GETTING DOWN: Zoe Modiga performs at the Basha Uhuru 2018 festival at Constitution Hill on Saturday. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

Basha Uhuru has come and gone, but it has managed to open entrepreneurial pathways for creative artists. In association with Nando’s, the event saw art, design and music come together.

“This is our second year sponsoring the Basha Uhuru Festival and for us, there are so many synergies.

“Constitution Hill is symbolic in being the voice of the people and having historic value for South Africa, and Nando’s has been around for 30 years and has also been the voice of the people,” said Kirsten Niehaus, Nando’s art initiative manager.

She said the fast food outlet spoke out on things important to the public, and the festival was about showcasing and nurturing creativity.

“Nando’s is heavily invested in that. For us it is not about just buying art and putting it in our restaurants, or buying furniture that’s a showcase. Where we really differentiate ourselves from any other brand is that we nurture the talent. So we look for South African creatives who have amazing talent and put them in programmes where they are mentored and nurtured.”

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Niehaus said the brand had an art initiative that had been going on for the last 16 years and had more than 3450 artists who were supported on an ongoing basis through artist development programmes.

“We have over 21000 pieces in our collection, and showcase the art on the walls of the 1200 restaurants in 24 countries.

“The idea is that it is shared value - as our collection goes up in value, so too does the artist’s career, and we are both winning from this collaboration.”

She said the idea was to make art accessible.

“The art is in the restaurants and everyone can see it. There is no need to feel intimidated. We want to create democratised art, in a way.”

The design element came after the success of the art programme.

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“We support local creatives by furnishing our restaurants with their work. South African creativity is world class.”

Niehaus said the mentorship programmes they had available for artists were essential to the artists’ growth.

“How do you take your product to the market, how can we as Nando’s help you get uplifted so your career flourishes and therefore we both win? The last design competition, Young Hot Designer, was for a light pendant, and this year it’s for fabric patterns, and those will go on different furniture and mediums across the restaurants.”

Previous winner Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio designed a Tutu light which went on to win the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa Award at the 2018 Design Indaba. Her lights, inspired by the traditional Tsonga Xibelani skirt, have been bought for Nando’s restaurants around the world.

“The competition takes place every two years and the winner goes into a mentorship and training programme that eventually uplifts them.”

While the Basha Uhuru Festival is about growing natural talent, it is also a platform for music stars to entertain their fans.

The line-up was a mix of upcoming artists and industry giants in the form of DJs, singers, rappers and dancers.

The BLK JKS, BCUC, Skwatta Kamp, Sho Madjozi and Black Motion were some of the artists who kept the Basha audience on their toes and warm despite the evening winter chill.

Madjozi said she loved the concept of the festival and appreciated the fact that it allowed the youth to take over spaces like Constitution Hill.

“These kinds of places aren’t always accessible to young people. It is our country, and we must also enjoy this place. I wanted to come here as the ambassador of good times, because we too should enjoy the freedoms that were fought for. I stand for that as a carefree black girl.”

The energetic Dumi Hi Phone hitmaker said looking like an African superstar was important to her.

“It’s what we would actually look like if we were not interrupted by colonialism and apartheid.

“I believe we would still be global, but we would have entered the global stage without having to hide ourselves, but rather taking the best part of who we are and what other cultures have, and then wearing that. That’s what I try to bring in everything I do and wear,” said the rapper and poet.

The festival at Constitution Hill catered for all who love music and the arts.

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The Star