[Interview] An introduction to New Haervest – Social Change in Africa and beyond

NewHaervest is a festival inspired space aimed at bringing social change by breaking the barriers that exist between sexualities, it aims to create a safe space for all in Nigeria with plans to move to other African countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Uganda and Ivory Coast.

It further plans to bring the young African generation together to embrace diversity and enjoy creative aesthetics, music, live performances and more.

The guys have a London event coming up this week with a sick line up of your favourite DJ’s but just before that we have gathered the team for a SpotlightFirst interview to find out a little bit more about ‘NewHaervest‘ and it’s movement.

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Who is behind New Haervest?

There are 3 of us; Natalie, Millza and myself, Honey. We also have two interns Meka and Brooke who are based in Nigeria.

How did you come up with the name ‘New Haervest’ ?

We went through the usual name picking routes first, using the first letters of our names, thinking of something that we all had in common etc. but none of them worked.
The name NeIMG_7497w Haervest was something that we thought very deeply about, we didn’t only want to have something that sounded good. We wanted it to represent exactly what we were about so we all decided to go away for the weekend and meditate on 3 names that stuck out to us and bring it back for discussions. During the weekend Natalie had an ‘epiphany’ of some sort, whilst reading a scripture, she saw the words New Harvest, which represents new fruit or new life. This instantly resonated with us because that’s what we wanted our movement to be about, we wanted to bare new ideas, new life, new vibes, new spaces into the world. However we wanted it to be a bit different so we searched up the old english spelling for harvest and thats where we came up with our our spelling. It was initially spelt as ‘HAERFEST’ but we knew it could be confusing, the way it was pronounced, so we kept the V and bamm! We had New Haervest.

What is the end goal?

World domination! looool joking, but that would be absolutely awesome… muhahahaha.
Seriously, our end goal is to be able to put on many more events to create more safe spaces for those who are overlooked in society, we want to be able to take the movement around different countries especially in Africa. We want to be able to put on workshops that will educate and raise awareness for youths with issues regarding things like sexual health, mental health, sexuality, female sanitation and so on. We want to have safe hubs in countries where people can come to us for advice and help.
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The sky is the limit with everything we want to do, so the list goes on and on, but the one thing we will always keep with us is that we want to make a change. Change starts somewhere and if we can do anything to spark or push that change along, we will be happy.

Last year you hosted your first event in Nigeria. How did that happen?

The idea came very organically to us, the three of us share a very good bond and also have an energy that we love to share with people whenever we go out. Natalie went to Nigeria a few time over the last couple of years, when she told us about the parties out there, we were very excited to want to experience it, but we felt the scene was missing something, we felt it was missing that free space for many to just come and be without being judged (not everyday pop bottles, sometimes just catch a vibe and dance like no mans business). So we set out to bring a bit of what we knew in London to Lagos.

Did you face any obstacles in planning and during this event?

Of course we did, imagine 3 girls who have never planned an event before, deciding to plan an event in a whole different country.
 First and foremost we had to work out how we were going to do all our marketing and liase with everyone who we needed as part of the team and to make the event happen, without actually being in the country. There was a lot of poorly connected whatsapp calls and emails back and forth for months on end.
Also as you can imagine, talking about freedom and sexuality in a country where a lot of stuff is still very taboo was very hard to get around and we are still ‘trying’ to get around it.
Just going into a new business venture was also a very big obstacle for us, because none of us had ever gone into business before, so we had to consider a lot of things such as financing, business registration and many things like that but thankfully we had each other and we learnt very fast as we went along.

What have you learnt so far on your journey?

Firstly, this shit is hard, can we just say that for a second, but it has been a very good journey so far and we can’t wait for the rest of the way. We certainly underestimated how much of a emotional journey this would be, being considerate of other peoples emotions, being more woke on aspects of social issues in Africa, but with all this the vision is constantly growing and getting clearer and accepting that we have to let the movement grow organically letting the voice of the people be heard, as well as our vision.

Who do you hope to collaborate with in the future?

Would it be cheesy if we said everyone? well EVERYONE.
There are so many fantastic individuals/groups doing fantastic work to bring social change to society, its so amazing and we honestly Stan them all. Groups like Afropunk, BFF, Sisteren, Dreams, BBZ, Spring Melanin, Galdem, PP, Timeline, TWML, AZmag, UTS, Native, HOB, honestly we could go on forever, we have charities on that list, Djs, Podcast, Artists, Designers, so on and on and on. We are so big on supporting others in anyway we can.

What can we expect from your upcoming London event?

Do you know what, even though we are doing this event to essentially raise capital for our event in Nigeria the main thing we want from the 13th is for everyone to come and catch the best vibes ever, we want everyone to come and just be themselves in the best way they can.
We have some sick DJs on the night so you can expect a good bloody night, a night of love, freedom, open minded partying and sick sick tunes.

How best to contact you if someone wanted to get involved?

Hit us up on our social media.
twitter @newhaervest
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