INTERVIEW

There’s a Creative in My Corner

Two things concern artists in Mangaung: a platform to showcase their art and a space to exchange ideas with their peers. Though finding a platform is still a struggle, Creatives’ Corner exists to create a safe environment for peers to share insights. Founder Sphindiwe Sobayeni writes more about it.

What is CC?

Creatives’ Corner is a social innovation hub – a platform for creatives in Bloemfontein and surrounding areas to meet up, chat and address much-needed topics related to their industries.

Modus operandi

We do this through our monthly sessions hosted at Boho Bistro, 2nd Avenue, Bloemfontein. Having lived in Bloemfontein for over five years and being involved in various aspects within the creative industry, I noticed over the years how, even across the board, creatives run into the same problem as I did: lack of proper and contextual business knowledge, lack of resources, lack of access to funding and other means of developmental support, including platforms to help foster key collaborations.

Context

This year – 2017 – Bloemfontein celebrates Macufe’s 20th Anniversary. By that  measure, Mangaung’s creative industry should be on the same level of international recognition and acclaim. Bloemfontein needs to be the cultural hub of South Africa and have a visible voice in driving popular culture.

In fact, as the youngest metropole, one can only imagine the possibilities which that status alone promises for creatives. But this isn’t the reality, and we have to ask the tough questions now and play an active part in that conversation that focuses on solution.

Status update

There have been a number of problems in the process of activating the series of events, but artists, sponsors and the public are becoming more receptive. We have hosted three sessions so far, with amazing panels of pioneers. We have had truly engaging conversations that we have recorded, to hopefully cover a short documentary of creatives in the Free State. But, that is just one of the many ideas of how much potential exists with a project of this magnitude.

Relevance

Because our immediate focus is on creative entrepreneurship, specifically in the arts, fashion, media, etc. we try to find a balance between local industry leaders in that regard – individuals who have a story to tell. We then theme the event around pertinent issues raised in preceding sessions, so that we may address them, while also offering a relaxed yet informative environment. As the sessions grow, we will feature more elements relating to the application of said shared knowledge. But for now, it’s one step at a time.

Who has been “cornered”?

So far, we have hosted the likes of illustrator and photographer Bongani Ndlovu, NYU film graduate and Hlasela TV producer Sam Sethuntsa, artist manager and events organizer Aobakwe Mashwabe, small business advisor Thiagan Padeyachee, radio and club DJ Shaxe Khumalo, actor and arts officer Tonderai Chiyindiko, author and writing coach Ace Moloi, pro bono media law advisor Sechaba Molefi, as well as fashion designer Monk Manyeloi.

Basadi?

It would be easy to dismiss the above list as a boy’s club, but the unfortunate truth is that none of the women we invited have committed and delivered. Either way, we look forward to the August edition which will feature more women who are pioneering entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

Sphindiwe Sobayeni is the Founder of  Imaginary InQ. Creatives, a company that specializes in events, marketing and talent management, among others. He is @UnlimitHead on Twitter.

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