Post written by Mwabi Motaung
Creativity has been proclaimed the skill of the future.
It was, therefore, an easy decision to launch our latest series Heavy Chef ‘Raw’ in one of Cape Town’s most creative communities, Khayelitsha. A jam-packed day of talks, presentations and performances, Heavy Chef Raw: The Business of Being Creative was an exciting first in a collaborative series between Heavy Chef and Ghetto Sessions.
We felt incredibly proud to have a South African creative icon Zolani Mahola on the HC stage to touch on the intricacies of being human in the creative sector, with all its complexities, and how this can both inspire and destroy one.
There is something about the conviction with which Zolani says “If you don’t like your life, change it”.
She immediately had the audience entranced with her relatable life story, sharing her experience of coming of age at the dawn of a new South Africa. We loved that she looks back at her life in song - every defining moment in Zolani’s story has resulted in music and to have her play for us on the Heavy Chef stage was a moving experience.
A recurring theme throughout the day was the need for aspiring creatives to look past the traditional channels for a way in. Old-school ways of doing business creatively might very well be behind us, technology and social media is seeing to that. Today the gatekeepers are not so much the record companies and the galleries but the people on the ground.
So artists are simply cutting the middle man out and signing themselves.
Cape Town hip-hop artist, businessman and activist Riyadh Roberts, better known as YoungstaCPT, expressed this sentiment quite well.
"Instead of knocking on the doors of record labels, I opened my own. Instead of buying expensive clothing labels, I created my own label," he said. Judging from the audience reaction to his speech, the feeling is shared.
The co-founder of Bridges For Music, Thulani ‘DJ Fosta’ Headman, a proud product of the township of Langa, agrees that artists can’t remain dependent on big record labels to sign them.
"We need to set up platforms that teach our creatives how to thrive as entrepreneurs too. This is what we hope to do with our Music and Entrepreneurship Program which kicked off at the beginning of August,” he said.
An exciting element of the Raw series is that it allows upcoming talent to perform on the same platforms as their experienced counterparts, as well as the chance to meet the headliners and other creatives, and forge the business relationships they need to further their ambitions. It was gratifying to see participating local creatives doing just that.
In the end, though, it’s on the creative to push for their work to be seen. Which is why we were glad to have media maven in the making Danilo Acquisto in the house to talk about the business of YouTube. YouTube is a great platform to get your content out and when you play it right, a great place to earn a living.
Danilo’s key advice? Be consistent and have relevant, relatable content.
The entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity is evident in Khayelitsha. You just need to step out of Lookout Hill onto the main road to see creative entrepreneurship at its best - rows and rows of tshisa nyama’s vying for the same customers. We asked one of them what made his wings better than the next guy’s. His answer? His secret sauce. His creativity, on a plate.
Find your secret sauce and add it to everything. Realising the value of what you have to offer is the gamechanger.
Side note: There is something about learning from someone you can relate to. It is an enriching experience and we, for one, can’t wait to tuck in. See you at the next one!