In the vibrant and ever-evolving landscape of Johannesburg's cultural scene, Amahle-Imvelo Jaxa stands out for her creativity and resilience. Affectionately known as 'Jaxx', you may have noticed her at the coolest happenings in the city, most likely hosted by Until Until, an events company started by six friends who knew how to throw a great party. Jaxa is the head of events of Until Until and co-owner of the legendary Craighall establishment, The Royale.
She's no stranger to putting out fires in the dynamic world of event management while creating magic. A young woman hailing from the Eastern Cape, Jaxa ventured to the city in pursuit of an education and found herself transformed into a remarkable entrepreneur. With Until Until's beloved Sunday Roast event in its final season, the iconic Genesis All Black approaching on Sat, Oct 28 and the already sold-out Bacardi Holiday Club in 2024, we couldn't resist the opportunity to delve into the insights of the events space in this bustling city; a space she and Until Until have undeniably influenced. Here's what we uncovered.
"[Joburg] looks scary but it has soul, if you're vigilant you'll have the best time."
How did you get into the events scene?
By chance. My friends and I were bored. We decided to host a party to commemorate June 16th and called it 'High School Cool', where patrons came dressed in school uniform. It was successful and so we decided to do more themed events. The rest is history.
How would you describe what makes your events unique for someone who has never attended one?
The energy is always good, and we create a good vibe so well. Our events are more than just a party, they're an experience, whether it's Sunday Roast and the lunch element or Genesis All Black that explores every genre possible.
Until Until celebrated 10 years of events this year. What does the future hold?
Doing less but creating more impact. We have shown we are capable of curating events that matter. Now we want to do that less frequently, with more impact and elevate the events game even further, creating new properties that change the game, again.
Until Until is an institution in SA events. What has contributed to its success?
Our priority has always been the consumer over the profits, sometimes to our detriment but that is what has helped us continue to create. We are also a frugal company that kept reinvesting in the group instead of large payouts to us as directors.
You host a variety of events. How do you ensure that each event maintains a distinctive identity while still aligning with the Until Until brand?
Sonically we differentiate the events, and the look and feel, of course. The venues are all starkly different from each other, allowing each event to have its own identity.
The events landscape has seen significant shifts. How has the group adapted to navigate ongoing challenges and continue engaging with its audience?
By always listening to the consumer and keeping our ear to the ground for trends.
As the head of events, you likely oversee a dynamic team. Could you share your approach to leadership and teamwork?
I've only recently become head of events so this year has been about learning what my leadership style actually is. I'm not sure I have quite figured it out yet.
Until Until has garnered a loyal following. How do you maintain this?
By creating events people want to attend.
Which event has been your favourite to host and why?
Sunday Roast, it's the only one I can have fun at. The execution is simple. Genesis All Black is a close second.
What is the secret to hosting a great event?
What is the most difficult part of planning an event and what's the easiest?
The difficult part is the planning stage. Finding the venue, sourcing the suppliers, the line-up and presenting to the City of Johannesburg's Joint Operations Committee (JOC) to get approval. The easiest is the last hour of the event because it's done.
As co-owner of The Royale, what does a typical day look like for you?
Admin at The Royale, so paying suppliers, seeing what's broken (there is always something that's broken!) and meetings with staff.
What was the last event you loved that you went to and didn't host or plan?
Beyonce's Renaissance World Tour. The production, the performance, the energy, everything was on point. Locally I would have to say Vogue Nights hosted by Lelowhatsgood. It's a ballroom event. everyone is dressed to the nines, the music is good and then we also have categories where people show off their talents. Read our Lelowhatsgood's #MyJoburg interview for insight into the creation of VNJ Ball and their journey in the creative scene.
What is the most fulfilling part of what you do and why?
When I put talent on a stage that would regularly not get that opportunity I feel like I've done some good in the world, something we do often with Good Morning [a music and food event]. When DBN Gogo first started DJ'ing we were one of the first companies to give her a gig and look at her now. That makes this job worth it.
What events (Until Until and otherwise) are there to look forward to this summer?
Sunday Roast is in its final season so after April 2024 it will be done and Genesis All Black on Sat, Oct 28, of course!
What's the secret to The Royale's popularity?
Good food, even better drinks and location.
What is one drink that The Royale does better than anywhere else?
A feeling, not a location.
Your favourite Joburg suburb, and why you choose it?
Craighall Park. It's central, and it's a skip and a hop away from Parkhurst with all the best restaurants. I never experience traffic and my office, home and The Royale are in and around The Parks. Not to mention it feels safe.
What three things should a visitor not leave Joburg without seeing or experiencing?
An Until Until event, bungee jumping at Orlando Towers, and the Prison Break Market.
The most memorable meal you have eaten in Joburg?
A tasting menu at The Test Kitchen Carbon, but that's closed. (Keep up to date with all closings, openings and the latest food news in Joburg with our #FreshlyPlated blog).
If you could buy one Joburg building which would it be?
The Discovery Building.
If you were the Joburg mayor for one day (average tenure) what would you change?
I would clean up the CBD. It has so much potential with the old, aesthetically pleasing buildings but they are all hijacked.
Favourite Joburg label?
What makes someone a Joburger?
Their ability to drive in the chaos of the city and not flinch when taxi drivers stop in the middle of nowhere to pick up passengers.
What do you love most about Joburg?
What do you least like about Joburg?
Your number-one tip for a first-time visitor to Joburg?
It looks scary but it has soul, if you're vigilant you'll have the best time.
The perfect weekend in Joburg includes...
Drinks and dinner at The Royale on Friday, Saturday breakfast and a daytime event. Sunday starts with a hike, going shopping and eating at a market.
Three words that describe this city
'Alive with possibility'.
Check out some of our previous #MyJoburg interviews for more insights into the city:
#MyJoburg with Trevor Stuurman, photographer and creative director
#MyJoburg with Kay Kay Ribane, visual artist and co-founder of USURPA Gallery
#MyJoburg interview with Banele Khoza, artist and founder of BKhz Gallery.