A young wannabe media entrepreneur in Gauteng is not letting any obstacles stand in his way in his quest to launch an arts magazine in South Africa. Glenda Nevill talks to the man who is passionate about print.
Kgosi Khetsi has been given a boost from printers OKI and paper distributors Antalis that will enable him to finally print a mock-up of ArtsOne that he believes will enable to sucessfully pitch to potential investors and South Africa’s Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). He’s also been given office space by Kagiso Media as he believed investors wouldn’t be impressed with a work-from-home situation.
“I have been sitting with a PDF design mock-up for almost a year with no funds to print it as my targeted potential funder would want to see an example of the magazine. I called, knocked on doors, even walked to printers to ask for help, and neither were willing to help,” Khetsi told The Media Online. “I missed so many deadlines of applying for funding due to this reason. I took a chance by asking a company (OKI) that sells corporate printers to help and they never hesitated and offered to help.”
OKI needed Khetsi to provide the paper on which to print the ArtsOne mock-up. “Like OKI, Antalis offered to help but it wasn’t an easy ask as there were times where I was laughed at, I felt so small that I can only thank GOD that I kept my composure. After weeks of emailing, calling, Antalis finally agreed to give me the paper, they even gave me important advice on the type of paper that will suit an arts magazine. I was also given lots of sheets to be able to print a few mock-ups,” he says.
Now Khetsi will be looking for funders for a print magazine, but he’s dreaming even bigger. “As ArtsOne is not only a print magazine, we want it to be a movement. We have digital (online) and television (our own ArtsOne television channel) aspirations too,” he says. “As our TV sets will be migrating from analogue to digital, this gives us opportunity to have an Arts dedicated television channel but as we plan for all of this, our major focus will be the print magazine first, so that we get the brand out there.
Khetsi believes there is a market for what he plans with ArtsOne. He says his potential audience is the young people to mid adult market, aged 16 and 35. “The average ArtsOne fan will be the person that always knows what new international band will be coming to South Africa; he/she is also the first to buy tickets to the event and is always the first to own and know about the latest gadgets and mobile devices and know about new movies, music, fashion trends and latest gaming offerings. But [they] have no idea what’s happening at the theatres, galleries and museums and ArtsOne wants change all that,” he says.
“I appreciate all forms of art but theatre tops the list of favourites. Currently I am inspired by Princess Mhlongo, the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artists of the year. I enjoyed her work of ‘Trapped’ – a play about a family that is trapped inside an abandoned museum and they come to tell the stories of different people who are all trapped in different ways, in various circumstances. Princess is part of perhaps the first generation of theatre makers since the early ‘70s for whom subject matter relating to politics and protest is no longer relevant,” he says.
“The nicest thing about Art is that it tells a story from the eyes of an artist. I believe that South Africa has a story to tell but first to themselves. Art is a medium one can use to be creative and tell a story through the use of imagination, it is such a beautiful thing. We want to tell stories about people creating these stories using creativity, emotions, talent and imagination whether it’s in a form of a play, music or design,” says Khetsi.
Khetsi refuses to let the challenges he’s confronted so far to stop him from reaching his dream. “I believe I was born for this dream. Every challenge has been a stepping stone. I see a challenge is an opportunity. I owe who I am and what I know to the challenges I have faced. My entire life has been a challenge and it’s a way of life for me. I get the opportunity to better and educate myself through challenges,” he says.
“As a young person it is difficult to get people take you serious,” says Khetsi. “But my biggest challenge has to be lack of resources and some income coming through every month. This dream has had me to make difficult decisions and a compromising decision of not be employed and working for someone to earn a living. With no income you are faced with simple challenges of not being able to make a call due to not having airtime. My legs has been my transportation and I wouldn’t even be able to imagine the amount of distant I have walked.”
Khetsi says printed media inspired to chase the dream of being a publisher. “I love and enjoy to submerge myself in current affairs and there is no best feeling like reading a good weekly newspaper on a Sunday. I enjoy the feel and smell of print. This is a tradition that I would want people to experience knowing that it is produce by myself,” he explains.
Khetsi is looking for an investment of R1.8 million. “This is to cover operations, print and distribution cost. We are looking at a frequency of 20 000 every quarter,”he says. “A lot of money has been invested into the production in arts and not enough in creating audiences for these productions. Our investor will be giving back to the arts community as this brand share a vision of promoting and enhance the arts so that we have bums on seats for these production. This brand gives the investor the ideal opportunity to play its part in building communities for the good.”
With such drive and passion, we believe it won’t be too long before the first issue of ArtsOne hits the shelves. Along with a corresponding TV programme!
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