Since 2016, Nandi Dlepu and her partners, Larissa Elliott and Farai Simoyi, have hosted a series of experiences through their organisation called Bloom, that seek to meaningfully inspire creative women entrepreneurs and freelancers through talks, panel discussions and masterclasses.
“The aim was to establish a platform for creative women, by creative women, in an effort to build a community of women freelancers and entrepreneurs, where we can work towards nurturing our collective professional and emotional wellbeing,” said Dlepu.
The Citizen got the chance to talk to Nandi about Bloom. Here is how the Q&A went:
1. Nandi, could you tell me about the Women in Bloom event?
Our Women in Bloom events are inspired by a singular thought: that magic happens when you bring the inspiring in the same space as the aspiring. I believe that greatness in others inspires greatness in others. Our experiences are specially curated to bring creative women face to face with their own possibilities.
2. Could you tell me a little about your partnership with M&C Saatchi Group South Africa?
As an independent creative platform, we exist as a result of the authentic engagement and support from our creative community. From the women and brands featured at our events, to like-minded creative corporates like M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, whose policy -more like lived inspiration – of diversity and inclusivity of thought not only considers but has made room for not only our community but others.
To have our efforts supported by an industry leader has been a noteworthy milestone for the platform.
3. From all the points you have made about what this event means to you and the women who attend and are inspired by all that happens, what do you think is the most important message or lesson you’d like those who attend to walk away with?
My aspiration is to create a Women in Bloom event that inspires, nurtures and empowers attendees. That also leaves guests knowing and feeling that the world wants, in fact, needs you to succeed.
4. Outside of your creative space and work, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I live a very social and creative life. There’s always something to do that feeds my soul (more often than not, belly too) like art talks, exhibitions and walkabouts, book launches, poetry readings and live music.
5. Are there any near future events that creative women who are on the path of blooming in their creative spaces should look out for?
Yes, there are. We have our final event of the year planned for November. Best to follow @bloomorg for more details.
6. What have you found to be the most challenging aspect in hosting and running the Women in Bloom events?
I very rarely take in the magnitude of what I have helped to create. When I’m at the event I’m not really in the moment. I’m often thinking about the programme, so what’s coming next, is this or that ready, and where the hell is the photographer!
7. What advice do you have for women who feel stuck and out of place in their current careers, and have the feelings or sense that they are not doing what they were destined to do or become on this earth?
The theme to our Women In Bloom Conference and Retreat was the quote from Anais Bin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
What a few know is that the quote actually goes on further to say: “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”
Inspired by this I would say live! Life is for the living, recognise and be challenged by the fact that anything less than living out your true north is a kind of death.
8. Towards the end of the panel discussion, you asked the artists what they would say to their younger selves who found themselves stuck in a bud. I’d like to ask you what message do you have for your younger self?
Not a single thing. It just occurred to me that the question is in part a trick question. I’m happy with the person I am right now and I recognise that were I to alter anything from my past, I may not end up here, like this person. I love this person and I am proud of this particular Nandi.