Lebogang Mashigo

Founder and director, Nubreed

Lebogang Mashigo (25) heads Nubreed, a registered non-profit organisation that gives music lessons to kids in rural Mpumalanga.

Raised by a single parent, she never stopped believing in her dreams despite being teased and bullied. When she moved to Pretoria to study theology at a Bible college, Mashigo met many people who saw a leadership role for her even before she believed it herself.

“Living in a rural, disadvantaged area can close your mind; you stop dreaming and believing, because we are surrounded by poverty and negative behaviour,” she says. “I was inspired to start Nubreed as a platform for young community members to express themselves and have a safe and enabling environment. Through Nubreed I am also aiming to create jobs for qualified young musicians.”

Nubreed is based in Kwaggafontein and offers music lessons to youngsters under 21, covering keyboards, bass and acoustic guitar, drums, singing, African instruments and a compulsory theory course to help them become excellent performers and composers. It also offers life skills, business development and mentoring.

The students can then register for Unisa certificates in music, form their own bands, audition for orchestras and provide entertainment at local venues and events.

So far three students have passed the Unisa music exams, and Nubreed won the National Youth Development Agency’s National Youth Competition in 2015.

Mashigo is also a Young African Leaders Initiative alumnus. “I love what I do because I believe in leading a purpose-driven life. Nubreed has allowed me to contribute positively to young people and the community at large,” she says.

She wants to see it become the first school of the arts in the province and expand into rural areas across the country. This growth has already begun. “We were initially strictly a music institute with a core focus on musical theory and practice, but we have ventured into dramatic arts, crafts and fine art.” Artist Collen Skosana is now running art sessions with them with the goal of creating works good enough to feature in top art galleries.

Nubreed is entirely donor funded, and Mashigo has applied for National Lottery funding to help cover its costs.

“I want to leave a legacy that will outlive me,” she says. “I don’t dream of fame — I dream of raising leaders and my community and country.” — Lesley Stones

Twitter: @leewaMashigo and @nubreedMI