AFIA Is Pantsula Workshop Lecture 2022 Sweden South Africa
AFIA WOZA JAM South Africa Sweden 2022
AFIA CLUB WOZA 2022 Dance Sweden Is Pantsula south Africa

ABOUT US 

BACKGROUND

What is Afia and what do we do? How did we come to the point where we are at today?

Afia is a non profit organization founded by Joanna Holewa Chrona and Theresa Gustavsson, two Swedish-based freelancing professional dancers, choreographers and also project leaders. Afia grew from the longing of wanting to make a change in our society, from wanting to support African artists and honoring African cultures, as well as to create a platform for people to enjoy, meet, connect and celebrate.

It all started with numerous travels to South Africa. First one in 2015, and so far there is no last one… and hopefully won’t be. Before South Africa there was already an interest in African cultures and travels were made to Senegal, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambiques, Zanzibar.. But it was after 2015 and the first visit to South Africa that Joanna decided to live part time in Johannesburg and she still does that up until this day. Theresa has several times visited South Africa as well. During this time of being in Johannesburg, Theresa and Joanna connected very well with a dance company called ‘Real Actions Pantsula’, and it was the original reason why they ended up in South Africa to begin with. To train isiPantsula. A subculture from Johannesburg. From here a mutual collaboration grew with the South African pantsula dancers and Afias official birth came about when Joanna and Theresa invited two dancers to teach in Sweden summer 2016. That was the first edition of “Afia Festival”.

Today the organization has grown a lot. Afia’s team is bigger and the festival is now an explosion of vibes and South African culture with over 12 activities over 7 days. Afia hosts a number of other events as well, charity events, clubs and stage performances. Afia is always up for a good collaboration….if the same values and vision are shared of course!

Basically, AFIA is a cultural event producer with the aim to connect and celebrate people and hold space for African cultures.

VISION

  • To unite people via dance and music.
  • To strengthen the possibilities and the platforms for African cultures.
  • To decrease the distance between people of different cultures, class differences and background.
  • Broaden the range of cultural expressions in Sweden.
  • To offer different ways to deepen one’s knowledge and open one’s perspective about African cultures.

How are we doing this?

  • By organizing tailor made cultural events and performances with focus on African cultures and artists with African heritage. 

  • By being consistent with our vision, values, actions and ambition and not giving up when met with obstacles. 

  • By hosting events in different locations, cities, countries. 

  • By keeping entrances free and as low as possible.

  • By keeping ourselves updated within the culture we are presenting.

  • By being in close connection with the artist and our participants/audience.

We want a more vibrant world where people are accepted for who they are and where we celebrate each other and our expressions! To get there ->  we see the demands and then create the events.

VALUES

We value cultural expressions and heritage. We also value people’s differences and similarities, as well as unity, knowledge, integrity, social/cultural responsibility and fair representation of culture/bodies and gender.

How do we keep our values?

  • By organizing cultural events with focus on knowledge and history.
  • By being consistent with our vision,values, actions and ambition and not giving up when met with obstacles. 
  • By questioning ourselves daily in order to align more with our values all the time. 
  • By working with people, partners and artists that we see hold the same values.
  • By being consistent with booking artists based on representation. 
  • By going that extra mile of understanding the culture we are working with for it to be authentic and in fair representation of the culture.
  • By offering our audience the same chance of understanding via lectures etc.

MEET THE TEAM

Who is AFIA behind the scenes?

An ”insight scoop” to get to know us better through 4 questions:

  1. What song can we find you passionately singing in the shower?

  2. Secret addiction, obsession or guilty pleasure?

  3. What quality do you admire within yourself, that you notice in others too?

  4. Describe what AFIA is/means to you in one sentence?

Joanna Holewa Chrona

Joanna Holewa Chrona is a Swedish dancer, choreographer, project leader and dj located in Sweden/South Africa. Her dance- background is within Streetdance from the afro-diaspora as well as from West/South-African cultural dances. She is active within different fields of art such as performing, teaching, choreographing, project-leading, battles/competitions, music-videos, art-films, commercials, deejaying etc. With her movement-experience from dance-training and work, as well as through her many inspiration and knowledge-seeking travels she has found a unique way of moving. Joanna believes that dance and music is important for individuals and communities freedom of expression, and that sharing and exchanging is the key to togetherness.

Joanna's work as a dancer and choreographer is always influenced by where and how she moves in life. Without compromising she always gives herself completely to the moment. There is a strong interest in honesty, depth, connection and togetherness. She uses choreography and dance as a tool to further share her interests and mindsets.

With her work as a project leader and especially within Afia, she believes it is through dance, music and art that we can come together, connect, broaden our perspectives and learn about different cultures and ourselves.

  1.  I can't memorize lyrics and don't even get me started about melodies. I make up my own songs in the shower or anywhere else, that way I can't go wrong!
  2.  Tea is definitely an addiction of mine, it does not matter if its blazing sun outside and 30+ degrees celsius. You will always find me with some rooibos tea…. 
  3.  I have a secret nickname  “Manifesting b*tch number 1” given to me by a close friend of mine, excuse the language. I am big on manifesting my wishes and goals and usually they tend to come true in one way or another. I love to see people talking about their dreams and then carry them all the way home. It takes a lot of ambition, passion, fire, bravery and faith in going after what you really want, even if you have to try many times, in different ways and during a long period of time.
  4.  They say that 'home is where your heart' and so I would like to say that Afia is home, not only to me but hopefully to many others.

Theresa Gustavsson

Theresa “tr3sa” Gustavsson is a strong versatile dancer, choreographer and producer from Sweden who has worked in the dance scene since 2005. Her main focus has been within the streetdance styles; Hiphop, House, Locking & Popping, however her versatility stretches beyond these. She has a strong interest in cultural dances and she has spent a lot of time on research travels learning from different African and afro diasporan dances. In addition, she has amongst other been teaching at Stockholm University of the Arts, Ballet Academy Sthlm, Danscentrum and giving national and international workshops. Theresa is an active member of the streetdance community, traveling and participating in battles and events around the world, she also works hard for the Swedish dance scene and has been organizing over 45 events since 2006.

  1. “Rövarsången” from the Swedish children cult classic movie Ronja Rövardotter by Astrid Lindgren.
  2. Fresh fruit, right now looking at people painting aquarelle.
  3. Having patience and giving space for people to express by listening. 
  4. For me AFIA is an unexpected and indescribable power for love and unity.
  5.  

Elvira Abarca Andronova

Elvira is from Stockholm and has Russian and Peruvian roots. Elvira studied in New York for some years and then returned to Stockholm. Elvira works as an interior designer by day, which is her creative outlet for color and design- another passion. Music is probably Elvira‘s biggest passion, you will always find her dancing to the good tunes. Especially South African music! You will most likely find me with a smile, on the dance floor, sharing only good vibes.

  1. Paper thin, by Lianne La Havas
  2. Mmmm habanero!
  3. Positivity
  4. Great channel to spread love, healing and a unique, soulful culture to the world

Yas Calasse

Yasmine is a South African Contemporary and Hip-Hop dancer. She trained with the Dance Factory and various studios in Johannesburg, South Africa. After high school Yasmine furthered her dance studies in New York City at Gibney, Peridance and Broadway Dance Center. She was a scholarship holder for Tanzwerk 101 Summer intensive. Yasmine has taught workshops and classes in many cities, choreographed for an award winning music video- Rainmaker and exhibited her work: Confinement in Cape Town (Western Province building). Yasmine has performed works by Ching-Ching Wong, Ihsan Rustem, Jennifer Archibald, Elisabetta Minutoli, Jasmin Halper, Rudi Smit and Jenny Freitag-Praxmarer. Yasmine has featured in work and collaborations for RedBull, Liberty SA, and Henricks. She is an active member in the Street scene, having participated in and won battles in South Africa. Yasmine is now performing with Comedia Theatre in Cologne and is currently working with AFIA Festival as a project leader.

  1. It depends on the ear worm of the day. Miss Independent by NeYo gets me every time. Open apology by NoName is a staple.

  2. I am a sucker for Youtube VLOGS. Yes I want to know what you eat in a day and what your 5am morning routine is! On the real, some inspiring self betterment content out there.

  3. A coexistence of qualities (honesty, respect, passionate, adventurous) and how we cultivate balance within them. An open mind and heart wins. 

  4. AFIA to me is a breeding ground of love, energy and exchange and a platform of opportunity, release and connection.

  5.  

Paul Luthando

Dance Africa Network is a B2B start-up that assists dance related businesses/organisation with digital services that may be too expensive for dance brands that are starting off. Part of Dance Africa Network‘s passion is to create spaces for upcoming talent to connect with their industry-leading professionals. The Start-up was co-founded by dancers Leon “Labba” Labuschagne & Paul Luthando in 2018. They saw the need for creative representation of branding & digital marketing within the dance industry.

  1. Red Room - Haitus Kaiyote (Mo Serious edit), Zoe Modiga - The Healer
  2. Gaming, trolling (carefully and systematically search an area for something) SoundCloud producers, and Cannabis. 
  3. Empathy and the want to do good for good.  
  4. An organization that uses music/dance to creatively bring attention to social issues and like minded creatives in one space. 
  5.  

Leon Andrew Labuschagne

Leon Labuschagne, better known as ‘Bboy Lab*A’ is no stranger to the entertainment industry. This multi-talented dancer, artist, teacher, MC, writer, videographer, editor and social media mogal – has the underground urban dance community in awe of his every move. 

He is currently one of the Co-Owners of Dance Africa Network alongside Paul Luthando. They are the online digital content creatives for dance organizations such as Federation Of Dance Sport SA. Formerly he was an ambassador for Shield Men as a Judge on their #DoDance competition that takes 3 dancers to New York City for the World Of Dance tour. In addition, he received a creative excellence award for his video entry into the Yogi Sip Do It Yourself Competition in 2009, with a 9 month internship at Y&R that jet set his interests in advertising & marketing.

  1. Red Room - Haitus Kaiyote (Mo Serious edit), Zoe Modiga - The Healer
  2. Gaming, scouting the latest SoundCloud producers.
  3. Do good for good, pushed by dancers for dancers.  
  4. A wonderful support for artists who are in the now and need that big break.
  5.  

Sbusiso Mthembu

Hailing from the dusty streets of Orange Farm,South Africa, Sbusiso Mthembu is not only a professional dancer, choreographer and dance facilitator but an avid lover of the pantsula culture. He is passionate about mentoring the up and coming youth of South Africa as well as traveling abroad to share the knowledge, history, culture and music of isiPantsula.

  1. Song: imagine by common 
  2. Obsession: principles of life
  3. Admire: disciple and hard work
  4. Afia means: unity, freedom, coming together, seeing no colour, pure peace and love all this thrugh music and dance
  5.  

CHEZA (Maele Sabuni)

Dancer/Choreographer/DJ. TV, shows, artists, tours and other companies/choreographers. Cred. Eurovision Sweden qualification, Streetstar Tour, Bach in the street International tour, Dansnet Sweden, Swedish national Theatre, Stockholm City Theatre, Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, Polar Music Prize Ceremony, Suncebeat Festival.  Dance Competitions; Juste Debout Sweden/Scandinavia, Juste Debout Paris world finals (Semifinalist, Quarterfinalist), Baltic session Estonia, Abyss House dance experience (qualified to Washington DC, Won in DC) etc. CHEZA’s DJ journey started out of interest in music while being active as a dancer/choreographer in the Swedish Streetdance Scene since 2006. DJ workshops, working on projects/tours and playing at numerous events, clubs, Jams/Battles and festivals around the world. With the unique style of bringing music genres together he’s consistently digging for more music and ways to work towards new developments and creative signatures. Cred. Way out West Festival, The Nexus DJ Showcase (Washington DC), House Dance Day (Budapest), Clash (Copenhagen), Afrohouse Helsinki, Polar Music Prize Ceremony, Streetstar Festival and more.

  1. You’ll definitely find me in the shower singing everybody loves the sunshine by Roy Ayers 🙂
  2. Yes, I put yogurt in my oatmeal!
  3. I’m a very rhythmical person, my daily groove has a groove to it.
  4. Afia is a whole vibe. We are so blessed to have AFIA around, just the way they choose to highlight South African artists is amazing. Beautiful, colorful exchanges are made thanks to AFIA.