Zimbabwean renowned poet, Albert Nyathi today performs for all of SADC’s Heads of State during the 30th Anniversary of the regional body here in Windhoek, Namibia. He is the only regional artist who has been brought in, in a landmark arrangement between SADC Secretariat and Artists Trust of Southern Africa (ARTSA).
The Artists Trust of Southern Africa (ARTSA) is a network of artists from the 15 member Southern African Development Community (“SADC”) operating in various artistic disciplines whose main function is to coordinate the development and promotion through smart partnerships, of varied cultural interventions at all levels targeted at artists and to make use of art in all spheres. In particular, ARTSA is involved in the organizing and coordinating and implementation of the rotational SADC Artists Aids Festival which is held on an annual basis.
ARTSA was formed during the Malawi edition of the SADC Artists Aids Festival by stakeholders present as well as through a direct push from the SADC Secretariat present who felt that it was imperative to have an organisation that could be a conduit between themselves (SADC Secretariat) and artists as well as push for the implementation of the SADC Culture Trust Fund.
One of the key objectives of ARTSA is:- To advocate for artists in the region to interact with governmental structures especially the political leadership, for many a time the cultural industry is always on the back burner and we are treated as a “by the way”. Through platforms and interactions such as the one Albert has been exposed to, we believe we have started reclaiming the regions oneness. To borrow from the poem he will present to the Heads of States, ….”One SADC, One People”..and from SADC Secretariat’s own key driver…”One team, fifteen nations”.
This oneness must resonant within all of SADC’s citizenry and what better way than to do it through our arts and culture.
Recently, ARTSA in partnership with SADC, GTZ and the South African Governments, Department of Sports coordinated cultural events from the region at KeNako Plaza which was situated right in the heart of the International Football Village during the 2010 World Cup. This platform afforded visual artists and performing artists from the SADC region an opportunity to share their spell binding cultural and artistically rich wealth to an appreciative foreign market.