FATHER TO be Xolisile Qwesha was a big winner at the recent Debut Fund Programme, an initiative by the department of Arts & Culture.
Xolisile, who owns Ilaphi Creations- a textile and design company- bagged two major awards at the Grant recipients’ event, held at the famous but old The RandClub in the CBD-Jozi.
Ilaphi Creations, operating in Thokoza (East Rand) specializes in custom-made fabrics, interior, wall designs, cushions, aprons and so forth.
Debut Fund Programme was conceptualized by minister Nathi Mthethwa in 2017, to celebrate and recognise arts and culture practitioners from across South Africa, all of whom are doing important work in their respective provinces and communities.
At the awards ceremony all provinces were represented by young ladies and gents, who came clad in their designer brands, despite the rain that did not dampen the mood on the evening.
Since the launch, the programme has fulfilled its vision of supporting emerging artists in all of South Africa’s nine provinces, equipping these practitioners with knowledge, skills development and funding to enable them to move from the amateur to the professional realm.
Talk of professionalism, Xolisile and company pocketed a cool R25 000 and R70 000 respectively, of which he promised will be invested in marketing and purchasing equipment’s.
Started in 2016, with the support of his Mom, who handed him only R150 when he wanted to branch out to realize his dream after obtaining his Bachelors Degree from Tshwane University of Technology in 2017, Xolisile said that was the gamble he had to take because there was ‘no job after graduating, Imagine? He asks with protruding eyes.
“I was influenced by a friend to join him at a studio in Jozi after realizing what I’m capable of. We were living in a small flat, the four of us, no food but that dream to reach our potential,” he said gloatingly.
“One thing that ‘til today bothers me is what my Mom said ‘If you get arrested I will not come and visit you’, that was a strong message that lives with me up to this day. Unbeknown to her I was shaping my dream, you could imagine the thought because by then I was young and naïve but my Mom never thought of me that way then.
Today we talk and giggle about that. She’s my mentor and supporter hence today I’m the breadwinner after leaving her work to look after me.”
Currently, the 27 year-old who runs the company and employs other two guys on freelance basis depending on the scale of the job and deadlines, tells he did a six-months business management course but that did not yield any profit.
He joined Airports Company of SA for few weeks but after reading an on-flight magazine, and inspired by a quote that there are “two types of people in this world – who lives his dream and others helps the other to live his dream”, there and then, that’s when he decided to quit the job and follow his dream.
And today he’s the proud owner of Ilaphi Creations that according to him seeks to live a legacy for his unborn baby, and supply the world with material of substance.
Asked if he has registered to vote, Xoli unashamedly said YES come May 8.
Since its launch the DAC Debut Programme, in partnership with Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) has implemented three key initiatives, each of which has contributed to the success of the programme:
Train the Trainer; Kickstarter Training and Hlanganisa Training and Catalyst Grants.
Presenting the awards on behalf of the minister in absentia, the DG of the department Vusumusi Mkhize (clan name khabazela) indicated that the economy of today needs thinkers and brains that can change lives of ordinary people within the craft and arts sector.
In his humble opinion Mkhize commented that ‘the department is proud to support such a ceremony that will empower emerging artists and continues to render support to ensure that arts projects in communities flourish’.
Other provincial winners also bagged money to improve on their company’s services.
NYDA representatives did not attend this all important ceremony aimed at empowering youths.