She’s worked with the likes of Chanel No 5 and Nike. She danced with world-famous zef rap ravers Die Antwoord for two years. She’s the person every Instagram style and art enthusiast follows, and her work has attracted the attention of dozens of international publications. She founded a conceptual performance and production company called Dear Ribane with her equally creative siblings Tebogo and Kokona. Manthe Ribane is the artist who does it all.

I meet with her at Milk Bar in Rosebank, and she’s immaculately dressed and made-up, vibrant, professional and ready for an interview. So how do you do it, I ask, as she pours herself a cup of green tea.

“You have to take care of yourself, stay healthy, be around good energies all the time. Protect yourself, stay vigilant, stay driven, exercise and be healthy. I learnt that from working with Die Antwoord,” she tells me.

“Die Antwoord are so successful because they’re disciplined,” says Manthe. “Of course once in a while they’re like ‘Ah, we did great, let’s celebrate’, but within their creative process they’re military about it. Before tours we’d have a schedule on what we have to eat. We had to eat healthily [Manthe is a vegetarian], exercise, drink water and not sleep during the day. They constantly urged us to stay active.”

But it wasn’t just Die Antwoord who drove Manthe to push their creativity – her late parents were the foundation of this ethos.

“What my parents instilled in us was amazing. They often told us ‘Always aim to win, and never despise your situation – there’s a bigger picture’. My parents worked hard, so we were privileged enough to go to a good school.” She says her father was a sports fanatic, which gave her and her siblings a competitive spirit. “My father didn’t allow us to watch TV. During holidays we’d go for sports training, swimming lessons, tennis, golf on Sundays ... it was a very stimulating environment.

“My dad never believed that people can be bored. Because there’s so much to do – books to read, cards to play, sports; everything you need if you just go and find it.”

Manthe lists “artists who are so in line with themselves and their talent” as her inspiration. They include talents such as designer Trevor Stuurman, Pharrell Williams, late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo.

“Everyone who’s creating a positive energy and executing their dreams inspires me,” she says.

Amen to that.

Dear Ribane

Tickets for Littlegig are sold out, but we have two up for grabs (entrance only). To enter the draw, SMS the keyword LITTLEGIG, your name, surname, email address and delivery address to 34217. SMSes cost R1.50, free SMSes do not apply. Terms and conditions apply


Apart from seeing amazing artists such as Dear Ribane at this year's festival, Littlegig organiser Georgia Black is most excited for:

1. The hot chip station at the after-party
“We’re doing, for the first time, a hot chip station that guests can indulge in until three in the morning.”

2. The paired food and wine tasting
“For R150 extra, you can indulge in food and wine from three of South Africa’s top women chefs and three top women winemakers.”

3. The deep sleep experience
“People can climb into cocoons suspended from trees and listen to half an hour of deep brainwave music. We’re doing things that other festivals don’t, taking festivalgoers into the future and providing a unique experience.”