Khanyi Mamba on art and being a judge at the BASA awards


Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a board member of BASA and a marketing and communications manager on the sub-continent for an international education institution, Cambridge International. A good education enables young people to build the careers and lives they want for themselves. I love being part of a team that enables others and helps people realise their dreams. Education does this. The BASA Awards do this too and that’s why I’m on board.

What inspires your love for art?

Artists give us a full view on our world. They give us a different perspective on things we take for granted. They open our eyes, offer insights, invite us to think of solutions and give us a new perspective on our world. They celebrate, criticise, reach people and communicate in deep, meaningful and memorable ways. This all inspires my love for the arts. It also drives me to create partnerships with artists and businesses to move them.

What does art mean to you?

 Art is expression without boundaries and expectation. It’s the most personal and intimate expressive forms. It’s also the most public of expressive forms. For it to be art, it must open itself to interpretation to the person engaging with it and stir something within them. It’s the most honest way of communicating, whether it’s visual or performing art.

What is BASA’s main objective?

It is a non-profit organisation that drives mutual beneficial partnerships between businesses and the arts. BASA wants businesses to see and feel the value of engaging with and working with artists: not as a CSI project, but as a component of business strategy and operations. We do this so that South Africa’s creatives, be it artists, performers, musicians, designers, to mention few, become an integral part of how business is done in South Africa. BASA wants artists to be successful in every sense of the word. Artists enrich societies and communities and their work is valuable.

How do you feel about being a judge on BASA Awards?

I feel immensely honoured. The process has been very informative and collaborations that I’ve seen between businesses and artists are evidently well thought out. It’s been a very competitive field this year, with all entrants bringing their A-game. It’s not only about sponsorship, but also about both parties meeting the strategic, pre-determined business objectives of collaboration. Looking at the entries I judged, I’m confident that artists and South African businesses are on the right path.

How does one get nominated for BASA Awards?

Every year, applications open around April for business and artists to enter the Awards. Application forms are available on the BASA website, All you have to do is fill in the details required that give an overview of your project and submit some supporting documents. The judges then select finalists in 11 categories and the shortlisted finalists are announced in August, and winners are named in September.

What advice can you give those who are interested in business?

Internally, prioritise your staff. If you make sure your staff are happy, challenged, motivated and appropriately rewarded, you have a team of champions on your side who are invested in the success of the business.

From a business point of view, you have to work with creative people. Make art and creativity an integral part of the DNA of your business. When you get this right you start identifying new markets; you develop a can-do attitude, you think of new and different ways to do things as well as achieve targets and goals. You also start exploring the possibilities beyond your immediate ambit of influence; and you open up new possibilities and avenues for your business to grow.
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