Nthangwanika kondowe: malawi hip hop awards project manager 

Nthangwanika kondowe: malawi hip hop awards project manager 

Nthangwanika Kondowe is a creative consultant in different avenues of art including photography, videography, talent/event management as well as media marketing. She started her career in early 2020 following an unplanned break in her studies at the time.

“I had been in China studying for a Bachelor of science in finance and then the Covid-19 pandemic started and I found myself at home where the perfect opportunity presented itself to explore my passion in the arts” she said.

Nthangwanika is well known for her creative, strategic and organisational expertise, especially at such a young age. The young creative consultant was born in 1999 to Shyley Sinya Kondowe, a businessperson and Maureen Kondowe, High Court Judge of the Malawi Judiciary. She is the first born and has a younger brother, Asante Jordan Kondowe.

Nthangwanika is a polyglot, well read in English, Chichewa, French and Chinese. She has always been the top of her class; being head girl at St. Patrick’s Primary School and prefect and vice-president of the Leo Club at Kamuzu Academy. She is currently a student with the London School of Economics, studying Bachelor of Science in Economics and Management. 

The young creative consultant is also currently looking to start working with a New York based NGO called Maloto.

“Maloto develops and invests into Malawian programmes that feed, educate and empower. I’ve also spent the year working on different proposals to aid the Malawian mental health awareness campaign and hopefully I will be ready to share those plans soon,” said Nthangwanika.

She has been involved in a bit of everything, from content curation and creation, video production, festival production, project management, artist management and social media management.

“I’d say the most significant thing I have done is help improve the commercial viability and creative elements of Malawi Hip Hop Awards, LiFest and Newwave. I also think you cannot have any conversation about streaming in Malawi without mentioning my name,” said Nthangwanika.

She attributes her startup and push from first working with By Ntha Media (BNM), which she started when BNM was still in its startup phase. She started from organising their events and eventually running their operations.

“Working there was a crash course on everything I know today. I learnt how, why, when, where and built so many important professional connections. The respect people have for Nthanda Manduwi as a hard worker is the same respect I get every time I enter a room because she allowed me to show people what I’m capable of,” said Nthangwanika.

The young creative consultant is also the current project manager of the Malawi Hip Hop Awards (MWHHA). The founder, Gwamba, advertised for young and brilliant thinkers to help him in establishing the awards.

“When he approached me and asked if I can do it, I said I would try and it’s safe to say I delivered. As project manager, I was responsible for planning, organising and directing the completion of the inaugural award show and establishing MWHHA as a brand of its own,” she said.

“Being project manager really opened my eyes to the state of the Malawian music industry and its challenges that needed sensible, thoughtful and urgent intervention,” she added.

Nthangwanika has also successfully managed and worked with several artists, including BigPhil, Toast, Luzio and Teddy.  This followed after a close friend of hers, Phillip Kazako, an artist himself, convinced her to give it a try.

Her passion for music and facilitating development in the Malawian music industry also led to her becoming the chief operating officer of Newwave Malawi, an entity under Newwave Group. Newwave is passionate and committed to changing the face of music distribution in Malawi. They are only interested in establishing and promoting easily monetisable options for all artists so that they can earn enough income through their art.

“What began as a way of offering artists an alternative platform to get their music heard by the masses through playlist curation is now growing into a music publishing and distribution company. I oversee all operations, most of which are still in the inception or conception phase but this is the most important thing I’m working on right now,” said Nthangwanika.

“When we were setting up, artists having their music on digital streaming platforms wasn’t even considered an important distribution avenue and now it is almost synonymous with download culture, I believe we’re responsible for that change in culture. We’ve covered a lot of ground but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for us, there’s still so much for us to do,” she added.

Nthangwanika also produced and directed her journey through a documentary titled EST 1999. According to her, the inspiration behind creating the documentary was as a tribute to herself for her 20th birthday.

“I always knew I was destined for great things, but before I get to where I’m going I wanted something to remind me of where I am (was). The documentary focuses on some of the themes that drive who I am as a person, Family, Love, Friendship, Ambition and Perseverance just to mention a few things,” she said.

Nthangwanika admits to have faced several challenges in her journey as a creative consultant, especially as a young woman in the industry.

“Being a woman in this game just means nobody is expecting you to be in the room, let alone to be in charge. Sometimes I feel like I’m working twice as hard just to receive the same level of respect as my male counterparts not to mention the lack of professionalism in unsolicited sexist compliments and sexual advances” said Nthangwanika.

However, despite these challenges, she remained committed to the Malawian media and entertainment industry because of the gap that she saw. To Nthangwanika, her greatest achievement so far was the Malawi Hip Hop Awards, which she claims was mainly due to being given the room and resources that she needed to create in her element.

“It pushed me out of my comfort zone and I grew artistically. A production of mine is saved on a proud Malawian’s laptop somewhere and the trophies sit on the display cabinets of honoured artists, constant reminders of my contribution to the game,” she said.

“I hope to be part of the key pioneers and investors of the Malawian media and entertainment industry, to see Malawian creatives being properly valued for all the work they do,” she added.

As a young female, being one of the most influential people in the music industry is a big win for females around Malawi, especially young Malawian females that might be aspiring to venture into the same field, as she shows that despite the immense sexism in the music and entertainment industry, you can still find your place there as a woman.

With her roles, she is committed to not only setting a new standard for the Malawian media and entertainment industry as a whole, but for women as well. She is strongly passionate about advancing the Malawian brand through music and media, with hopes to own her own media company one day.

Her advice to young girls is to be the change they want to see, as well as to be the kind of person that can do it  whatever it means to them.

“Step forward when the stakes are low so you can trust yourself to step forward when the stakes are high, there is no such thing as “kuno ndi ku Malawi” apply the standards you hold regardless” said Nthangwanika.

In her free time, Nthangwanika enjoys listening to music and travelling with her mother and brother within and outside Malawi and enjoying the best that the world has to offer.

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