Meet The Team

A New Vision

Under the directorship of newly appointed CEO, Yusuf Ganief, Rootspring NPC has intensified its original philosophy of creating opportunity for talent into one that actively searches for and creates training and performance opportunities for emerging and established artists /musicians.

There is an urgency to re imagine a new era for artists in South Africa, the fabric and conscience of society. Our vision at Rootspring is to realize this imagining by developing our local artists’ originality and authenticity. The current crisis in the Arts industry gives rise to an opportunity for expanding our vision to embrace the Online Global Community through conscious art and music.

Meet the Team
Yusuf Ganief
Director

Yusuf Ganief, newly appointed CEO of Rootspring, brings more than 40 years experience in company administration and 20 years in senior management positions to Rootspring’s operational and creative team. Formally CEO for the Cape Town Festival (2003-2007) and GM for the Association of Marketers (1999 – 2003), including managing the prestigious Loerie Awards. From 2008 to 2019 he traveled the world as lead singer for Desert Rose . Yusuf is a descendant of the Malay political prisoners that were brought to the shores of Cape Town as exiles by the Dutch in the late 17th century. Born into a strict Sufi family and into an Apartheid era he understands the nature of prejudice and has dedicated himself to promote common humanity, respect, tolerance and peaceful co-existence through music and the arts. As an only child he developed a free-thinking identity during the many hours spent alone at a young age, while both parents worked.

Growing up during the heart of Apartheid South Africa, Yusuf’s family were disadvantaged as they were labeled as non-white despite his mother’s ancestors being Scottish. Forcibly removed from their home from a young age, Yusuf, a victim of prejudice, denied proper education, housing and opportunity, worked to better himself in an unjust world.

In 2007 he left the corporate world as CEO of the Cape Town Festival as the pre eminent arts and culture festival for the City of Cape Town where he created numerous brands to promote more than 1800 artists annually, showcasing 10 arts and culture venues. In 2007 he realized the power of music to promote cultural diversity/tolerance and formed a partnership with his life partner. Lynne Holmes, a leading world music composer with 19 albums to her credit. In 2008 Lynne produced his first solo album, The Prayer,  and it went viral on the local community radio scene. This led to the start of a live performance career that would take him to more than 20 countries from 2012 to 2019.

“I believe that Covid has given us an opportunity to open our hearts to the real joys of life, nature, family, music and arts. It is an era of change, a time for reimagining a future that is harmonious, a time to create a culture of sharing. And what better medium than music. One of my favourite quotes I love is from Martin Luther King, “Music has the power to change the hearts of Man where the clergy and politicians have failed”.

Let’s play on Rootspring

Jonny Blundell
Producer

I was born into a house full of music and musicians. My dad Keith, always had musicians coming round to practice, record, play or just to hang out. I think I hated school just because it was so much more fun being at home! When I was 12, my parents took my brother and sisters out of school and we toured round Southern Africa for a year doing shows in all the cities and dorpies. We had many other musical adventures including working on cruise ships, which as a young teenager was an amazing experience for me.

My dad went on to setup a little recording studio in our home, where at a very young age I was already getting experience in the recording process. I loved it all. I didn’t realize at the time how fortunate I was… Music was as much part of my life as water and air!

I was also very fortunate, (thanks to Bertie Lubner), in the early 80’s to be able to go and study Music at Berklee college of music in Boston. I was largely musically illiterate when I went there, so this was life changing stuff for me on many levels.

Through-out the years I have played guitar with countless musicians in many bands in many places around the world, and this has mostly been a source of great joy to me. Bands like Fat City, Keep the Change and the Zub Zub Marauders. I have also spent many hours in recording studios and in the 90’s I worked at SABC as a music producer and got invaluable experience. This included producing live radio broadcasts of many local and international musicians and bands, including Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Jackson Browne, David Gates, and many, many others!

I have also worked in the corporate sector as a composer and musical director, not always as nurturing but great experience none the less!

I feel most fortunate and grateful for all of this, and even more so to be involved as a director of Rootspring productions along with my very dear friend Nino Rivera. We have begun a new and very exciting journey which will no doubt be filled with amazing musical experiences for us and for many musicians and music lovers!

NINO RIVERA
Founder

My name is Antonio (Nino)Rivera, I was born in Genova, Italy and imported to SA at the tender age of 13 months. I have always had a deep love for music  inspired by my mother, Gabriella.

When I was 10 years old I met the Blundell Family, and I was warmly welcomed into a home filled with music in contrast to the very business oriented family life I was used to. Keith Blundell (AKA Eyebrows) was like a second father to me as he greatly encouraged and nurtured my journey as a musician. His son Jonny and I made an instant connection and our great friendship has thrived ever since. 50 years later Rootspring was born, our fathers’ gift allowing us to keep Music alive via the flow of my father’s skills as a civil engineer and very successful property developer. If it weren’t for these two great fathers, Rootspring would not
be here today. Rootspring’s aim is to find South African song writers, poets, composers and unheard of musicians; direct, produce, video, record and promote their artistry to the highest level. We want to help the artists under the umbrella of Rootspring to feel supported and engaged with other highly experienced musicians through open collaboration.

Zinhle Purity Mkhize
Office Manager
Music is transformative, spacious, impactful and intrinsically meaningful to humanity as a race. We thrive off it. It drives our actions and emotions, and its influence on our brains creates a sense of unity with music that few other art forms can provide.  In all probability, music touches our souls so deeply because we humans are born poetic and life has a rhythm of its own. We are surrounded by sounds and patterns, which makes music all the more familiar and   so deeply entangled with our natural world.  There’s no denying that the story of music is, in many ways, the story of humans. Music is a spiritual expression of the most universal nature and the highest order.

From a very young age I understood my calling to create. Although this has taken many different forms, music remains in the core of it all.  Consistently cross-pollinating into every aspect of my creative processes. Music has played a fundamental role in shifting and unlocking spaces within my own mind that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.  I’m forever grateful and humbled at the face of it.