Towards a sustainable Arts Society – the story of iGubulam'

In the African context, the general arts are not only as a form of leisure, but a pivotal part of our culture furthermore creating its own footprint in our economy and our development at large. This week, we conversed with Ayanda Ndaba, a creative who established an organization that houses various artists in the South Coastal Region of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Not only does she house these artists, but she orchestrates her views on the gaps within the art atmosphere in tourism through creating opportunities for artists through her organization ‘igubulam’. Read our conversation with her below:

What inspired the formation of igubulam?

Igubulam was inspired by the beauty of Kwa-Zulu Natal it’s people and my undying love for the Arts in general. The major driving force behind the formation of the Organisation was the huge need in the industry of the Arts itself to change innovate and evolve more towards self determination of Artists as individuals who are specialists and or job creators who need to be reckoned with. In 2002 I had an opportunity of volunteering for a community radio station here in Port Shepstone and ever since then I did not look back. In 2005 I opened a trial events radio station which at that time I had wanted to do what Igubulam seeks to fulfill.

What did you envision for Igubulam upon its establishment?

Our vision as Igubulam Arts and culture is to develop and nourish empowerment and self-awareness through the connection of Arts and Culture as a way of Life in all its diversity. Creating solid space where the community can come together and share their abilities and teach each other, with the aim of building a more unified and cultured South Coast.

Lets speak about the artists you house, how many are they and how do you keep tabs on each?

At the moment everyone is on a casual membership and the artists that we have are independent ie. Working on their own. Some are battling with getting acknowlegement and recognition due to lack of funds however, Igubulam chooses to differ with the notion that it is money or capital that makes one a success.

Lack of knowledge of where and how to obtain valuable information for daily living and navigation through life as a whole. Our artists are Nhlanhla Xolo, Zamani Ndwalane, Khanyo Buthelezi, myself, Ayanda Khoso, Nandipha Ncamane, Fikile Maqhinebe Mzolelwa, Cikizwa Khumalo and many others.

You have mentioned that one aim of Igubulam is to build a more unified and cultured South Coast – may you please expand on the importance of a unified nation in arts to you?

Art is a calling that seeks not to be understood but embraced. If artists in the coast, one would be seeing a lot of creative arts in the area but there are none. There is a rich heritage and history that is not tapped on. The tourism industry is not representative enough of the diversity of cultures and traditions instead, artists are not understood by the corporate world. it is what I observe and see happening around my immediate community. One cannot be an artist and a celebrity at the same time. That brings us to the unity and culture I mention earlier.

which leads us to a major challenge in the arts – lack of representation in the corporate world. Do you believe that the arts can become part of an economic system through tourism, thus creating an embrace from the corporate world?

Oh yes! There is a pungent lack representation of the Arts and moreover in the African Arts. This notion of misrepresentation and lack thereof is a sad case of affairs. Why I say so is because even some of our families are also in the dark when it comes to Art and African art as a whole. Most of us artists are under profuse pressure from corporates who unfortunately run our fiscal matters. Artists must and by law are forced to be subordinates and that kills the industry or faculty at large

That being said, the arts can and very much capable of boosting any economy of any place should proper channels be put in place.

You noted this as a challenge not only to you, but the South Coast as an extension. What does Igubulam do to counter that? how has Igubulam become a part of the economic process?

When one provides a service, it is due to a pending need. Now by finding an organization like Igubulam it was also due to a need, a need to be self sufficient by applying our skills talents and further artistry to achieve the same economy in discussion. The difference is that, with ART and being a crafter, you are king or queen in your own castle. That is where the challenge begins. Artists are job creators in their own right. By directing individuals through self empowerment, mentoring, by introducing individuals to vital services in our communities through usage of public libraries, art centres, museums and galleries. Being an active member in my communities cultural affairs, as an individual and as Igubula is contributory enough.

Very true. Your statement as ‘artist being inherent job creators’ speaks volumes, because just outside the artist in his/herself – there raises opportunities for management, event planning, marketers and the like which becomes an incorporation of the corporate world and the arts – are there any planned upcoming projects for Igubulam that we are to expect?

Yes, but I would not like to disclose at this juncture…if you keep tabs and follow our page surely you shall be the first to know. I guess we shall follow suit tomorrow and thank you for choosing Igubulam to chat to.

For those who seek to engage with your organization, where can they contact you?

For those who wish to engage with Igubulam may do so by engaging with the page and follow us on Facebook. The page has a mobile number for individuals who wish to do so. Let me add something very important – Igubulam would not have had this opportunity and be where it is today if it were not for the following individuals: Fikile Maqhinebe Mvezi , Nandipha Ncamane , Cikizwa Khumalo , Ugu Youth Radio , Menzi Maseko , The Bat Center in Durban. Ayanda Mzeeh Khoso of Massive entertainment…

Thank you for sparing your time to converse with us Ms. Ndaba, we anticipate more work and growth of artistry in the South Coastal region of South Africa.

Hit the next page to view a gallery of the artist’s artwork