"MUSIC GAVE ME A NEW OPPORTUNITY IN LIFE, IT BECAME A VEHICLE TO DREAM OUTSIDE MY BOX AND FIRE ME UP TO BECOME A ROLE MODEL TO OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE IN MY COMMUNITY THAT COULD BE CAUGHT UP IN THE WRONG SIDE OF THINGS LIKE I WAS."- THULANI HEADMAN AKA FOSTA, FOUNDING MEMBER AND OPERATIONS MANAGER, BRIDGES FOR MUSIC
I grew up in a family of musicians and in a township like Langa that has been home to many legendary artists, but unfortunately for most of them, life was challenging and didn´t bring the rewards one would expect from a successful career. When I was in my late teens I got sentenced to 4 years in Pollsmoor prison for petty crime and it was there I reconnected with music. I enrolled in a music production program started by one of my wards, Mauris, who is now a good friend. There I told myself one day I would rebuild my life through music and would change my name to Fosta, which means in Xhosa “to make things happen”.
When I was finally back to Langa, I started a record label under the name 021 with the aim of creating a platform for young up and coming artists. A few years later I met with Valentino Barrioseta who was thinking about connecting his international network of music stakeholders and artists to communities like Langa to bring more opportunities to local talent. So our visions kind of aligned, even coming from totally different backgrounds, we had the same vision of making a difference through music and we
started working together hosting workshops with international and local artists to bridge the divide between the city and the township. Since then we hosted artists like Ed Sheeran, Bonobo, Skrillex and many more.
Then we started building ¨Bridges for Music¨ for young talent from the communities to play internationally at festivals like Glastonbury in the Uk or Tomorrowland in Belgium having brought over 20 local artists overseas already. But we soon realised that wasn´t enough, there was a dire need for a solid creative education facility in the Cape flats that could create impact at scale, on a grass root level and on a more permanent basis. Often talent falls through the cracks of the traditional schooling system or just gets disillusioned by the environment we live in. So we decided to build the Bridges Academy, a state-of-the-art learning space, which was how we envisioned the dream school. An inspiring space with all the tools needed to thrive as a creative person, both personally and professionally. After some hard years of construction and many challenges, we managed to open doors and see our first students walking through the doors.
I hope my journey can inspire others to turn their lives around no matter what adverse circumstances they go through and I’m looking forward to continuing growing this music and purpose-driven community.