Sisters in creativity

Sisters in creativity

August was Women’s Month in South Africa, and the whole Month idea happened because Women’s Day was instituted to commemorate and honour the role women played in the Struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.


For us one month a year just isn’t enough, and 360 Degrees believes fiercely in the integrity of all women, however exalted or however humble they may be.

We’re a wholly women-owned and women-managed company, and we’re damn proud of that.

We know that the quality of our product speaks for itself.

We’re a sought-after outfit delivering the best. (We happen to be run by women.)

We’re a company run by women. (We happen to deliver an excellent product.)

And during this past August – and every month – we salute and appreciate our sisters, here in our own country, and in the global village. Respect to our sisters in all creative spaces: to those who have paved the way and to those who continue to be beacons of ingenuity, discovery, and creation, lighting the way for us..

How many of these life-altering inventions were the fruit of women’s creativity and inventiveness?

(Answer: all of them.)

And Grace Hopper basically invented the Computer!


Prior to her work on computers, all programmes were written in numerical code. She not only designed Harvard’s Mark I computer in 1944, but she also invented the compiler. This device translated written language into computer coding. Later, she co-invented COBOL – the first universal programming language used in business and government. As if all of this wasn’t enough, she also coined the terms ‘bug / debugging’ and she was a Rear Admiral in the Navy.

Women everywhere have contributed so much to the creative arts, and especially in South Africa we remember and honour singers like Miriam Makeba, PJ Powers, Pretty Yende, Sibongile Khumalo, Brenda Fassie, and a myriad more. Look at our writers and poets – people like Fatima Dike, Nadine Gordimer, Antjie Krog, Zuleikha Mayat, Ingrid Jonker, Lebohang Mashile. Actresses? Tell me when to stop! Connie Ferguson, Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Sandra Prinsloo, Nomsa Nene, Fiona Ramsay… the list is endless.

Dame Judi Dench made film history this year with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, making her the oldest nominee yet for the category – at the age of 87.  “Retirement is not a word used in my house,” she said.


And we always remember to honour the unsung heroines irrespective of the spaces in which they work – the domestic workers and housekeepers, the teachers, the policewomen, and the angels without wings who tend the sick and the dying: our wonderful nursing sisters who do their jobs with courage, patience, low salaries, and great dignity. Without all these amazing people we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

We are all blessed.

We truly are.


While at it we celebrate Tracey-Lee Oliver, who has been in the music industry for 18 years, but her love for music stretches all the way back to her childhood days, when she attended church choir with her late father, who was always her biggest fan.

Her professional career got going in 2004, when she entered the South African reality television show Project Fame, which was broadcast across most of Africa. (Tracey-Lee came 3rd  in an international group of highly talented young musos.)

Shortly after that, she found herself in the world of Sun City Extravaganza shows, and learnt the ropes of theatre performance, before stepping in front of the camera and testing her acting chops in her first television commercial. And the bug had bitten!

This small-town girl from Grabouw in the Western Cape is now a triple threat, singing, acting, and doing stand-up comedy.

She is literally living her dreams.

And it feels amazing, she says.


“My Mom says I began singing and making up little songs when I was 3 years old. And then I met Megan Willson (CEO and Creative Director of 360 Degrees) in 2004 when I took part in Project Fame. She directed the live shows and she was just so fantastic and awesome and so certain. Since then, we have had a great professional relationship.

“When it comes to working with 360 Degrees, working with people who love what they do as much as they do makes all the difference. It becomes a collaboration, in the end, and everyone feels like they’ve played a part that mattered.

“Collaborating is where we all find our best creative space.

“One of my biggest musical influences has always been Whitney Houston, who basically taught me how to sing. My sister taught me how to dress and have style. My brother taught me how to play the guitar. My parents taught me to stand up for myself. My friends taught me how to have compassion for myself.

“I’ve noticed a significant shift in regard to the number of women creatives owning more of the entertainment space throughout the years. However I would love to see more of it. We’re on our way and I’m here for it!

“My mantra; Be Prepared. Be Reliable. Be Professional. But hey… I’m also Unapologetic. Caring. Unpredictable.

“We are a people who have such a unique understanding of one another. We have our own dialect and expressions that no one else in the world has. For me home is a place or space where I feel seen and understood.

“And that’s here in South Africa.”