptually stimulated and caters to the needs of her clients.
Laycenther Mogale Sedibe
Poetry/Literature | Northern Cape
Mogale Sedibe is a Northern Cape author and poet. He released his spoken-word album Maru in 2020 and two of his children’s literature picture storybooks have been published with Cadbury and the Puku Foundation. He is the founder of Street Philosophy Poetry and works as a theatre practitioner and art activist. He was nominated for Best Poet at the 2020/2021 Northern Cape Awards.
Africa Zwelibanzi Ngubane
Poetry/Literature | Mpumalanga
Africa Zwelibanzi Ngubane is 26 years old and was born and raised in the urban neighbourhood of Kwaguqa, eMalahleni. He is the founder and executive director at Notepad Poetry. He has worked as a theatre script writer, an events coordinator, freelance copywriter and facilitator. He has a decade of experience in the creative writing and performance industry, working for powerhouses such as Siyavutha Theatre Group, performing for the eMalahleni Poetry Night, and appearing on platforms such as Poetry Africa, CSP National Slam and the Dry Sessions, amongst others. As a creative entrepreneur, he believes in the literary art’s capacity to inspire change and to sustain it.
Leonard Matsobane Mphahlele
Multi-disciplinary | Northern Cape
Leonard Matsobane Mphahlele is a music producer, vocalist, graphic designer, music video editor and fashion brander. He designs T-shirts, hoodies, caps etc as well as textiles and car branding.
Music | North West
Tshepo Mothudi, AKA Play De Master, is a self-taught DJ, composer, producer, and graphic designer from Khuma in Matlosana. He is the founder of Limited Play, which helps to monetise his Play De Master brand profile and offers graphic design and branding solution to local brands, organisations and businesses. His venture offers tailormade, high-quality products and services at a reasonable price. His passion for the work he does, his communication skills, and his dedication to his business set him apart.
Fine/Visual arts | Eastern Cape
Sibusiso Molefe, aka C tutor J, is a musician, entrepreneur and family man. He is a proud product of Sada in the Eastern Cape with a long career in the media industry. Sibusiso started in community radio, newspaper writing, and editing local news and producing radio shows before joining the team of the twice-nominated drama series Uhambo Lwethu. He then moved on to the nationwide syndicated educational drama Side-by-Side, as part of the SABC radio team of TruFM. Sibusiso has been an MC involved in community and artist development work. His latest company, BANG Entertainment, has a vision to become the leader in new media, livestreaming, and music publishing and distribution. For BASA, he has conceived a concept called SMMEC, where he will guide SMMEs from the Eastern Cape to become sustainable businesses. His unique selling point is that more than 90% of business concepts are in English and his paid content will break these down in IsiXhosa and township slang.
Fine/Visual arts | Gauteng
Born in 1994, Kganya Mogashoa is the founder of Koranges Art (Pty) Ltd. She lives and works in Randburg, Johannesburg. She studied Interior Design at the University of Johannesburg (2013–2016), obtaining her BTech Honours Degree. She quit her full-time job in 2019 to pursue her passion for visual art. Kganya is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist who primarily creates mixed media and oil paintings. She focuses on portraiture, and her artwork is inspired by people in and around her life, her journey with God, her momentous life events, and the desire to resolve social ills closely related to women and mental health. Koranges Art paintings are being translated to stationery supplies and corporate gifting packages, which will highlight educational messages around how people should respond to their mental health in healthy ways.
Luyanda Fika Qiniso Mkhungo
Multi-disciplinary | KwaZulu-Natal
OD_Boi_D has a gift for formulating on-the-fly musical pieces. He excels in versatility, with exceptional works in composition and sound engineering. He is complemented by his team of composers, producers and artists, all of whom are responsible for his dominance in the world of music. His passion and energy are felt with every performance. Leveraging on his ability to ‘hammer on, hammer off’ words, his voice is a technical instrument, and one that he uses to produce music that entertains a wide demographic. Over Dope on Self Excellence (Pty) Ltd is a production and content management company operating locally, which supports artists, producers and studios in resourcing and execution. The company serves as a content producer, and assists with positioning and channel management, through financial analysis of the market it serves.
Poetry/Literature | Eastern Cape
Lucy Mbali, aka Lucy Impondokazi, is an ambitious woman from the Ntlanezwe village in the Eastern Cape. Lucy is a prominent and award-winning isiXhosa poet, and the author of Umzila KaTambo, an isiXhosa poetry anthology. She is the owner of X-Mobile Studios, the recording studio she established with the help of BASA. The recording studio offers tracking, mastering, mixing, beats sales and music distribution. The studio is both in-house and mobile, which means artists can be recorded wherever they feel most comfortable.
Laice Sanele Mathebula
Multi-disciplinary | Gauteng
Laice Sanele Mathebula is a visual and performing artist based in Heidelberg. Their business deals with graphic, visual and editorial design and is unique in how each service is customised to suit individual and business needs.
Samukelisiwe Dawn Maseko
Performing arts | KwaZulu-Natal
Sami Maseko is an artist and theatre-maker. She is from Newcastle in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, and when she is not creating new characters on stage or in a frame, or giving voice to stories and text, she is developing movement and drama skills in young people using her training and experience. What makes Seko Arts unique is the focus on cross-pollination and the sharing of ideas, facilitating expression in an experimental space with the purpose of creating new work by ensembles and individuals. The aim is to act as a conduit for talent to a network of arts and culture organisations.
Performing arts | Western Cape
Xolane Marman is a young stage director and opera singer from Knysna. She is currently based in Cape Town, running her own organisation, called SA Operatunity. Xolane completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Music Performance and Opera from the University of Cape Town, and further undertook postgraduate studies in education. Under the umbrella of SA Operatunity, Xolane’s aim is to create opera performance opportunities for young and emerging opera artists around South Africa. She and her team run one stage performance and one community development project every year in the Cape Town area. They have been creating jobs for South Africa’s music sector since 2016. Their productions and projects are very different to traditional opera productions as they are more focused on promoting collaborations, utilising minimal budgets and also linking their members with international networks for further development. SA Operatunity stages productions that address current economic, politics and social affairs.
Music | Western Cape
Lance Lightyear is a queer body, singer, songwriter, lyricist and MC, born and raised in Cape Town. They use music to actively denounce the systematic oppression of LGBTQ+ bodies and brings forth queer-evolution, queer-expression and queer-freedom most prominently in music fashion and visual imagery. The creative concept/business they would like to create is a studio/media hub/record label offering quality sound, recording, beats production and engineering that meets industry standards and with everything needed for an industry-approved media kit. This will include bios, images, videos, interviews, licensing, registrations and copyrighting material. This service will be sold to various artists in their communities with no discrimination, along with physical and digital copies to customers. They will also host quarterly and annual events to drive conversation/networks and capital; create workshops that allow the sharing of information to artists pursuing a career in music and establish a record label that allows the artist to determine their own success.
Mpho Walter Hlahane
Performing arts | Free State
Mpho is from QwaQwa and is a performing artist and stage manager of theatre productions. He is also an Arts and Culture Trust peer adjudicator. His venture promotes live music performance in his community, as well as in South Africa at large. Mpho’s organisation is the only one in QwaQwa that provides live music and access to an affordable recording studio.
Obed De Koker
Performing arts | Free State
Obed De Koker is a theatre practitioner and a community art developer from Bloemfontein. He is the Director of Fresh From the Garden, a performing arts academy that boldly states, ‘We pick you up before you know it’. Fresh From the Garden deals with performing arts and uses applied theatre as a vehicle for their services. Obed’s striking achievement was his attainment of his Skills Development Facilitation accreditation with the ETDP SETA, before he went on to produce multiple art workshops in his community. He is currently a liaison officer at the Trevor Barlow Library Committee and has been part of the creative team implementing computer courses for unemployed youth.
Performing arts | Free State
Bularah Chopo is the manager of Bapala Creative Arts and Services, a production house in 1043 Riverside Youth Centre in the Eastern Free State. The company offers the services of creative practitioners, along with theatre space, creative classes, artistic programmes, a mini cinema, as well as administration services for artists. It is the only town theatre in the Eastern Free State that supplies this particular suite of services.
Shikombiso Desiree Bila
Multi-disciplinary | Limpopo
Shikombiso Bila is a 30-year-old crochet artist who was born in the Nghezimani village outside of Malamulele in Limpopo. She is a Tshwane University of Technology diploma graduate in Information Technology, and the founder and owner of the brand Maxelostyle, specialising in crochet clothes and xibelani made in wool.
Rapelang Gilbert Antony
Performing arts | Northern Cape
Rapelang Gilbert Antony is a live music performer from a village just outside the small town of Kuruman in the Northern Cape. He serves his clients with live entertainment, audio and video solutions for their events and parties. His unique selling point is the way the business conducts its services, playing instruments that provide raw sound, carried out with a professionalism that mirrors a live concert experience.
Music | Limpopo
Blessed Maloma is an up-and-coming artist, producer and DJ from Sekhukhune in Limpopo. He runs Bee Music Records, a label that supports young artists and producers from rural areas. Known as Beezy Bee, Blessed is a self-taught music producer, musician and DJ with a natural ear for music. He draws inspiration from different types of music, ranging from jazz to hip-hop to kwaito. The types of music he produces includes house music and hip-hop instrumentals. As a DJ, he has played at local events as well as on radio station SK 98.7 FM. He prides himself on making and playing good music. Blessed’s love for music began when he was a child. He learned how to play the keyboard and continued pursuing his ambition to become a musician when he got computer software to make music. He then went on to produce free instrumentals for local artists. He has been working on his own music, which is still to be released under his own record label Bee Music Records. He also enjoys helping other artists to bring out the best in their work.
Xolile Rita Mabuza
Craft | Mpumalanga
Xolile Mabuza is a young emerging artist from a village called Msogwaba outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga. She is the founder of Tendalo Trading. As a designer, she specialises in recycling rubber tubes from cars, tractors, trucks and buses to create environmentally friendly waterproof bags. Xolile also uses the tubes to make accessories. All her carefully crafted products are vegan friendly.
Film/Digital media | Mpumalanga
Gugulethu Mlombo is from eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, and the proud owner of Blacbrush Productions. The company offers unique integrated marketing solutions, professional photography and motion graphics. As the saying goes, “First impressions last”, and Blacbrush believes that how you present yourself can either break you or make you. Blacbrush connects people through creative thinking and innovative strategies, helping clients build long-lasting, authentic relationships with their customers. Its methodology is to listen, think, converse and measure. The company believes creative concepts and strategies bring tangible results, and the team does this though art.
The BASA Debut Programme was further supported by the Industrial Development Corporation.
For more about the BASA Debut Programme visit debut.basa.co.za