Tshepang Mabizela and Tokoloho Booysen are the young minds behind We Are One Music festival coming up on the 31st of March at 1 Fox Precinct. The idea came about when the guys noticed a missing middle and how the music space is setup and recognised that 'alternative music' is not in the forefront and is not given enough recognition so they took it upon themselves to increase the space and do more for art and music, because anything that cannot be defined is called 'alternative' and anything alternative is usually appreciated in whatever small circle you find it in.
"We Are One through music because we need to band together, create the movement until they can no longer call what we do 'alternative'."
The young entrepreneurs share the same vision of wanting to create spaces for artists and improving these spaces thus making it easier for the next generation of artists and entrepreneurs. Although the event is annual, their aim is to create smaller experiences throughout the year that lead up to each year's festival.
The festival line-up includes musicians and DJs such as Bongeziwe Mabandla, DJ Doowap, Dear Ribane, FAKA, Langa Mavuso, Moonchild, Nonku Phiri, Urban Village Music and more. And will include an exhibition by 12 painters as well as a retail experience curated and managed by RHTC showcasing 15 street wear brands.
When describing the process of putting together the line-up, the guys state that the criteria was talent. "It was not about numbers or large impact, because most of these artists are talented so we spent hours on Soundcloud listening and finding [artists with] other criteria other than being famous, if you are known in whatever small circle, that's okay."
They also share why connecting people through music is the core vision of the festival, "because all of us need each other. We need each other to grow, no movement is created in solidarity. We have to bind together to be recognised and to be given the respect that black art spaces deserve. We say deserve because we have worked hard enough to be where we are. We require global recognition, cause revolutions transcend who, what and where we are. "
In describing their future plans Booysen and Mabizela are straightforward, "we are creating a home for artists alike, we no longer want to be nomads, settling in places we don't belong. In conclusion, we are the internet in it's physical equivalence. We are coming for everything."
Photography: Kgomotso Neto