Neighbourhood News Update: V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance Incubator Programme Continues to Showcase Cape Town’s Creative Future


Cape Town, 25 April 2024: The creative economy, with talents across diverse disciplines often takes center stage on social media, billboards, and through brand collaborations. However, not all partnerships benefit every creative equally.

In a landscape where some brands prioritise their own interests over fair compensation for artists, exploitation can often remain unseen, impacting creatives negatively. This is why the importance of access to information and industry education for creatives becomes paramount. The V&A Waterfront’s Artist Alliance Incubation Programme was born from exactly that need and on the belief that creatives who Live their Art, deserve to Be Heard.

Over the past three years, the programme has been a vital platform for young creatives, fostering South Africa’s thriving talent. Since its launch in 2021, a total of 18 graduates have emerged, each contributing to the vibrancy of our creative landscape.

This week we celebrated the latest cohort, who successfully completed their mentorship journey.
Their achievements were honoured with a graduation ceremony held at Zeitz MOCAA, an institution that continues to show its commitment to the creative industry, a goal that resonates deeply with Artist Alliance’s mission.

Among the graduation cohort success stories are Sipho Ngqayimbana, a music producer, and Carmen Jacobs, a self-taught artist, both of whom found the programme transformative. Reflecting on their learnings and journey, both highlighted how the programme transformed their approach to their craft, providing them with the tools to establish registered businesses by leveraging mentorship and expertise.

Lehlohonolo Ndlovu, a videographer, and Anelissa Nkanyuza, an animator and illustrator, have also benefited from the programme’s mentorship and peer-to-peer skills transfer. Nkanyuza particularly stressed how the programme provided her with resources and opportunities to confront local industry stereotypes faced by animators.

Dumisane Mparutsa highlighted the personal growth he experienced through the programme, overcoming self-doubt and anxiety. Despite facing the challenges of unemployment and navigating a male-dominated design industry, Larissa Mwanyama, an entrepreneur with a passion for curatorship, creative arts, and leadership, says the programme helped her transform these obstacles into opportunities by forging her own path as a business owner.

Mbhali Manzini, an alumna of the V&A Artist Alliance programme, shares her inspiring journey: “Since graduating from the V&A Artist Alliance programme, I have had an amazing opportunity to not only work with the V&A Waterfront but also be selected as the V&A Artist Alliance Ambassador. This role has allowed me to share my creative journey, insights, and wisdom.

My most memorable collaboration was with the V&A Waterfront on their 2023 Valentine’s Day Campaign titled LOVE YOUR WAY, celebrating all types of love in the magical neighbourhood. The programme continues to have a positive impact on creating a supportive community that understands the challenges and struggles of being a creative. Through the programme, paired mentors, and conversations on creativity, it offers invaluable solutions.”

Speaking at the 2024 Artist Alliance graduation ceremony, Dillion Phiri, Creative & Strategic Director for Creative Nestlings, a key partner of the programme, commended the V&A Waterfront’s unprecedented investment in the creative industry. They emphasised the crucial role of programmes like Artist Alliance in bridging the gap between talent and business success.

The two-month programme equips incubatees with practical skills across various creative disciplines, (graphic design, illustration, videography, music producing and more). Tinyiko Mageza, Marketing Executive at V&A Waterfront, highlighted the programme’s aim to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, she expressed pride in the graduates’ dedication and emphasized the programme’s commitment to supporting the next generation of artists.

As the V&A Waterfront continues to invest in local talent, the programmes mission is to keep Cape Town’s youth inspired. “Artist Alliance serves to showcase the existing creativity of young talent offering space for them to expand their knowledge, better navigate the business landscape and inspire others who seek to build their creative careers. What gives us even more joy is seeing their legacy visible in our neighborhood.” Mageza concluded.


About the V&A Waterfront’s Artist Alliance

For over three decades, the V&A Waterfront has been a steadfast supporter of the arts, demonstrating a lasting commitment to Cape Town’s vibrant arts industry. Through initiatives like Take the Stage, a platform showcasing emerging South African musicians, and 100 Beautiful Things, an exhibition celebrating African basketry, we honour the richness of talent and creativity that defines South Africa.

In line with this commitment, we’ve established Artist Alliance, an incubator platform designed to provide space and opportunities for young artists to explore their artistic perspectives freely. Through guidance, knowledge sharing, and mentor support, we aim to empower emerging talent, transforming their creativity into marketable skills and sustainable careers. Artist Alliance is founded on the belief that by fostering a creative community, we can amplify young artists’ voices and nurture their passion for creativity.

Nqaba Shakes Mbolekwana, a member of the inaugural cohort and a 2023 ambassador, is among the talented individuals who have benefited from Artist Alliance. His photography essay, ‘The Hangover,’ currently adorns the Traffic Plaza, showcasing the program’s impact on emerging artists like himself.