Podcast Participants:

Interviewee – Marcus Desando (ACT CEO)

Interviewer – Mongezi. C. Makhalima (Host and ACT Board Member)

Podcast link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15XngvtsEm-J6aZlv9dPXIu4hBLmhoHlV/view

An African in the Arts

In this episode by Vuka Online Radio ACT CEO, Marcus Desando discusses leadership in the arts with host, Dr. Mongezi. C. Makhalima. Over a 40 minute segment we learn about Marcus’s upbringing as a township kid from Mamelodi, growing up with musical parents. We begin to understand, through the curiosity of Dr. Makhalima that leadership wasn’t something that Marcus was actively seeking but rather something that seemed to seek him as he was invited into leadership roles from an early age. “Leadership followed me” – Marcus Desando

Through a meaningful interrogation of how Marcus Desando rose in leadership in the arts; from his days as Director at the Black Tie Ensemble, to becoming the first black CEO of the Gauteng Opera, to his current role as CEO of the Arts & Culture Trust the conversation highlights, lessons learnt, issues of loneliness in leadership and many wonderful take-aways and insights on the role and value of arts in SA.

When asked about ACT’s future Desando says: “We are looking forward to repositioning ourselves as an organisation after 25 years of existence. People can look for a new and reimagined organisation going forward. We want to offer more assistance and support for artists to achieve their goals.”

Issues covered in this podcast:

– The reality of loneliness in leadership

– The importance of a network of peer and mentoring support

– The importance and value of buy in from your team

– The value of the arts in society

– What advice would you give to people joining the arts sector?

– What are the big challenges faced by leaders today?

– Where do you think the creative sector is in the larger South African context and can it add value?

– Where is ACT as an organisation now?

– What advice would you give to people joining the arts sector?

Best quotes form the session:

“Leaders are humans too.” – Mongezi Makhalima

“The day that arts has a 1 minute slot in the prime time news similarly to sports, will be the day I say “we’ve done it!” – Marcus Desando

“Without arts the soul of the nation is non-existent.” – Marcus Desando



The Art & Culture Trust (ACT)

Over 25 years of arts funding

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding available for arts and culture initiatives, and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured funding programmes, ACT provides support for all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration.

For more information please visit the Trust’s website. Follow ACT on Twitter or like the ACT’s Facebook page.

About Vuka Online Radio:

This is the station that sells a new perspective to whatever is happening, the station that wakes us up! Our aim is to:

• V – Expand the Vision of our Listeners,

• U – Challenge their Understanding,

• K – Increase their Knowledge and

• A – Inspire Action.