Nandi Dlepu, creative entrepreneur and founder of “Mamakashaka”, an agency that creates authentic arts, lifestyle and cultural experiences for individuals, brands and communities chats to us about the upcoming ‘UMI-(meaning Mother in Arabic) Our Music festival’.
Now in its second year, here’s what to expect at the curated festival and much more!
How did you start curating events?
I started curating events out of personal passions. When I was a teenager I was a slam poet and belonged to a collective called P.E.R.M with Tumi Molekane who you all know as Stogie T. As part of the collective we started curating and creating shows for ourselves and others until I eventually started getting briefed to do so by clients like DStv for Heritage Day etc. That was back in 1998-2001.
How do you always manage to make your events authentic & meaningful?
I left a career in broadcasting and advertising because not showing up as myself authentically was taking its toll on me. I started my company because I wanted to have a more authentic and fulfilling life and part of that has been about sifting and creating opportunities where I am able to, for the most part, do what I love and apply the decades worth of business acumen gained in previous positions to what, had I not been courageous enough to try, would have remained as a passion project.
I love the idea of your audience curating the line-up. How exactly did your audience curate the UMI, Our Music Festival line-up?
In the lead up to our festival we asked our community of thousands to comment in the captions and let us know who they would like to see, which they did! Fast forward to half our line up having been informed by them. This was primarily run on our Instagram platforms @feelgoodseries, @umi_ourmusicfestival & @mamakashaka.
Would you say there’s a link/connection between fashion & music? And how do you implement that at your events, and in this case, the UMI, Our Music Festival?
I think there’s definitely a strong link. We’ve seen how artists express themselves artistically beyond their music to how they dress as well from major celebrities like Rihanna, to platforms like Colors who we regularly go to just for the music but fashion inspiration too. Our own events have celebrated the personal style of not only our features but guests through our imagery which in turn have attracted people who also like to express themselves visually.
What tips/advice would you give to a culture curator/event organizer?
Firstly, it is to work within your passions and strengths because at the beginning that is all you’ll have to show and all you’ll have to keep you going and last and certainly not least, it is also to approach and manage your events as a business.
What can we expect at the UMI, Our Music Festival? And what are your most excited about for the festival?
I am excited about EVERYTHING! I’m excited at the growth of UMI, Our Music Festival. We’ve grown from an 8 to 12 hour creative fun house and 2020 sees us varying up our offering by introducing a 2nd stage. Our Performance Arts stage which features Lazarus man (poetry), Gill Apter, (comedy), SpazaBass, a DJ accompanied with session musicians and Tarryn Alberts vogue dance crew, LaMaisonDeREVE, as well as our silent music film festival featuring documentary films by musicians or about music.
Written by: Olwethu Ngodela