SEAExpo Conference 2014
Written by Tamara Arden
The first Showbiz, Entertainments and Arts Expo showcased at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre as parts of the Arts Alive programme. Hosting a selection of traders from the music, visual arts, design, artisanal products and creative initiatives, the two day expo was an opportunity to expose expression, ambition and entrepreneurship for people with a talent or skill set in a local setting.
For their first expo, they focused on the creative industries role on the economic stage. Welcoming traders and people with creative businesses to their conference platform, speakers were given the stage to unpack their ideas. Government heads, industry experts and leadership programme captains engaged with the audience in discussions about success in their businesses.
Deputy Minister of the Department of Small Business Development, Elizabeth Thabethe, spoke about the South African labour of love mind set. Highlighting the essence of hard work and productivity, she urged small businesses to showcase their product or brands.
“People in crafts must represent themselves and others must see that. Music and heritage can make the world shake. Diversity tells people what we have done,” she says.
In her presentation, she tells the audience they need to build big and sell products to the world. South Africa has an abundance of crafts. How can we deliver these products to a global market and see an increase in demand for our goods?
Government does their bit, but cannot work for people. They will be able to encourage businesses to start and assist with funding and support when they can, but ultimately it is up to people to pursue their creative ideas and innovative roles.
The CEO of Proudly South African, Adv. Leslie Sedibe, came on with a persistent attitude to better the state of our economy. In order to fund democratic programmes, we need a fundamental base.
“We need to change the mind set of our country- we think poverty- and won’t pay premium for local artists, but will pay more for international brands,” he expresses.
His approach to local goods is simple. Trade is essential. Product pushing is a necessity. We need to come together to support our economy.
Ashraf Johaardien, the head of UJ Arts and Culture department, gives the audience a low down on the success and longevity of art. He used the Maboneng Precinct as an example and notes its functionality as an urban regeneration of sector specific programmes with a cluster of creative ideas.
“Everything we wear and use is packaged as art,” says Ashraf.
He wants everyone present to understand what their competition is out there, as that is what will influence or inspire them to take action. This notion was requested to be paired finding management and marketing assistance to assist in exposing your product.
He says, “Test your work in relevant spaces”.
“What works in Johannesburg might not work in Cape Town.”
Mteto Nyati from Microsoft thinks we need to continuously work on building our skills.
He is a believer in absorbing information and teaching ourselves new ways of doing old things.
“We are responsible for our own learning; it is about how we test this knowledge.”
In his presentation, Mteto told the crowd to become digital citizens and look for the best device they need to help them with their work flow. Communication is one of the ways to collaborate across distances, so their ideas are encouraged to be shared.
The morning started with a panel discussion facilitated by Bob Mabena, including CEO of Leadership 2020, Nic Regisford, managing director of Kaya FM, Greg Maloka and media manager of Carat SA, Ilsa Grabe. They are joined by deputy director of creative industries, Vuyilsile Msudulu and DJ Shimza.
Their objectives are to discuss the power in unity by sharing their experiences and views on the industry.
Greg explains how we don’t see patriotism the same way.
“We don’t have a single identity, so don’t rally behind a single idea,” he says.
Then Nic and Greg talk about the lack of enthusiasm with venue owners. How are people supposed to support local music when there are not enough venues promoting artists?
They need to feed South African consumers quality sound and art, but they have minimal spaces to do so.
Vuyilsile wants African art to be seen as art and not as niche art. To be recognised for what it is, the art has to be promoted in an authentic way. Surely, this is possible?
DJ Sbu caught everyone’s attention as he discussed the importance of leadership in the industry. He welcomes two of his mentees to speak about their growth, lessons and love for who they are. Inspiring, in a genuine way, we can see the impact through the way they present themselves.
To end the conference, Yvonne Chaka Chaka graces the stage. Her input is coming from her role as chairperson on the Creative Cultural Industries Federation of South Africa. She highlights our position with talent and urges creative people to give themselves the opportunity to grow and learn in the industry.
“Everything is out here for you to play, go enjoy it.”