September 12, 2022 All Articles

Meet the Speaker: Jermaine Makwara, Head of Talent – Africa, Chaos Club Digital Africa

Jermaine Makwara is Head of Talent – Africa at Chaos Club Digital Africa and will be speaking on day one, live and in-person, at the Wellbeing at Work South Africa Summit between 25-26 October and we wanted to get his thoughts before he takes to the virtual stage.

We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work SA Summit in October. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?

Considering this is going to be my first time on presenting since COVID -19, I am anxious. However, I get to shed light on a highly overlooked subject in the music industry (well-being) and for that I am feeling rather excited today.

As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges your you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

Currently it seems the music industry as a whole is going through a period of re-evalutaion given the general well-being of creatives and corporate employees within the sector. In South Africa particularly, there has been a huge impact on creatives’ mental-health & well-being and unfortunately, unlike the western world there are not many structures in place (as yet) to aid this.

What strategies have you seen developing in South Africa over the past 6-12 months post pandemic to address health and wellbeing in the workplace?

Post pandemic we have seen major music companies restructure their weeks to accommodate hybrid work models. These models allowed for an ease in transition from WFH structure to 3 days in, 2 days out structure. Curfew during lockdown changed the consumer behaviour of the industry in that, we have seen a shift In the order of show/performance call times to earlier and more suitable working hours, to better accommodate artists and their teams.

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?

Because I value my personal well-being, it is of paramount importance to advocate for well-being and ensure that those within the same working spaces as me, are well taken care of. People who are supported at work feel valued and accepted. Thus they’re free to be more productive and creative. Particularly in the music sector, if the body and mind are disconnected or at unease/unrest, it hinders the whole ecosystems ability to functions holistically.

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in October?

The opportunity to learn (this will be my first Wellbeing at Work Summit!)

Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, health and wellbeing?

My vision for the future is a music sector that values the well-being of the creatives and corporates, as much as it values the art. My vision is to see organisations structure systems that allow for creatives and the corporate employees alike to have unencumbered access to HELP in the form wellness (physical and mental) without the fear of judgement. My vision is a music sector that normalizes, demystifies, and destigmatizes well-being & wellness at work.

What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12-18 months?

Employers, in this case, the big music corporations; should focus on building support structures such as unencumbered access to therapy & wellness, similar to those implemented in Europe and USA. Employers should also focus on communiques that normalize, demystify, and destigmatize mental health.

How has your organisation been leading the way?

Chaos Club Africa has been leading the way by means of fostering and nurturing creative environments that encourage and embrace individuality in the forms of art, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age and orientations. We have tried our best to ensure our workplaces are fluid and allow for two-way communications by intentionally blurring the lines in hierarchy, to shy away from traditional work structures and how they affect employees ability to freely express themselves. We continue to engage with organisations that focus on well-being in order to learn and bounce ideas about potential structures and programs that can be implemented in the music sector in South Africa.

Join us at the Wellbeing at Work South Africa Summit between 25-26 October 2022 live in Cape Town and virtually and hear from Jermaine and over 30 expert speakers from across the world. Further details here.

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