After two decades under the successful leadership of Nicola Danby and then Michelle Constant, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) will be helmed by Ashraf Johaardien from 1 March 2019. This is a real challenge for anyone to take on, but with his background in the arts, both as an artist and arts administrator, he will undoubtedly steer BASA through its third decade with success.
BASA sees itself as a development agency, and it aims to be the leading connector catalyst and resource that supports a better understanding of the arts by business, and continues to advocate an arts culture in our society. Over the past two decades, the organisation has worked hard to ensure the relevance and sustainability of the arts in South Africa by providing expertise in developing partnerships between business and the arts.
At its core, ‘the purpose of BASA is to make relevant to business the role and purpose of art in society,’ says Ashraf Johaardien. This it does in a variety of ways, from providing creatives and arts organisations with the skills and knowledge to enable them to effectively engage with businesses, to providing supporting grants that encourage business-arts partnerships, and conducting research that provides crucial insights for both artists and corporates.
Johaardien’s career in the arts encompasses professional and creative roles across a spectrum of disciplines. He is a multi-award-winning playwright, actor and producer, and started his career in the arts funding environment in the 1990s, working as a fundraising manager under Mannie Manim at the Baxter Theatre. He has since worked as general manager of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), general manager of the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) Theatre, head of Arts and Culture at the University of Johannesburg, and as executive producer of the National Arts Festival. Johaardien will draw on skills gained at these key South African arts and academic institutions in his new role.
Of his new position, Johaardien says, ‘I think its an amazing organisation, it’s been very present, I think that the look and feel of BASA is very fresh and sharp and I really enjoy that. And I think that both Nicola and Michelle have done outstanding jobs, so really I would like to build on their successes.
‘I am very excited about the possibilities, I’m thrilled to be entering an organisation which occupies such a prestigious platform and position in the industry. BASA is hugely respected, so I’m really excited and looking forward to the possibilities.’
Read more about how Johaardien feels about the arts are important and how he will go about nurturing that by purchasing the February 2018 issue of Creative Feel. Or continue supporting our role in the South African arts and culture sector by subscribing to our monthly magazine from only R180 per year.