Night Embassy ambassadors bring Jozi to life with unlimited creativity

The selected Ambassadors will be exploring new directions in nightlife culture through various artforms in hopes of fostering a strong sense of community from 12 November to 4 December.

Unmuted by Lincoln Long and Draper takes over Jozi. Picture:  Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - A space for unbridled self-expression and unlimited creativity. That's what the the Night Embassy by Jägermeister promises.

A few months ago, a residency programme centred around 'Freiraum' announced open applications to creatives in South Africa to come and present their visionary ideas and concepts.

The selected Ambassadors will be exploring new directions in nightlife culture through various artforms in hopes of fostering a strong sense of community from 12 November to 4 December.

After receiving hundreds of applications and uncovering some of the creative community's most visionary ideas, the boldest concepts in the city have been chosen.

The four collectives selected to make their wildest nightlife event ideas come true in November are: Unmuted by Lincoln Long and Draper, Other Village People by Andiswa Dlamini and Kefiloe Siwisa, Kombonation by Kananelo Kabelo Sello and Kgotso Selomah as well as DormantYouth by Thelma Ndebele.

They will take over some of the iconic locations in the city this November to make their wildest nightlife vision come to life.

These ambassadors have received a major boost to their practices with the support of Night Embassy Johannesburg.

They are recipients of mentorship from the Night Embassy creative board as well as the production and infrastructural support needed to enable them to create fresh new directions in Joburg’s nightlife.

Their entire programme will be showcased during four residency weeks in November and December, which will be open to the public.

On 11 December 2021, following the residency weeks, Night Embassy will close out with a big underground party in Johannesburg.

Unmuted
Main Residency Name: Unmute the City
Dates: 12th – 14th November 2021
Venue: Carfax, Newtown

Other Village People Presents Queertopia with NE-J
Main Residency Name: Queertopia
Dates: 18th – 20th November 2021
Venue: Constitution Hill, Braamfontein

Kombonation
Main Residency Name: Kaofela Kaofela
Dates: 26th – 28th November 2021
Venue: White House, Soweto

DORMANTYOUTH
Main Residency Name: Groove Biennale
Dates: 1st – 4th December 2021
Venue: Megalo, Alexandra

Get your ticket by logging onto www.night-embassy.co.za.

"Each residency will be tailored to the experience of its participants. With educational lectures, hands-on workshops and expert guidance to help cultivate their career in music, the arts, and events onwards. The programme aims to equip each ambassador with the inspiration, technical know-how and practical support to transform their creative practice and progress Johannesburg’s nightlife,” said Bea Theron, Jägermeister South Africa’s culture and experiential marketing manager.

"Under the curatorial direction of each ambassador, Night Embassy will also be a public showcase of their work, putting them in charge of a day-to-night programme with collaborators and mediums of their choice."

The ambassadors have been given a blank canvas to explore their chosen topics and concepts with the support of the Night Embassy creative board, five renowned figures known for their contributions to South Africa’s arts, events and music culture: Veteran event producer, business strategist and venue owner Theresho Selesho; designer, artist and creative director extraordinaire Jana Hamman; LGBTQI pioneer, DJ and content creator Lelowhatsgood; skate scene champion and filmmaker Day Marumo and amapiano centred talent management agency owner Thuli Keupzz.

The creative board selected the final Night Embassy ambassadors:

Unmuted. by Lincoln Long & Draper

Lincoln Long (he/him) and Draper (he/him) believe Unmuted. is the missing key to levelling the music playing field. Their mantra “Life Is Best Lived Unmuted” speaks to the idea that we’re all muted or unheard to someone and it’s only when we live life unmuted can we give opportunities to the unknown.

What started in 2017 as Unmuted. Records, has become a hybrid independent label behind the production of chart storming songs by emerging artists and has now morphed into a network of future-thinking entities including a live/events/tour management and bookings division Unmuted. Live.

Unmuted. also has a film and TV division, an online radio station and a clothing brand.

The experience of being Night Embassy ambassadors has already had a major impact on Unmuted.: “This has been an absolute dream. Through this experience we have been exposed to so much that we didn’t know and at the same time, we’ve been made to feel and be more confident in what we do know.

"Besides the obvious financial injection, being an ambassador has and is providing us with new ways of thinking and working that we would not have been exposed to,” Lond and Draper said.

Other Village People by Andiswa Dlamini & Kefiloe Siwisa

Other Village People (OVP) by Andiswa Dlamini (she/her) and Kefiloe Siwisa (she/her) creates experiences for LGBTQIA+ communities to feel liberated, to live in the truest reflection of self, to connect, to celebrate and find their tribe.

Founded in 2016, Other Village People has two queer-focused platforms; SSS (Same Sex Saturday) - a party space that runs in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban - and Grounded - an intimate series of alternative experiences from hikes to dinners and everything in between.

Other Village People note that in SA cities: “There is a lack of safer spaces that prioritise LGBTQIA+ communities and within the prevailing heteronormative constructs, LGBTQIA+ are often faced with discrimination, micro aggressions and even hate crimes. Our concept is about creating queer-centered spaces that normalise and celebrate our differences as if it’s always been that way.”

Kombonation by Kananelo Kabelo Sello & Kgotso Selomah

Market Photography Workshop graduates Kananelo Kabelo Sello (he/him) and Kgotso Selomah (she/her, They/Them) founded Kombonation in 2018.

Kombonation is a Soweto-based pre-to-post production start-up, specialising in real and raw visual storytelling.

They also create clothing that showcases their photographic skillset, and expresses the narratives that exist within and beyond the photographs.

Kombonation’s mantra is, ‘Together, we do the most. Kaofela Kaofela. One love.’

"Our art is by the kasi, for the kasi, and beyond,” said Kombonation.

Night Embassy has “given us an opportunity to create an alternative kasi nightlife experience on a bigger scale. By being ambassadors of the Night, we get to drive home what's really important to us - visual literacy."

DormantYouth AKA Thelma Ndebele

DormantYouth AKA Thelma Ndebele is a non-binary (They/Them) DJ and Master of Architecture (GSA, UJ) whose interest lies in music as an alternative translation of place, as well as an archive of lived space.

Their research and observations made at the GSA have culminated in them regarding music as a metric of place, specifically in clubs and event venues that host (sub)cultures that can be identified by the music produced and consumed by said social groups.

Speaking about their ideas, Thelma explains: “I want to build architectural structures specifically catering to Joburg nightlife. I want to add interesting physical installations into the club space as an additional layer to the excitement of going out.

"I think this residency will show an alternative perspective of architecture beyond its technical and formal predisposition. You can expect an installation fit for music, performance and film, nested in an unexpected context”.

These four ambassadors promise to make their mark through curating memorable experiences this November; they are hoping to change the very fabric of the city nightlife landscape.