Family friendly

Music Exchange #MEX23 3 Days 22,23,24 June

Thu Jun 22, 10:00 - Sat Jun 24, 16:00

Roxy Revue Bar



At our core, MEX is like a veritable teacher that delivers critically needed skills to society to serve the greater good and foster prosperity and sustainability in the Arts sector.

A vibrant world-class South African music industry is premised on successful homegrown talent locally with a global reach and international acclaim.  

Speakers confirmed, to date: (click on each tab tile to read more regarding each speaker )

Meng Ru Kuok - From Singapore

Group CEO & Founder of Caldecott Music Group, a global music industry investor and innovator spanning multiple sectors, including digital (BandLab Technologies), media (NME Networks), and manufacturing and retail (Vista Musical Instruments).

Dr Trevor Jones – World-renowned film music composer from UK

 Having spent most of his career in the United Kingdom, Jones has worked on numerous well-known and acclaimed films including Runaway Train, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Mississippi Burning, The Last of the Mohicans and In the Name of the Father. He has collaborated with filmmakers including John Boorman and Michael Mann. He has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and three BAFTA Awards for Best Film Music.


Marc Marot – Former Managing Director of Island Records from UK

Managed Richard Ashcroft, Paul Oakenfold, Yusuf Islam, and Lemon Jelly amongst others. Former chairman of the Crown Talent and Media group in London.

MD of Island records from 1990 to 2000, during which time the label enjoyed significant success with PJ Harvey, Pulp, The Cranberries, Tricky, NIN, the Stereo Mc’s, PM Dawn, Talvin Singh, Elbow and Chakka Demus and Pliers amongst many others, and also the reinvention of U2 from Achtung Baby onwards.


Stanley Jordan – Award-winning international Jazz musician from USA

In a career that took flight in 1985 with commercial and critical acclaim, guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan has consistently displayed a chameleonic musical persona of openness, imagination, versatility and maverick daring.


Meng Ru Kuok is the Group CEO & Founder of Caldecott Music Group, a global music industry investor and innovator spanning multiple sectors, including digital (BandLab Technologies), media (NME Networks), and manufacturing and retail (Vista Musical Instruments).

By integrating the physical, digital, and social supply chain around music, CMG brings together brands and people who are passionate about music, allowing them to deliver authentic content, products, and experiences for all music lovers.

CMG portfolio brands include BandLab, Cakewalk, MONO, Harmony, Heritage Guitars, Teisco, Swee Lee, NME,, MusicTech and Uncut.



“As the world’s creator platform, we will provide the infrastructure and resources that will enable more than 50 million artists and creators to grow and manage their own businesses, to monetize their work and effectively promote it.”

This is Daniel Ek‘s long-term vision for Spotify.

The entrepreneur and CEO said at his firm’s Investor Day last summer that he wants the “Spotify Machine” to eventually host the work of over 50 million “creators” (and over 1 billion active users) over the course of the next decade.

It’s a lofty ambition.

At the end of 2021, according to Ek, Spotify played host to recordings from just 11 million “creators” – a number that was up by 3 million year-on-year. That’s a long way off 50 million.

There is, though, at least one music-driven platform launched in the past decade that has already surpassed the 50-million-creator mark Ek’s been dreaming of…. and beyond.

BandLab is a music creation platform that offers a suite of tools for creators to “make music, share their music with fans, earn a living, and even top the charts”.

This week, the Singapore-headquartered firm confirmed to MBW that it now boasts over 60 million registered creators on its service, up from the 50 million milestone that it surpassed in June last year.

That means BandLab has added around 10 million creators to its platform in little over six months – having already added 20 million in the 15 months between March 2021 and June 2022.

And that’s just a taster of the knock-out stats now emerging out of BandLab.


The company’s CEO and founder, Meng Ru Kuok, recently revealed in Billboard interview that BandLab users are now responsible for creating approximately 16-17 million songs on the platform each month.

That’s up on around 10 million tracks per month that were being made on BandLab in March 2021.

We know life’s busy, the world’s non-stop, the music industry’s drowning in ‘millions’ and ‘billions’ these days, and you mightn’t even have read this far down in this article.

But, sorry, we’re going to have to take a breather and walk you through those numbers again – because they’re jaw-dropping.

  • Seventeen million new songs now being created on BandLab every month;
  • That’s around 200 million new songs a year;
  • Which is in itself around double the colossal number of total tracks currently available on streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music (i.e. 100 million).

Here’s another way to slice these astonishing numbers: 17 million songs per month represents, on average, around 567,000 songs being created on BandLab per day.

And to think the major record companies keep getting agitated about a mere 100,000 songs being uploaded to streaming services every 24 hours.


Obviously, not all of the 60 million-plus music creators on BandLab will have professional aspirations or  – evidently – are even bothered about distributing their tracks to leading music streaming platforms. Some of them will just be messing around.

BandLab, which was founded in 2015, talks up its capabilities as a “social music creation” platform, positioning itself somewhere between a serious music-making service / DAW (a la Logic Pro or Native Instruments) and a fun social network.

The whole idea is that anyone – whether a musical maestro or a musical know-nothing – can create a track on BandLab, and have fun doing it.

(Tellingly, Meng Ru Kuok suggests that musical “creators” in the modern age don’t have to beaver away on a seven-minute sonnet: instead, inspired by platforms like TikTok, he thinks that hit songs may soon become “10 to 30 seconds” long – an idea he says he finds both “scary and meaningful”.)


None of which is to suggest there aren’t some impressive creative features available for ‘serious’ music-heads via BandLab.

First up, those 60 million creators have access to BandLab’s free ‘Studio’ platform – an online DAW that enables recording, mixing and collaboration.

For a free piece of software, BandLab’s ‘Studio’ is surprisingly sophisticated, offering features like guitar amp simulations, time-stretching, automated pitch correction, guitar/bass/vocal effects, and over 200 virtual instruments (as well as the obvious live recording capability).

BandLab Studio’s closest natural rival might be Apple‘s GarageBand: BandLab claimed in 2021 that it had caught up with GarageBand in terms of total global mobile downloads.

Aside from ‘Studio’, BandLab also has a ‘Sounds’ offering (which provides users with additional access to royalty-free sound-packs, loops, and beats), plus digital mastering features.

And, in a very 2023 kinda twist, BandLab houses ‘Songstarter’ – a generative AI tool that helps creators by cranking out royalty-free song ideas.


Beyond this, BandLab offers creators a variety of different ways to earn, and to spend, money.

For example: musicians can use BandLab (via Zire... which BandLab owns) to create and launch ad campaigns across social sites like InstagramFacebook, and key online music media.

Via a feature called ‘BandLab Boost’, creators can also promote their music via ads on the BandLab platform itself.

In addition, BandLab has distribution through ReverbNation, for a fee, and will soon offer users the ability to distribute directly through the app.

Elsewhere, BandLab users can submit their music to on-platform contests that offer cash prizes, plus they can discover opportunities (via ReverbNation... which BandLab owns) to join festival line-ups and have their music featured in movies, video games, ads etc..

And users can sell their music directly to other creators on the BandLab platform, BandCamp-style, via Stripe and PayPal integrations.


BandLab’s work with independent artists is already spawning industry-morphing results.

Last summer, teenage Houston artist d4vd used his phone and recorded a track called Romantic Homicide – in his sister’s closet. He used a vocal signal chain recorded via a stock BandLab fx preset. He also used BandLab’s free algorithmic/automated mastering service – BandLab Mastering – to finish the track.

It gained traction on TikTok, where, according to MBW’s analysis of ChartMetric data, clips from Romantic Homicide have now been played over 807 million times.

To date, the same track’s been streamed more than 380 million times on Spotify, and over 30 million times on YouTube.


At some point between making that track on his sister’s phone, and racking up nearly a billion TikTok plays, d4vd (real name: David Burke) signed to major label powerhouse Interscope/Darkroom, home of Billie Eilish.

Another teenage artist whose BandLab-made tracks have blown up is Cl4pers, who currently counts over 1.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Cl4pers’ biggest track on YouTube, Without Me!, recently surpassed 9 million plays. There’s been over a billion views of the hashtag #Cl4pers on TikTok to date.



To understand the potential of BandLab in the future, it’s helpful to appreciate the corporate structure it sits within.

Since December 2021, BandLab’s parent has been known as Caldecott Music Group (CMG)CMG also owns properties including Vista Musical Instruments and NME Networks, which counts publications such as NMEUncut and amongst its roster of media brands.

(Offering BandLab creators more opportunities to advertise – and maybe even be featured – on/in these CMG-owned publications is an obvious possible route for experimentation for the music platform in the months ahead.)

In addition, CMG is the owner of a fully-fledged professional digital audio workstation (DAW), Cakewalk.

It’s not hard to see how CMG might hope to transition successful producers on BandLab towards Cakewalk as their career, and their skillset, progresses.

The other important thing to know about BandLab’s future potential is its spending power.

In late 2021, the company raised USD $65 million in investment, valuing its company at over $300 million.

The round attracted some very serious financial backers, including an arm of Netherlands-listed Prosus, which is majority-owned by Naspers… the largest shareholder of Tencent.

The round’s other investors included Vulcan Capital (the multi-billion-dollar investment arm of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen) plus K3 Ventures, a venture capital firm that’s previously invested in AirBnB and was an early backer of TikTok/ByteDance.

BandLab’s mission in the years ahead is the dramatic democratization of music-making – whether that’s for someone having a laugh cooking up a 30-second track for TikTok, or a future Triple-A producer delving into their creative ‘flow state’.

As Meng Ru Kuok put it last year: “We don’t believe that people’s creativity or their ability to make music or to express themselves should be limited by their spending power or their knowledge of how to write a song.”

He added that, as of November 2022, BandLab was a “small platform getting started” with a global staff of just 140 people.

Judging by its immense popularity with creators to date, we can surely expect that headcount – as well as BandLab’s already sizeable presence in the music industry – to rapidly multiply in the years ahead.

Music Business Worldwide


Marc guided U2’s career throughout the 1990s, from the release of Achtung Baby to just before the release of All You Can’t Leave Behind, selling close to 60 million albums in the process.

In 1998 he introduced Bono to the concept of Third World debt relief via his involvement in the ‘Jubilee 2000’ campaign and oversaw the ‘drop the debt’ initiative from within the music industry. Bono has subsequently thanked him on both the stage of the MTV awards and whilst addressing the UN council chamber in New York.

To date, acts discovered or managed by him have notched up 38 Top 10 singles, including 18 #1 singles in the UK charts. He has been responsible for more than a million album sales in one form, including his 10 years of direct international responsibility for U2’s marketing and sales.

Upon leaving Island Records in 2000, he produced and oversaw the design and implementation of the multi-award winning, following a successful $5M fundraise. remains one of the most successful music sites on the web, with over 1.4 million registered users and 140 000 subscription-paying customers.

Since setting up his first management company Terra Firma Ltd, his clients have included:
• Richard Ashcroft
• Lemon Jelly
• Audio Bullys
• Paul Oakenfold
• Yusuf Islam (formally known as Cat Stevens). Islam’s comeback album, Another Cup, sold 850,000 copies worldwide under his supervision.

Marc acted as music supervisor and (music) producer on many film soundtracks, from Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning, and In the Name of the Father (client Trevor Jones and Bono), to the soundtrack for Notting Hill, which sold over four million copies.

He also signed a soundtrack deal for Guy Richie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which sold over a million copies worldwide.

In 2007, he was appointed as the exclusive music supervisor of the Isle of Man government’s film fund’s commercial arm, CinemaNX. 

Recent credits have included the award-winning films Heartless, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Me, and Orson Welles and the 2011 box-office record-breaker, TT3D Closer to The Edge, one of the UK’s highest-grossing cinema documentaries to date.

While managing Paul Oakenfold, he worked on eight #1 USA box office movies, including The Matrix, Swordfish and Collateral.

In 2008 he sold his management company to Dutch-based ‘Sports Entertainment Group (SEG), accepting the position of CEO.

The company managed over 400 athletes, including former UK premier division football superstars Robin Van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen and 25 entertainers, including The Noisettes, Leftfield, William Orbit, Gabriella Cilmi, and Billy Ocean, as well as emerging UK talents ShyFX, and Breakage.

In January 2012, he resigned from SEG and accepted the position of Executive Chairman of The Crown Talent and Media Group Ltd.

The company exclusively managed the careers of several highly influential artists and athletes, as well as interests in artist management, music publishing, touring, event management, TV and film production and a model agency.

Marc had around 100 personalities under management, including Ella Henderson, Union J, Luke Friend, Becky Hill, Tamera Foster, TV presenters Susy Perry (BBC) and Hayley McQueen (SKY), as well as former Formula One™ Driver Max Chilton. His football management wing had 49 players under management.
Marc began his professional career in 1982 as the ‘Professional Manager’ of UK Independent music publisher, Eaton Music ltd, working with film composers George Fenton, Carl Davis and Henry Mancini and pop groups including Status Quo.

He was appointed Managing Director of Chris Blackwell’s Blue Mountain Music in 1984, working with U2 and the reggae catalogue, amongst others. 

He had his first international #1 single with “Pump Up the Volume”.

Marc’s publishing signings include, amongst many others, Massive Attack, De La Soul, Julia Fordham, and Shakespeare’s Sister (Marcy Levy).

He headed every division of Island until Marc was appointed MD of Island Records in 1990, the youngest MD in the UK music industry at the time.

Amongst the Artists signed and developed by his team while at Island Records were:
• Pulp
• PJ Harvey
• The Stereo MCs
• P.M. Dawn
• The Cranberries
• Elbow
• Chaka Demus and Pliers
• The Orb
• Ice Cube
• Talvin Singh
• Tricky
• Nine Inch Nails

During his tenure as Island Records MD, Island artists won the prestigious Mercury Music Record of the Year prize three times, and ten Island albums were short-listed. Artists signed during the period have subsequently gone on to win 25% of all the prizes awarded in the 20-year history of the competition.

Click Here to Listen to Marc Marot: 
On the Couch with MEX- EPISODE #57 PART 1
Click Here to Listen to Marc Marot: On the Couch with MEX- EPISODE #58 PART 2


After delivering compelling sessions at Music Exchange's 12th annual conference in 2022, Marc Marot will be flying in from London to share and guide delegates throughout #MEX23.


As one of the four international speakers at #MEX23, alongside award-winning composer Dr Trevor Jones, celebrated guitar maestro Stanley Jordon and group CEO and founder of Caldecott Music Group, Meng Ru Kuok, delegates are assured of a weekend of great immersive edification.

When Marot takes to the stage at GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World, Goodwood, Cape Town, he will address the old versus the new when signing musical talent.

"While running Island Records in the 1990s, a small team and I made every decision," Marot teases from his soon-to-be detailed keynote. "I didn't even let the marketing or promotion department have a say because they would always choose the easy option."

"When I signed PJ Harvey, Pulp, Nine Inch Nails or Elbow, these were decisions made upon the criteria of 'do I love the music, and do I like, trust and respect the people that made it," he continues.

"Using these criteria, we could sign unusual talent that the world wasn't expecting. It made the musical landscape a better place."

Nowadays, you can't get in the record company door unless you've got a huge social media following.

"Social media following is not an indication of talent," Marot warns. "The audience who likes the new artist can be influenced by all sorts of things, including sympathy for them socially or, more likely because they are in an affinity group with many other people who sound the same."

"And it could get worse, he concludes with a warning. "The employment of AI by the music industry to search for talent will only throw up further cases of talentless soundalikes."

"My thesis is that the industry must turn its back on social media and return to signing original and unusual music if we are to push the boundaries forward."

If this doesn't satisfy your curiosity to discover what informs Marot's many music industry hypotheses, then perhaps #MEX23 is not for you. If it does, however, get ready for rock'n'roll in every sense of the word.

Quality music, and future-focused content – delivered by some of the most influential business minds and creatives – that's what #MEX23 assures.



Cape Town  July 2022 – Recognition, celebration, and validation of
contribution in composition was the theme of the day this past Friday at the
University of Cape Town (UCT) when the District-Six-born Dr Trevor Jones accepted
the award of the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa.

Aristotle first said: “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. He used it as a key
concept in Ancient Greek philosophy, but it is also applied to Gestalt psychology, systems
design and even movies. This quote is, of course, about how much better things are
together than as individual pieces.

In a league of his own

For Trevor Jones, nominated by Time magazine as one of the top five film composers in the
 it is the many, many different pieces of his expertise and knowledge as a musician,
composer, conductor, film expert and extraordinary ability to paint feeling with a sound that,
when put together, have made a truly great whole.

His over 40-year career includes over 120 film and television productions, such as
Mississippi Burning, Last of the Mohicans, Around the World in 80 Days and Notting Hill,
and many more familiar and notable titles.

The late-great David Bowie listened to one of his scores and said he was in awe of Jones’

In pursuit of the perfect score

It all started at about age 5 when Trevor used to go to the Gem Cinema in Woodstock. The
projection equipment was so old and worn out that often the picture and the soundtrack
became disconnected. He (curiously) was already very aware of the relationship between
image and sound and tuned in to the emotional effect of music in the movie. He said to his
mother – “I’d love to write music for film”. So (at age 5), he had already articulated his

He took his first piano lessons at age 10, describing himself as a hypersensitive kid with a
stammer, drifting around the school yard humming Schubert’s 8th, getting bullied and afraid
of gangsters.

At 17, he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he
studied composition, orchestration, conducting, piano and organ. Then, to the University of
York, where he studied jazz, pop, rock, folk, avant-garde, and electronic music. This
eclectic mix allowed him to write scores which combined ancient instruments such as the
dulcimer and the shakuhachi with a full symphony orchestra, synthesisers, reverb units,
kalimba, claves and chimes.

Qualified beyond

He graduated with a master’s degree in Film and Media Music and then studied at the
National Film and Television School. While there, he gained experience as part of the
lighting team, operating the camera and got involved in the pre-and post-production stages.
In between, he worked as the Classical Music Reviewer for BBC Radio & Television and
wrote the music for twenty-two student projects. One of his scores was part of an Academy
Award-winning short movie.

Keeping score

He went on to compose many scores for Hollywood movies and TV series and has worked
with directors, actors, and musicians such as (these are randomly picked but signal the
diversity of genres, styles and personalities of his colleagues) Steven Spielberg, George
Lucas, Ridley Scott, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Al
Pacino, Sting, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Britney Spears and Elvis Costello.

Jones is a jury member for the Oscars and the BAFTAs and, in 1999, became the first chair
of music at the National Film and Television School. He received the title Fellow of the
British Royal Academy of Music in 2006.

Well worthy

There’s a kind of magic that makes the whole more significant than the sum of the parts,
and Jones has that magic. With his all-encompassing knowledge of musical instruments,
musical styles, composition, electronics, and film, he can imagine a whole having informed
and revolutionised music in film that is significantly and considerably greater than the sum
of the parts.





At 70, Sipho is more vital than ever. His music has been featured in the December 2021 summer campaign for MTN. He also made the cover, including a 16-page feature in the Jan/Feb issue GQ Magazine, and was awarded a GQ Lifetime Achievement Award the month before.

Sipho turned 70 in November 2021 and his band is Thembeka Khumalo (SAMA nominated) on vocals, Simphwe Khubeka on drums,  Thando on guitar, David Mabaso on bass, Lloyd “Toto” Mbele on keys and Sipho Mabuse on vocals and saxophone. 

As former-president President Kgalema Motlanthe wrote on Sipho’s 70th birthday on 2 Nov 2021 

My brother Sipho, we have come a long way together, and through your 70-year-long pilgrimage to the highest echelons of social, cultural, and artistic eminence, we remember the distinguished milestones of your life and honour this as a moment for all South Africans to consider your pioneering contribution to African music and a global movement of expression. 

From the tender age of 8 years old playing drums to already becoming a professional musician by age 15, yours is a seminal career that not only spans six decades and counting but is a career that defined an industry with an oeuvre that set the tone for a golden era of music. 

The sound of Sipho “Hotstix’ Mabuse was to set the world alight with sonic vibrations that contributed to the cultural development of world music, Afro-funk, Soweto soul, township pop and contemporary sounds over the years. 

As one of the most influential multi-instrumentalists in Africa, the creative industry is fortunate to benefit from an endowment of musical genius, enlightened performances, and an unwavering commitment that Sipho “Hotstix’ Mabuse has offered to a range of young musicians over the past half-century.

 These gifts of mentorship, advice, experience, and priceless lessons are the ingredients that create a meaningful consciousness among young people entering the arts. 

The crucial social and political role that music has played in our history cannot be taken for granted. Beyond the pleasure that music and art, in general, elicits in people, it serves an even higher purpose – that of developing the consciousness of people and improving the social system. 

At 70 years of age, Sipho “Hotstix’ Mabuse continues to play a critical role in the South African music scene with the power to build social cohesion, the ethical leadership to rear a new generation of musicians, and the virtuosity to uplift a nation through ground-shaking tunes. 

Yours is a testament to the contribution of a South African musical prodigy whose impact is burnt into the memory of a nation and whose creative passion evokes the emotions of history and the heart. 

A truly heartfelt tribute to one of South Africa’s greats.

Thirty-seven years ago, Sipho’s half-a-million-selling smash-hit single “Burn Out” changed the face and shape of Afro-pop and township jive like no other song or artist in pop music history. 

Today there are few instruments he cannot play. Flute, piano, saxophone, kalimba, alto flute, timbales and African drums all feature at some point in his repertoire, all played with the respect each deserves.  

Warm, compassionate, caring and gifted in ways even he is still learning about, this gentle giant of great original music is as vital a player today as he’s ever been. 

With an impressive catalogue anchored in Africa, all who meet, greet, and share stages with Sipho are all touched by a humility and grace that’s as rare as the talent this living legend shares with us all.


A quick Google search brings up names like The Beaters, Sipho’s first band that later evolved to become Harari, one of the most successful acts to dominate the music scene of the 1970s in South Africa. They were the ultimate party band. One of South Africa’s most important musical acts, Harari, will forever hold legendary status, even after splitting in 1982. In his solo capacity, Sipho continues to create wonderfully original South African-born music.

He has also recorded and produced many legendary artists, the likes of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and Sibongile Khumalo. As a regular commentator on arts and culture in the country, Sipho has also sat on the boards of Music Exchange, The National Arts Council and SAMRO (South African Musicians Rights Organisation).

Selected Career Highlights?
2005 – SAMA Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
2008 – 46664 Ambassador – performing in London’s Hyde Park. 
2009 – 46664 Ambassador – performing at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
2018 – Silver Order of Ikhamangafor his contribution to the field of music.
2018 – Lifetime Achievement Award winner at the 13th Annual South African Traditional Music Achievements Awards (SATMA).
2021 – Lifetime Achievement Award from GQ magazine.



Karabo Senna is General Manager for Licensing and Sales at SAMRO

 Prior to that, Karabo was the General Manager of Member Service at SAMRO for the past 4 years, with the focus being on the management of SAMRO's Publishers, Composers, and Authors.

Karabo has a drive and passion for education and empowerment of musicians, while also seeking to improve how musicians can earn passively through their royalty income. 

With a business education and a background in corporate, one of the main objectives for Karabo is to improve the successful distributions for SAMRO members.


Brendan '' Spike '' Ballantine is a media industry professional with over 20 years of experience compassing audio production for both radio and television, as well as copywriting and content ideation. 

Since 2015, Spike has focused on podcasting; his company: dbo Media, has provided services to South Africa's podcasting pioneer CliffCentral and overseen the creation of podcast series' for BMW South Africa, Investec, WITS and DHL Europe amongst others. 



Neil is a radio content programmer. 
He has worked at Primedia, SABC, Kagiso Media and recently for Kaya FM and AME.
  • Chief Content Officer – Kaya FM 95.9
  • Programme Manager – Jacaranda 94.2 FM
  • Programme Manager – Kaya FM 95.9
  • Course Development and Radio Training for the IAJ (Institute for the Advancement of Journalism)
  • Station Manager – P4 104.9 FM, Cape Town (Now Heart FM)
  • M-Web Radio (Naspers)
  • Consulting and Project work for The Music Industry Development Initiative Trust (MIDI Trust), Algoa FM, Kaya FM, Primedia Broadcasting (SADC Project), Radio Tel Aviv and Radio Tzafon (Israel)
  • Programme & Music Manager – 94.7 Highveld Stereo
  • Sales and Affiliate Manager – Broadcast Resources at Primedia Broadcasting
  • Operations Manager – Peace Radio (National Peace Secretariat)
  • He has also worked in various on and off-air capacities at 5FM, SABC TV and 702.



Siphokazi Jonas is a critically acclaimed producer, writer, poet and performer, with a strong national footprint and growing international presence.

She holds an MA in English Literature and a BA in Drama and English from the University of Cape Town. Her background in the theatre is what makes her a truly captivating performer whose work leaves a lasting impression on audiences across the world.
Siphokazi has written and performed in numerous productions including #WeAreDyingHere (2020) at Artscape and Joburg Theatre, and Around the Fire (2018) at Artscape Theatre.

She is a co-producer, co-writer, and performer on the short film adaptation of the #WeAreDyingHere film. In 2016 she was the first African ever to perform at Rhetoric, the biggest poetry event in the world, in Los Angeles, California.
In 2015 she was crowned the Cape Town Ultimate Slam Champion. Her poetry education project won Western Cape Top Achiever at the DAC Debut Awards in 2019.

Siphokazi’s stage work includes Natalia Da Rocha’s Adam Small Festival in 2015 and Mandla Mbothwe’s Oratorio of a Forgotten Youth in 2016She was nominated for a 2016 South African Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Around the Fire.

She was the runner-up in the prestigious 2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, coming second out of 600 poems submitted nationally. Her work was longlisted again in 2017.

In 2018 Siphokazi delivered The Widow, her directorial debut, as part of Artscape’s New Voices programme; returning the following year to present the production once more.

In February 2019 she toured as the headline act on the first-ever South African national poetry tour, the Fresh Poetry Tour. Siphokazi has shared the stage with South African legends such as Thembi Mtshali-Jones, Celeste Matthews-Wannenburgh, Natalia da Rocha and musicians Hotstix Mabuse, Pops Mohamed, Zolani Mahola, and Freshlyground. She was also one of the storytellers invited to perform for Yo-Yo Ma on his visit to South Africa.

In February 2021 Siphokazi was invited to the South African State of the Nation Address, where she delivered a captivating poem prior to the presidential address.
Her commissioned work includes writing poetry for Google, SA Tourism, the University of Cape Town, an artist exhibition in Milan, Italy, and the Swedish Embassy in South Africa. She has also created work for a school project in South America that uses poetry to make STEM subjects appealing to young students.

She has also been a featured performer at the Open Book FestivalNaked Word Festival, Word and Sound International Youth Festival, the 21st Poetry Africa Festival, the SA Book Fair and the Abantu Book Festival. Here she has been featured along with international poets, including Alysia Harris and Miles Hodges.

Siphokazi has also co-curated the Open Book Festival and the Time of the Writer Festival poetry competition. In her capacity as a speaker, she’s contributed to national and academic conferences, including Music Exchange and The Justice Conference South Africa, presenting on issues ranging from writing, the art business, art and activism, and social justice.

Her most recent multi-genre production, #WeAreDyingHere, was co-written with poet Hope Netshivhambe and award-winning musician Babalwa Makwetu. It debuted at the Artscape Theatre in November 2019 and was performed at the Joburg Theatre in February 2020, where both runs received rave reviews. The recorded stage version was later streamed on the Covid-Zero streaming site to over 20 countries. The production was mentioned in Time Out New York as one of the best productions to stream during the lockdown.

In 2020, #WeAreDyingHere was adapted into a poetry short film with Optical Films, in partnership with Executive Producers Siya Kolisi and Rachel Kolisi. The film debuted at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and was nominated for Best Narrative Short.
Come September 2022, the SAFTA-nominated short film  streams on Showmax 
Being listed by Global Citizen as one of seven key African films which highlight the dangers of GBV, #wearedyinghere continues to break new ground, having made as the first short film to open at Africa Rising International Film Festival
Siphokazi has also been profiled on both print, radio, and television media including the Daily Maverick, Sunday Times, IOL, Hectic Nine-9, Expresso, eNCA, SABC, eTV, Cape Talk, 702, and many others.




Gasant Abarder is the Media, Marketing and Communications manager for the University of the Western Cape.

Abarder served as editor of both the Cape Times and the Cape Argus over a career in mainstream media spanning 21 years.

His debut book, ‘Hack with a Grenade – An Editor’s Back Stories of SA News’, was published in December 2020 by Best Red – an imprint of HSRC Press.

Abarder graduated with a BTech Journalism Degree from Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

He served as Deputy Editor of the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) in 2009.

Abarder was featured in the media category of the Mail & Guardian’s prestigious Young South Africans publication in 2013.


Having started from rung #1 of the ladder of the entertainment industry, a courier biker for a music company in London, John slowly climbed upwards, from trainee engineer at Air Edel to engineer, then trainee Producer at Air Studios London to Producer. 

Shifting focus out of the studio and into the world of Music Publishing, he began his publishing life at Chrysalis Music, moving to MCA Music, to his own company CFM and then back to the corporate world of PolyGram Music.  

Within the PolyGram Group, John transferred to Germany and eventually South Africa, building PolyGram Music from scratch, shifting to Universal Music and taking the company to being #1 Publisher.
John was also the chief negotiator o.b.o. NORM (during his role as Chairman), securing the first Digital Agreement in Africa, paving the way for a precedent to be set for all Digital agreements with DSPs thereafter. 

He was also the pioneer and founding driving force behind the first unified mechanical society in South Africa, CAPASSO.
Now joint owner of independent music publishing company, Active Music Publishing, he continues to strive to develop and support composers in this highly competitive area of the industry, adding value in whatever means possible to further their careers.
A Board Member of the Independent Music Publishers Forum (IMPF), a body of over 175 Intl. Independent Publishers, vying to ensure the interests of composers and publishers is heard globally, sitting on various committees, one of which is the current hot topic…, AI.
“Measuring your success in the world of music is not about who you have worked with, it is about who you are working with.  It is not about what you have done, it is about what you are doing”.







Music Exchange #MEX23 3 Days 22,23,24 June
Roxy Revue Bar
1 Jakes Gerwel Dr, Goodwood, Cape Town, 7460
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