‘We want PhandiCraft to professionalise the arts industry from grassroots level' — Mbali Malinga and Tshepiso Shikwambane

PhandiCraft founders Mbali Malinga and Tshepiso Shikwambane
PhandiCraft founders Mbali Malinga and Tshepiso Shikwambane

Founded in 2016, PhandiCraft is an active drama and dance company, which shares skills to children in and around Johannesburg to instil and nurture their love for the arts from a young age.

After completing their studies in Drama and Performance Art at Wits University, Shikwambane and Malinga saw a great opportunity, as a direct result of their personal struggles with getting their foot in the entertainment industry.

They open up about their platform:

We started Phandicraft because we saw a gap in the performance industry market. We have a lot of artists who are talented and some are even graduates from great institutions but who are struggling financially, being exploited, or not taken seriously because of the lack of understanding in terms of how they should operate as artists and personal brands/ successful business. We want Phandicraft to be a platform that will professionalise the arts industry from a grassroots level. We do this by making it understood and accessible to kids from an early age.

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We are building confident and professional artists. In any career path and anything you do in life, you need to be confident. Through active drama and dance, Phandicraft wants kids to activate their bodies, minds and talents because we believe that active kids learn more.

We learn so much from the children we work with. Kids are such honest beings; they mean what they say, they react immediately and never sugarcoat their feelings like grown-ups do.

Apart from the fact that they keep us gasping for air after our high-energy workshops, they also push us to dig deeper and ask more questions about life and our surroundings. Their sense of curiousity and eagerness to learn is absolutely contagious and keeps us creative.

Our biggest challenge is getting access to schools to apply our extramural activity in. The more schools we are able to reach and work in, the more confidence we instill in kids. Parents and the schools need to start taking creative learning more seriously and also value the difference it makes in their children, not only on an academic but on a social level too. 

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