Message from the Chairperson
A good story to tell indeed…
As I reflect back to the beginning of the current Vuyani Board’s tenure in 2009, the reality of the global economy in chaos had just begun to spread throughout the world. The local grant funding environment was beginning to feel these vibrations in earnest. However, having said that, the grant funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund allowed Vuyani to keep its doors open and even though it was a tough road, the entity survived and persevered.
A fundamental decision that the Board took has always been at the heart of the Vuyani strategy, which is decreasing its reliance on grant funding and ensuring that the organisation instead starts generating income from commercial work. This was a difficult mandate that management took in its stride and delivered against, whilst creating a legacy of quality that has allowed this smooth transition.
The South African economy in the past 20 years tells of a country that has been resilient and truly has a good story to tell. It tells of a gross domestic product that has almost tripled from $136 billion to $385 billion since 1994. .
An increase in the black middle class has been cited as one of the key fundamental shifts in our economy: this segment of the population rose from 1.7 million people in 2004 to 4.2 million in 2012.
However, despite all these positives, the country’s arts sector continues to face significant challenges. This includes audience participation: developing the new 4.2 million-strong black middle class into active participants in the creative economy is key among Vuyani’s priorities. The company’s envisaged move from Johannesburg’s inner city to the heart of Soweto will play a significant role in ensuring that Vuyani delivers on this mandate. The resolution to form a social enterprise within a profit-making structure will see Vuyani contributing and becoming a leading example in how it addresses inequality and unemployment in the arts. This vision, we believe, will be attained by Vuyani being held up as the best black performance company in the country and – if we may be so bold as to say it – on the continent.
Yes – it’s a good story to tell, and we salute Vuyani Dance Theatre for being the foundation that has allowed it. Since Vuyani Dance Theatre remains as the socio-economic developmental arm of the new Vuyani Dance Company, it’s a story we can all be proud of.
That’s Vuyani in a nutshell: an African gem shaping its own destiny and creating shared value for our communities, business partners and the future generations that their work belongs to
Chairperson: Vuyani Dance Company Board of Directors