Two years ago, Nando’s South Africa began supporting Cape Town based non-profit organisation Bridges for Music, as part of their efforts to nurture South African creative talent. This year, the partnership involved sponsoring ten passionate students with full bursaries to take on the MusicMBA course, an MBA-styled program at the academy. The MusicMBA is a five-month-long Music and Entrepreneurship program that looks to enhance the potential of those who wish to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills while learning about sound, music entrepreneurship, digital literacy and mindfulness practice. This is to achieve the outcome of producing employable music experts with the mental and emotional capacity and maturity to become successful in a deeply competitive and mostly under-funded creative industry.
All of this year’s MusicMBA students sponsored by Nando’s have successfully graduated from the course. They have completed more than 200 hours of learning music production and the finer details of working within the music industry, more than 20 hours focused on Creative Entrepreneurship and 50 hours hearing from entrepreneurial experts and creatives from various industries through in-person and online lectures and masterclasses. The students, referred to as co-creators, also completed an intensive program in leadership and personal development called ‘Leading from Within’ which was facilitated by Nicola Slingsby as well as an online Yale course entitled The Science of Well-Being. Nicola has extensive experiencing in coaching and as the Founder of ‘Leading from Within’, she works with leaders from across the world.
The MusicMBA takes on a holistic approach to learning and includes more than 100 hours engaged in mindfulness practises such as yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, reflection activities and story-telling through body maps. Entrenching these practices into the curriculum allows the co-creators to realise the depth of their creativity so they can approach their artistry with confidence.
“We are thrilled that all ten of the students we supported through the course are graduating and we wish them all the best with their next steps towards taking their creative skill forward with technical and entrepreneurial know-how,” says Justine Cullinan, Nando’s GM Marketing: Brand Strategy and Communications, “Our partnership with Bridges for Music is really an extension of our commitment to support emerging creatives who produce beautiful works we can all enjoy, showcase and export proudly. We have no doubt each of these bright young creators will go on to make amazing contributions to the creative landscape in South Africa,”.
Operations Director and Founding Member of the Bridges Academy, Thulani Headman aka Fosta, says, “This year has been a great year for Bridges Academy. Coming from 2021 one of the most difficult years, we have managed to give another opportunity to 40 co-creators. Thanks to Nando’s for making sure that we are able to create the impact of change. Ten of our co-creators have been able to complete the wonderful program focused on empowering the youth at risk. We have been blessed by young talented souls who are eager to learn and be change-makers. It is sad to see them leave the campus, but they will not be leaving the BFM family entirely as they will still be part of our incubation program where they will be introduced to more opportunities and hopefully their first music-related job experience. We say go and shine in the world. We hope that all will be successful and be self-sufficient while practising the BFM values and being Bridges Ambassadors.”
Creativity is the heart of the Nando’s brand and business philosophy. For the last 9 years, Nando’s has brought the creative community together through the Basha Uhuru Festival which is held at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. This festival celebrates and showcases South Africa’s hottest new art, design and music talent. Bonga Kwana, a Bridges Academy alumna, recently performed on the main stage at the Basha Uhuru Festival in October. Bonga also attended the graduation ceremony and shared some words of encouragement with the Class of 2021.
What Bridges for Music says about the Graduates:
“It’s often the quietest students that suddenly surprise you with an amazing voice! Sicelo not only showed great promise on the production front but also found his voice behind the recording mic! And with that combination, he will go far!”
Alizwa Tyala – Lower Crossroads, Cape Town
“A quiet mind and soul . . . until he gets behind his trumpet! Alizwa has shown that you don’t need words to show your talent as well as the power of being able to play an instrument really well. He has come away with two beautiful songs and we foresee many more in his future!”
Jamie-Lee Fredericks – Athlone, Cape Town
“Jamie is our class ‘radio person’. All things radio and Jamie is your girl! Even though we geared her experience as much as possible towards using the software to create radio content, she still made the effort to try her hand at creating her own music. A kind of tenacity that will take her far in life!”
Khanyisile Dwaba – Langa, Cape Town
“Khanyisile, aka, Honey K, has certainly capitalized on her time at Bridges, starting to record even in the early stages of the course! In the time she has been at Bridges she has managed to get her own band together to begin performing out as well as having created some beautiful music in the studio! The hustle is strong with Honey and that will do her good in the coming years!”
Yonela Ivy Ntonjane – Langa, Cape Town
“The dark horse of the class, Yonela sat quietly doing her thing and would gingerly put her hand up to come listen, only to find out she is sitting on some banger track you would hear in the club late at night! But don’t let that fool you either, because she also has a strong pull towards her roots, venturing into a more traditional sound as well. One day we hope to see these two interests being merged together to create some truly unique sounds!”
Lindokuhle Dlepu – Khayelitsha, Cape Town
“Khanda (Lindokuhle) can be his own worst enemy, at times shying away from playing his track, claiming he doesn’t feel confident in it, only to hear he is sitting on some serious techno fire! Don’t let your mind trip you up tell you need to know the deepest darkest mix secrets to make a good song. Just keep making music and that will come before you know it!”
Wesley Kula – Nyanga, Cape Town
“Wesley is proof that if you want something, you have to put your head down and go for it, no matter what gets thrown at you. And Wesley has had his fair share of hardships thrown at him this course. Despite this, he has kept at it and shown great promise in the music he has created. His DJ’ing has also helped him with a built-in intuition towards electronic dance music.
Bathini Sigaqa – Woodstock, Cape Town
“Bathini wears her creative journey on her sleeve, whether she is jamming to a fire loop that she just created or sulking because she feels stuck and uncreative. As she grows in her music, a true left field aesthetic has begun to emerge and the music has this eclectic electronic feel that is sorely missing in the SA electronic music scene today. Keep the uniqueness Bathini, both in your music and in your approach to life!”
Philasande Goniwe – Samora Machel, Cape Town
“Phila has certainly made the most of her time at bridges writing a plethora of songs and having the majority pretty much finished and ready for mix by the end of term. Stay as prolific in your creation as you have been and there’s no way you won’t create something special and great soon! And remember, taking the speed bumps in your stride with grace, and adjusting to them rather than letting them shut you down, will get you through those tough times ahead and the goal in sight!”
Anathi Tima – Khayelitsha, Cape Town
“Another prolific writer, Anathi has also made the most of his time here, and with a good prior knowledge of music production, has gone on to write at least four songs. A great networker, and with his agreeable nature and raw talent, is looking towards a great career as a music producer in the future!”
Featured image by @roywrench