SPOTLIGHT: MFANAFUTHI NJOKWENI
Workshop Technician, Mfanafuti Njokweni, fondly known as Fofo by the Splitbeam team, was born and raised in Chiawelo, Soweto and schooled at Reasoma High School in Protea. Despite having achieved a bursary from the Department of Education to study further, he could not raise enough funds to cover the remainder of the fee for the course in Audio Engineering he had set his heart on. So, at the suggestion of a friend, he approached the South African Roadies Association (SARA) in 2004 to take his interest in Audio further.
SARA did not have an opening in their Trainee programme at the time and Mfanafuthi spent a year attending classes at his own cost, learning about the legal side of the music industry, copyright royalties and the like. The following year he officially joined the programme, working in the fields of audio, backline and staging with a little lighting on the side. The result was a realisation that lighting was actually the field that held the most interest for him.
In 2006, SARA nominated Mfanafuthi to undergo Facilitator training with MAPPP Seta which qualified him to return to SARA as a Training Facilitator. An exchange programme with Norway and SARA saw him travelling to Norway to work on the Quart Festival and later to Denmark to the Roskilde Festival as a lighting technician where he operated the lighting desk for 3 bands.
During this time he also started freelancing with various companies in Johannesburg. In 2010, he joined 6 Mabane as a lighting facilitator on their training course in Rustenburg whilst continuing to freelance on the weekends. He stayed with 6 Mabane for 6 months but the pull of the freelance circuit soon had him back developing his Lighting skills on shows around the country.
In 2011, he crossed paths with Splitbeam’s Clement Makama while they were both working on Skouspel. Recognising his potential and enthusiasm, Clement introduced Mfanafuthi to the company where he began assisting in the workshops during the busiest period.
By Feb 2012, Fofo had become a permanent fixture in the Splitbeam team as Workshop Technician. Working with Splitbeam and under the mentorship of Senior Technician, Clement, he has acquired a special affinity for theatre and the discipline that it requires. According to the rest of the team, he has grown tremendously in knowledge of lighting and the running of a warehouse and is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a theatre lighting operator and later designer for theatre shows.
Nov 27, 2013