Swazi Jive entertainment is back with another superb to kick start the year. At the beginning of 2019 the had their first ever cypher which was well received and saw the president of Swazi Jive also drop some bars. The 2020 cypher is fresh and flaming hot, from the setting of the video to the Wigo produced beat and crazy bars spit by the lads. The cypher features Luci Gang Child, OG King, Jurie, Jody Brown, Able Klein and Steez One of my favourite things about this cypher is the beat produced by Welile Wigo Mthethwa, the beat has a lo-fi feel with some incredible samples put all together into the perfect freestyle beat any rap would love. Major credit also goes to all the rappers featured on the cypher, their delivery and breath control was just impeccable with the end product being nothing short of sensational and their lyrical content was on point with room for improvement. A major shoutout to DIREKTOR ALPHA and Focus Tales TI who snapped on the visuals. The visuals are fresh and clean with the setting blending perfectly with the grimy yet lo-fi beat and hard delivery from the rappers(who are trying to prove a point), encapsulating the whole concept of a cypher. This is a great way to start the year by Swazi Jive after a silent 2019 and an exodus of most of their artist. Credit to all the rappers featured on the cypher, we hope to see and hear more from them.
South African business leader and serial entrepreneur says that to truly transform South Africa, education is a tool through which we can drive much-needed change. The future of South Africa bright but there is a lot of work that needs to be done for us as a nation to reach prosperity. Many young South Africans are not sitting down drowning in complacency; they are moving and shaking leaving no room for mediocrity and the predominant status quo. They understand that to succeed; you need to zone in on the problems that exist in your surroundings and find solid solutions so we can become product of our environments that are efficient, effective and purpose-driven.
One youth-led non-profit organisation, Young Aspiring Thinkers, is a great example of an entity that consists of young people that see a better future for South Africa and the world. With education being one of the core sectors that they aim to deliver value and change in, they are are actively building our nation one student, school and mentor at the time. Founded by three entrepreneurs and professionals; Monewa Matlwa, Thulani Masebenza and Masego Modiba, Young Aspiring Thinkers is an innovative concept which promised to deliver immense value by linking and assigning young professionals with high school learners for facilitate mentorship programs. Their focus is to reduce youth unemployment, improve learner career prospects and optimise how we teach young people in the public schooling system — particularly in the township.
We got the privilege to speak to exciting entrepreneur and co-founder of Young Aspiring Thinkers, Thulani Masebenza, to find out more about their NPO, their visions for the future and exciting developments in their entrepreneurial and professional careers.
Please introduce yourself and your startup?
Young Aspiring Thinkers was a Non-Profit Organization which was created by Thulani Masebenza, Monewa Matlwa and Masego Modiba which aims to improve youth education, reduce youth unemployment and improve the career prospects of young learners in public schools particularly public schools located in South African townships. All our career journeys have been interesting and uncertain, and we felt that even in our relatively privileged position as young black South Africans we are directed towards certain careers mainly out of necessity instead of careers which are linked towards our passion.
When conceptualising Young Aspiring Thinkers, what was the ‘why’ that drove you from an idea that lived in your head to a living entity?
As we started to explore the problem we began to realise this wasn’t only a problem which we faced, but a problem which other black South African youth face. When we’re young we are expected to enter careers such as Law, Medicine, Accounting and Engineering. This creates anxiety amongst youth that any career outside of those four is not one which should be pursued. Our original idea for Young Aspiring Thinkers was using a “speed – dating” solution but the career version where we invite young professionals excelling in their respective professions, to serve as mentors for the students on the day. The mentors speak to about two students at a time, for roughly +/- 5min where they give the students an insight into what they do, what their job looks like on the day to day, what degree they studied and other pieces of advice which could help them. This is beneficial as the students get exposed to multiple careers in one day. Usually we have a mix of professionals from entrepreneurs to consultants to doctors to football coaches to marketeers. All giving young South African students a view into their career and food for thought, for their futures.
What are some of the challenges that you face on a day-to-day basis and how do you view challenges as an entrepreneur?
As our organisation has grown and as we have run more sessions at schools we have realised that the scale of the problem is bigger than we initially thought. As much as we think career skills development and career guidance are important, we are trying to tackle the larger problem of education and youth unemployment in South Africa. We are doing this through building structured programmes which we implement at schools, our programmes aim to increase the future career prospects of learners, filter our learners into bursary and scholarships programmes, help them develop youth led businesses or help them find employment. These programmes will all be different in nature depending on what we want the outcome of the programme to be, the first programme which we have implemented is the Illuminate Programme which we are running at Olievenhoutbosch Secondary School. We are also in discussions with a major international corporation which we can’t reveal yet and are planning to launch a programme with them at a high school later in the year. We are also in discussions with a German Business School which is interested in creating online content for the learners in our Illuminate Programme.
You have been invited to pitch at the prestigious ChangeNOW Summit in Paris, France. Congratulations, that is a great milestone and achievement. How can South Africa rally behind you in support?
This vision of moving from once-off career development sessions to programmes for the youth has led us on the path that we are now, which is having the opportunity to pitch our social enterprise at the ChangeNow Summit in Paris. ChangeNow is one of the largest platforms in the world for social impact startups, ChangeNOW is all about concrete actions and innovations: climate change, end of plastic pollution, new forms of agriculture, new models of education, solutions to the refugee crisis, clean energy, sustainable cities and other solutions to our most urgent global issues. Young Aspiring Thinkers has been selected to pitch in the education pitching session. This will allow us to pitch our vision and raise funding for the projects which we aim to implement throughout the year as well as gain strategic partnerships which will also us to further our impact. South Africans can rally behind us for support by joining our crowdfunding campaign, as a company we’ve been able to raise R15 000 for this trip to Paris, and we need your assistance to gather an addition R30 000. We’ve come up with a campaign that will help us reach our target and pitch our vision at the summit. We need 300 people to pledge and donate R100 each and would appreciate your assistance in reaching that target. This financial assistance will allow us to buy tickets, book accommodation and secure Visa’s for the trip. We are also always recruiting young mentors who can join our sessions and programmes to help with facilitation, giving career advice to the learners or talking about their career journey to help inspire the learners.
In conclusion, what is your vision for Africa?
Our vision for Africa is to become the most transformational youth led organisation on the continent. We hope to impact the lives of 50 000 learners by 2030, this means in the next 10 years we hope to impact roughly 125 South African public schools and either run sessions or implement a programme at these schools. We believe impacting lives to that scale would have such a positive impact on our economy as we believe the foundation of a successful economy is built on education, especially as we grow towards a knowledge based economy.
Where can people contact you online or social media?
You can visit our website, Instagram and LinkedIn.
South Africa continues to be the capital of house music globally; the passion and love for deep house does not simply exist with DJs and producers but lives and breeds within its fans on the dance floors. Cape Town based Rafeeqah Ely is an epitome of this passion as she continuously graces deep house dance floors in the Mother City and Johannesburg with her crew of friends (The “Jol Patrol”), who are equally as passionate about house music as she is.
We had a sit down with her to tell us more about herself, how she fell in love with deep house music and how she became such a consistent figure in Cape Town’s dance floors and beyond.
Before we talk about your life as deep house super fan, we’d like to first get to know Rafeeqah a bit more. Besides being a serious groover, what else does Rafeeqah do?
Well, when I’m not at the “groove”, I’m busy making money so that I can go to the groove and compensate for my groove time [laughs]. Currently my job description is that I work at Amazon where I do quality assurance, but I’m also still studying as well. I graduated with a BA degree in 2017 and now I’m trying to pursue my Honours degree in Psychology. I majored in different things but then I chose Psychology because that’s where my heart is.
Do you see a connection between these two passions of yours, Psychology and being a deep house groover?
Yeah, I think there is. Getting to know all these people at the groove is very fascinating to me because you meet so many different people there, it’s insane! I consider it therapy honestly. Just to let loose and exchange energies with different types of people. I feel like I find my solace there.
When did you get into deep house music and how did you fall in love with it?
I am madly, deeply and unconditionally in love with deep house [laughs]. 2lani the Warrior was asking me about this at the We House Festival some time back and I told him that I’ve only been in the scene for 2 years and I’ve been unequivocally invested in house music. I then actually thought about this question after and I realized I gave him the wrong answer because unconsciously I’ve always been drawn to this kind of music.
Before WHS I listened to house, but I just didn’t categorise it as I listened to music generally. I was someone that was always open to music, so I didn’t pay close attention to the specific genres, it was just music. Now though it has become more than that. Commercial music has become alien to me now since I’ve been sucked into this deep house craze [laughs].
It is quite amazing how consistent you have been in supporting deep house music, particularly events such as “We House Sundays”. Why did you choose to support this event so consistently and tirelessly?
I had this friend at school who is the one who introduced me to We House Sundays. He told me that he wants to take me to this place because he thought I would enjoy it and then after my first experience I said to him “I think we should do this every month” so that we can hangout and experience this more. Then the more I went, the more I was amazed, and I understood why people enjoyed it. It’s deeper than just being music. That was about 2 and half years ago and ever since then I’ve been going.
It felt like the actual space was like family, like a community. When I’m there I always look at when people enter, they are literally dancing already before they even reach the dance floor, and you are already smiling at the people who are coming in. It’s crazy because you kind of know who is going to be there and we all connect on the dance floor. Something that started off as us just wanting to hang out with my friend at least once a month has become something that I’m more invested in now. We have become very invested in this thing, particularly in following the WHS crew and even going to Johannesburg for events such as ‘Deep Town Jozi’. If you told me 2 years ago that I would catch a flight to another city for a groove I would have laughed at you. It wasn’t even a consideration for me to leave the city for no reason but now I want to keep going because we’ve met so many people because of it.
It seems in your years as a deep house fanatic you have formed a crew of friends who love the music just like you, particularly at WHS. Tell us more about these friendships you’ve formed on the dance floor.
You know what’s crazy is that whenever we go to groove, the last thing we speak about is our personal lives so talking about that is kind of crazy for me [laughs]. We kind of want to leave that at the door because we are at the groove to come and let loose. But considering how close we have become we have been trying to get to know each other at a more personal level, because we realise that its more than just us being at the groove, we actually enjoy spending time with each other.
Even though we have one thing in common (the love of house music), we are all there for different reasons and though we try to escape our daily lives we can’t really escape them completely because they shape who we are as individuals and as a crew. What’s also crazy is that most of the people that stay in my area I met at WHS, I never met them where I live when going to the store or anything.
In a scene that is quite heavily male dominated, even with the supporters of Deep house music, how has your experience been as a woman who attends so many events?
I feel like being often the only female in the crew allows me to play a very specific role. I feel like I am more like the mother of the group because these guys need a lot of support. We come from different walks of life and because of the way we support each other we have become a very close unit. I’m a really shy person, believe it or not, and I feel so comfortable with these guys that I’m literally motivated to be myself with them and I don’t have to be that person that’s chilling and watching everyone dance. It’s because of them giving me the platform to be myself and comfortable, so I just go crazy.
With me being the only female in our crew people always say to me “why are you the only female with all these guys, don’t you have issues with them hitting on you all the time”, and I always say no, that’s not what it’s about. We’ve dubbed ourselves as being family because that’s the last thing on our minds; it’s so much more than that. The guys and I just feed off of each other’s energy.
Have you in the last 2 years of being a super fan become more into getting to know the artists/DJs and following their music outside of the events you attend?
Yes, I have. I think that once I have experienced an artist I then go on and follow them. We experience a lot of music on the dance floor and for some reason I want to dig deeper and try experience what other kinds of house music are out there. I’m quite an avid fan of Avi Subban and I’ve always enjoyed his productions. Also !Sooks, who’s music I’ve always enjoyed even before I experienced him play; as well as Pierre Johnson, who I know through a few mutual friends. So yes, in the past 2 years my knowledge of deep house music has really grown. If you look at my playlists now, its just deep house [laughs].
Have you seen yourself being more recognised now by people as a deep house super fan, even outside of the dance floor?
Definitely. The ‘Front Rowers‘ that’s what they call us [laughs]. Even at work I get people come up to me and say “you are that girl that I always see on the photos” and I always say “hey lets not speak about this here, I am not this person” [laughs]. But yes, when people see me and the crew they now recognise that we are the people that bring the vibe and our faces are now attached to the brand that is deep house. And the fact that people are appreciating our presence makes me want to invest in it even more.
Do you believe that the fans of deep house music like yourself are important and play a big role in the deep house scene?
I think that we are very important as dancers. A friend of mine even said to me that I enjoy the music so much that everyone thinks I will get to a point where I say I would also like to DJ [laughs]. But for me, I would like to remain a dancer because one of these days if everyone is going to be on the line up and who’s going to dance and bring the vibe? I feel like we contribute quite a lot especially in terms of welcoming everyone there and making sure that people feel welcome. So yes, I believe we are as important as the artists because we show appreciation by showing up, being present and actually enjoying the vibe.
Finally, would you ever consider formalising the important role you play in the scene and what ventures would you go into?
[Laughs] I don’t know how I would. It would be nice to do this as a job because it’s quite an expensive thing [laughs] but unfortunately, I can’t. I don’t think I would want to consider it as a job because I’m scared it would lose its substance and currently, we are doing it for the love. We want to support these events as much as we can so that they can keep pushing the movement. It would be nice to get paid for it because of how expensive it gets, but ultimately, we know what we are there for. It’s not about the money or anything but about what we take home from the groove. The whole experience, and you can’t buy experience. So, for now I’m just doing it strictly for the love.
Respected, highly acclaimed and revered cultural and entertainment pioneers, Lakuti and Tama Sumo, are back in South Africa again to entertain, inform and educate through the use of parties as a vehicle to drive change. Rooted in the underground and the alternative, they are globe trotters and guides that connect people, communities and countries to instil a sense of ubuntu where the one thing that connect us all is celebrated — our humanity.
Lakuti and Tama Sumo bring Your Love, a party series which happens in London to the Mother City. They called on some of their peers in the entertainment space to curate a platform at the Wonderland Club through which people can immerse themselves into the sonic worlds to be curated by the spinners on assignment. Events like Your Love are crucial for the culture as they are more than just a party, but rather a gathering of like-minded individuals with a shared vision, shared love for music and passion of driving change in the world.
Get to know Lakuti and Tama Sumo below.
The new decade is here and we are all wondering what this new era has in store for us. With fresh starts, expectations of innovation and new ideas are high with no room for disappointment. In the South African music industry, especially in the hip hop culture, there are quite a few exciting prospects which we think have the potential rise up to great heights. LuE, short for Lost Unfolds Everything, is a young singer-songwriter who hails from the South of Johannesburg. A crooner of note, capable of delivering vivid imagery accompanied by layered and real storytelling. Entering the world created by LuE affords you an introspective look into the life and times of a born-free, their views and ideas.
Unlike most artists that I met, I got introduced to LuE by Pretoria based label founder and events curator, Luigi. We had a dope conversation, I got to know him and he went on to play some music for Luigi. The first song he played was Couch Energy. The song was played on smartphone and within a few seconds, I got hooked and vibing. Something special rests within LuE and as he gears up to release his second project, EscAPADE, we are sure to be introduced to a new wave of music rooted in honesty, youthfulness and creativity.
You will hear and see more of LuE this year. Want raps? Want some singing? He got you. Trust!
Listen to more of his music below.