NAF And Standard Bank Win Long Term Partnership At BASA Awards

Thirty-six years of collaboration were recognised at last week’s BASA Awards as Standard Bank and National Arts Festival took home the Long Term Partnership Award for their Standard Bank Young Artist project. Announced annually, the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards sees a group of South African artists under the age of 35 carrying the Standard Bank Young Artist title in their genre for the duration of a year. The artists are also tasked with creating a special performance of a new work for that year’s National Arts Festival.

The BASA Chairman’s Advocacy Award, selected at the discretion of the BASA Chair, was given to William Kentridge for The Centre for the Less Good Idea. He was presented with a work created by artist Banele Khoza. William Kentridge was one of the early Standard Bank Young Artist’s for Visual Art, earning the title in 1987.

The Award includes undisclosed prize money and support for the winners to take their work to a stage or gallery at the National Arts Festival. A long rollcall of diverse and extraordinary artists have been added to the list of Standard Bank Young Artists over the three decades of it’s existence. Names like William Kentridge, Helen Sebidi, Johnny Clegg, Concord Nkabinde, Andrew Buckland, Mamela Nyamza, Kitty Phetla, Berni Searle and Vincent Mantsoe are among the South African legends who have owned the title. 
National Arts Festival CEO, Monica Newton celebrated the win which was announced at BASA’s online event. “Our partnership with Standard Bank on this project goes all the way back to 1984 – so this truly is a long-term partnership and it’s one that really has had an impact on the artists of South Africa. After all of these years, it is still an award that artists aspire to and one that the public recognise as a major endorsement. The artist that some may not have known becomes a household name overnight. We would like to extend immense gratitude to our partner Standard Bank, not just for this project but for the multiple ways they are supporting artists at the Festival and beyond.”

The 2020 Standard Bank Young Artists are Jefferson Tshabalala (Theatre), Sisonke Xonti (Jazz), Lulu Mlangeni (Dance), Blessing Ngobeni (Visual Art) and Nthato Mokgata (also known as Spoek Mathambo) for Music.

Adds Head of Sponsorship and Events, Desiree Pooe, “Standard Bank’s long-term role in supporting, sponsoring and promoting the visual and the performing arts has been extensive and wide-ranging and has firmly entrenched its reputation as a South African institution that nurtures cultural development. To be recognised in this way alongside our partners, the National Arts Festival is an honour.” 
The BASA Awards is the flagship event of Business & Arts South Africa and recognises those businesses and organisations who work together to support and sustain the arts in a mutually beneficial and equitable manner. In 2020, the Awards announcements were held online and are accessible to the public as an exploratory site with information about the winners and finalists at

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