Lebogang Mashigo is the Director of Nubreed, a non-profit organisation that provides music lessons to children in rural Mpumalanga. In this interview, Lebogang who is featured in this year’s 200 Young South Africans list tells us more about her career.
Growing up, what did you think you were going to ‘be’ and what changed that?
Growing up I wanted a career in law and I also dreamed of being a Television host and producer. I don't think it is impossible, but growing up I have discovered other gifts.
Where did the idea to establish Nubreed stem from?
When I was studying in Pretoria I worked for a music school and I had an idea of starting a similar concept to grant young people in my rural community an equal opportunity.
Tell us what your role entails?
At Nubreed, I am the director. My role entails working with a team of awesome gifted young people in the NPO and here I give direction, I develop ideas, I promote the brand and look for help. I also manage and direct the private wing of Nubreed.
Who has been the biggest influence in your professional career?
There are three people who stand out. First, my pastor Jerry Mahlangu is the one person who encourages me to stand up and be counted. He's put a lot in me to reach my dreams. Thato Majola is another support system. He will bring all sorts of ideas for me to explore and he just encourages me to believe in myself and in my work. My mother is my pillar of strength and prayer backup.
To date, what has been the highlight of your career?
Making the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans list of 2016 is my biggest career highlight at the moment. I was also invited to attend the 2016 BRICS youth summit in India. But by some mistake, my ticket was not paid so I didn't go. There are other things I can't speak about at the moment.
What are some of the challenges you experienced during the course of establishing Nubreed? How did you overcome them?
One of the challenges included operating without funding. Since 2014 we have never been approved for funding. Government has also not done enough for youth led initiatives, especially the ministry of Arts and Culture in my province of Mpumalanga. The second challenge is getting the parents and the leaders in my community to support us, and their children to take the service we provide serious. Most parents think music is just for fun. So changing the mindsets of many people is a great challenge. Also, keeping teachers in the project is another difficulty because we have not been able to pay them salaries. So when they get better offers they are forced to take them.
What do you love most about your career?
I love that I have helped create a platform for young people to attain a skill that most of their parents would not be able to afford if we were not around. I also love watching young people coming in and growing in their journey of playing music. This has inspired me to keep the NPO doors open and based in rural KwaNdebele.
If you could do anything now; what would you do and why?
I'd love to travel around the continent and work with other rural communities in Africa and South Africa.
What keeps you motivated?
Making a difference in my community motivates me. Knowing that I'm the change I want to see motivates me.
If you could pick the brain of any South African, who would they be and what would you ask them?
I'd would like to pick a brain of Carol Bouwer because I'd still like to follow my television dream. I'd like to ask about the industry and staying sustainable.
Tell us about the best career advice you’ve been given?
Let your work speak for itself - from Thato Andile Majola
What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs who’d like to follow in your footsteps?
Stand for something lest you fall for everything.
How do you measure success?
Success is building a legacy that will outlive your days on earth. It is being able to wake up everyday and love what you do.
What’s next for you?
Taking Nubreed to Gauteng is next. I want to make it there.
If you have what it takes to be featured as our next Notable,
or you’d like to nominate a colleague for the feature,
we want to hear from you.