South African communities are rich melting pots of creativity, with a multitude of talented individuals waiting to be discovered or on their way to making their dreams a reality. They, along with so many others across the country’s creative industries, have borne the brunt of the global pandemic, with many losing their livelihoods, or even just the opportunity to be recognised as a result.
Not only have these individuals brought communities together, but they continue to reflect the country’s resilience, determination and unity. Their talent deserves to be seen. Their dreams deserve to become reality. My Community Cooks – an initiative of Vuma, South Africa’s leading fibre provider, in partnership with the Soweto Wine & Lifestyle festival, Native Rebels and The Soweto Theatre – aims to do just that.
My Community Cooks, currently with a spotlight on Soweto and a view to expand this across South African communities, is open to our nation’s finest musicians, photographers, designers, artists, dancers and social innovators. During the Soweto phase of the programme, our partners in the community have come on board to inspire and mobilise the region’s creative sectors – including the founders of the acclaimed platform for young creatives to celebrate and change the township narrative through food, music and art, Native Rebels; the internationally renowned creator of colourful, larger-than-life visual masterpieces, Senzo Nhlapo; and Pantsula pioneer, Madamo Sithembiso, among others.
In addition to the first phase’s initial hub of Soweto, creatives from across the country are welcome to submit and share their ground-breaking creative projects with South African industries, and ultimately showcase Mzansi’s inherent ambition, creative flair and richness of culture and spirit.
Up-and-coming talent is invited to submit their best work for a chance to be showcased to a global audience, through a series of live performances filmed at the iconic Soweto Theatre, as well as connect and collaborate with like-minded, experienced creative professionals.
For four days, My Community Cooks will be reinventing the Soweto Theatre with state-of-the-art production equipment, and bringing to life in high definition the amazing submissions, curating a world class experience and connecting it all to an online audience.
“South Africa’s creative community has empowered the country in so many ways and we jumped at the opportunity to return the favour by helping talented individuals in the communities we serve – connecting our country’s talent to the world, and the world to our country’s talent,” says Lianne Williams, head of marketing at Vuma. “Our communities have powerful and beautiful stories to share, and we are in a space where we can shine the spotlight on them and give them the springboard they need to not only grow but to inspire others to create and innovate.”
Williams adds that submissions from all corners of South Africa have so far blown Vuma and its partners away, creating a real sense of the potential of this programme to connect and uplift creative communities throughout the country.
Connecting SA talent to the world
Access to fibre in communities such as Soweto is a game-changer, giving people the opportunity to showcase who they are and their contribution to the world. It creates a link between South Africa’s vibrant and cultural forward thinkers, tastemakers, movers and talented shakers, and the world.
“Through the power of an Internet connection, we’re seeing so many young and yet-to-be-discovered talents putting on incredible performances, sharing their art or simply expressing themselves using platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. We’re calling on them and anyone else who believes they have a gift they want to share with the world, to show us who they are and what they’ve got through the My Community Cooks platform,” says Williams.
Individuals hoping for a shot at the spotlight can submit their work in the form of an image, video clip, audio clip or document at mycommunitycooks.co.za.
In celebration of heritage month in September, the campaign will culminate with a world-class showcase of the work and uncovered talent, through the release and distribution of a beautifully printed directory of Sowetan creatives. As the My Community Cooks campaign expands across other South African regions, various other communities will have the opportunity to have their work showcased through their own directory.
Selected participants will also get the chance to take part in masterclass-style workshops, delivered by South Africa’s top creative leaders – including the likes of Senzo Nhlapho, Native Rebels and Madamo Sithembiso, to name just a few of the prominent, established mentors from various disciplines who will be engaging with entrants.
Join us, let’s create, connect and elevate! Submit your creative work at mycommunitycooks.co.za.
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