Arts in Business

Africa Engagement

As world economics shift and focus on Africa, this presents great opportunities and challenges. With this shift, Africa should reflect, determine and explore what economic and business success is, and how this contributes significantly to the social development needs of the continent. By engaging in this process we allow the determination of new ways to cultivate innovative business ideas that are responsive to the intrinsic challenges and needs of this continent.

At Business and Arts South Africa we believe one of the ways to cultivate new business ideas and exploration of new territories is through the concept of Shared Value, which creativity allows for. Because of the scarcity of resources, Shared Value becomes crucial in ensuring the cultivation and implementation of innovative business ideas, in a move towards a collaborative and co-creative economy.

To this end, Business and Arts South Africa’s focus on the rest of the continent has been centered on strengthening the creative and cultural industries, as well as support our business members in their investment and engagement in the creative and cultural industries on the continent. We believe by fostering strong arts and business partnerships this will create opportunities for co – creation and collaboration in the creative and cultural industries in Africa.

BASA has worked with countries such as Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Kenya and we are currently expanding our footprint. If you are interested in BASA Africa programme please email

Arts in Business

Africa Business Breakfasts

In March 2014 Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), in partnership with Standard Bank, had the pleasure of launching and hosting the successful BASA Africa Business Breakfast series. In line with the BASA strategy to engage more rigorously on the continent, the focus of these breakfasts was to engage on how the arts can be a progressive and valuable enabler for businesses engaging in diverse African countries. They explored how the arts can offer marketing opportunities, demonstrate support for broader communities, and offer innovative opportunities for HR departments. Furthermore, the Africa Breakfasts examined how the arts offer business the opportunity for co-operation as opposed to competition on the continent.

The first BASA Africa Business Breakfast, supported by Standard Bank, took place on 25 March 2014 at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg and was attended by diverse business people. The speakers were Lisa Brown, who outlined the GIBS Dynamic Market Index (DMI) 2014; Kesivan Naidoo, who spoke of his experience working in Africa through the Standard Bank Jazz band; and Praekelt Group’s Gustav Praekelt, who built his presentation around illustrating how people in Africa use mobile devices to connect with each other and engage innovatively in diverse projects.

The second BASA Africa Business Breakfast was held on 31 July 2014, also at GIBS and supported by Standard Bank. This breakfast featured diverse speakers, namely Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa; Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank; and Tony Lankester, National Arts Festival CEO. Okosi’s presentation explained some of the challenges and opportunities working in Africa, while Chimhandamba spoke of how Standard Bank successfully operates in Africa through Shared Value principles and support of the arts. Lankester shared his experiences working with festivals across the continent.

The third BASA Africa Business Breakfast was hosted at The Orbit in Braamfontein on 26 May 2015 which, in addition to Standard Bank, was supported by the Department of Arts and Culture as part of Africa Month. The Honourable Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, spoke at the breakfast, followed by Samuel Mensah, Ghanaian founder and CEO of KISUA, and Michelle Constant, BASA’s CEO. The event was well attended by the business community, academics and artists. Taking place a day after Africa Day, the theme running through all three speakers’ presentations was how art can create the environment for collaboration, co-creativity and cooperation across the continent – especially within the current challenges of Xenophobia and Afro-phobia – and a powerful call was made for unity across the continent and closer collaboration between African business and the arts.

In 2016, as part of Africa Month, BASA kicked off the Africa Business Breakfast with an impressive lineup of speakers. The conversation explored the growing importance of Creative Change as New Business Paradigm. The event took place at the Market Theatre on 19th May 2016, and the keynote speaker was Nairobi-based George Gachara, a social entrepreneur, cultural activist and managing partner at the HEVA Fund. He was joined by Angie Burton, Standard Bank’s Head of Marketing and Communications for the Rest of Africa.

If you are interested in the Africa Business Breakfasts, please email

Arts in Business

Arts in Business Symposium

The Arts in Business Symposium takes place biannually and asks how the arts innovate business.

In October 2013, the first event hosted academic Professor Giovanni Schiuma, who gave his insights into how the arts can be used to enhance value-creation capacity and boost business Performance.

Professor Schiuma’s first-ever South African presentation of the ideas contained in his seminal book, The Value of Arts For Business, centred around the notion of Arts-based Initiatives (ABIs). “These are organisational interventions that use one or more art forms to address business needs,” stated Professor Schiuma.

The current director of the Innovation Insights Hub at the University of the Arts in London also outlined what he has coined “the six Es of success”. “Experience, energy, emotions, engagements, ethics and the environment are what I call the six E‟s of success in business, and arts plays a part in all of these,” he said.

Professor Schiuma’s theoretical outline, which included a post modern management paradigm and his impact assessment tool, the Arts Value Matrix, was supported by practical examples in the South African context in the presentations by Robbie Brozin and Paris Pitsillides.

Brozin outlined the role that visual arts has played in Nando’s recent evolution – most potently in its international roll-out.

Using the examples of the site-specific artwork by contemporary South African artist Kilmany-Jo Liversage, aka Orda, for Nando’s Maryvale in Washington DC as well as the BASA Award winning Coming to the City mosaic in Nando’s Kings Cross, London restaurant, Brozin admitted that a great deal of Nando’s art engagement was gutfeeling.

“I do know that when you walk into one of our restaurants with art on the wall, it feels good and the chicken tastes better,” Brozin said, later adding, “To me, seeing the arts as part of CSI is sad. Using the arts in business must be sustainable.”

“It‟s not easy, for business” Pitsillides acknowledged during the Q and A segment of the Forum, following a stimulating presentation on the varied work with the arts that Matchboxology has implemented for different clients over the past several years. “But using the arts for clients like Levis has shown time and time again that it can be done to great success.”

In her opening address, Business and Arts South Africa CEO Michelle Constant spoke about the shared value that the relationship brings. “At the very core of shared value is the idea of a connected society – and that means we need to find ways of getting arts off the fringe and into the warp and weft of society,” she told the audience of business representatives.

This idea of the arts being woven into all aspects of society, including business, was picked up in the second symposium (October 2014) by key speaker Richard Hahlo – founder and co-director of Dramatic Resources, a specialist training organisation that applies techniques from the theatre to encourage business leaders to communicate with greater impact and courage.

Minutes into his interactive seminar, Winning Hearts & Minds, Hahlo had everyone on their feet – and by the end of the seminar, few needed convincing about the value of using the arts in business to help bring about culture change. Hahlo, an experienced actor who was an Education and Training Associate at the UK‟s National Theatre for nearly 25 years, drew parallels between a theatrical performance and the world of work.

“The difference is that actors perform for only a certain time each night – the last play I was in was one hour and forty minutes, with an interval,” Hahlo said, to much laughter. “But in the world of work, you are never off stage which is why techniques of the theatre can help you manage that ‘on-stage’ work energy.” Key to this, Hahlo believes, is the relationship between the brain and instinct. “In business you traditionally use your brain, and in acting, your instinct but being able to successfully engage audiences in business requires that you need that brain and instinct in balance.”

“Art allows us to bring a sense of magic to our work, to explore new ideas and to trust and listen to other opinions and ideas because in art there is never just one solution. Art allows us to move in a direction that’s opposite to the crowd and, mostly, art allows us to be brave.”

Heidi Brauer, the dynamic Chief Marketing Officer of Hollard, looked at how visual arts is used as a driver for internal HR engagement: “The arts is a completely natural space for Hollard. It’s a passion of our shareholders that has translated into many facets of our Hollard world, and we’re so completely conscious of ensuring art is more than just decoration. In addition to stimulating creativity, our love and support of the arts allows us to reach our diverse client and customer base in a way that brings our brand to life.”

“Art makes our business pop,” says Sylvester ‘Stand Against Bland!’ Chauke, of DNA Brand Architects.  Chauke focused on the necessity of fun and play to create a healthy business, and gave delegates an up-close look into why art leads his own company to make “wow stuff happen” for brands.

Arts in Business


#artMOVESme is an open source participatory and ongoing art campaign pioneered by BASA.  It explores the value of the arts for both business and broader society, and is based on the understanding that the arts provide REAL value – social capital, EQ and social cohesion.  The first part of the #artMOVESme campaign is a graffiti hoarding featuring the work of artist Sindiso Nyoni.  The hoarding was initiated in August 2014 at the 17th Annual Business Day BASA Awards, partnered by Hollard, first appearing on the Hollard Campus, before moving to Business Day’s premises, and then arriving at the Market Theatre for the awards event.  During 2015 it travelled to the National Arts Festival (July) and the FNB Joburg Art Fair (September).  Through the hoarding, the public can engage with Nyoni’s images, describing – through visuals and words captured on pink Post-It notes – how the arts impact their world and make them feel, and the responses have been both moving and thought-provoking.  In 2016, #artMOVESme will once again visit the National Arts Festival from 30 June until 10 July.  Your responses can also be shared with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #artMOVESme.  Additionally, if you would like to host the hoarding at your business premises, contact Teboho Sandamela on or 011 447 2295 for further information.