Baya to represent Zimbabwe at a regional workshop in Joburg

By Jeffrey Muvundusi – RENOWNED arts practitioner, Raisedon Baya is set to represent Zimbabwe at the first ever regional Cultural Leadership Train-the-trainer programme to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa this Monday.

The Bulawayo based Baya who is just fresh from the just ended one week Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), will join 11 other equally experienced artists from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region in the workshop that is being organised by the African Arts Institute.

The programme is expected to run from 13 to 17 May at the Geothe-Institute in one of Afriuca’s biggest cities, Johannesburg.

According to Arterial, the course will be facilitated by Avril Joffe, a renowned industry strategist, trainer, researcher and policy advisor specializing in the creative economy in Africa.

Joffe is an appointed UNESCO “Cultural expert”.

At the inuagural event, participants are set to be trained as trainers in cultural leadership, governance and entrepreneurship, as well as arts marketing, fundraising, advocacy and project management, and using a series of toolkits developed by Arterial Network.

The project’s ultimate goal is to advance the cultural dimension of development and cultural diversity in Africa through improved cultural governance.

The Institute proposes to capacitate skilled leadership to effectively formulate and implement policies and strategies, and to effectively manage civil society organisations and public institutions.

It also targets leading arts professionals, government officials responsible for culture, those responsible for implementing cultural policy and others. Skilled leadership and effectively managed policies will benefit artists and cultural entrepreneurs as well as the general public.

The multi-award winning Baya who is also the director of Intwasa Arts Festival told this reporter that he was looking forward to the one week short course where he anticipates stockpiling a range of skills in the world of arts creativity.

Armed with a remarkable prowess as a playwright, writer and arts lecturer, the versatile Baya further explained.

 “I think I am well positioned to be able to use the information for the benefit of the various organisations I work for and with while at the same time being able to pass on the knowledge I would have gained to other artistes.”

He further said the workshop is likely to dwell on issues that include business of the arts, management and creating policy within the arts.

Baya however bemoaned lack of skills with regard to leadership.

“We have many situations in the arts sector, where someone comes up with an idea of forming a group and then becomes the leader but with little training.

 “Most leaders have simply led groups because they came up with the idea but that has totally compromised the end product.

But, generally there is a lack of arts leadership training within the country although regionally, Lupane State University and Midlands State University now offer arts management courses,” he said.

“As a result, this course will enable me to share knowledge among the local arts group and hope it will enhance the running of groups and arts organisations.”

According to AFAI executive director Mike van Graan, the project will also cover short courses in cultural project management and skills such as IT and the Arts, Funding, Arts management and research.

“This project will promote not only regional and inter-regional partnerships but also international networking. We will link institutions in five African regions with each other as well as with the Goethe-Institut which has been providing similar training programmes in 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2008,” he said in a statement.

“We envisage a core group of high-level trained personnel in cultural policy, cultural entrepreneurship and project management in the arts, spread over five African regions and in turn supported by a core group of mid-level trained personnel,” he continues.

“Most importantly this proposed action will be undertaken by African players for African players, thus reinforcing local ownership and building strong leadership within the African creative sector.”

The three-year programme will be replicated in East, West, Central and North Africa later this year.

Baya will rub shoulders with other arts gurus as Joao Chagas of Angola; Botswana based Thabiso Mashaba, Lesothos’s Jesmael Mataga, Michael Phoya of Malawi and the Mozambican duo of Ofelia da Silva, and Lucrecio Macuacua.

Ricky Khaxab from Namibia, the duo of Ukhona Mlandu and James Mabela from the host country South Africa, Swaziland’s Bonsile Mamba Swaziland and Prince Lamba from Zambia completes the apparently well-off line up.