Lively Hoods to Livelihoods

Lead: Dr Leif Petersen
Funders and Partners: National Lotteries Commission, Substance Films

Cape Town, November 2018 – The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation NPC with support from the National Lotteries Commission of South Africa proudly present Lively Hoods to Livelihoods. This ground-breaking project puts South Africa’s depth of music talent on the map and creates a remarkable artistic legacy through the showcase album “State of the Nation” (due for release mid-2019).

In recently completing a 9,000km road trip throughout all of South Africa’s nine provinces, the project team uncovered a considerable number of talented township musicians, who revealed the need to promote their music beyond the local context to bolster their success. We initially identified more than 50 musicians, with whom we began strategizing a project to build on their talents and positively impact South Africa’s township economy.

Each musician will undergo a specific training course in sound engineering and music production to be equipped with valuable skills in music production in a technical training course. At the conclusion of the training programme, and as part of the training process each of these musicians will in-turn recruit five new artists from their home communities to produce new songs.

SLF’s painstaking process of artist evaluation and recordings, in collaboration with London musician Arthur Collier, has allowed us to showcase our pick of this talent and co-produce an album. Furthermore (in collaboration with Substance Films) making a documentary of this process, detailing the travel, encounters, recording and release of the project. The collaborative album, “State of the Nation” reflects on contemporary South Africa 25 years into democracy, and includes a wide variety of musical influences and artistic impressions from poetry, Rap, R&B, ballads and break beats. In a hugely ambitious project it will entertain and challenge alike in a soundscape of creativity. We cannot wait to share this talent with the world.

As a project finale, SLF will launch the finalised album at AfrikaBurn 2019. A number of the artists featured in the documentary and album will be performing, allowing for them to grow their profiles and listening audiences.

This project brings together SLF’s research, engagement and innovation programs in a new and exciting way. We look forward to providing project and creative updates over the next 12 months!



Tremaine, from Kimberley in the Northern Cape, is a R&B and pop soloist who incorporates her political activism in the sphere of women’s rights into her music and performances.
Simmah is a R&B, Pop, Soul, Deep House and Electro Pop live performing artist. In 2010, he reached Top 100 in South African Idols and is currently recording his Promo Album.
G Major O is an eclectic poet, wordsmith and accomplished rapper musician with a wide variety of influences in his music. Originally from Sebokeng in Gauteng he is now based in Langa, Cape Town, producing all of his own music.
Bongz is a rapper from the township of Thabong (outside Welkom, Free State. Having produced a number of albums and video clips, he is an accomplished musician.
Lucas hails from Strandfontein in Cape Town, having played drums in his church band since the tender age of 14. Unphased by crowds and diverse genres, he has played in numerous bands adapting with ease. Watch this space for more to come!
Thabiso is the resident DJ at Mamaruba’s Tavern in Ivory Park, Gauteng. He is an accomplished keyboard player, has a two year sound recording diploma and has produced many tracks for the Ivory Park and Johannesburg nightlife.
DJ Sweetest, based in Ivory Park in Gauteng, is a reggae artist and has produced one album, regularly performing in his home area. He operates a township gym called “Gym at your own risk” that serves the unemployed youth in Ivory Park.
Soul Hoover are an ecletic collective of musicians from all South African cultural groups and influences with a unique blend of electro-punk-skiffle music, specialising in creative performance art. Yet to release an album, they still have a dedicated following.
Arthur is a former London-based musician now living in Cape Town. He is a songwriter, sound engineer and musician and has spent a year recording and producing artists for the ‘State of the nation’ album.
Keena is a writer, poet, DJ, law student, and entrepreneur. She launched her hip hop project in 2018, exposing the truths of the apartheid regime and highlighting the impact of this history to the next generation.
Kyle is a Cape Town-based graphic designer. He took on creating the artwork for the Lively Hoods to Livelihoods project album, State of the Nation. in addition to his graphic design work, he does artwork, commission pieces and photography,
Kayla is a videographer, film editor, photographer and Pokémon enthusiast. She embarked on capturing the Lively Hoods to Livelihoods project for the documentary, telling the stories of artists and their journeys to the point of performance.
Pretty is a street poet based in Modjadji, Limpopo with three publications to his name. He writes and performs poetry in both English language and sePedi and works with a NGO dedicated to making the arts more accessible to youth in his community.
Mark is a Cape-Town-based mixed media artist. After hearing about this innovative project, he was inspired to create the original artwork for the album cover. The original 3 piece large scale mixed media artwork hangs in the SLF offices.
Sinazo is the narrator on the State of the Nation album. She is from KwaNobuhle (Eastern Cape), holds a B.A (Anthropology and Psychology) from UWC and plans to set up programmes that alleviate high unemployment in her community.
Portia hails from KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal. She is a singer and feels music defines who she am, as through music she is able to express all her emotions – “when we can just sing our hearts out we can really find healing”.
T-Man is a DJ and a vocalist from Clermont (KwaZulu Natal). Venturing into the music industry in 2010, he has worked with local artists and has produced a hit single “Shona Phansi” currently playing on MTV base and Channel O.
Glorychild is a Durban poet whose focus has been on the how words have so much intention and meaning with content rooted in the social injustices. She performed at Poetry Africa 2017, sharing the stage with other talents spoken word artists.
Atenkosi is a 24 year old self taught poet, author, musician and sketch artist from Dimbaza, a township just 15KM away from King Williams Town. He specialises in hyper-realistic drawings and cartoons and works mostly black and white.
Gone Rogue is an Eastern Cape-based fashion label operating for over 15 years. They combine stitching with beads, buttons and other accessories to create what they call “Tradition Blings”.
Manyesa is a a Cape Town based DJ, artist and barber who is passionate about creating different shapes on ones head. He believes how you look is how the world receives you. He loves challenges, taking up any creative task handed to him.
Lubabalo Rooi better known as Blazer is from Dimbaza (King Williams Town). He started his music career in 2008 as a rapper, later making Hip Hop and house beats. He has released 3 songs and is currently working under SoundProof Records.
Mavuks Capital M began his music career in 2005 as a guitarist at a church in Ennerdale. He later fell in love with house music and was introduced to Turntables by Kagiso (Abuyi Kg) in 2006. Since then he never looked back.
Emcee Suegga, born in the Eastern Cape, is a rapper, songwriter, producer, beat-boxer, and a mentor. His album, Crunk Addict, was released on 15th August 2014.
Trigga Maine is an upcoming Hip Hop artist. He is a rapper even though he does not like the title’s limitations as he can jump between genres if the beat provokes enough. He is also a vocalist.
Sixolile is a hair stylist who installs weaves, styles, natural hair and also does braids for any ages and gender expressions. He also specialises in making human hair wifs and is a treatment guru.
Bukiwe Zinganton is an Afro Pop and Soul singer and songwriter, born and raised in Nyanga, Cape Town. She has shared the stage with internationally recognised group Freshly Ground, Gang of Instrumentals and the renowned Joyous Celebration.
Luthando Mzi is a musician and actor, starting out as a Kwaito star but later merged his styles of hip hop and afro-soul into his music. In 2013 he recorded his first album “Sulinyembezi” which bled love and unity.
Ikhaya Lembongi is a Hip Hop crew situated in Dimbaza, Eastern Cape. It was officially formed in 2008 by Bonga Mnyaka (aka Viper). They have released 5 albums between 2009 and 2016.
Wanda is a 29 year old artist from Dimbaza just outside of King Williams Town (Eastern Cape). She is a poet, singer, songwriter and author, focussing on writing short stories about the daily challenges facing youth living in townships.
Deep Sessions Live are a Deep House live performance movement, consisting of 2 DJ’s and a Saxophonist, that started in 2018. They plan to take their craft to higher levels than currently as their calling is pure “crowd entertainment”.
Mbulelo is a self-taught photographer based in the township of Lower Crossroads, Cape Town. He currently works in fashion and lifestyle but aspires to take images that tell a story, displaying work that challenges controversy and dialogue around the country.
Kamogelo established his own media company “The Config Lens” which specialises in audio, visuals and graphics production. His NPO, “Khululeka Salvage” supports his community.
Thobey Cooper is a fashion designer that specialises in High End Ready to Wear looks. His designs are Aesthetic-Afro-Futuristic and he makes sure he designs garments with stories to tell.
Olwethu Sotiya is a professional dancer with the Indoni Academy. He has been dancing most of his life. He started off as a ballet dancer and was later introduced to different genres of dance.
Mpho is a 23 year old songwriter and vocalist, born and raised in the villages called “Mevana”, outside Willowvale town in the Eastern Cape. In late 2012, he became a backing vocalist for a gospel artist and released his first three singles in 2016.
Athayanda, the daughter of a single mother, fell in love with art as a young child. In late 2017, she performed her first play, “Sisi lento ndiyenzela wena” (“Sister, I am doing what I am doing for you”), at the first shack art theatre in Khayelitsha.
Sinovuyo is a 15 year old girl, raised in Cofimvaba (Eastern Cape) and lives in Paarl in Cape Town. She fell in love with poetry at the age of 7 and writes her own poems. Working with JMP Foundation, she combines her poetry and music in her acts.
Asavela is a 15 year old girl who fell in love with poetry at the of 8. She has performed in many stages and she writes her own poems about daily life. She believes that art can change the world.