With a few days to go til Night Embassy Johannesburg Ambassadors Kombonations' Kaofela Kaofela event at The White House in Meadowlands Soweto this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they have made an exciting addition to their lineup: Amapiano superstar Focalistic will be performing on Saturday at 6pm. As if that were not exciting enough, New York cult streetwear label KidSuper is coming to Johannesburg on Wednesday to create a T-shirt range with Kombonation, made up of Soweto photographer/design duo Kananelo Kabelo Sello and Kgotso Selomah. KidSuper currently wants to display this collaboration - and potentially an expanded one - in New York at his exhibition.
For Kombonation this is a dream come true as a lot of their work has been inspired by Kidsuper. At 30 years old, KidSuper has become a cultural phenomenon – designer, artist, athlete, producer, trendsetter. In a few short years he has taken over fashion, designing for Sean Mendes, Russ, Lil Nas X, Ed Sheeran, J Balvin, Puma, Steve Aoiki and more. The only thing more impressive than this years LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize winner, his ability to predict the next trend is his unconventional approach to art and design, the dedication to his friends and fan base and his overarching affinity for Jägermeister. Jägermeister has been incorporated into all of his events and celebratory moments over the past number of years, including his first ever Art Show, his Birthday / Halloween Party with ASAP Rocky and Paris Fashion Week
Market Photography Workshop graduates Kananelo Kabelo Sello and Kgotso Selomah founded Kombonation in 2018. They are a Soweto-based pre-to-post production start-up, specialising in real and raw visual storytelling. Kananelo and Kgotso also create clothing that showcases their photographic skills and expresses the narratives existing within and beyond their imagery. Their attire, events and performances are by the kasi, for the kasi - and beyond.
Says Kgotso “We honestly took a long shot proposing to the Night Embassy Johannesburg team to get KidSuper on-board Kaofela Kaofela so that we can really explore Kasi and local brands diversifying into more than just "drip"." Kombonation got way more than they bargained for with KidSuper even taking this range and the Ambassador duo to New York city in 2022 for his exhibition!”
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday Kombonation will host the kasi night experience of a lifetime, Kaofela Kaofela, where you can enjoy exhibitions, fashion, photography, talks, games, street sports, performances and DJ sets that influence the lifestyle of togetherness, ekasi. Tickets to this edition of Night Embassy Johannesburg by Jägermeister are R50 for a day pass.
Kombonation's residency is named 'Kaofela, Kaofela ' as the saying "together, we can do more" is part of Kombonation's moral code. "We are a collaborative effort so we hold unity in community in high regard. We believe our dream can only come true if our community, our fans, and society as a whole understand that this is a joint effort,” says Kabelo.
"At The White House in Soweto, we will exhibit visual and performing arts by our community, with the incorporation of street cultural elements such as clothing and street sports that influence the lifestyle of togetherness, ekasi,” explains Kgotso.
“From a Kombonation Kollexion Fashion Show, to talks with special guests that influence urban culture in creativity, sports, and entertainment, we will cultivate an atmosphere of togetherness from this festive season to infinity," Kgotso adds.
“Our venue will be turned into an unconventional gallery experience, not only showcasing our iconic imagery, but other forms of expression, such as street sports, music and fashion. The first night will start with a ‘konvoy’ (convoy) to the host venue from Jabavu, where Kombonation hosts its annual front yard exhibition, with some interactive pit stops in between. When we arrive, there'll be a fashion show waiting to blow our minds! We'll play some fun games on the second night with the attendees, while those playing on the decks keep the night vibey. Our last evening begins with a conversation with an author from kasi, Tshidiso Moletsane, about his thought-provoking book JUNX. The night ends with live performances by Kombonation, alongside other magical hood musicians!” Kgotso says.
"Our good friends and fellow imagery practitioners, Sisterbozza, Director P, The Eye and Tshidiso Moletsane will be our residency ‘kollaborators’, disrupting exhibition norms with Kombonation! Everything about Kaofela Kaofela will showcase kasi brilliance, walala wasala!" Kgotso continues.
The events will be MC’d by Kaymo ke Superstar and Leighnah. Hip hop, dancehall, soul and amapiano DJs and performers will take to The White House stage.
Day 1 - Opening Night - Friday 26 November 16:00 - 23:00
The last weekend of this month begins with a historic voyage to Ndofaya called the All Wheels Konvoy!
The meet-up spot is Freshthing's home in Jabavu, the host venue of The Annual Birthday Exhibition. The Kombonation front yard photographic showcase turns five this year and it is a great pleasure to have Night Embassy JHB in this chapter of Kombonation's story! When we arrive, the Kombonation Kollexion Fashion Show hits the runway!
On decks: Qualidee, Buhle, Bomzi, Deepsoulja
Day 2 - Saturday 27 November - Games Night 17:00 - 23:00
A ‘night-in’ type of night out! Come and watch a skate ‘kontest’, shoot some hoops and score some penalties during this fun filled night! Let's make new friends while playing a variety of board games and indigenous games while celebrating with some ice kühl shots! Kuzoba mnandi hooray!
On decks: Hot Box Party by Teedo Love and Deniece Marz and DJ Nekita ; Freshboy and Vorosow van Stockow
Performances: Focalistic, Jägermeister Brass Cartel, Open mic session.
Day 3 - Sunday 28 November - Closing Event 15:00 - 22:00
This night is one for the books, literally!
Staying true to visual literacy, this night begins with an exclusive sit down with Sowetan author Tshidiso Moletsane, writer of the autobiographical short novel, JUNX, who will inspire kasi writers to go for it! The night closes with live performances by hosts - Kombonation - and many more!
The musical seven ‘kalaz’ (colours) menu for the whole weekend includes Bilal da DJ, Roccotole, Amukelani, Jimm&Tonic, Thando Simelane, GoonZ, Jabulani Cindi and Kombonation.
About Night Embassy
Night Embassy Johannesburg by Jägermeister is a residency programme centred around 'Freiraum', a space for unbridled self-expression and unlimited creativity. From 12 November to 4 December, the Night Embassy Ambassadors Unmuted., Other Village People, Kombonation and DormantYouth explore new directions in nightlife culture through curated events in Joburg. These Night Embassy Ambassadors will take over some of the iconic locations in the city to make their boldest nightlife visions come to life. On 11 December 2021, following the residency weeks, Night Embassy will close out with a big underground party in Johannesburg.
Kombonation entered Night Embassy Johannesburg as it was, "An opportunity for us to create an alternative kasi nightlife experience on a bigger scale. We've done so on our own from 2017, just never on a level that allows the world to see and be part of this togetherness. We're honoured and appreciative of this platform."
With the Kaofela Kaofela residency they have now created with funding from Jagermeister and the mentorship of the Night Embassy Creative Board, these Ambassadors of the Night "Get to drive home what's really important to us; visual literacy. With our understanding of how the medium of photography plays a powerful role in history and that many of the kasi dwellers aren't able to finish or even go to school, we've taken it upon ourselves to enforce this crucial skill amongst our people as a means to enhance learning as a whole. We want to empower our people to become critical thinkers so that they're always considerate of others and their surroundings. This way our dream of safer streets and therefore fun-filled nights becomes a reality."
Get tickets for KOMBONATION’s KOAFELA KOAFELA here: https://bit.ly/30ygFEc
Main Residency Name: Kaofela Kaofela
Dates: 26th – 28th November 2021
Venue: White House,
Msimanga St, Meadowlands East Zone 5, Meadowlands East, Soweto, 1852
Tickets: R50 per day, R150 for a 3 day pass.
Main Residency Name: Groove Biennale
Dates: 1st – 4th December 2021
Venue: Megalo, Alexandra
57 4th St, Marlboro, Sandton, 2063
Tickets: R100 per day, R250 for a 3 day pass
Stay updated by logging onto www.night-embassy.com/jhb, or follow
@nightembassyjhb on Instagram.
The Ambassadors have been given a blank canvas to explore their chosen topics and concepts with the support of the Night Embassy Creative Board, made up of five renowned figures known for their contributions to South Africa’s arts, events and music culture. Board members include 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 following as 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 that 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 have 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”, they share.
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 South Africa’s 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.’ Kombonation says, "Our art is by the kasi, for the kasi, and beyond” Adding that Night Embassy has provided , “an opportunity for us 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.
CREATIVE BOARD PROFILES
Theresho Selesho is a dynamic creative entrepreneur at the intersection of culture and business. He’s the CEO of Matchbox Live, the company behind major events like Black Coffee’s Music King and Oppikoppi. He is a partner in the Tshwanefontein event series and the Trancemicsoul Sessions and co-owner of the African Beer Emporium. Theresho also heads up the commercial division at artist Nelson Makamo’s Botho Project Space.
One half of the award-winning conceptual design and art direction studio Jana and Koos, designer, creative director and artist Jana Hamman has worked on Nike and Simon + Mary campaigns as well as on Alice & Fifth Restaurant and The Mighty Fine and Gorgeous George’s hotels. The co-owner of fashion label Beau Beau's art has shown in London, Joburg, Berlin and Sydney.
Lelowhatsgood is the DJ, digital marketer and content creator behind groundbreaking ballroom party and queer safe space Vogue Nights Jozi. As a writer, his byline has appeared in many publications including The New York Times. Colourful and vibrant are adjectives that best suit this creative voice from the LGBTQI community. Lelowhatsgood embodies the freedom that comes with being proud of being one’s true self.
Sharpeville's Day Marumo owns a Skate Company called Perfect Weather Skate and has a non-profit called the Perfect Weather Skate Foundation which hosts skate workshops, clinics and competitions for township kids. As a content creator and filmmaker he has worked on projects featuring Pharrell Williams, Black Coffee and Moonchild Sanelly amongst others. Day Marumo’s tale is one of aspirational passion leading one to be an unexpected figurehead within the ever expanding South African skateboarding culture.
Thuli Keupzz is Founder and Managing Director of amapiano centred bookings and talent management agency Lawk Communications. She is the marshal and custodian of some of amapiano music’s biggest names, she is Maphorisa's manager and discovered Kabza De Small amongst many others of the 22 acts on her roster. Thuli has also been instrumental in spreading amapiano’s popularity to East Africa. Thuli’s distinct understanding of amapiano gives a depth of knowledge bar none within the industry as an artist manager who is actively in the party scene.