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The A-Z of Making a Creative Career Work | Unlabelled for Superbalist

Making a creative career work is no mean feat. Even though some people manage to make it look effortless, behind the cool social media posts, countless accolades and recognition is a lot of hard work and dedication.

We profiled five very diverse creatives from different industries so that they could share how they make their creative careers work. Think of it as a dose of inspo for the year ahead.

Performer, dancer, musician, and muse Manthe Ribane was first known as a member of the Joburg-based dance group V.I.N.T.A.G.E crew and travelled the world as principal member of Die Antwoord’s dance ensemble, before moving on to focus on her solo career. Since then she has co-founded DearRibane113 with her siblings, which is an agency that deals with conceptual set design, graphic design, film and music.

Jake Michael Singer is a visual artist who completed his BA degree in Fine Art at Michaelis School in 2013. His work focuses on architecture, urban landscapes and how people interact with built space. He has shown his work in Cape Town, Joburg, Washington DC, Venice, Los Angeles, Lima, Edinburgh, Basel and Paris.

Pietermaritzburg-born Matte Nolim, real name Siyathemba Duma, is a fashion graduate from the Durban University of Technology. Matte established his label in 2014 after participating in the KZN Fashion Council's program called "21 steps to retail". He has since showcased at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg and twice at SA Fashion Week.

Nolan Oswald Dennis is a Zambian-born multi-media artist and was the 2016 winner of the FNB Art Prize for his elaborately contoured and delicate line drawings that can best be described as symbolic maps. Dennis is also a member of the Joburg-based art collective NTU, for which he produces works that function as a response to the commercial, cultural, and technological hybridity that represents our way life in SA and beyond.

Nandi Dlepu is a creative entrepreneur who in the last year launched BLOOM, a woman-only conversational platform, and FRIDAYS – a bi-monthly live performance event that provides a stage for up-and-coming as well as established local acts. She has worn and still wears many other hats, which include producer, director, art director, event organiser, THE WKND SOCIAL co-founder and founder of Joho Moms.

These creatives share their A-Z of making a creative career work.

Awareness / self-awareness

"Somewhere along the line, I began to understand that this is what I'm meant to be doing." Jake


"Freedom is definitely a motivator, freedom of expression as well as the freedom that comes from social development. It's important for me to feel like I'm giving back to the world. As a content producer and creative, this means I've been moulding my career to reflect this." Nandi

Create your lane

Matte attributes his success and current position to "not following the crowd and doing what feels right and necessary".


"The most fulfilling part of what I do is the sales (lol) and knowing that people love it enough to reach into their pocket for it." Matte

Quoting Biggie Smalls, Manthe says: "Being broke is childish."


For Nandi, striking a balance between standing by (and for) yourself and standing with others is important. She adds, "I believe in communities and collaboration".

See the full article on Superbalist's website


Photography: Liezl Zwarts

Creative Direction: Unlabelled

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