The Joy of Jazz, also known as South Africa’s premier jazz festival, has been a highlight on the entertainment calendar for more than 20 years. This year, the Joy of Jazz celebrates and marks the 23rd edition of a leading brand in South African industry. Nounouche sat down with the Festival Producer and CEO of TMusicman, Ms Mantwa Chinoamadi, to find out about the brains and talent behind the successful running of the event.
Defined by passion and a quest for excellence, Ms Chinoamadi is eager to learn at all times.
“I am a child of the soil who grew up and graduated in the dusty streets of Soweto and was raised by the community that got me where I am today,” she says.
Because of this upbringing, she cites that nothing humbles her like acts of kindness and finding/seeing the good in people.
Describing her journey in the arts, she calls it embedded in her.
“My mother is an artist in her own right, I grew up with her behind the sewing machine doing what she does best. My dad was a Jazzophiler, on Sundays we woke up to the sounds of Bibob and Avantgarde.
Following that foundation, she began volunteering at TMusicman and grew from being a receptionist to handling bookings and managing artists.
“Bra Peter groomed me and eventually handed over the CEO seat. With the passion I have, the talent was spotted,” Chinoamadi said.
Miss Mantwa salutes Bra Peter and Jane Tladi for pioneering a platform that saw her growth in the industry.
“I am forever humbled and indebted to what they have unleashed in me. I feel particularly emboldened to be a black woman occupying this male dominated Industry, and it affords me a huge opportunity to inspire and to open up more doors for young professional ladies to realise their dreams,” she said.
The journey has been rewarding, but has also had its challenges.
“The most irritating part about the industry is sexism, and being labelled as the female festival producer. Why can’t I be just the producer? I horned in what I do best. I made it my daily bread to do great – and like I said, I strive and pursue excellence,” Chinoamadi shared.
Regarding her production direction and experience, she cited that her production principles are premised on a vision that motivates her to turn the dream into a strategy that is practical in addressing corporate, business and public objectives.
“We are conscience of the role that arts, culture & heritage fulfils in the process of community development, social cohesion, nation building & economic growth,” she said.
Considering herself a community worker entrusted with the responsibility to enhance the lives of our people, she calls music medicine that plays an indelible role in influencing the mood and feelings of the nation.
“We are people-oriented in our approach, so therefore, I often take an outward-inward approach for programming the line-up. Growing up in a household exposed to various genres of music, I use the versatility in me to propose a variety of music that would satisfy different preferences,” she says.
Her journey with the Joy of Jazz has been a rollercoaster that is characterised by ‘good experiences and fulfilment of many desires.’
“Our fulfilment is mainly realised at watching developing artists growing to become established artists that hold their own in entertaining their legion of fans they have garnered overtime. We’re delighted to be renowned as one of the leading Festivals in the World, and that contributes hugely to cultural tourism that impacts the GDP of the Province,” Chinoamadi said.
She adds that after 23 years of hosting successful shows through the support demonstrated by our people, we can only look forward to another 50 Years of outstanding concerts.
Apart from the experience being a ‘joy of jazz,’ we asked Ms Chinoamadi a couple of questions to get to know her better:
What’s one thing you would do differently in your journey thus far?
Life is a journey on its own, it has its ups and down. Lesson learned, learn from your mistakes and make every wrong a teaching.
What are three things you wish you knew earlier in your career?
To put me first
There is no manual to this thing called life
Change is in evitable so is people they change we evolve
What message of hope would you give to your younger self and those to come after you?
Woman, you are love, are loved and you exude love. Be kind and gentle to yourself, with whatever you tell yourself. Always remember that what you tell yourself would become your belief. Be careful.
These are her parting words:
“Be grateful with all that you have. blessed is the heart of Gratitude. Stop caring about other people’s perception of you. You’ll never be able to please everybody. Be forgiving BUT not a walkover. Honey let go of your fears, have faith over fear, do know that God is always with you. you’ve got greatness in your corner .
Dreams never cease to dream, You can do it, know that you’ve got this! Life can be messy and unpredictable and you will question it all. Trust in yourself, trust in God, You can and you’ll always make through anything
Catch the Joy of Jazz this Friday and Saturday at the Sandton Convention Center with the likes of Mandisi Dyantyis, Thandiswa Mazwai, Ringo Mandlingozi, Brenda Mtambo and many amazing acts.