It’s the Wednesday before the Cape Town International Jazz Festival weekend and Eva Domingo’s stress levels are at a nine out of 10 (10 being a meltdown).
The scene is organised chaos at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Eva has a two-way radio in one hand and a cellphone in the other. Her job: she manages everything at the jazz festival – from looking after decor, logistics, artists and the hospitality suites (absolutely everything!) – and has been doing it for the last 16 years.
There’s that cliché that behind every successful man… But for the jazz festival it’s a case of behind this event is Eva, festival operations manager, and her colleagues from EspAfrika.
“It’s an army of women, I promise you,” she says over the noise of drills and saws where the hospitality section is being assembled – a virtual mini town of opulence for festival guests.
“It’s about what you look for in a teammate or people. With almost no exception, the entire festival team is led by a female. These are strong women. In fact, if you walked into our office two weeks ago and just looked around you would see only women.
“We do have significant men in the office. One of whom is Billy Domingo (who is Eva’s husband and the festival director). He is the visionary of the company. The second man is our CFO (chief financial officer), Sooren Ramdenee. He gives us good financial structure. And of course, the third one is Khalid Abdulla, acting CEO, who is an awesome leader.
“But let’s be honest now – we all like to think that we in fact manage them.”