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NWASA REPORT on the Interim Steering Committee’s 9 Feb 2019 Meeting

Issued by the Secretary-General (SG), Dr. Lebogang L Nawa on behalf of the ISC, 9 February 2019. This document is a report on the resolutions of the Interim Steering Committee meeting held on 9 February 2019.

Issued by the Secretary-General (SG), Dr. Lebogang L Nawa on behalf of the ISC, 9 February 2019. This document is a report on the resolutions of the Interim Steering Committee meeting held on 9 February 2019.

Amongst others, the purpose of the meeting was to seek ways and means to unlock obstacles towards the
Inaugural General Assembly already postponed thrice mainly due to the Department of Arts and Culture’s
intransigent response to the ISC’s application for funding for the historic event; about which the ISC is of the view
that it must be attended, in all probability, by ALL registered members. The meeting deliberated and resolved thus
on the following items:

1.1 Co-option of new members onto the ISC

It was previously reported that the ISC members is currently depleted due to uneven participation or non-participation by certain members, as well as the resignation of the few others, namely (in respect of the latter):Mike Van Graan, Malik Arafat, and Barbara Schreiner.

From a call made by the SG for volunteers to be co-opted to the ISC, four submissions were received. From the
number, only Geruza Bumba attended the meeting and was duly officially co-opted as an ISC member. The other
two members, Barry Gilder and Suzan Skosana tendered apologies. As a result, their cooption could not be
endorsed in absentia. Their positions will be finalised once they avail themselves at subsequent meeting(s).
Nomination or volunteering for cooption is still open to members.

1.2 Appointment of the new Treasurer

Barbara Schreiner’s resignation late last year due to relocation to Berlin, Germany, due to employment made the
position of Treasurer vacant. The ISC appointed current ISC member in that position until the Inaugural General
Assembly.

1.3 Allocation of roles/duties to other ISC members

The newly co-opted member, Geruza Bumba, is mandated to team-up with Mpho Matsitle in the communications
and marketing portfolio. The decision was motivated not only by her proven skills and experience in the field, but
by her geographic accessibility to ISC meetings and operations.

1.4 Membership

Current NWASA registered membership is 170. From this number are members from the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Nigeria who are mainly not South African citizens but based in the country.
There are two members who are South African citizens based in Ottawa (Canada) and Berlin (Germany).

Membership breakdown per provinces: Eastern Cape 17; Free State 17; Gauteng 58; KwaZulu-Natal 15; Limpopo
19, Mpumalanga 5; Northern Cape 3; North West 12; and Western Cape 16.

The other support statistics are: Facebook Group – 1400; and WhatsApp Group – 130.

It has also been observed that people who are added to the social media outlets assume that they automatically
become NWASA members. This is despite the fact that the background information about NWASA on the sites
does explain what new people must do to be officially registered. Current members are encouraged to welcome
and orientate such new people as and when they appear on the sites; directing them to NWASA website for
purposes of registering at www.nwasa.org.za.

1.5 NWASA Communication Outlets

Currently, NWASA utilises three online media outlets at its disposal in order to communicate with members and
the general public. They are: Facebook, WhatsApp and official Website. Reasons notwithstanding, some of these
platforms are stagnant. Geruza Bumba is mandated to draft a Digital Communication strategy within a week for
discussion with the NWASA WhatsApp Media Team and subsequent official endorsement by the ISC.

1.6 Operational Structures

Apart from the establishment of the ISC, efforts were made to set up operational structures in all nine provinces.
Of these, only Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape had known Coordinators. Regrettably, none
of the four coordinators have submitted not even a single report to the ISC about their operations; except in the
case of the North West Coordinator who instead recently tendered resignation, citing work overload.

Similarly, the ISC has established a Media Team on WhatsApp made of season media experts who interacted
amongst themselves and undertook to put together a Communication Strategy to the ISC for endorse. To date, no
such submission was received by the ISC.

The ISC thus appeals to ordinary members from all provinces, as well as the WhatsApp Team, to converge at their
respective locations/platform with the view to map out a way forward for submission to the ISC. The submissions
should, from the provincial coordination perspectives, include feasibility of office space and salaried part-time
administration and/or coordination.

1.7 Partnerships
NWASA is currently trying to establish and formalise partnerships with writers’ outfits worldwide. Thus far, official
contact is with India, China, Cuba, Ghana and Zimbabwe. The ISC hereby reports on tangible progress from the
proceedings.

NWASA has been officially invited to the Kerala Litfest in India from 9 to 12 January 2020.

Kerala Litfest is one of the biggest literary gatherings in India; usually drawing around 450 international writers and
1.5 million participants each year. Usually, India convenes the festival with a pairing guest country each other. For
instance, in was with Ireland in 2018 and Wales in 2019. 2020 is South Africa’s turn through NWASA. One of the
hallmarks of this festival is the emphasis on the translation of poetry into the participation country’s indigenous
languages. NWASA is expected to field a touring team of 15 consisting of the ISC, poets, scholars, fiction writers,
and playwrights (staging perhaps a short play). The ISC will devise a fair selection criterion reflecting the country’s
demographic representativity. NWASA members are encouraged to submit ideas in this regard.

1.8 NWASA Official Launch

It is now seven months (7) months – and still counting – that the ISC had submitted an application from funding
from the DAC from discussions that commenced even earlier (May 2018). During this period, NWASA has been
exposed to one promise after the other; leading to the postponement of the launch date thrice. The matter has
been escalated to the Minister of Arts and Culture and the Director-General who (DG) in turn delegated the matter
to an Acting DDG who further scaled it down to one of the officials with whom NWASA was interacting ever since.
The ISC has now requested an urgent meeting with the particular Acting DDG because it is of the view that the
problem is at the DAC’s top leadership echelons. It is hoped that there will be a breakthrough this time around;
failing of which NWASA will be left with no option but to embark on a public collision route with the DAC that
NWASA sought to avoid from the onset.

1.9 Projects

The season for funding applications for projects at various government agencies is currently opening. The ISC
intends to put together a comprehensive funding regime on a Programme of Action (POA) drawn from locallybased projects with national traction!

Therefore, members are called upon to submit project proposals on three years-cycle basis to the ISC by the end of
this February.

Among the projects should be Centenary celebrations around literary luminaries who would have turned 100 years
old this year; namely (among others): E’skia Mphahlele, Peter Abrahams, Noni Jabavu and Sibusiso Nyembezi.

1.10 Salutations
The ISC would join hands with general members in congratulating NWASA members for the recent publication of
their works; about which members must actively support through purchase:
 Barry Gilder – The List.
 Ari Sitas – The Vespa Diaries
 Sandile Ngidi – translation of Sibusiso Nyembezi’s isiZulu book into English: No walk in the park.
 Lebogang L Nawa – Co-editor of Theatre in Transformation: Artistic Processes and Cultural Policy in South
Africa; an anthology of articles on theatre published by Transcript-Verlag in Germany, January 2019.

For queries and contribution to this report, please contact the SG at any of NWASA’s electronic outlets.
PULA!

Dr. Lebogang L. Nawa