Thobile Maphanga, a dance practitioner, producer, creative collaborator, and writer from Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, has been invited to represent South Africa at the prestigious Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Canada in June 2022. 

The Festival Academy offers professional development and leadership training to festival makers globally as an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA). 

Thobile will be one of only 35 participants globally to attend this amazing opportunity.

She will be participating in a seven-day training program for like-minded young artists who are interested in becoming festival directors, working in programming or related departments at a festival.



“I see the role of artists, cultural spaces, and festivals to be more vital now than ever and I am passionate about amplifying voices that have been othered and silenced.” 


“I believe through festival platforms we can do this more frequently and effectively. I am eager to create spaces where people can commune and exchange ideas, thoughts, and provocations in a respectful manner & where diverse voices can be heard” says Thobile.

Thobile believes that her role as a mentee and choreographer for the Jomba Festival at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) has prepared her for the spotlight on the international stage.

To be able to attend the prestigious Atelier for Young Festival Managers event, Thobile has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, appealing to the arts community as she opens the doors for other local talents.


Since the launch of the campaign to cover her travel and related expenses, over R70 000 has been raised which exceeded her target, with the support of over 59 donors sending applause and well-wishes.

“By contributing to this fund, you are assisting not only my personal growth but helping our community to remain relevant, connected, and ever-growing through sustainable practices. I am exceedingly proud to be representing South Africa on this global stage ” says Thobile.

Make a donation to support Thobile’s dream:

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Messages of encouragement come pouring in for Thobile: 

“All the best on this adventure. I will be watching from afar. I know only great things are coming your way. This is the start. Lots of love Sarah.” – Sarah Herd

“You are so inspiring, your thoughtful and creative energy impacts us all. –  Osmosiiza

“Best wishes with this campaign, Thobile. You deserve this wonderful opportunity.” – Ismail Mahomed

“So proud of you, Thobs, a special person who has inspired me through our collective writing journeys.”  – Tammy Ballantyne Webber


‘Umntu Ngumntu Ngabantu’

“From the moment I started this campaign I have been deeply moved and overwhelmed by the support that I have gotten from friends, family and strangers from across the globe. I am truly humbled by your generosity and love, and wish you all blessings in abundance.


In isiZulu we say ‘Makwande’ meaning ‘May it multiply’. May the blessings and gifts you have shown me multiply in you and overflow to all those who, like me, may need them”, says Thobile


Create a crowdfunding campaign

South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up fundraising campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various causes in South Africa. The platform has thus far raised over R260 Million.