Nandi Dlepu: Creative Powerhouse & Cultural Leader

Nandi is a creative powerhouse changing perceptions around the creative community, and live performance parties. Her dedication to creativity has made her brand, Mamakashaka, one of the most sought-after collaborative entities. We got to catch up with her ahead of one of the most exciting events on our calendar – UMI. Read more to be inspired, and to get excited about UMI taking place this weekend. 

Tell us more about UMI
 UMI was launched in 2019 and is positioned as the “mother” of Feel Good Series (Umi means mother in Arabic). The festival is everything our community has come to love and enjoy at our monthly live performance parties but BIGGER.A 12 hour experience with more dj’s and more live performance acts and this year the festival will feature a fashion pop up by UNKNWN PROJECTS. The OUR in Our Music Festival means exactly that! Almost half of our line up has been curated in response to our “Curate Our Line Up” call to action. This community selection is then balanced with our own festival picks, these are artists that we have had on our radar and shortlisted during the course of the previous year as definite features. This year attendees can expect performances from MUZI, UNA RAMS, FILAH LAH LAH, WANDILE MBAMBENI & ROHO with good music from Tenoceans, Fif Laa, Lelowhatsgood, Not Benjamin & Friends, Justtraviscpt, Nikki Newlines, Nouveaux & Half n Half.

What does it mean to you to be so connected to the creative community?

I really feel at home with the creative community and that feeling of home helps me feel grounded. I’m also consistently affirmed and this connection makes it even easier for me to create and to exercise my creativity, something I know to be an incredible blessing. 

What inspires your work?

My guiding principles or in this case my “why” is to inspire , empower and to entertain. These core values are central to everything I have done under the Mamakashaka banner. Whether it’s through our own owned platforms (Bloom, Feel Good Series & Pantone Sundays) or work done on behalf of our clients.

What feeling do you hope people leave your events with? 

Joy is a definitely an intended emotional output across all our events. To borrow from the definition of hygge, I try to create/curate experiences that have a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that leave our community feeling  content.

Which affirmation (if any) is getting you through the year? 

Short-term discomfort for long-term rewards. Its business unusual, I can feel it in my bones but I’ve told myself I won’t let the discomfort of the times we are in, of anything interrupt me. 

How has your journey unfolded? 

I mentioned earlier just how at home I feel in my space and in what I do but it wasn’t always so, despite working at award winning agencies I always felt a little like an impostor. In hindsight I see now my experiences were preparing me to be this version of myself.

Tell us more about Mamakashaka 

We’re “The agency responsible for some of South Africa’s hippest gatherings centered around music, film, fashion, design and women”. Someone else words, not mine but I love how they saw and described us. We’re an experience led agency and we’re best known for our owned platforms but also specialize in conceptualizing experiences and content for other brands. 

Who is Nandi? What inspires her?

Nandi is a mother and creative. Those are my most prevalent identities and creating a beautiful and joyful life for my son and I is what inspires and motivates me. 

Who are you wearing?

 I am wearing Superella. I have this black Japanese inspired fit from her which I wear almost daily. I have a work week fit from her, all black and Japanese inspired fit.  I might switch it up from time to time but rarely because I really love waking up and knowing what I’m going to wear. For me, it’s one less thing I have to think about.

Who are you listening to?

My moods are curated by Sasha Marie. I am ALWAYS listening to her playlists. I really enjoy how she’s always putting me on and how she explores and infuses unexpected genres.  I’ve had playlists 56 (Becoming) & 54 (Waves) on repeat basically since they came out. She’s also a part of the Soulection family, an interesting fact and not a qualifier in my opinion.

What can we look forward to in 2022?

 You can look forward to more of our events! Pantone Sundays, Feel Good Series & Bloom. We have some special evolutions planned for each of our brands this year and the next year and I’m really looking forward to how they manifest and are received.


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