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Surfing big waves

Business & Arts is a monthly column by Michelle Constant, the former CEO of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).

Imagine this. Mavericks, not the strip joint, but the surf location in Northern California, just past the tiny town of Moss Beach, in a place called Half Moon Bay – a place where the crab chowder is huge, but the surf is even bigger. After strong winter storms, Mavericks waves can apparently top out at over 18 metres, that’s like a three-story building. These are waves that can be recorded on seismometers, according to Wikipedia. Renowned surfers have died attempting to conquer them, but those that succeed have their name in the annals of life as courageous, and definitely a little crazy.

Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, produced between circa 1830 and circa 1832. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art

So last year I started surfing again. I squeezed into the wetsuit, pulled out the longboard, contacted the gorgeous French surf instructor and started exercising my core. I did this in preparation for 2019 because there is no doubt that this year all South Africans are surfing Mavericks – metaphorically – and we need to know that we are opportunity and emotionally fit, that we are courageous, even a little crazy.
     So how do we make ourselves fit for purpose? Through imagination, and vision.
     Imagination and vision are drivers of the creative process. We imagine and visualise a world we would like to see. As academic and businessman Peter Drucker says: ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it.’
     In a time when our economy is shrinking like someone on a Banting Diet, according to the research organisation SACO (the South African Cultural Observatory) and the Department of Arts and Culture, the creative sector or CCI holds 2.9% of the GDP. The majority of people working in the sector are black and below the age of 30. The sector is a space where startups happen more easily, and grow more quickly. Organisations like Vuyani Dance Theatre and the Field Band Foundation tenaciously demonstrate these numbers. Vuyani has a full-time staff complement of 20 people and continues to grow both strategically and creatively. The Field Band Foundation currently has over 73 full-time employees and 6 000 members nationwide. What’s not to like?

To read more about the impact of creativity and culture on citizenship, purchase the March 2019 issue of Creative Feel, or continue supporting our role in the arts and culture sector by subscribing to our monthly magazine from only R180.00 per year.

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