Meet South African Creative Tabisa Yeni
Tabisa Yeni was born and bred in Durban – Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, she is a female Bastile (mixture of umXhosa nomZulu). She is an artist manager, poet, philanthropist, pastor to be, abuse and mental health activist, brand ambassador, body positivity enthusiast and general non-conformist. The multi-talented South African is also a foodie and has a food page called @patisserie_nkosazana on Instagram. She studied a Patisserie course this year as well as hospitality and tourism from a high school level, she has an international qualification in Tourism.
On the rocks in her life, Tabisa remarks, “Most of them have passed away. I am now left with my big sister and my son’s grandparents. I have friends who have become sisters to me, they are my rocks too. My Pastor is also my rock. He literally took on the role of being a father to me. However, my greatest rock is God.”
The poet discovered her love for poetry in high school through being inspired by her English teacher. “That’s when I discovered my love for writing. For both storytelling and poetry. Poetry has always been an emotional outlet, a coping mechanism for me due to my traumatic past.”
The Artist Manager whose clients are, Gigi Lamayne, Just 6 and Zulu funk remarks how she go into it by accident. “It’s not something that I had set out to do. A musician who was my friend asked me to road manage her after she saw how effective and productive, she was after I drafted and handled her itinerary for her. I was living my best life on holiday and she had to work.” The artist that she is speaking about is Moonchild Sanelly.
Tabisa co owns Producer’s Note with Moleboheng Sehume, “I met Moleboheng Sehume at the Loeries Advertising Awards a couple of years back. We vibed and kept in contact. Then she asked me to be her partner for The Producer’s Note. We have the same passion when it comes to creatives and producers in our country and giving them a platform.
When it comes to juggling her many hats, Tabisa says, “Being OCD and ADD really helps. I have created a routine for myself that really helps. My love, passion, and zeal for all that I do helps. It doesn’t always feel like work. My love for making a change really helps. My name is after all, Tabisa, which means the bringer of joy.”
Of all her passions, “The kitchen is my sacred space, my downtime where I get to just relax and be creative. The activist in me is my favourite aspect of myself.”
About how she got into philanthropy, Tabisa remarks, “I like to say that I suckled it from my mother’s breast. She was a philanthropist. That’s how we were raised. For me time is a very precious amenity, more precious than money. With time you can get/make money but with money you can’t necessarily get time. Therefore, I use the most precious thing to me to transfer knowledge and skills to make a change. I have coupled the activist and philanthropist. Sometimes of course there will be money involved. Underprivileged children, youth and women with an abuse history and reality are my passion. It’s a sore point for me. Mental health awareness is my passion. Body positivity is my passion.”
On what inspired her to focus on mental health and body positivity in the creative spaces, “The entertainment industry is a very fickle and cruel industry. A lot of artists/performers/models etc especially females are going through the most. They are not mentally and emotionally well. The same goes for the males. A lot of them go through bouts of depression and end up using alcohol and other substances to numb their pain. It’s so sad to observe and being in the industry as a manager you get to see and understand the pressure, the politics, and the cruelty from both the industry and the fans. It’s a very real and huge concern. Awareness needs to be done and coping mechanisms need to be put in place.”
Tabisa is currently the brand ambassador of a movement that does phenomenal work with women in South Africa. “It perfectly aligns with my brand and passion; it’s called The Redefining Beauty Movement. You can find them on IG as @redefiningbeautysa and on FB as Redefining Beauty Movement.
Here is the thing, in this world you only have yourself that you can truly rely on to love you the way that you need to be loved. Therefore, people need to be equipped to be kind to themselves and love themselves. It yields confidence which in turn yields success. People need to be able to look at themselves in the mirror, naked. Some people can’t even do that, that’s how much they don’t like their bodies and themselves because of what society has said and body Shaming. You see mental health and body positivity are intertwined. We need to move people from changing their physical looks from a place of negativity to doing it from a place of love. Just like all other types of health, mental health is equally if not more important. Mental illnesses can and do induce body illnesses. There’s also suicide. People need to be aware of what’s going on in their minds and bodies.”
The advice she offers to someone dealing with body positivity and mental health issues:
“Awareness is very important, being aware of your emotions which is internal and what’s going on around you, which is external.
Therapy is very important.
Reading up on mental health is important.
You are beautiful inside and out. You are perfect in God’s eyes, there is no one else like you in this entire universe. You were made with excellence and by excellence and you should always exude excellence. You are perfect in your imperfections. You are art in motion.
You are not alone. Don’t spend too much time alone no matter what your mind tells you. You are not the negative things that both people and your mind tell you that you are. You are loved and needed.”
To make her work sustainable, Tabisa states, “Everything that I do has to have a ripple effect. I help people so that they can help others. I create leaders and change makers.”
The lesson that Tabisa hopes people learn from her work is, “That people are the greatest currency. That making a change in people’s lives is the greatest investment that you can ever make. That fixing a nation or a continent starts with one person. We can do this one person at a time. I also hope that they learn that your God-given life’s purpose is hidden in your gifts and talents. God gave you those to equip you for it. I hope that they learn that there’s provision when you walk in your God-given purpose and that the will of God will never take you where the Grace of God won’t protect and cover you. That helping people is fulfilling.”
The advice she would give her your younger self, “I would tell her that it’s not your fault that those men molested you at the ages of 5 and 11. I would tell that it’s not her fault that she was physically abused and raped by her ex. I would tell her to open up and talk more. I would tell her that she is powerful and a healer. I would tell her to not be offended, whatever negative things anyone says, thinks and does to her are none of her business, they are between those people and God. I would tell her that God will use her to heal people. I would tell her that strength also comes in fragility. I would tell her to cry more. I would tell her to learn to forgive without getting an apology it’s what is best for her. I would tell her to focus on her sports and stop trying to fit in with those mean girls in high school. I would tell her that there’s a huge difference between love and trauma bonding. I would tell her to learn to put boundaries. I would tell her that she is gorgeous, and her body is stunning.
The best advice she has ever been given was by her psychologist who once told her that, “I need to learn to respect what I have gone through. All the trauma that I have experienced.”
The most played songs in her playlist:
Gigi Lamayne: Feelin U
Maverick City: Million little pieces
Bongeziwe Mabandla – Khangela
Caiiro ft Xoli M: Pride Aside
“I am adding Bella Schmurda: Rush for good measure because have you heard the production of that song? How the beat switches on you and have you seen the music video? Oh yes not forgetting my favourite dance song by Major League Djz & Abidoza ft Cassper Nyovest – Le Plane E’landile. Hahahaha Okay, as you were.
These are beautifully curated songs that each bring out a different emotion out of me. I love a beautifully constructed song that oozes emotion out of it. I am very big on production, authenticity, and melody. The message is also important.”
On what she is most proud of about being South African, “Ubuntu, how my nation is like one huge village. We love people and are always smiling regardless of what we are going. I also love the kaleidoscope of different cultures that we have, and we celebrate our diversity.”
Tabisa wants to be remembered as someone who danced with adversity until its feet were sore and it bowed out. Then she taught others the same victory dance. She wants to be remembered as a healer, a bringer of joy, a change maker and a groomer of leaders.
You can contact Tabisa via the following:
Facebook: Tabisa Patience Yeni
Instagram: tabisa_yeni, patisserie_nkosazana
LinkedIn: Tabisa Yeni
Email: [email protected]
Thank you for reading, please browse through the blog for more interviews.