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Tuesday, May 12, 2020


(Left: Head of Social Investment at Rand Merchant Bank, Yvette Nowell)

Business and Arts South Africa NPC (BASA) has received over 1,000 enquiries from practitioners in the creative sector for artists’ relief.

Charmaine Soobramoney, BASA Chairman, says, “Right now, the world is engaged in just one conversation: the COVID-19 global pandemic. As such, the variegated stages, sound stages and canvases upon which our artists incite and ignite discourse, are currently closed to us all. For this reason, on 9 April 2020, BASA announced that the scope of its Supporting Grants programme would be extended to allow support for South African creatives infected or affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A funding campaign was also launched to enable both businesses and the public to make contributions, and over R93,000 was raised from 50 donors.

“I would like to express profound and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has stepped up and made a donation: Aabida Davis, Alby Michaels, Annicia Manyapilo, Ashraf Johaardien, Boitumelo Tumy Motsoatsoe, CA Davids, Charlotte Gulle, Charmaine Soobramoney, Denese Fik, Elsbeth Dixon, Fumani Mabogoane, Joyce Jacobs, Julia Fortune, June Feeke, Oupa and Herna Jacobs, Karel Jacobs, Karen Moore, Lerato Mbele, Levinia Jones, Linda Beckett, Lindiwe Lekasapa, Madeleine Selmer-Olsen, Magna Kruger, Mandie Van der Spuy, Marchelle Feeke, Marie Fricout, Marlene Davids, Michael Fortune, Nazli Johaardien, Niquita Hartley, Raymond Muller, Rochelle Singh, Ruschda Voskuil, Russell Feeke, Savannah and Ryan Feeke-Fortune, Shabnam Abdullah, Shelley Efthymiades, Siya Charles, Suzette von Broembsen, Tula Dlamini, Wilma Feeke, Zara and Julia Jacobs, several anonymous donors, as well as Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Ltd, which pledged R75,000 within days of the campaign being launched.

Over 57 million people live in our beautiful South Africa. We are going through a challenging phase right now and many artists are battling to put food on the table. To make a difference BASA will be launching the #BASA2020 Challenge, which aims to raise a further R1 million in aid of our Artists Relief campaign.”

Commenting on RMB’s contribution to BASA’s campaign, Head of Social Investment at Rand Merchant Bank, Yvette Nowell says: “RMB has long supported the creative economy, which contributes 2% to GDP, while unlocking diverse African talent and social transformation across visual arts, dance, music and theatre. Therefore, apart from maintaining social investment support to current beneficiary organisations in this important sector, RMB has contributed R75,000 to the extended Supporting Grants programme, for South African creatives infected or affected by COVID-19. We commend BASA on this thoughtful initiative, and encourage supporters of the arts to make their contributions too.”

According to BASA CEO, Ashraf Johaardien, of the 800 creatives who submitted formal expressions of interest for relief grants, a longlist of 525 have been invited to submit online applications. “To date, 80 artists have been offered relief grants, to the total value of just over R680,000, via BASA's Supporting Grants programme,” Johaardien reports. “With the current approval rate of 53%, it is projected that the number of artists and the total value of grants will double once all applications have been reviewed. The applications process is now closed, but may be reopened subject to our success with our ongoing fundraising efforts to support more artists and creatives during these challenging times,” he adds.

Help BASA help more artists by visiting to make a contribution or show your support by sharing the link on your social media platforms.

To link direct to the BASA website, click on the advert to the right of this article or visit