Words by Tshepang Tlhapane and photography by Nzolo Bidla, Bongani Mokhine and Thabiso Molatlhwa
Last night the Creative Futures gathering, brought to you by the British Council Connect ZA in association with Live SA, kicked off in one of the most vibrant parts of Johannesburg, Braamfontein. The event brings together 16 of the hottest creatives across digital, design, music, performance and visual arts spaces from the UK, South Africa and the rest of Africa. Over the next three days, all 16 creatives will engage in creative exchanges, collaborations, talks, performances and parties with the hopes of walking away from this experience having formed meaningful relationships.
Day one of the three-day event kicked off at the Parktonian Hotel where all the creatives were welcomed and briefed.This is what some of the Creative Futures organisers and creatives had to say:
Sarah Mann – Programme Manager for the British Council Connect ZA project in London
“Our mission is to bring together creatives to meet, talk and experience Johannesburg city as an emerging creative capital. We also want to give them the opportunity, and the space, to see what collaborations come out of this project.”
In celebration of twenty years of democracy in South Africa, the British Council Connect ZA has developed new approaches, including innovative ways of collaborating in a digital age, with an emphasis on reaching new and diverse audiences, pioneering a new way of seeing and understanding the world through culture and creativity.
“I think its the most important thing we can do. I think one of the powers of the British Council is being able to bring people together. The creative industry is really growing here and it’s an important part of what we do in the UK as our creative economy programme is globally important.”
DJ Spoko, South Africa
“All that I am expecting with these three coming days is working with other creatives like myself. They obviously know things that I don’t know, so I hope to merge what I take from them with what I know. Who knows, we might create something big.”
“This Friday when I’m playing my set at Tetrafix, people can expect the War God, which is what I’m going to call my upcoming album. I have been doing this music thing for a long time now, I feel like I’m a general and I’m bringing a new war.”
Malose Malahlela – Cultural Practitioner, South Africa
“I’ve travelled to different parts of the world. I’ve travelled to India, South Korea, Portugal and countless other places. What I’ve taken from all these travels is independency. Owning your own thoughts and ideas and understanding that they are valuable. The reason I travelled is because my ideas were valuable, they’re worth it.”
“With regards to the Creative Futures and the next three days, I’m not expecting anything that I haven’t gained by travelling so I’m just introducing myself, my concepts, ideas and what I’m doing getting to be known by other people.”
Tom Porter – Head of Arts, British Council South Africa
“Our mission with the Connect ZA programme, and the next three days, is to connect young creatives from the United Kingdom, South Africa and the rest of Africa together. We want to create new connections, new collaborations and just enable contemporary understanding of each other’s cultures.”
“We want to create a space for people to do what they think is right for creatives. All that we are asking is for people to be open to this experience and we will see what happens next.”
Gavin Weale – Founder and Managing Director of Livity Africa
“I started my career off as a writer, it’s what I’ve always done and is what I’m good at. I never thought that it would take me to the place where I am now but I still consider myself first and foremost a writer. I’ve always been a creative, creativity is my life and that’s what my business is about. Livity Africa is about creativity but mainly other people’s creativity.”
“I’m hoping that these creatives will go on to become partners in crime in the future. When I first came to South Africa through the British Council in a similar tour, that led to me making five very good friends and contacts in the publishing industry. Which led me to coming to South Africa and launching my business, so I really think major things can come out of these trips and I hope that major things happen for these guys.”
British Council Connect ZA Creative Futures is a gathering of creatives from the UK, ZA and the rest of Africa in the heart of Johustleburg. Brought to you by the British Council Connect ZA in association with Live SA. Part of the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Festival. British Council Connect ZA is part of the SA-UK Seasons 2014 and 2015 which is a partnership between the Department of Arts & Culture South Africa and the British Council.