Gender @ Work Newsletter, Tanzania 2023
Sunday November 5th 2023
There was a definite buzz in the air. You could feel it.
Fifteen women from across Africa had been selected to partake in the
Gender@Work program for a whole week in the capital of Tanzania.
The initiative was developed by the Music in Africa Foundation (MIAF), a
NFP who promote, facilitate and support African music. They have
developed this program to see women engage and become more involved
in the event and music industry. The program training had started a month
prior with online classes and this was the final part with a week-long on
location training as part of ACCES – a conference and showcase festival
run by MIAF.
As the girls arrived, they finally were able to put names to faces and greet
each other in the flesh for the first time.
Leading the Gender@Work program is Carine Tredgold, a stage manager
and training facilitator from Zimbabwe, who kicked off our first day brilliantly.
As we worked through the modules, the girls got more comfortable with
each other and began answering the questions each other had. Carine and
I were able to facilitate conversations as the group shared from their own
experience and began to teach/learn from each other. It was a great start to
Monday November 6th 2023
Monday we kicked off strong. Another day of solid content and learning
plus the added bonus of two guest speakers!
Women in Music Tanzania came and joined us all around lunch time. There
they shared this new start up with the goal to promote women in the music
industry through training and empowering them. We then had Islam Elbeiti,
a bass player and cultural curator share her experience of how she has
gotten to where she is today and the challenges she has encountered. Both
presentations resonated with the group and there were a lot of questions
and chats back and forth sharing experiences.
Tuesday November 7th 2023
Today was exciting because the real technical training began! At the
beginning, I asked the girls to think of a problem they needed solving or
something they always wanted to know about sound or lighting.
I then said, hopefully in the theory training today or the practical training
tomorrow you work out the answer.
The girls asked heaps of questions – they’re curious, wanting to learn and
grow and develop their knowledge. This group of fifteen only had four techs
yet all the other women who work as artist managers, event coordinators,
etc wanted to learn not only for themselves but to improve what they work
on in the future. There wasn’t enough time to cover everything. Impossible
for half a day but the learning and growth was huge in the time we had!
Wednesday November 8th 2023
Half way through the week and today was an exciting day! We went out of
the classroom and to HaddyPro, a rehearsal studio and gear supplier in
Dar es-Salaam to get hands on, practical experience and training on
lighting and audio equipment.
As we started the training, we lost power but luckily the lighting console
was on a UPS and stayed on for the time it took to get the power back up.
One of the students was a lighting designer/operator and as she learnt
some of the answers to questions she had, you could see all the
connections being made in her head about how lighting works and how
things fit together.
Our power came back on and we headed into the world of audio. We
looked at what it is like on stage, how to mic instruments, how everything
gets from stage to the console to the PA. We then got hands on with the
console. It’s fun to turn the knobs and start to hear what frequencies and
compression do to sound. After practising going through the signal chain on
a few instruments, we then let the girls go and discover for themselves. The
best way to learn is through being hands on, making mistakes and then
teaching others what you know to solidify the learning! Our lighting tech got
right into teaching the other girls all about lighting! It was really cool!
From there we headed to the venues we’d be working at for the next three
days. Checking out what we need to do and where we will be working. After
that, we headed back to the hotel to have our final presentation from
Kimberley from MOMIX in Mauritius. MOMIX is short for Mauritius Music
Expo and has been around since 2017. They seek to network those
involved with Music in Mauritius. From there we had dinner at the launch
party at Alliance Française. Bands played and the kickoff for ACCES 2023
was a great way to finish a busy day!
Thursday November 9th 2023
Today was when it all came together! ACCES 2023 was going live! Over
1500 people will participate in ACCES this year, a conference and
showcase run by Music in Africa Foundation.
The girls were energised and excited to put into practice what they’d
learned. We spent time at the beginning of the day getting familiar with the
stage. Learn where everything was, practice rolling a cable and going
through instruments and what mics we’d use.
As sound check started, there was trouble shooting to be done and the girls
got straight into problem solving!
After the first sound check you could see everything had clicked and for the
next band the girls got straight onto it. We talked through what the change
overs would look like and the team chose what areas of the change over to
be responsible for. We also had Miriam from last year’s Gender@Work
Training joining us as a stage tech which was great.
Doors opened, we got the ten min call from the SM and away we went! It
was excellent! The night went brilliantly and the comment on the team from
all was that the change overs were some of the best they’d seen!
Friday November 10th 2023
The synergy and excitement the girls had having achieved a successful
show the night before was huge today!
They loved it. Hands on, involved, taking notes and wanting to put into
practice everything they had learned over the week!
The show went really well. Artist liaisons had everything thrown at them as
there were some big stars performing. The techs had tricky change overs
with tight times to get large bands on and off stages and nailed it! The
stage managers flawlessly excited changeovers, artist managing and all
the liaising in between. It was so cool to see everyone in their element. It
was as if the night before was a practice and tonight was time to take it up
a level, or quite a few! And they did!
Saturday November 11th 2023
WILM is all about hands-on practical learning. We had one girl who had
done a fair bit of lighting programming, operating and designing. The
production LD had been great and very happy to show her things. I tasked
her with opening a new show file and creating a show from scratch for an
artist performing that night. As she designed a show for Kasvia, (an artist
from Kenya her home country), Balle the LD said to her to operate the
show! This is the icing on the cake for the end of the week. What an
The final night was by far the hardest in terms of stage changes and audio
requirements. But, the girls stepped up! They succeeded. We had technical
difficulties, change of instruments from sound check to show, but as a
team, they crushed it!
All in all – WOW! What a week!
I’m personally so grateful for this opportunity. When one is invited to help
train and teach people, you end up with the best reward – seeing others
flourish! My heart is so full from this experience.
Huge thank you to Carine. All the hours and the work she puts in behind
the scenes is because she not only believes in this program but she
believes in each girl taking part and works so hard to see each person
succeed. Such an honour to work with her!
MIAF does an incredible job promoting and supporting African music. It
was a real privilege to see their dedication and how it is changing African
music and its reach globally. They’re a bunch of legends and my huge
thanks to them for having me!
Lastly, my thanks to WILM who not only are supporting seeing more
Women in Live Music in Europe but on the African continent as well! Their
values and emphasis is training and this is exactly what they’re helping
make happen! Very grateful for this opportunity WILM have given me. This
is a week I’ll never forget!!!
WILM member Soph Botta, Lighting Designer and Rigger, who was chosen
to represent WILM at this year’s Gender@Work
More information about WILM’s collaboration with Music In Africa can be
achieved by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org