Guest post:A confused Creative

By Yonela Tsibolane

A confused “creative”
So, it has been around six months now since I have moved to Gauteng. The small-town girl in me is still adjusting to the distances between different areas, and just the general nature of people who stay here. It has been an interesting and unexpectedly insightful journey for me, thus far.

The biggest adjustment is navigating my way around the creative spaces that
I am trying to break into. Firstly, when writing this I wasn’t even sure what to call myself. The word ‘artist’ seems to belong to certain people, but then again so does ‘creative’. At what point are you allowed to call yourself an artist or a creative? I will use “creative” for now.

One of the first things I noticed since moving here from Cape Town, where I
was studying, was that the creative spaces are noticeably different. In Cape Town, it seemed to me that there was often a certain identity that you
had to take on if you wanted to join the “club of creatives”. This identity includes the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and even the things you tweet about. You had to be at certain events, and sometimes you just had to find certain things interesting. More often than not , I felt like the Cape Town creative space was an exclusive club that only accepted you if you ticked certain boxes. I sometimes felt like an outsider looking in, rather than an individual who could also access these spaces if and when I had the desire to do so. Truthfully this made me somewhat self-conscious
about my art and my creative expression. I was always so critical of what I wanted to do and who I was within these creative spaces, that I eventually just stopped creating outside of school.

I defaulted to simply just watching and praising the people who created the type of things that I wanted to. Often times I was too weary of telling people that I’m also a “creative”, I guess for fear of judgement or criticism – I don’t even know. It was especially difficult for me navigating around these creative spaces as a young black womxn , because we are always expected to do better and be better otherwise you fade away. (Not to mention being black in Cape Town is a whole other struggle, but that’s a story for another day) I haven’t really figured out the creative spaces in Johannesburg, but my experience so far is completely different from Cape Town.

I can say that there is more access to the creative sphere in Johannesburg, because of the different types of identities. You can be a Braamfontein creative, or a Soweto creative – and often times identities can even come together. I thoroughly enjoy that I can find young black creatives everywhere and anywhere I go, and they don’t all look, think and act the same. This has also pushed me to talk to people to discover who they are and what they do. There is however this constant desire to know certain people. People often feel the need to mention that they have worked with so and so’s manager or photographer, I guess to be taken seriously. I am yet to discover how open people are here to collaborating with you , and if they base it solely on who you are and who you know.

Having had experienced these different spaces has made me so much more conscious of myself. At the moment I would definitely say I am experiencing an existential crisis of some sort when it comes to my creativity. I am battling between making art for fun; making art to express myself and also making art to further my career – AKA, getting paid.

Also, what is my art ?
What do I call it and what does it mean? Who do I show it to and what will they say? Why do people’s opinions even matter so much to me? Wow. I don’t
think I’ll ever stop asking myself these questions, but more than anything else I think along the way I will find better ways of understanding why I
am even asking myself these questions.


Hey there !

My name is Yonela Tsibolane. I am a 23-year-old born and raised in the Free State and currently residing in Centurion. I recently graduated with a BA Honours in Live Performance from AFDA Cape Town and did my BA in Film & Media & Drama at UCT. I have a great passion for writing , performance and creating content which is relevant to me and my journey as a young black woman.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. ellie894 says:

    Great writing. I love the term creative as a noun. I’ve not really heard it used that way where I’m from, Texas. Sounds like you have a strong artistic drive…listen to your own heart and live your own questions. Then your answers will be yours and not someone else’s. I know it’s really not that easy but its worth it to keep trying. Take care, suzanne ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adropofblack says:

    Lovely post! I would also love to be featured on your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Siphosetu says:

      Hey! For real? That would be awesome! Please drop me a mail


  3. Nice post by a lovely Lady! Thanks for sharing with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You hit the nail with your definition of being a ‘creative/artist’ in Cape Town. It applies for the whole of the Western Cape. If you don’t belong to the ‘incrowd’ forget it, so it seems. I’ve never been in Gauteng but have more buyers over there than in the Western Cape. That I’m one of the chosen to represent South Africa at the ‘Contemporary Art Africa’, an annual event in Cuxhaven, Germany since 17 yrs, resulted in quite a few nasty remarks from the ‘established art scene’ in the Mother City. 😉 Best is to find your own way without being distracted by sidelines. BTW the exhibition in Cuxhaven is from 9 august to 10 October. The South African Art media has never shown interest in this event which attracted over a 100,000 visitors last year…


  5. Elizabeth says:

    I am retired after a life of teaching literature at an art college in the United States. I was struck by how similar your struggles with identity are with those graduates from our college. I think we all vacillate between fitting in with the prevailing trends and setting out on our own. I wish you well as you find your unique place in the creative world of South Africa.


  6. Fáy says:

    Great post! I can relate to this in more ways than one. I guess this is part of the process, you figure it out as you go. Keep creating and hopefully you will find your answers 😊.


  7. Wow great creative 👌

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lynncy says:

    I’m in looooooooooooooooooooveee with south Africa.


    1. Siphosetu says:

      heey Lynncy! I remember you saying you’d come visit! Im happy you love it here.. which part of SA did you come to 🙂 ?


      1. Lynncy says:

        Hey Siphosethu….😘😍😍 it’s been long… but I’m currently in capetown… where do you reside?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Siphosetu says:

        that’s great! 😀 I’m in East London though…😊 would have loved to see you! 😙


      3. Lynncy says:

        Me too…. 😘😘😍🤗🤗so you’re also a mass communication graduate…. I’m happy for you… I’ll be graduating come JULY next year mummy

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Siphosetu says:

        This is great! Congrats sis! 😊💜


  9. jerazw says:

    So relatable. I remember hesitating each time I wanted to call myself “writer”.

    I thought the title belonged to celebrated authors whose books are on shelves of bookstores. Though bookless, I have grabbed that writer title by the jacket lapels and told him, “I’m claiming you for myself”

    I have also observed that some creatives think that they have to act a certain way (be alternative) in order to deserve the title “creative”.

    Lovely blog post

    My pen is capped


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lynncy says:

    Thanks dear….. it’s been a tough journey but now I’m almost completing it!


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