THE pilot edition of The African Creatives Indaba (TACI) at Lehakoe Recreation Centre in Maseru ended on a high note amid calls for local artistes to vigorously promote themselves in order to full benefit from their talents.
(TACI) is a brainchild of renowned actor ‘Matli Mohapeloa, Libe “Swiss” Mohale (founder of Fun and Class Relations Agency), Lipalesa Kolane (assistant vice president for the youth customer value propositions at ABSA Bank Limited), Tholoana Ncheke (Legal Officer: Film and Publication Board) and human rights lawyer Lineo Tsikoane.
Save for Tsikoane, the rest are based in neighbouring South Africa.
They said they were often approached by learners asking for career guidance, with the questions centring on job opportunities and sustainability in the creative industry.
Recognising the gap in information, the five decided to form TACI: a youth-based initiative aimed at educating, supporting and informing Basotho and other Africans about opportunities within the creative space and how the world is gradually moving towards appreciating creative professionals as decision makers and influencers in corporate industries.
In her presentation, Kolane called on the artistes to exert themselves in order to sell themselves, adding they should not despair when they encountered rejection.
“Leaving high school, all I wanted was to study was advertising but then Manpower Fund refused to sponsor me at the school I had been admitted to so had to opt for marketing,” Kolane said.
“When I was in second year I designed business cards which I would distribute to different companies as I was about to complete my studies but I only got promises that they would get back to me while others said I was not good enough.
“I got a job at a small company but I always told myself that I deserved better so I never stopped knocking on different businesses to sell myself until ABSA approached me with a job offering.
“It takes seven seconds to make an impression. Always smile, shake their hands while introducing yourself, speak clearly and make eye contact. Arrive ready to pitch and speak clearly with confidence. Revise your networking goals every morning and you will not fail if you do not give up,” she said.
On the other hand, Ncheke urged local artistes to use opportunities at their disposal no matter how small and not wait for someone to come and show them the way.
“I wanted to major in theatre after high school but my parents were against the idea so I had to study law instead not knowing that I would end up reconnecting with my dream career.
“Learn with every avenue to end up reaching your goal and begin to identify the tools you have and not wait for someone such as the government to present the opportunities.”
She called on the youth to conduct research about their chosen fields and empower themselves by either volunteering or shadowing experts.
“There are different dimensions to every career so choose yours wisely and never see yourself in isolation no matter how talented you are. Your career can only go as far as your network so interact with people outside your field.
“We understand that there is a challenge of infrastructure in Lesotho so use different internet mediums such as YouTube and Facebook to expose your talents. You do not need a fancy studio to tell your story as you can still record using your smart phones,” she said.
Mohale also urged them to understand their strengths and network with people who could help them overcome their weaknesses.
“My first job paid M1500 so I had to prove I was worth more than that. My goal was to have my own company so I would always use the hashtag Fun and Class in every social media post I made to get people used to the name.
“My breakthrough was when I attended a certain event in Durban. It was time for the event to resume and the MC was away so I jumped onto the microphone and introduced myself as Libe Mohale from Fun and Class and then took the opportunity to elaborate and what I can offer.
“Fun and Class has now worked with established brands such as Mini Cooper, Cell C, Vodafone, Mnet, Sky Vodka, BMW, Fiat and Castle Lite among others.
“I drew a line between what I can and cannot do and I would engage my friends to assist with my weaknesses so that whatever I did did not fail. Pay more attention to your strengths.
“Always consider yourself as a brand and do not build relationships that don’t yield revenue. It is your responsibility to sell your brand to see its longevity so look for opportunities every day. Money is in the brand and the brand is you so always seek to impress no matter where you are,” he said.
He also advised artistes to always seek information, socialise, be innovative, never to compromise their work, be reliable and always follow up no matter how stupid that may make them look.
For her part, Tsikoane said it was important for the artistes to support each other to promote the growth of the arts sector.
Mohapeloa told the artistes to seek their help and advice to achieve success.
He said while they could not directly help the artistes, they could still link them with people who could assist them.