Rapelang Leeuw

Organization – Semopa Entertaianment
Position – Hugh Masekela Band Manager

Professional Profile

Rapelang Eugene Leeuw was born in Taung in the North West province on October 17, 1979. His career in the music industry began in 2000 when he moved to Johannesburg permanently, and immersed himself in the South African Roadies Association. Attending a government-sponsored pilot project, through SARA, Rapelang took courses in live sound, backline, lighting and production. 2001 found him working as a backline technician at the North Sea Jazz Festival (later, the Cape Town Jazz Festival).

This led to a position as a sound technician at the ZPT sound company and then sound technician/engineer at VB Sound. By 2002, he’d translated these skills into a career as a freelancer including working on the Tribute To SA Music Heroes Concert, the Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz Festival and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. 2002 was also the year of his first trip to Europe, accepting a 4-week invitation to work pre-production on The North Sea Jazz Festival in Den Haag, Holland. Back in South Africa he found full-time employment as technical manager at MIDI TRUST, then located 10 Henry Nxumalo Street, present day Bassline. As technical manager his duties included maintenance of the house sound system, the rehearsal spaces, and both venues. At this time Rapelang also enrolled in an Arts administration course presented by the Cultural Help Desk. Working in 2004, as part of the Creative Collective team (Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa and Sibongile Khumalo) that produced the South Africa 10 Years of Freedom Celebrations including 4 separate concerts, each consisting of over 100 technical production staff and host to thousands. This led to a position as production and logistics manager, and band manager at Chissa Entertainment Group with Hugh Masekela. It was while at Chissa that Leeuw registered Bo-Amma-Ruri Productions for work in the fields of event management, artist management, workshop and conference coordination. He maintained his position as Masekela’s band manager from 2004 until that legend’s passing in 2018. In that decade plus he toured with Masekela all over and around the globe including various US and European tours, East, West, North and South African concerts, as well as Australia and the Caribbean Islands. Working on Masekela’s “Songs Of Migration” he also gained experience as a theatre cast and stage manager at The Market Theatre. With the establishment of SEMOPA Entertainment, Hugh Masekela’s management company, he also became Hugh Masekela’s personal assistant.

Rapelang still works with the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation and SEMOPA Entertainment on a semi permanent basis. He’s also worked and/or maintains working relationships with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Tribute to SA Music Heroes at Moretele, Mahika Mahika Cultural Festival, Macufe Music Festival, Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, Maftown Heights and the Nubian Music Festival. At present, in addition to other freelance activities, he occupies himself with tour managing for USborn, Ugandan jazz singer Somi Kakoma (2023 to present), lending his production services to Mason Africa (2022 to present) for various conferences around the continent, road managing for South African singer Lira and site and production manager for Standard Bank Joy of Jazz (2016 to present).

In summary, Rapelang Eugene Leeuw has, since 2000, equipped himself with and ventured into a dizzying array of industry fields, most prominently management, technical and personnel of events and concerts. Globally-experienced and locally-trained Leeuw’s passion, accomplishments and skills in the music industry are a cornucopia. Detail-oriented, focused and dedicated he continues to expand his repertoire of skills and accomplishments.

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