September 21st, 2015 saw the announcement of four Special Awards at the 18th Annual Business Day BASA Awards, partnered by Hollard, each one celebrating the remarkable contribution of individuals, businesses, and organisations to the sustainability of South Africa’s arts.
The Special Awards were celebrated on an evening that also honoured business and arts partnerships in eleven categories, whose winners are selected by a panel of judges. The Special Awards are allocated by the Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Board.
“It is always a real pleasure to recognise our special award winners,” says Michelle Constant, BASA CEO. “Together with the board, we get a chance to pause and reflect on the amazing work being done by participants at many different levels of the arts environment. It’s always an uplifting task.”
The newly-named Skills Support and Mentor of the Year Award, now allocated by the BASA Board, recognises the long-term contribution of a volunteer to the development, professionalism, and sustainability of arts organisations through mentorship, workshop facilitation, and/or board service. Only individuals from the BASA Education Programme or the BASA BoardBank are eligible for this Award – which this year was awarded to Francois Adriaan, a mentor in the BASA Education programme since 2006. He has taken on a variety of assignments, including Cape Africa Platform, where he instituted a ground breaking marketing campaign on the Cape Flats to attend many of the arts interventions as part of the month long event, Greatmore Studios, the Nyanga Arts Development Community Centre, and Arts Township International, whom he has been mentoring since the end of 2013.
The Diplomacy in the Arts Award is given in recognition of Foreign Missions that contribute to the development and preservation of the arts in South Africa, as well as the continued prioritisation of cultural diplomacy between South Africa and the international community. This year, the winner was The British Council South Africa, which specialises in international educational and cultural opportunities. The award especially recognises British Council Connect ZA, which aimed to reach new and diverse audiences for the arts and stimulate innovation, whilst forging new collaborations.
The Art Champion Award is given to an individual for outstanding achievement in the encouragement of business support for the arts. This year’s recipient was named as philanthropist, entrepreneur, and art patron Herman Mashaba, who founded the revolutionary ethnic hair care company Black Like Me. Among the art projects Mashaba has championed are the Field Band Foundation (an initiative that uses music and dance to teach children life skills and develop imagination, team spirit, and self-discipline), the Watercolour Society of South Africa’s annual Black Like Us exhibition, and Black Like Me’s sponsorship of the Doing Hair: Art and Hair in Africa exhibition at the Wits Art Museum in 2014.
Finally, the Chairman’s Premier Award is made at the discretion of the Chairman of BASA and recognises sustained and extraordinary commitment of business to the arts in South Africa. This year the Chairman’s Premier Award was awarded to Rand Merchant Bank and The Handspring Puppet Company, who sought to make the War Horse production as meaningful and far-reaching as possible. The production reached at least 117,600 people, including the education programme of about 100 workshops and free admission to dedicated performances for school children and teachers across Gauteng and the Western Cape. With the success of War Horse internationally and locally, the Handspring Puppet Company has now started supporting and mentoring a smaller puppet making company.
The members of the BASA Board are Kwanele Gumbi (Chairman), Richard Cock, Mandla Langa, Gianni Mariano, Dorothea Moors, Herman Bosman, Andre le Roux, Khanyi Mamba, Hilton Lawler, Michelle Constant, Matthew van der Want, Mandie van der Spuy, Gail Walters, and Carel Nolte.
About BASA (NPC):
Business and Arts South Africa (NPC) is an internationally recognised South African development agency with a suite of integrated programmes implemented nationally and internationally. BASA encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts, securing the future development of the arts sector in South Africa and contributing to corporate success through Shared Value. Business and Arts South Africa (NPC) was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture and the business sector as a public/private partnership.