Savannah Feeke is currently the Head of Marketing and Communication at Business and Arts South Africa (BASA). Looking back at some of her achievements to date, Feeke says, ‘Not a traditional achievement, but I left my job at an advertising agency with little to no plan, just one month’s salary, my experience, and a laptop that was on the brink of requiring life support. Shortly after this, I managed to win my first client, managing the CSI portfolio of a major liquor brand. It was a time where I was managing a brand from my living room and Cape Town coffee shops – I’m exceptionally grateful I made this “unfavourable decision” because this one moment has opened many opportunities for me. Namely, producing Ma se Kinders by Imraan Christian, managing award-winning illustrator Karabo Poppy and eventually landing a great post at BASA.’
Name three artworks that you love and why.
Wes Anderson’s work always steals my heart, but my favourite of his films would definitely have to be The Grand Budapest Hotel (with Moonlight by Barry Jenkins coming in at a strong second). He has a gift for capturing striking yet whimsical visuals and charming charismatic storylines.
Karabo Poppy’s Soweto Tower. Large scale. Breathtaking. Created by a black female from Vereeniging. Preserving the African aesthetic.
I recently saw No Easter Sunday for Queers by Koleka Putama at The Market Theatre. What an experience. The theatre was packed yet intimate. We laughed, cried, danced and reflected together.
Name one artist you would love to meet.
I can’t choose between poet Pavana Reddy and illustrator Amanda Oleander. I’d love to share a good meal, conversation and laughs with both artists.
What are you reading at the moment?
I alternate between Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and the Harry Potter series. Don’t judge me for the Harry Potter bit; sometimes you need the wizarding world to get you through the harsh reality depicted by Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My emotional reaction to stressful circumstances isn’t great. Instead of acknowledging the feeling in that moment, I push through it and sometimes the feeling creeps up when I least expect it.
How have the arts industries in South Africa changed over the last ten years?
The arts have really moved into a space that dominates the visual communication of our time and I think more and more businesses are seeking to explore the creative arts sector to leverage their talents. We’ve definitely reached a point where there is a growing number in the creative sector being commissioned to solve business problems, and we’re also seeing this exciting rise of young artists (particularly female), who are redefining, re-interpreting and exploring a truly South African aesthetic and narrative that we haven’t fully seen in the past.
Name one thing you think would improve the arts and culture industry in South Africa.
I think I’d love to see the relationship between business and arts improve, where artists are able to position themselves not only as artists, but as thriving business owners who are equipped to secure the development of arts and culture in South Africa.
What is your most treasured possession?
My box of memories. It’s filled with precious photos and letters from my family, friends and fiancé. Don’t stay over for coffee after dinner at my place if you don’t want me to start going down memory lane.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being ‘born free’ but not truly being able to be free as a womxn in South Africa.
What projects will you be busy with during 2019 and into 2020?
Does my wedding count as a project? I’m getting married at the end of 2019 and wow, planning is crucial. My fiancé has made me sign off on a CI and everything.
On a more serious note, I’ve been selected as a mentor for Orms Direct. Orms Circle is a programme that provides one young female-identifying artist with the mentorship and resources to break into the arts industry.
Planning my first BASA Awards.
Name one goal you would like to achieve in the next twelve months.
My goal is to be a participant in the Common Purpose Leadership Programme. As a womxn of colour, I’d love to grow my leadership skills and continue to be an agent of change in South Africa’s creative economy. I am and will always be committed to the personal and professional growth of womxn.
To keep up-to-date with the latest arts and culture news in South Africa, purchase the October 2019 issue of Creative Feel or subscribe to our monthly magazine from only R180.00 to R365.00 per year! SUBSCRIBE HERE!