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Sunday, March 21, 2021


(1st row: Sylvia Akach; Nyameka Makonya; Toki Mohoto; Vangile Gantsho I

2nd row: Samm Marshall; Monica Newton; Dali Tembo; Dr Andrea Rurale

3rd row: Calvin Ratladi; Kiruna-Lind Devar; Mariapaola Mcgurk; Siyandiswa Dokoda)

Business and Arts South Africa NPC (BASA) in partnership with British Council Southern Africa Arts has announced the programme line-up for their joint venture ASSEMBLY.

Billed as “not a conference, an un-conference, an indaba, a colloquium, or a symposium,” ASSEMBLY is a hybrid of live and digital engagements across social, digital and media platforms launching on March 24, 2021, and open to the public from March 25, 2021.

“COVID-19’s elimination of gatherings, festivals and other variations of close human interaction, has magnified the vulnerability of the arts sector and exposed a deep need for more sustainable models to support artistic and cultural activity in South Africa,” comments BASA Head of Marketing, Savannah Feeke-Fortune. The programme for ASSEMBLY has been co-curated by Feeke-Fortune along with colleagues Boitumelo ‘Tumy’ Motsoatsoe (BASA Head of Programmes) and Madeleine Lambert (BASA Head of Research).

Says BASA CEO, Ashraf Johaardien: “One of the aims is to sketch a clearer picture of what’s happening in the South African arts and culture landscape at this moment in time. There is an urgency attached to the needs of the arts sector and we wanted to reflect this with a solutions-driven programme. The arts need a new stratagem and we all have to play a role in supporting its survival at this critical stage.”

BASA ASSEMBLY partnered by the British Council is open to all, free to attend and will be hosted at

The initiative kicks off on March 24, 2021 with a launch package streamed by media partner, Social TV, featuring a keynote address by Dali Tembo. Tembo is a leading cultural trends strategist and youth trends expert, who has delivered strategic guidance to numerous multi-national corporations across Africa, the UK, the US and MEA.

From March 25, 2021, the two-day programme of talks, debates, performances and data sharing is intentionally focused on creating space for new voices via panel discussions, podcasts, interview and thought-leader presentations. Thematically, the aim is to offer insight into navigating the current cultural landscape, particularly with challenges around funding, marketing and visibility outside of the creative sector.

About the Programme:

Highlights include researcher and independent cultural/media worker Johanna Mavhungu presenting Between The State And The Market on Cultural policy, marketing and creative ideation (March 25 at 10h00).

A live webinar featuring Toki Mohoto (Chair), Calvin Ratladi (interdisciplinary artist and arts administrator), Eugene Marillier (National Arts Council), Molemo Moila (research lead at Andani.Africa and AfricaNoFilter Fellow 2020/2021), Vuyisile Mshudulu (Director – Arts, Culture and Heritage in the City of Johannesburg) and vangile gantsho (poet, healer, co-founder of impepho press) will explore Navigating access, inclusion and diversity in the South African creative sector funding landscape (see BULA SEKELE: MAKE THE CIRCLE BIGGER at 12h00 on March, 25, 2021).

DATA-DRIVEN is a webinar on Research and investment in the creative sector with Grace Meadows (Chair); Dr André Gouws (Senior Researcher at the SA Cultural Observatory); Kate Gardner (Programme Manager for the Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) Programme at the British Council in South Africa), and Madeleine Lambert (Head of Research at BASA) on March 25, 2021, at 14h00, and BASA will reveal its ArtsTrack No. 9 research findings in The Inside Track, presented by Madeleine Lambert, on March 25, 2021, at 19h30.

Artist Lee-Ann van Rooi will be putting an artist’s perspective forward in Now We're Talking at 10h00 on March 26 and Sylvia Akach will be in conversation with international marketing leader Les Green about Entrepreneurial marketing leadership during One-On-One on March 25, 2021, at 16h00.

BASA will be crossing over to podcast format for In Conversation Jumpstarting impact investment in the Creative Economy, in which Kate Gardner interviews Fran Sanderson; who leads the Arts & Culture Investments and Programmes team at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), a UK-based innovation foundation. Hear it first from 14h00 on March 26, 2021.

BASA CEO Ashraf Johaardien will be in conversation with Professor Andrea Rurale (Università Bocconi) for a discussion about Cultural Intelligence in the current context and how data and research can assist businesses in building an arts funding strategy.

The models and realities of business and creative sector engagements will be discussed in a panel called Cross-Sector Creative Collaborations, chaired by Caryn Green with Nyameka Makonya (Total CSI Manager), Sipumelele Lucwaba (Social Investment Analyst at Tshikululu Social Investments) and Siyandiswa Dokoda (communications and business development consultant) on March 26, 2021, at 12h00).

And those who have been in the trenches with that elusive balance between brand and creativity will discuss some of these Burning Issues on March 26, 2021, at 16h00 with Samm Marshall (Chair); Earl Kopeledi (Head of Marketing, Luxottica Retail South Africa); Phumza Rengqe (Group Marketing Manager, Distell); Monica Newton (CEO of the National Arts Festival); Cleo Pokpas (creative and social development entrepreneur); Mariapoala McGurk (Creative and Public Programmes Coordinator at ConHill), and Slindile Mthembu (playwright and theatre-maker, co-founder of Mabu Art Foundation).

The event will be rounded out by the experience of works from artists and performers in a showcase that will launch on March 24 at 19h30. Expect musical performance Just Kids, performed by Kiruna-Lind Devar and composed by Stephen Anthony Haiden, and Kiruna-Lind Devar; dance piece ONDA, choreographed by Hannah Ma and performed by Christin Reinartz, Hannah Ma and Sergio Mel; and a poetic provocation by vangile gantsho.

Download the full programme at


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