HARD WORK AND KIND EFFORTS: Bulelwa Basse lives the ideal of being an actively caring South African citizen.
South Africa is rich to be endowed with women who invest in it: Bulelwa Basse, who spent most of her youth developing other youth, initially through her literary and performing arts organisation, Lyrical Base Project, is one such woman.

Founded in 2006, it is still South Africa’s leading literary, publishing and performing arts promotion initiative, which seeks to elevate the profiles of writers and performing artists within South Africa.

Lyrical Base Project received a Western Cape Cultural Affairs Award in 2015/2016 in the category Best Literary Contribution.

Bulelwa is not only passionate about the development of South African literature and the education of youth, but also about women empowerment through business development programmes which focus on skills transfer and capacity building.

As a woman who walks her talk, she is the director of Sisters in Solidarity SA - an organisation Basse founded in 2012 which helps to register South African women-owned businesses, aligns them with related business regulatory bodies for procurement opportunities, and assists them to become legitimate entities through relevant compliance avenues.

As an entrepreneur who believes in the concept of appointing and applying oneself, Bassa works tirelessly to reinforce the culture of self-sustainability through self-employment, and as a result mentors other aspiring and established entrepreneurs who are faced with business stagnation challenges.

Through the Bulelwa Basse Services Mentorship On Leadership Programme, which serves as a corporate social responsibility element of her company, Bulelwa Basse Services (Pty) Ltd, she drives home the African adage: “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, which in translation means “I am because you are”.

Her powerful strategy is founded on the philosophy of giving others a hand-up as she rises in her career path.

Basse’s sense of community has earned her much professional and personal success: her hard work and kind efforts towards fellow South African citizens caught the attention of Brand South Africa, who proudly dubbed her their Play Your Part Initiative ambassador since 2014, a role she still fulfils today.

Through this initiative, Basse encapsulates the ideal of being an active South African citizen.

In 2016, France’s giant cosmetics brand L’Oreal’s Paris Women of Worth Campaign recognised Basse as one of their top 10 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth who makes a major difference in the South African landscape through her initiative Sisters in Solidarity SA.

Destiny Magazine, which was the campaign partner, had the pleasure of documenting Basse’s proud moment.

In 2017, Elle Magazine profiled Basse as their January/February Woman of the Month for her sterling work with Sisters in Solidarity SA and her impassioned inspirational public talks for South Africans trying to find their life’s purpose.

Basse’s tenacity caught the attention of the Department of Arts and Culture, who sent her to the Algerian desert in 2014, to be in solidarity with the Western Saharans, who are refugees in Algerian desert camps as a result of their country being occupied by Morocco for more than 40 years.

Basse used her poetry performances as a tool to connect with the pain of the Western Saharans at the Fisahara Festival that year.

Basse has been a proud South African ambassador in India and the UK, representing the arts and cultural fraternity since 2010, yet never dreams of living anywhere else other than in South Africa. She says: “When you are compelled to live up to your purpose, there’s no grey area to confuse the plot.”

Basse is the chairperson of the Western Cape Cultural Commission, an outreach component of the provincial department of cultural affairs and sport.

Her role under this umbrella is to ensure that arts practitioners and cultural organisations within the Western Cape are exposed to equal funding opportunities and capacity assistance.

It is a dream come true that a young woman who was born in Joburg’s Soweto, grew up in Cape Town’s Langa and Gugulethu townships and who dreamt of becoming a social worker or a psychologist is now able, through her writing ability, to address some of the country’s social ills.

And Basse, through her social responsibility initiatives, is able to immensely improve the human condition.

Cape Argus