May 19, 2014 8 Questions With: Creative Nestlings
Through our Venture Lab outreach, we encountered an organization, Creative Nestlings, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Founded in 2011 by Dillion Phiri and run in tandem with his wife, Nokulunga Mateta-Phiri (Lunga), Creative Nestlings is a research and development company focused on growing the local creative industries and providing support to emerging creatives. What struck us was the passion and determination of this leadership team to cultivate opportunities for Cape Town’s future creative frontrunners. This support includes nurturing creative careers, educational workshops, collaborative platforms for showcases, sharing, conversations, and co-op working.
Creative Nestlings recently joined forces with the Cape Town Partnership, custodian of Creative Cape Town . With a more robust network and shared resources, they hope to provide a bigger impact to the city. Recognizing that the community is the foundation for empowerment, Creative Nestlings is well on its way to fully realizing their vision.
Tell us a bit about what your vision is for Creative Nestlings, the role it serves for the creative community, and your objectives for it longer term.
We are a research and development company focused on growing the creative industry, and providing support to young, emerging creative individuals. We mainly play a connector of dots in the creative industry for young people, and a creator of platforms where young people can gather, showcase, share and grow.
Unemployment in South Africa currently stands at between 42-45%. 75% of this group is composed of young people. Formal employment alone cannot absorb the surplus labour we have, and additionally, we need to unlock the latent creativity to address these challenges. The Creative Nestlings ethos focuses on nurturing a curious, creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial mind-set among the youth of this country.
We are trying to strengthen youth employment through the creative and cultural industries, and also showing the value of these industries within education and everyday life.
How do you see Cape Town’s role within global creative culture?
Dillion – Cape Town for me is an interesting city. It’s a city where creativity can really play a major role, and it’s a beautiful and ugly city at the same time. It’s a city where if you can get things like social housing, inequality and many other issues right you will get the whole world listening. It’s a city that could be a global catalyst for change. There are great creatives coming out of this city, but more needs to be done to push the creative and cultural industries.
Lunga – The creative industry to me seems like raw, untapped, very fertile land. Anything can grow here, anything can happen here. It has so many different kinds of people calling it home. It can be a fashion capital if it wants to.
What are some of the challenges your team faces – e.g. economic or entrepreneurial environment, cultivating community, building infrastructure, finding funding, etc?
Dillion – Currently our main challenge is the funding to make the ideas we have a reality, that’s our main challenge. Another challenge is creating a central space where young people interested in creative and cultural things can easily walk in and plug and play but I guess that’s funding too.
Lunga – All of the above apply when it comes to the South African creative industry. But what seems to kill the spirit mainly is finance or that initial funding to kick start a project. It sucks.
How would you describe your role in the company and day-to-day activities?
Dillion – I am the chaos, the unrealistic ideas person and also the one online 24/7 pushing our social media and website, editing the videos. My role is Founder and Creative Director.
Lunga – As Managing Director, I bring order to the chaos (well most of the time), and I pull all the strings together into one straight line and know where it’s going.
What are you most proud of with the Creative Nestlings initiative and impact achieved?
Dillion – I guess seeing some fellow young people starting to be curious about the creative and culture industries and getting someone like Professor Mugendi K. M’Rithaa wanting to help us and believing in us. Also, it’s really cool to see well established local organisations like Cape Town Partnership and Creative Cape Town believing in us and taking us in.
Lunga – I get proud when people learn new stuff from their peers, I get proud when people start getting excited and are inspired to turn their passions into a living too, even if they procrastinate or get scared to actually execute, but I feel Creative Nestlings will grow one day and be able to catch these individuals when they fall.
As a kid, what did you aspire to be?
Dillion – As a kid I wanted to be a basketball player playing in the NBA and later on start a league in my home country Zimbabwe.
Lunga – Visual artist, graphic designer, musician, dancer, tv host, journalist, fashion maker, I could go on… I kept my options wide open.
Where do you personally find inspiration?
Dillion – I find inspiration in listening to other people, moving around different spaces, in reading magazines, newspapers, etc.
Lunga – People are sooo interesting to me – digging deeper into what people hide about themselves. Where they stay, if they make their beds every morning, how lazy they are, what they do when nobody is watching, what kind of natural odours they hide with perfumes, if they have toe jam, what they are really good at , what makes them lovable , I could go on. People just don’t know much about each other – I hope to play some role in bridging that gap.
What is your favorite place to travel?
Dillion – I would love to travel to my father’s land – Malawi.
Lunga – Ghana, or Mozambique – I need to explore the African continent first before I go overseas.