The long road to a United Africa (2094)

On 6 May 2022, Brandhill Africa Group hosted an inspiring webinar in order to explore the role of trade and investment promotion in advancing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The programme directors were the gracious Thabiso Sikwane, a seasoned broadcaster and published author, as well as Dr. Nimrod Mbele who is a presenter on Chai FM.

After the welcome address by Sisa Njikelana, CEO of Sinakoyoli Consulting, Saul Molobi, the Group CEO and Chairman of Brandhill Africa shared a background on how the African Continental Free Trade Agreement was progressing.

There are many lessons to be learned from the European Union and the private sector will be the key driver of change through the development of infrastructure and reliable business networks across the African region.

Brandhill Africa Group’s ambitious goal is to position Africa as a viable investment destination. Currently, out of 100 of the most admired brands in Africa, 13% are African. 47 out of 54 African countries have a GDP that is lower than the Gauteng Province. Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, the DRC and South Africa are stronger in their economic outlook compared to other African countries. With a contribution of 2% to the global economy, Africa, a haven when it comes to land, can use its raw materials to advance trade for the benefit of Africans.

This coupled with a strong network of internationally competitive businesses owned by Africans in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing and technology industries would lead to a prosperous Africa for generations to come. We should build champions in each field through quality wholistic education, leadership with integrity and patriotism.

As Professor Tshilidzi Marwala advised in Leadership lessons from books I have read, we should train our leaders to be competent and incorruptible.

Job Vacancy: Sales and Marketing Consultant

We are looking for a sales and marketing officer who has a strong knowledge of strategic marketing techniques to join our team.

The ideal candidate should have excellent communication skills and have a proven track record in growing revenue within the clothing and textile industry.

Responsibilities:

  • Contributing to the development of marketing strategies
  • Conducting market research
  • Designing and implementing marketing plans for Khwela Factory
  • Coordinating with buyers and buying houses
  • Working with the sales team to implement the marketing strategy and exceed milestones
  • Answering client questions about products and services
  • Maintaining client relations
  • Tracking sales data
  • Creating and presenting sales performance reports

Qualifications:

The ideal candidate should have a degree in marketing with at least 5 years experience in the fashion industry.

Skills:

  • Leadership
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Strategic marketing

Vacancy: Fashion Designer

Are you an innovative fashion designer? Khwela Factory is inviting you to apply for this position.   

Job Description:

The ideal candidate should understand the principles of design, apply this knowledge diligently for aesthetically pleasing and functional garments.

The candidate will be required to do the following:

  • Research current fashion trends in order to determine what customers like
  • Collaborate with the design team to develop unique products based on researched data
  • Design sketches for new products with the design team
  • Create clothing patterns for mass production of design, carrying out fittings and determining prices
  • Be professional and organised at all times
  • Maintain good relationships with the team, clients and models

Candidates should have a fashion and design qualification with at least 5 years’ experience in the clothing, textile and retail sector.

If you are interested, kindly email your CV, links to your portfolio of work, and motivation letter to kgomotso@khwelafactory.co.za by 28 April 2022.

If you have not heard from us by 15 May 2022, kindly note that your application was not a great fit for our company.

Diverse male and female fashion designers at work with tailor centimeters on necks. Independent creative fashion designers can apply.

Rebuilding

The Gauteng Cultural and Creative Industries Growth Strategy is a follow up to the Creative Industries Indaba that took place on 23 and 24 April 2019. This is where an update to the 2005 Gauteng Creative Industries Development Framework was requested.

On 14 June 2021, Kgomotso le Roux was confirmed as the project manager to IKS Cultural Consulting, a program management and research firm commissioned by the Department of Sport Arts Culture and Recreation to summarise various planning and coordination documents within the department, in the national and global context of the creative economy.

As Dr. Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha would say, the creative economy is about the value linked to a unique expression of creativity through heritage, performance art, music, market platforms, craft, visual art, theatre, film, publishing, media, tourism, sport, animation, architecture and design. These are the key stakeholders we had to engage in re-building the strategy for the department.

Since the kickoff meeting on 19 June 2021, the Gauteng Cultural and Creative Industries Growth Strategy discussion document was drafted by a team of IKS Consultants. When the country’s lockdown was adjusted to level one, the department requested that we present the strategy in the 5 regional corridors of Gauteng.

We partnered with the Constitution Hill’s Creative Uprising Hub, the South African Creative Industries Incubator, the Mogale City, Sedibeng, Emfuleni and City of Ekurhuleni municipalities to organize the road show. From the 19th till the 30th of November, we hosted meetings in these regions, a consultative approach that shed light to core needs from the creative worker perspective.

The department’s vision for Gauteng is to produce an active, creative and modernized city region contributing to sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. This vision was not contested during the consultation meetings involving more than 370 participants.

The mission and core values expressed during the consultative meetings were around #normalisingaccess.

Whether you are based in the township, city center or in the rural parts of Gauteng, policies must be amended to enable access to:

  • Local and international marketing programmes for quality South African owned creative goods and services
  • Physical spaces that are well managed by skilled people who have experience in managing creative organisations.
  • Data for digital spaces to create awareness for Gauteng based brands and build relations with customers
  • Independently published regular information about education, training, mentorship, and opportunities for artists, cultural and creative entrepreneurs at all levels of the value chain
  • A united network of creative economy regional collectives for collaboration, consumption and experimentation
  • The allocation of funds towards incentives for private companies who take the risk on using the services of a creative black owned business over a long term and not just as a once off business opportunity

The creative economy network should advocate for policy change with regard to the status of the artist to shift away from the charity case, freelancer, independent contractor status in South Africa.

Our goals need to be measurable, specific in terms of financial objectives and time bound. 5 years from now, will you and your organisation be ready in case another pandemic hits?

Redefining how we perceive each other

Kgomotso le Roux live at the University of Johannesburg with Yonela Mnana, Dr. Sonkanise Nkosi, Mabeleng Moholo, Alex, Baboledi and Sifiso Bogale

When music and storytelling is at the core of spiritual expression and healing, collaboration is key in achieving harmony. It doesn’t matter what race, creed, gender or status you have in life. What matters more is whether through the arts you are able to achieve understanding from another person’s perspective and not just your own.

My late mentor (may her beautiful soul rest in peace), Neno, taught me that in the midst of a war, what will carry you through is not revenge. Peace is our saving grace. Those who strive for material gain will continue to do all they can to acquire this at all costs.

Those who strive to achieve mutually beneficial relationships will be in action to communicate with respect, compassion and humility.

World Jazz Conference celebrates successful first online edition

Kgomotso le Roux from Khwela Factory is proud to have been part of co-ordinating this research project that was the basis of 2020’s World Jazz Online Conference.

On 22 November 2020, Arlette Hovinga wrote:

The jazz ecosystem across the globe is imploding. Amersfoort Jazz Festival, celebrating its 42nd birthday in 2020, 15-year old partner JazzNL and IKS Cultural Consulting joined forces at the annual World Jazz Conference to assess this situation and explore ways to help the international jazz community survive.

On Friday, November 20, the Conference kicked off its first ever online edition, bringing Amersfoort and Johannesburg into the same room. With streaming studios built in both cities and attendants such as Gail W. Boyd and Sylwester Ostrowski checking in from all over the world, 10 laureates from several participating countries presented their music online. None other than Wynton Marsalis himself delivered the opening statements for this edition, voicing his understanding and support for the troubles our community faces.

Over 250 jazz enthusiasts joined the livestream as spectators.

Almost every participant opted out of using a slideshow type of presentation during the conference, maintaining an open and interactive discussion and keeping our stories relatable for all attendees – delegates, jazz enthusiasts and musicians alike. Whether intentional or not, this aspect of our first online edition highlighted the organization behind Amersfoort Jazz as a musicians’ festival: everyone is allowed their space to let their voice be heard.

In short: the organization behind WJC has proven to be ready for the future. And what a future it will be.. with coronavirus ruining the 2020 festival summer and uncertainty still being widespread, how do we proceed? How do we make sure our community survives this crisis together and how can we make sure that we all emerge alive and kicking when it’s over? Determining a vision for the future was key for this year’s conference program. But, that vision did not come from thin air. IKS in collaboration with Kgomotso le Roux from Khwela Factory conducted extensive research among festival organizers and promoters across the globe and compiled the World Jazz Festival Network Impact Survey Report, trying to pinpoint past, current and future scenarios for our community.


Seeking relief

Starting out with the thought that crossed pretty much every jazz cat across the world’s mind over the last nine or so months, the first question was: ‘What the %$#^* just happened?!’ followed by ‘And what do we do now?!’. As jazz musicians and enthusiasts, we understand the power of improvisation – flexibility and resilience is in our nature. But we cannot brave this storm alone. We need help, but as it turns out, relief systems are as similar as they are different in every country.

Bradley Williams, of The Artivist in Johannesburg, SA stated that the coronacrisis allowed his organization to engage with his government, where previously they were deemed too small to be a sparring partner. Now, they work together to seek relief and craft long-term solutions towards recovery, providing a potential positive takeaway for the future. Alexander Beets, our Amersfoort Jazz Festival director, explained that The Netherlands has made a whopping 780 million euros available so far, but that the government relies heavily on trickle down economics for that money to actually make it into any musician’s wallet. The result of this approach is that only a very small percentage of that sum actually helps to make a difference in any musician’s life.

Delegates from Australia and Thailand, for example, said that relief systems in their respective countries are still very much a work in progress. While the efforts of any government to protect their cultural sector is of course commendable, that provides for a very uncertain situation for musicians. In the US and India, most support comes from private and corporate sectors.

Taking matters into your own hands

Jazz musicians are generally not the type to wait around for something to happen. Why wait for someone to light your fire when you can initiate combustion? That attitude is very much alive among our delegates as well. Dutch saxophonist and educator Ben van den Dungen gathered a team around himself and presented the National Podium Plan, allowing Dutch jazz and world musicians to apply for funding when they have otherwise been deemed ineligible.

He has an enthusiastic ally in Anita Verheggen of Kunstenbond and Sena Performing Arts Fund, who is rallying with 42 organizations in the Dutch creative sector to advocate change and political support. “Everyone in the industry was always busy fighting for their own cause. Now, whether you’re a sculptor or a jazz musician, you’re on the same team, because we all need the same thing,” she explains.


In India, Mahesh Babu of Banyan Tree managed to raise a substantial sum through crowdfunding, supporting 1000 families across the country. “We have shown the importance of a common cause,” he explains. “We do not have a political support system for artists in India, but we have looked for and found ways to survive this together.”

New skills and technologies

To keep our industry afloat, both musicians and promoters have embraced technology to keep bringing music to their audiences. Every event professional has had to face the music and learn how to stream while venues were forced to close. Research by Jazzfuel, which was presented to delegates on the Friday of the conference, has shown that 49% of jazz musicians across the globe has done at least one live streaming gig and 37% was confident they would continue to do them after corona had left the building. Many survey participants also expressed that these strange times gave them the chance to up their admin- and funding application skills, which will hopefully provide them with new opportunities in the future.

The main issue with these online performances, of course, is monetizing them. “I really regret offering access to live streamed concerts for free,” Paul Pace, of the famous London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s sighs. “In a time where streaming music via Spotify is already the norm, we accidentally made it even harder for people to want to pay for music.” At the same time, online performances have allowed for new ways of working together between artists and venues. Raynel Frazier of Lincoln Center in the US, for example, explained: “We have actively looked for ways to promote talent and raise awareness of live stream events. Hoping, of course, that this extra engagement would lead to higher donations for artists.”

Of course, live stream events are not the end-all-be-all to the challenges we face. But it can be a part of the solution. In their closing statements on Saturday, November 21, Alexander Beets and Andre le Roux stressed the importance of crafting an industry wide master plan to tackle our common issues in the future. “Musicians have power,” as Alexander Beets rightfully stated, “More so than they think. We need to raise budgets for social and cultural funds and we have to pressure whoever necessary to achieve that.” Over the course of only two days, we managed to connect professionals and musicians across the globe in a spirit of improvisation, resilience and reciprocity. We connected over a very real conversation about our common future, painting a realistic picture of our current situation, and provided a valid and comprehensible starting point to build towards a realistic and optimistic future together.


Taking action and responsibility

Now, it’s time to act upon the ideals and insights we shared. “Are we just complaining, or are we actually addressing politicians? And the media? In Poland, for example, musicians are getting more TV airtime now. Jazz isn’t for free. It’s a profession,” Alexander explained in conclusion. “So what if we build our own platform, collaborate and make the system smarter?” The Amersfoort Jazz director emphasized the need for jazz musicians across the world to acknowledge their value. “We have to capitalize the value we create within society. If we do everything for free, you get shitty quality streams. Pay more and get more, that’s how it works in the end.” So on the one hand, as he points out, we have to rethink our business model and shift towards a hybrid type of events where we perform live in front of an audience whilst also serving international viewers from the comfort of their homes. On the other, we shouldn’t be afraid to actively seek support: “Perhaps, we have to make it more sexy for bigger corporations to invest in us. We have to make key players and stakeholders understand what we stand for. We expect them to take action, and we will continue to encourage and pressure and challenge them to do so.”

All in all, the World Jazz Conference of 2020 was a starting point to acknowledge exceptional talent and to spread the word about it, but also a call to arms for everyone involved in jazz across the world. Let’s take our responsibility together.