Art + taxi = Artazi

first_img29 October 2004Two enterprising Soweto artists are taking art to their clients – in a taxi. They call themselves Artazi, combing “art” and “taxi”, and they’re linking artists and clients in unusual ways.Nthabiseng Makhene and Mthunzi Ndimande, both 30-somethings born in Soweto, where they still live, call themselves art consultants but do much more than that.They actively seek out artists and take their art to clients, at the same time advising artists on how to improve their work, while advising clients on interior design as well as hanging the artworks they purchase from Artazi.They have a network of some 200 artists nationwide, and are supplying the new black middle class with artworks they would probably not otherwise consider purchasing.Says Ndimande: “What we found is that the traditional art galleries run a monopoly where an elite few are promoted. It was difficult to penetrate, so we came up with an alternative aimed particularly at the new market, who did not study art but have money to spend.”Makhene and Ndimande realised too that the “progress of black artists is hampered by a lack of business development skills and insufficient marketing”. And that’s where they stepped in.The partners bubble with enthusiasm and savvy. Both have three-year fine arts diplomas from Pelmama Art Academy in Soweto, and more: Ndimande did a six-month Wits Business School arts and culture management course, and Makhene did a textile design course at Cape Technikon.It hasn’t stopped there: both are in their second year doing BComm degrees through Unisa. And when they have time, they’re both active artists.After studying, Ndimande did an arts administrator and curator apprenticeship with Standard Bank Gallery and the Wits Art Gallery, but after two years hit a “cul-de-sac” and looked around for other opportunities. By then Makhene had returned from Cape Town – they saw a gap, and formed Artazi.It all began in 1999Makhene and Ndimande started in 1999 by getting potential clients to art galleries, to interest them in art, then moved on to offering to bring the art to their homes, to help them visualise how the product would fit into their personal space.This involved re-arranging the clients’ furniture, and coordinating the furniture with the art and often with crafts that they also supplied.They asked clients to invite 10 friends to their home for the exhibition, and by then the ball was seriously rolling.“We had help from the National Arts Council – we received R20 000, which funded four house exhibitions”, says Ndimande.They haven’t looked back. “We get to know our clients, then find art that suits their personalities”, Makhene adds.This means approaching artists, some of whom might never have gone outside of Soweto, with briefs, and encouraging them not only to expand their horizons but to meet deadlines for the completion of artworks.This also means often providing a shoulder for artists to lean on when the pressure becomes too much, and being artists themselves, providing the right kind of artistic advice, taking artists from producing very realistic work to more impressionistic stuff.They also take the artists to galleries, broadening their horizons, and showing them where their final products may end up.“At times we sit with an artist for five hours to help him or her work through turmoil they may have. We offer them empathy, something that gallery owners don’t”, Makhene says.And for the client they provide the option to purchase either an existing artwork or to commission a new artwork, at the same time helping clients to “conceptualise their aesthetic needs and requirements” and realise the value of the investment they’re making.Makhene and Ndimande often source their artworks from Soweto artists, but also from elsewhere. “Our paintings and sculptures are sourced from both emerging and well-known black artists.” These include Charles Nkosi, Joseph Ndlovu, Bafana Mkhize and Eric Lubisi.They have a rating system when judging the value of a work: works rated one – from new, unknown artists – are valued at less than R1 000, while works rated five – from internationally renowned artists – are valued at between R3 000 to R50 000.They also supply murals, artefacts, crafts, prints, textiles, ceramics and photographs.Taking an innovative routeMakhene and Ndimande are finding that their existing model of obtaining art from artists, either on commission or simply taking what artists produce, is no longer entirely adequate.A new model is on the drawing board. It involves clients renting art from Artazi for a monthly fee, which has the added advantage of supplying regular income for artists.This option would allow clients to live with an artwork for a while before making a decision to buy it or exchange it for something else.“We are in negotiations with a company to form a joint venture on the rental model, in which they will do the back-end stuff like billing the client and paying the artist”, says Ndimande.Their BComm degrees have come in useful already. “We now understand the business language of clients, and it’s helped us understand how to work out the rental model.”That knowledge has been used by the City of Johannesburg: Ndimande and Makhene are consultants in one of the City’s latest art projects, an art bank, an effort to encourage local artists by buying their works, at the same time renting these artworks out to corporates and ploughing that money back to the artists.They have big ambitions over the next 10 years. Makhene would like to branch out into textile designing, with her own label; Ndimande would like to complete an MBA and become a full-time artist.For two talented artists, they make exceptional business people, and whenever they’ve hit obstacles they’ve “changed them to our own advantage”. One of their earlier obstacles was business knowledge, but that’s no longer a challenge – the BComm is sorting that out handsomely.And by the way, no more taxis – they now have their own vehicle.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Infrastructure boost for AltX

first_img15 March 2006The government’s multi-billion rand infrastructure spending plans are attracting growing interest from South Africa’s investment community, with the listing of two construction-related companies on AltX in the space of a month, and a third to follow close on their heels.Esor Limited, one of the country’s four largest geotechnical engineering specialists, listed on the JSE’s alternative exchange for small to medium and growing companies on 14 March.This followed construction group WG Wearne’s AltX listing on 21 February, and according to Business Day another construction-related company, PSV Holdings, is due to list in April. The government’s budgeting of a massive R372-billion for upgrading and building of new infrastructure over the next three years is set to be a powerful growth driver for South Africa’s construction industry.Added to this is the country’s preparations for hosting the 2010 Football World Cup, which will see stadiums being upgraded and new ones built, associated work on roads and airports and knock-on expansion in the hotel and leisure industry.Investor confidence in both Esor and WG Wearne was evident, with the latter listing at almost double the price of its earlier 100c a share private placement.In the case of Esor, 5.3-million shares changed hands within two hours of listing, in 320 transactions with an aggregate value of R10.2-million. The share hit an early high of over R2.05 after a strong debut on the exchange at R1.83, giving the company a market capitalisation on listing of R219.6-million.Esor is celebrating its thirtieth year of profitability, with projected revenue to February 2006 of R117.3-million, up 17% on 2005, expected to yield a net profit of R11.9-million.“Esor’s net profit forecast for 2007 of R15-million is underpinned by an order book for the current financial year that is already healthy,” CEO Bernie Krone said in a statement issued by AltX.The company’s new contracts span a range of projects, including an R8.5-million municipal stormwater outfall pier at Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, a R7.5-million project on the Delft-Gateway Collector Sewer in Cape Town, and a R4.5-million piling contract for luxury residential units in the Zimbali Coastal Resort in KwaZulu-Natal.Krone said Esor’s order book could benefit from a planned new terminal at Johannesburg International Airport, as well as from construction work associated with one of government’s most profiled infrastructure projects, the Gautrain rapid rail link connecting the airport, Johannesburg and Pretoria.Noah Greenhill, head of business development at the JSE, said it was “heartening to see a company such as Esor, in the infrastructure environment, successfully taking advantage of the current growth opportunities.”A partnership between the JSE Limited and the Department of Trade and Industry, AltX gives smaller companies the opportunity to issue new shares, raise capital, widen their investor base and have their shares traded in a regulated market.Launched in October 2003 as a parallel market to the JSE, AltX is specifically aimed at fast-growing businesses, start-ups, family-owned businesses, black economic empowerment companies and junior mining companies.In its early days, when AltX comprised a handful of “transferred” listings, sceptics wrote the market off as a “junior bourse” that would soon fizzle out.Now, as Fin24 correspondent Marc Hasenfuss noted recently, “the AltX functions as a vibrant little corner of the JSE with 16 listings (and a few more in the pipeline) with a collective market capitalisation that should shift closer to the R5-billion mark in the months ahead.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Meet SA’s sporting heroes on this Sunday’s Play Your Part TV series

first_imgPlay your Part TV Series host Kabelo Mabalane on set ahead of this weekend’s installment featuring some of South Africa’s sporting greatsThis weekend’s instalment of the Play your Part TV series will look at the role sports has and continues to play in South Africa’s nation-building and how sports stars fly the South African flag proudly locally and abroad.Look forward to interviews with swimming legend Natalie du Toit; soccer coach and former Banyana Banyana star Desiree Ellis; professional wrestler Daryl Naidu; surfer and swimming coach Cyril Mqadi; and team MTN Qhubeka cyclist Songezo Jim.SWIMMING YOUR OWN RACEParalympics and Commonwealth Games gold-medal swimmer Natalie du Toit is one of South Africa’s most inspiring athletes. Ranked amongst the world’s fastest distance swimmers, in 2008 Du Toit made history when she became the first amputee to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games.She was one of only two Paralympians who competed in the Games in that year.Having retired from professional swimming, Du Toit is now a motivational speaker, inspiring the next generation of South African Paralympians and Olympians.BEATING BULLIESAfter being a victim of bullying Daryl Naidu went from being the bad boy to rededicating himself to wrestling, and combatting drug addiction and bullying in his community.Nightmare uses his life experience to help kids understand that life can be bigger than the world they find themselves trapped in. He says: “If they need help, I will be there for them to lean on.”GOALS AND AMBITIONSWomen’s football is alive and kicking in South Africa. And one woman who has played her part for the nation while mastering the precise art of ball play, is soccer star Desiree Ellis.During her time on the South Africa team Ellis enjoyed phenomenal success, winning 23 matches, losing seven and drawing two. The former midfielder now spends her time doing projects for Stars in their Eyes and Soccer4All, a grassroots football initiative in which former South African international players coach primary school kids.WHEELS OF CHANGETeam MTN Qhubeka cyclist Songezo Jim only learnt to ride a bicycle at the age of 14.After losing both his parents, Jim moved to Cape Town from Mthatha in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and was only introduced to the world of competitive cycling when cyclists riding the Cape Argus whistled by his house. He went on to make history, becoming the first Black South African to take part in the International Cycling Union’s World Tour.Now, as a member of the Samsung-powered MTN Qhubeka cycling team he has been working to raise funds for charities worldwide through the Qhubeka initiative.SINK OR SURFCyril Mqadi learnt how to surf before he knew how to swim.After being captivated by the surfers off the coast of Port Shepstone near his home town, Umzumbe, in KwaZulu-Natal, Mqadi took up surfing. Now he shares his passion with youngsters from his hometown, teaching them how to surf and swim.Visit Play Your Part to read more about these inspiring sports stars, and watch them on Sunday 27 July at 9pm on SABC2.last_img read more

National Dairy FARM Program now compliant with International Standards Organization

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Dairy FARM Program is now the first livestock animal care program in the world to be recognized internationally for its industry-leading animal welfare standards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) affirmed this week that the program complies with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)Animal Welfare Management/General Requirements and Guidance for Organizations in the Food Supply Chain.USDA’s affirmation that the FARM Program is ISO-compliant “validates the hard work of everyone who has contributed to the FARM Program in the past decade — from the veterinarians and academics who helped design the program, to the farmers and dairy cooperatives who implement it,” said Emily Meredith, NMPF’s chief of staff. “The U.S. dairy industry has worked hard to make the FARM Program a best-in-class animal care program, not just in the United States, but now around the world.”ISO’s animal welfare technical specification was designed to evaluate if animal welfare programs meet international standards for animal care. ISO, an independent, international standards-setting body, has worked for several years with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to help farmers and animal welfare programs like FARM determine how to implement species-specific animal welfare standards. The OIE, the World Trade Organization-recognized body for setting animal health and welfare standards affecting international trade, adopted dairy cattle welfare standards in 2015. In the United States, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) offers a voluntary marketing program that ensures independent welfare programs meet the specifications of the ISO standard.“ISO compliance means that dairy customers both here and abroad can safely trust that their products meet the stringent, internationally recognized animal welfare standards set by the OIE,” added Meredith. “What’s more, our dairy farmers can rest assured they only need to comply with one program — FARM — and not a potential myriad of other guidelines. This recognition becomes even more critical as nearly 16% of U.S. milk production is exported to foreign customers.”After a lengthy assessment process, the FARM Program now has a prestigious, independent corroboration that its science-based approach to high-quality animal care sets the standard for the dairy value chain in the United States and around the world. Consumers can trust that the dairy foods they consume came from animals treated under internationally recognized, quality animal care standards.last_img read more

Apple’s New iPhone Ads: Brilliant, Understated, Elegant & Boring

first_imgAnd this: To this: Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces These are the kinds of ads that strike a chord. As ReadWrite noted yesterday:[Samsung] wants to dethrone the iPhone in the U.S. Samsung apparently chose New York City for the launch event because it, “is nicknamed the Big Apple, which is also the symbol and heart of the United States, Samsung picked that city for the event.’’Not very long ago, Apple fought for its very existence. Now it’s one of the world’s richest corporations. That’s a big change. It only makes sense that Apple’s advertisements reflect that evolution. Today’s Apple execs obviously want to promote their product, excite their core base, not lend stature to the competition – all while showcasing the iPhone’s universal appeal. These latest ads likely succeed at that.I like them. I also suspect they are the kinds of ads that Steve Ballmer would have happily approved back in 2007. Is the pirate dead? When did Apple become the new IBM? How did the company that once sought to destroy our restrictive computer overlords wind up becoming so buttoned-down?How did Apple go from this: The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologycenter_img The short answer, of course, is success. Apple now makes the world’s most popular personal computing products – the iPhone and iPad – and has created the most profitable ecosystem for our new mobile world. No longer the underdog, Apple is now the company everyone else is chasing.Needs vs. DesiresThat kind of success necessarily breeds a certain amount of conservatism. As the risks involved in rocking the boat go up, the rewards seem to go down and the temptation to take the safe route becomes all encompassing.That’s why it’s not surprising that Apple’s new iPhone ads are exactly what we need – but not at all what we want.The ads re-confirm that the bold revolution Apple wrought with the launch of the iPhone in 2007 has been realized. The computing world has changed forever. The PC hegemony is contracting. Smartphones and tablets are rapidly taking over the Web, invading the enterprise and challenging the once mighty defenders of the desktop, from Microsoft to HP to Dell and beyond. (See also: PCs Are In Free Fall, But Windows 8 Shouldn’t Get All The Blame) That’s why some six years later, Apple’s latest ads are no longer revolutionary – or even exciting.The Tables Have TurnedSoon after the original iPhone was launched, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked his thoughts by USA Today (he can never take them back):Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody.There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.It’s easy to mock Ballmer’s words now, but when you are the top dog it’s easy to be glib about the competition. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to misunderstand what is happening elsewhere while your focus is on maintaining your lofty status.In that very same interview, Ballmer went on to say, albeit less famously:It’s not like we’re at the end of the line of innovation that’s going to come in the way people listen to music, watch videos, etc. I’ll bet our ads will be less edgy. But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we’ll get him to own a Zune. [Emphasis mine.]That’s exactly what’s happening to Apple – at least with respect to marketing. The latest Apple ads effectively tell the story of the iPhone’s capabilities. But they most closely resemble a campaign from discount clothier Men’s Wearhouse. Is that really what Apple wants to be compared to?Is Samsung The New Apple?Consider instead this Samsung ad. It says little about Samsung’s own product and spends most of its time mocking not only Apple, but Apple users. brian s hall Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#advertising#Apple#iPhone#marketing last_img read more

63% turnout in Rajasthan bypolls

first_imgAn average 63.76% polling was recorded in the Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha constituencies in Rajasthan, where byelections were held on Monday. At Mandalgarh, 76.57% of the electorate exercised their franchise for the byelection to the Assembly seat in Bhilwara district. No major untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the State during the polling.The counting of votes will take place on February 1. The three constituencies had a total 39 lakh voters. The polling in Alwar, with 11 candidates in the race, was recorded at 62.12%. In Ajmer, 65.41% of the electorate votes for 23 candidates. The Mandalgarh Assembly bypoll saw eight contestants. Electronic voting machines were used with the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) and the candidates’ photographs for the first time in the State. Technical failures were reported at several polling booths in Ajmer, where EVMs stopped working. Voting resumed after the snags were rectified.last_img read more