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SAMRO’s mental wellness workshop gives women a safe space to open up



The workshop also included relaxation exercise and experts in therapy addressed the audience at the Joburg Theatre.

In partnership with Basadi in Music Awards, the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) hosted a mental wellness and Safe Spaces Workshop at the Joburg Theatre where women in the industry shared some of their struggles of balancing life while being in the industry.

“I’m a woman and I’m a mother to a girl child. I always need to be a beautiful mirror, a messed up mirror a flawed mirror, but a mirror that can tell my child that ‘that’s my mom, that’s the girl that birthed me and I’m proud of that girl’,” said former The Soil member Buhlebendalo Mda speaking about being a good mother to her child.

“I think I got tired of pretending that I’m the ‘it-girl’ to my child. Pretending that I’m the girl from The Soil to my child, where on social media platforms and in spaces like this I’m happy, I’m twerking on stage and I get home and I cry because I’m lying, I lied for so many years,” said Buhlebendalo.

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A safe space

Buhlebendalo, who is a judge on Mzansi Magic’s Clash of the Choirs SA, was part of a panel of speakers at the workshop, which included veteran entertainer Abigail Kubeka, gospel singer Kholeka and musician Kamo Matsoso.

The aforementioned ladies were part of the day’s first discussion that zoomed in on mental health for the artist in the industry and the programme was facilitated by DJ Pru Luv.

“You’re not going to be able to nurture the gift, you will have the gift but with a bad character you will have a short time in the industry because of your character. Now, if you have this gift, just keep on maintaining a good character. A gift and a good character, when they merge something beautiful comes out,” said Kholeka.

Speaking about her early years in the industry, Matsoso said: “In music, I’m the only black child. I faced a lot of rejection and by God’s grace I learnt the flute very quickly because I had pressure.”

Before leaving the stage, Matsoso delivered a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace which had the whole theatre captivated.

The workshop created a safe space for women to be vulnerable and share their lived experiences. At the entrance of the theatre, guests could write a message on a board to encourage and support those in attendance.

SAMRO’s general manager for marketing and communications Kgomotso Mosenogi gave an address touching on the ongoing need to address gender disparity in the music industry. SAMRO is taking the lead by advocating for female representation on the SAMRO board.

The organisation currently has an all-female executive committee and continues to seek solutions to address women’s issues in the music industry.

Basadi in Music Awards CEO Hloni Modise-Matau gave the closing address.

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