Every year, we try our best to find the most inspirational speakers from all over the world. We are thrilled to show you people who are the driving forces behind our industry.
Roderick van Gelder has been working as a Risk Assessor and Safety Consultant for the entertainment industry since 2002. Initially as part of the Playbill Venue Management team, managing the Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park, Sydney, Australia but changed to a full time position with Stage Safety p/l in 2004.
Since then Roderick has been involved in a wide variety of events from corporate events for Qantas, Telstra, Lexus, Toyota, IBM, Woolworths, Nissan, Myer, Virgin Atlantic, MBF, Harley-Davidson, Sony to name but a few, to the arts for Opera Australia, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Glen Street Theatre, to concerts and festivals such as V-Festival Australia, Jack Johnson, Jamiroquai, Daft Punk, Sydney Comedy Festival to celebrations such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th Birthday for the NSW Premiers Department and the 2008 New Years’ Eve celebrations for the City of Sydney.
A qualified Risk Manager, Roderick combines that knowledge with 25 years of experience as lighting designer and production manager for many national and international touring arts organisations to provide risk management solutions with an in-depth understanding of the entertainment industry. Roderick holds a Diploma in Crowd Science, studying with Prof. Keith Still.
Also a qualified trainer, Roderick has been providing targeted OH&S and risk management training for entertainment professionals.
In recent years Roderick has started researching major event disasters with the aim to gain an understanding how it could happen and how to prevent a repeat. The first disaster he reviewed was Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany where 21 people lost their life in a crowd crush. His findings were presented during the 2011 VMA Congress and well received. In 2012 he reviewed the investigation reports from the Indianapolis stage collapse to analyse the cause of the incident. His findings were presented at the 2012 VMA congress and at PALME (Singapore) in 2013.
Frustrated by the lack of clear information about health and safety for the entertainment industry in Australia, Roderick ran a successful crowd-funding campaign in 2016 to start the Australian Entertainment Safety Resource Guide. It follows in the footsteps of the UK Purple Guide and the USA Event Safety Guide. A series of seminars around Australia in all major cities provided much feedback from the industry and the regulators. The first edition of the guide is expected in July 2017.
Myke is the founder and CEO of Homeboyz Group, East and Central Africa’s largest multimedia entertainment company. Since its inception Homeboyz has expanded its array of services and morphed into an integrated marketing and communications agency affiliated to Publicis Groupe.
He is a key player in the marketing, communications and advertising industry, providing key services to some of Kenya’s most prestigious brands, companies and campaigns. Some of signature projects include, the production of Tinga Tinga Tales, an animated TV series in which Homeboyz produced in conjunction with BBC Ceebies and The Disney Channel.
He has previously been a board member of several organisations including Vision 2030 committee, Safaricom / TingaTinga Foundation, and the Kenya Rugby Football Union where he was the Chairman. Mr. Rabar is also the founding governor of Capital Club, a business network club that brings together leading Kenyan businessmen.
Mr. Rabar holds a BSc Degree, University of Nairobi; an Audio Engineering Diploma, London School of Audio Engineering. He also an alumni of Strathmore Business School- AMP, IESE Spain and Lagos Business School. He is a member of Marketing Society of Kenya (MCSK), the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (KNCCI), Media Owners Association (MOA) Pan African Music Awards Secretariat and Professional Light Sound Association (UK) and British Council professional Development Centre.
In 2012, he received the prestigious Head of State Commendation, awarded by the Government of Kenya in recognition of his outstanding services provided to the youth sports, entertainment and entrepreneurship. He has variously partnered with Microsoft and Rockefeller Foundation to run youth empowerment projects such as Y-Hub, TukoWorks and NikoJob.
Sami Helwani is the Technical Director and Mananing Director of Mastermix Production Gear Limited which is a supplier of professional event & entertainment technology services to the industry in Ghana and throughout West Africa. He is also the CEO of Techvenue Ltd which is envolved in the sale and installation of pro audio equipment, lighting systems, LED systems and acoustics. This companies are all based in Accra, Ghana. Mastermix Production Gear Ltd has two subsidiaries; Progear the rental susidiary for Pro Audio Systems and services; Mastermix Studios is a recording studio that provides state of the art facility and services for Audio/Music Production.
Sami Helwani started his career at a very tender age, born to Faisal Helwani a renowned music producer and artist manager who produced and worked with artist and bands including the legendry Fela Kuti, Edikanfo band, Onipa Nua, and the Hedzole Sounds. Training under his father was virtually Sami’s life, as he simulteneously pursued his formal education. For several years, he worked and trained under numerous live sound and studio engineers, record producers and musicians who worked on his father’s projects. Very influential among them was renowned British producer Brain Eno and Lord John Booth of Decca records. By the age of fifteen sami had become sensational behind the audio console, recording and mixing for clients who patronized his father’s studios in Ghana and Liberia. Mastering on his skills within three years sami fully became the chief engineer/production & studio manager of his fathers Studio One in Ghana and Studio 99 in Liberia.
In 1989 Sami was employed to help design and set up Black City Studio’s Audio/Mixing Recording facility as well as sound reinforcement system.
IN 1997 Sami founded Mastermix studios that started out with a reasonable amount of audio equipment and a lot of imagination but later expanded to become Mastermix Production Gear Limited. In the almost 20 years existance of Mastermix Sami has played diverse roles as head of the management team, recording and mix engineer, FOH engineer, Systems Designer and head of Training.
With thirty two year’s experience working in all aspects of the audio industry in Ghana and some parts of West Africa Sami’s works are nothing but legendary, right from his studio recordings/mixing for artist and productions on projects such as: Edikanfo Band, Onipa Nua, Mac Tontoh (Osibisa),Koo nimo, Fatu Gayflor, Morley Dolly, Amakye Dede, Atongo Simba, Becca , Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Geydublay Ambuley, George Darko, Big Ghana Band (Big Swap Songs project for Cadbury UK) and more.
also live audio production services for concerts, events, TV and film productions such as: Ghana Music Awards, Model of the Universe World Finals, AU Heads of States Breakfast Session(Ghana @ 50 celebration), CNN African Journalist Awards 2008, CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations Football Tournament Opening Ceremony At Ohene Gyan Stadium Accra, Stars of the future (Charter House production, Ghana), Malta Guinness Street Dance Pan African Championships Final (Produced by ENDEMOL SA (PTY) Ltd.), Ghana Jesus Festival (by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), Ghana Praise Festival featuring Joyous Celebration of South Africa(Produced by Mastermix), Akon (concerts in Ghana, Liberia and Guinea), Asa, Baaba Maal, Benjamin Dube, Big Sean, Busta Rhymes, Darling Czech, Darwin Hobbs, Davido, Debanj, Don Moen, Donnie McClurkin, Femi Kuti, Hugh Masekela, Israel Houghton, Lucky Dube, Mali Music, Osibisa, P Square, Rev. Andre’ Crouch, Rick Ross , Rocky Dawuni, Stevie Wonder, Sonnie Badu, Sinatch, T-Pain, Tye Tribbett, Uche Agu, Wyclef Jean and many more.
In conclusion Sami Helwani is a thorougbred professional with talent, skill and experience for great sound and excellent live event production delivery.
Andy Lenthall has worked as the general manager of the UK’s Production Services Association (PSA) for 14 years, successfully communicating the needs of the sector to those that influence it from the outside. Yes, that’s a lot of meetings. During his time with the PSA, Andy has been involved in projects ranging from the development of safety guidance, lobbying government, consultation with government departments and the development of training, qualifications and the very recent development of an apprenticeship for live event technicians.
Born 1962 I am serving the Entertainment Industry since 1980. Then I started as a Stagehand in my Hometown Hannover in Germany and worked also as Steelhand, Climber and Crew Chief. After some years on the road with Trucking Service Cologne I founded a crew-staffing company where I started to implement proper safety measures for the crew.
Later on I graduated as „Meister für Veranstaltungstechnik“ dealing with event safety and Premises Licensing Application. Always interested in workplace health and safety I finished the official german OSHA courses to become Fire Safety Adviser, Health and Safety Advisor and CDM-Coordinator.
Nowadays my work consists in H+S Consulting for the Entertainment Industry with Customers ranging from the small garage-size rental company up to internationally well known suppliers. Also I am holding speeches and trainings on all business-related topics. Another part of my work is conducting premises licensing for Concerts and Open-Air Festivals as well as coordinating H+S following CDM-Regulations.
Important to me is interacting with colleagues and transferring my knowledge and expertise. Therefore I am active in three trade associations and write in several magazines as the VPLT-Magazine and Event-Partner.
Sara Whybrew is the Director, Creative Employment Programme and Legacy at Creative & Cultural Skills. She works with employers across the creative industries to diversify entry routes into the workforce via apprenticeships, paid internships and alternative work focused training routes.
Before joining Creative & Cultural Skills, Sara was the East of England Learning and Skills lead for Arts Council England and arts development lead for a number of local authority areas. During her time at the Arts Council Sara oversaw a number of pilot programmes designed to improve working relationships between arts organisations and education providers, managed debt mitigation programmes, led place-based arts development opportunities and co-wrote the £15 million Creative Employment Programme: an England-wide programme designed to support thousands of young unemployed people into entry level jobs across the arts and cultural workforce. Sara went on to oversee the delivery of this programme at Creative & Cultural Skills prior to developing their England-wide apprenticeship training offer.
Up to 2008, Sara worked in Lifelong Learning developing new creative and cultural industry-led Foundation Degrees and spent 5 years lecturing in a Further Education art school.
Sara is an avid supporter of the arts and is on the Board of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. She trained at the Cambridge School of Art and is a qualified teacher.
Chijioke Okorie, a solicitor and Advocate at the Nigerian Bar, is employed at Lagos-based boutique Copyright Law and Business Affairs consulting firm Penguide Associates. As “the Penguide”, Chijioke advises key players in the Internet law and policy sector regarding policy, strategy, business and contracts. Clients’ issues range from international copyright and related rights issues; ecommerce, Internet privacy and publicity rights; and Internet governance. Penguide Associates, which Chijioke founded in 2011 was founded on the ethos of “guiding the pen” so to speak so clients know why, where and when to endorse any business or agreement.
Chijioke Okorie’s work at Penguide Associates includes handling the Business Affairs of a number of Nigeria’s leading and best known arts and entertainment industry artists, writers, labels, talent, publishers and brands. An academic and policy advisor at heart, having completed her Masters Degree in law (Internet Law & Policy) from the prestigious (University of Strathclyde, (Glasgow, Scotland) where she graduated with a Merit, Chijioke is currently studying for a PhD in Commercial law at the University of Cape Town. She also contributes to leading African IP blog; Afro-IP as AfroLeopa.
Chijioke serves on the boards of 2nite Music & Enter10ment Limited (an entertainment and live event company) and Matife Place Limited.
Muse tour director and Cato Music founder Glen Rowe was appointed MD of Backstage Academy in October 2016.
Glen Rowe started out in music with the dream of being a legendary drummer like his idols Keith Moon & John Bonham. Alas, that was not to be… Although he’d been touring since 1991 with his own bands, his first proper job in the live business was selling t-shirts for the Manic Street Preachers in 1994. From there, he went on to become the Manics’ drum tech before graduating to their tour manager & for a host of bands – The Thrills, Ronnie Wood, Ginger Baker, Hard-Fi, The Kooks, Magic Numbers, Amy MacDonald, Gareth Gates, and so many more that have been lost to time. He has even production managed the Pope’s only UK show.
In recent years, his career focus has been two-fold: running his ever-expanding touring and production company CATO Music, recently acquired by Production Park, and being the Tour Director for one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, MUSE. He has just come to the end of the 19 month award-winning Drones tour which saw MUSE perform their high energy and technically advanced show to hundreds of thousands of fans across the world.
A passionate advocate for supporting young bands and educating future backstage talent, Glen set up the Cato Academy – the only Roadie School in the world – where he hopes to train up the headliners and their support crew for Glastonbury & Reading festivals for years yet to come.
Mamela Nyamza is born and bred in Gugulethu, near Cape Town, South Africa. Ms Nyamza was awarded the Standard Bank National Young Artist for the year 2011, due to her refreshingly innovative choreography and performance in the art of dance. This innovation has just won her yet another National Award called the IMBOKODO Award 2016 in Dance, an acknowledgement for immense uplifting artistry work beyond the dance. Furthermore, Ms Nyamza was recently invited to take part in the Dance Future 11: Focus Pina Bausch 2017 in Germany, where the iconic and visionary dancer, Pina Bausch, was celebrated and commemorated.
Ms Nyamza’s formal training in Ballet (acquired Diploma in Ballet at the Tshwane University of Technology), and related experiences at the Alvin Ailey New York School of Dance as the visiting scholar, and at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a visiting fellow at UCT’s Institute for Creative Arts in 2012, had definitely encouraged Ms Nyamza to tackle the classical genre of dance, by unapologetically demystifying and deconstructing both the traditional methods and logic of ballet. Her works, “The Meal”, “Hatched” and collaborated work “The Last Attitude”, are autobiographical pieces of work that trample on the norms and standards of dance/classics.
Ms Nyamza is continuing to develop her own artistic practice and performance by creating and choreographing work-pieces that deal with important political and societal issues of today’s South Africa. Works such as “I Stand Corrected” (against homophobia); “Wena Mamela” (against discrimination); and her recently created work called “DE-APART-HATE” (against institutional prejudice and intolerance), has won Ms Nyamza numerous nominations for awards, such as being nominated for the 2016 BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards, Best Choreography, and at the 2016 South African Theatre Magazine (SATMag) for Best Production, Best Performer, and Best Choreography.
Her strong belief that art has the power to change the world for the better, has also led to her recognition by the Art Fraternity in South Africa and Internationally In this instance, Ms Nyamza is currently one of the Advisory Panelist in DANCE for the South African National Arts Council (NAC).
Ms Nyamza’s vision is to make DANCE, as the genre of the performance art that conveys body politics on all social issues, and not to just entertain. Her ultimate goal is to reach the most remote areas of South Africa to unearth young, raw talent in the art of DANCE.
Ms Nyamza has already started with this grass-roots work by providing free mentorship sessions to the up-and-coming dance artists, and other performing artists.
Ms Nyamza has had numerous solo and collaborated shows and continues to be indebted to both South Africa, continental and international festivals that continue to give her opportunity to showcase her immense talent in the art of Dance and Theatre. Festivals such as Dance Umbrella, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Avignon in France, and many important Festivals in Germany, Singapore, Slovenia, Canada, Mali, Senegal, United States of America, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, deserve the special mention.
Brenda Ntombela is the Head of Secretariat: Human Resource Development Council. She is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the Secretariat. Brenda is a graduate of the University of the North (now Limpopo), where she received her B Cur (I et A). She thereafter received her Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of South Africa. She also has completed various management courses.
Brenda has worked in various fields, such us Higher Education and ICT, where she served as a Councillor for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). She also worked as a consultant in ICT policy making and regulations in Africa. She is a currently serving as a Council member at the Durban University of Technology.
Brenda is an influential leader, with experience in strategic planning, policy and regulation formulation, research and conflict management to name but a few.
Mr Liso Steto is the Acting Chief Director for Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment in the Department of Trade and Industry. He is an internal auditor by profession. He completed his Association of Certified Chartered Accountants training articles in 2005 with the Office of the Auditor General South Africa. Liso worked at PWC (then called PriceWaterhouseCoopers) as a senior consultant focusing on internal audits and process improvement assignments for a number of public and private sector clients.
Liso has been with the Department of Trade and Industry since 2009 where he has served in various roles as a Deputy Director: Procurement & Verification and Director Operations in the Special Economic Zones & Economic Transformation Division.
Since June 2015, he has been the Acting Chief Director of BEE. Amongst his other roles relating to policy development and review, He heads the Secretariat of the B-BBEE Presidential Council, which is government’s think tank on the implementation of B-BBEE.
He has spoken extensively about B-BBEE at international platforms and locally, he has written various articles and opinion pieces for some of the most influential magazines. He is a thought leader and opinion shaper on matters concerning B- BBEE. He has been involved in the latest review of B-BBEE Act, its Regulations and the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice.
Barry Masoga is the Director of The Education-Industry Exchange (Pty) Ltd. He was until recently the Program Specialist/Chief of Party for the $7,6m U.S/South Africa Partnership for Skills Development, responsible for the implementation of Student Support Services in the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape in South Africa. Prior to that he was Regional Director Education for the British Council, Southern Africa for 19 years, gaining expertise in the schools, FET and HE sectors.
He has vast experience in development assignment in Southern African Development Community countries including Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. He has an expert knowledge of donor procedures, including for DFID and USAID, and other development agencies. Barry is a hugely experienced project manager, facilitator and education consultant with an unparalleled network of connections. He has led a number of high-powered delegations to Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, United Kingdom, India and the United States of America.
Mr. Dumisani Nkomo is the Chief Executive Officer of Cutting Edge Consultants (Pty) Ltd, an entity he co-founded in 1995. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc) at the University of Botswana, and later went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Witwatersrand. Dumisani has served on several National and Provincial Boards and Councils, these include:
• Estate Agency Affairs Board (Chairman);
• South African Property Charter (Council and Board Member);
• South African Council of Valuers Profession (Council Member);
• Gauteng and Limpopo Immigration Boards (Chairman); and
• Gauteng Development Tribunal (Member and Presiding officer).
Currently, he serves as the Chairman of Tshwane North TVET College (TNC). TNC is one of 50 national public TVET colleges whose focus is on building the necessary skills and technical base for South Africa’s economy.
Dumisani is also a part-time lecturer at University of Witwatersrand - Business School (WBS), an engagement or position he has held since 2008. At the WBS his specialization is in Strategy management and implementation, Supply Chain management and Stakeholder management. The engagement at the WBS has led to specialisation in public, specifically, in the municipal sector.
I was born and raised in a suburb just outside central London in a time when music and dance was taking a different turn from Rock & Roll, Rnb and Disco into pop and alternative music. It was a time when we all wore leg warmers and were break dancing on street corners or imitating our icons from the TV hit “Fame”. I was no different and so much so I decided to pursue this way of life further by engaging in a Drama & Music Academy so as to further my passion.
With the family decision to move to South Africa in the mid 80’s my desire to become the next big thing was squashed but not forgotten and once I had established myself I quickly got involved with Sun International in assisting and arranging not only local events but a few internationals, with my first exposure being to Mr. Peabo Bryson, from that moment on my destiny was set and the entertainment industry become part of my blood.
Apart from being part of various productions, in 1994 I started performing on stage as of my passion for music, this leant access and in-sight to a different world to the industry and I quickly became versed to the technical aspects of the industry and how it enhanced a performer...this intrigued me further and a desire was born to understand and master all aspects of the industry.
Since 2000 I have had the opportunity to not only engage on various levels of a production but also directly been involved with the design and technical orchestration of many events, both local and international and am proud to have been associated with artists such as George Benson, Diana Ross and Ronan Keating to mention but a few and these experiences have today afforded me an education to the event industry that quite honestly cannot be attained in any class room. Today I, as Sharif baker can proudly boast my services and reputation within the industry, which can be attested, by all industry associates that know me.
To conclude, my motto still stands and that is that I pride myself on the fact that I learn every day and that all that I do is with passion and thus should I make a mistake, I do not falter and constantly look back at it with hurt....I rather take it with me and let it guide me for all endeavors I encounter further in life!