Wednesday, May 25, 2022

THE UNTOLD STORIES… Naledi Thuto Masilo Naledi “Ledi” Masilo

Oftentimes we become so consumed by the beautiful sound of music, and sadly forget to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the groups of individuals behind every effort to bring music to life and satisfy our voracious appetites.  It Has To Be Jazz would like to appreciate and recognise Ledi’s efforts and contribution to the amazing Dreaming Girls Arts Foundation.

Since its inception, The Dreaming Girls Arts Foundation has honoured its vision to cultivate women and young girls to become leaders and critically conscious members of society. In 2021, with a generous grant by the NEC EM department, the foundation set off on a journey of rebranding. This was a two pronged approached – on one hand to revamp the brand by redesigning the logo and launching a website that allowed for more visibility and communication. And the second, to reinforce what the organisation stands for. During women’s month the foundation collaborated with Her Own Skin and The Unsilenced Voice Project to host a podcast series titled Wathint’abafazi. Wathint’abafazi invited 7 conference alumni and young women in the industry to speak on topics close to their experience in the industry.

This morphed into a blog that was later added to the website. DGAF also hosted an online round table titled “Can I help with the dishes”, which has reached over 1500 views. The conference in 2019 created a platform to support a month-long mentorship program during August that fostered the talent of four selected conference attendees. Building on from that success, a virtual conference was hosted in the month of April 2021 used an online/offline hybrid model to expand on topics presented by music industry professionals. In addition, this year’s “Global Edition”, had 20 attendees from both South Africa and the USA.

The conference, like the conference in 2019, focused on cultivating leadership, dissecting African identity within artistic practices, and creating actionable steps towards community development through a musical lens. Workshops and masterclass sessions were designed with young women in mind who are to assume leadership roles in the future.

This conference has led to another mentorship program in which 6 young women are being mentored after being awarded a micro-grant to instill community programs.

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