In a holiday weekend filled with marquee events, the new kid on the block, We Are One proses to bring the most fun. With an eclectic lineup featuring some of the biggest and most exciting talents in the country and combined with food and a photography exhibition We Are One is set to deliver a “well rounded cultural experience”
Words: Tshiamo Seape
We Are One is the brainchild of Johannesburg Natives, Tshepang Mabizela and Tokoholo Booysen who saw a need to bring unity into a desperately divided city. Understanding the connecting power of music the duo decided to launch the festival in the hopes of overcoming at least some of the barriers that afflict the city of gold. An intricate understanding of music, art and the culture that surrounds both, Tokoholo and Tshepang have a created an event that looks to deliver something very special within the local music scene. With a line up that includes Moonchild, Nonku Phiri, Dear Ribane and so many more, We Are One is shaping up to be a can’t miss event.
With such honest ambitions and high expectations, we had to get in touch with one of the festival’s organisers to get more about what makes WAO special.
Between you and your fellow founder, Tokoholo, what are your professional backgrounds like – is We Are One a natural extension of what you’ve already been doing?
Our professional background is passion and love, it is the driven force for what we do, it is where the genuineness for ‘experiences’ comes from. We of course have mentors that are in the event space but we are students and leaders of the space we are in. We are both varsity drop outs, because we decided to follow our hearts in creating ‘experiences’ because we felt we could do something more genuine and real and something everyone could resonate with.
Is this the first time either of you have thrown an event like this?
Yes, it’s our first time doing something of this magnitude but we had failed a million times over with smaller events in the passed, events that served the same purpose, that being, CREATING PLATFORMS, for artists because this is something real and genuine to us and not another ‘gap in the market’, it’s shaping a generation.
What was your initial inspiration for putting together this event?
We put on this festival because of the missing middle that was evident in the music space, we noticed that there are a bunch of musicians that are overlooked because they are not ‘ideal’ or just not ‘impactful’ enough so we took it upon ourselves to band together and create a festival for us and by us and to also show the music space that we are the future and we will be in the forefront of music and it’s growth.
You’ve said that We Are One is about connecting through music and overcoming division. What do you believe the greatest things dividing us are?
Ego’s, the art space is made of great artists that are egotistic and it’s their ego that drives them and not the goal, because the goal is to work together when ‘the industry’ fails to recognise us, people create movements, their ego’s don’t, they stagnate the revolution, create half circles.
What were some of the biggest challenges in bringing this event to life?
Money and the unknown, we have failed a million times but you can never fail enough, character is built when you are faced with extraneous variables, you need to have the attitude to face them and learn from from them and move on, movement is important.
Aside from conceiving and organising the festival do you plan to get involved in any other capacity?
No not at all, this movement is bigger than the founders, we can not interfere with a revolution. Any revolution belongs to it’s people because they make it what it is. We are trying to create a home, that’s it. A home for everyone.
Aside from music (the lineup looks great by the way), what can attendees expect at We Are One?
A holistic art experience, that’s why we have chosen to collaborate with so many entities, WOKE ARTS, RHTC, 73o, Buka Arts and Brownsense, we want people to be blown away artistically and not only musically.
What is the ultimate goal of the festival in your eyes? Beyond a revolution? A home where people like us can feel comfortable, we want a very inclusive space, where can be our truest selves, that is art at it’s purest
Beyond a revolution? A home where people like us can feel comfortable, we want a very inclusive space, where can be our truest selves, that is art at it’s purest.