Since COVID-19 hit and lockdown began, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) has played an active role in supporting a creative sector in crisis. One example has been the Artist Relief Grants, which to date has provided support to 122 individual artists with grants to the value of R1 174 467. A further 67 grants of up to R10 000 specifically for medical assistance is currently available for creatives who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been hospitalised as a result of COVID-19.
As Chairman of the BASA Board, Charmaine Soobramoney announced the Artist Relief Grants and explained that ‘The BASA Board of Directors acknowledges the continued challenges artists are subjected to. We celebrate their resilience and appreciate the role that they play in provoking thought and uplifting the energies of the consumers of the arts.’ Creative Feel sent Soobramoney some quick questions to find out a bit more about this wealth expert and change activist.
Creative Feel: How would you describe yourself and what you do? Charmaine Soobramoney: I am most satisfied and fulfilled when I support and see other people succeed. As a Master NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioner, I spend my days supporting businesses and individuals in their efforts to unleash their individual and business potential. By doing this, I advance and realise many of my agendas and beliefs, particularly that no one should go hungry, everyone should realise their potential to generate an income (irrespective of one’s background or qualification), equal opportunity for all, respect for all life, and so much more… I also connect like-minded people with aligned values, to initiatives and projects, to amplify the value creation opportunities and associated positivity. I drive multiple agendas and by doing so, I move closer to my goal of impacting a million lives positively!
Creative Feel: BASA has initiated numerous support systems for the arts since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As Chairman of the BASA Board, which of these have you been most proud of/excited about? Charmaine Soobramoney: I am proud of the BASA staff and their unwavering commitment to serve the creative sector. The team, steered by Ashraf Johaardien, is fairly new. In a short space of time, they have demonstrated their passion and their genuine commitment to the creative sector. Considering the limited financial and human capital, the team’s effort has surpassed my expectations. They have successfully driven many amazing projects, which created opportunities and provided relief to many artists, during this uncertain and challenging period. The BASA goal is to be of even greater support to the creative sector. As you are aware, the team has re-purposed its regular Supporting Grants funding to provide some relief to creatives. As a result of the COVID-19 restrictions and the very limited numbers for gatherings, the funding opportunities for creatives range from the minimal to the non-existent. In the BASA family, these challenges are driving the introduction of additional fundraising campaigns, to provide more support and relief to creatives. I acknowledge these initiatives only provide temporary relief. BASA is currently exploring ways to elevate and create sustainable opportunities for the creative sector. Going back to your questions, I loved the #HeyFriend campaign. This campaign showcased the values and thinking of a diverse group of people. These daily messages resonated with our followers, and connected them. In a way, this campaign served as online therapy during a difficult period. It also showcased how critical it is to hear and prioritise the needs of the creative sector. The team’s hard work and commitment to drive positivity, opportunities, growth and financial reward and gain in this sector will be realised.
Creative Feel: You’re described as a ‘change activist’. What does this mean and how does this impact your role as Chairman of the BASA Board? Charmaine Soobramoney: A ‘change activist’ fearlessly drives meaningful change. Transformation, for example, is often talked about but seldom demonstrated. It makes me proud to witness the transformation of the BASA Board of Directors. The current BASA Board represents the demographics of South Africa, especially with regards to holding a female majority.
Creative Feel: What artwork has provided you solace or inspiration during the incredibly tough times we are facing as a nation, and as a world? Charmaine Soobramoney: Music is my daily drug of choice. I am energised by music. During this intense period, I found myself paging through The Art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. I also started rereading Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like. The second reading of these books has left me with more questions than answers. This is a discussion for another day. I would like to share that the reread amplified my respect for all those who sacrificed their lives and dignity for freedom!
Creative Feel: As a wealth coach, you conduct interviews and write interesting thought pieces on your blog such as your recent interview with ‘Mr Fund your Fire’ – how can stories like this be applied to the arts space, particularly now that many creatives are already in the midst of the so-called ‘rainy day’ that we’re always advised to prepare for? Charmaine Soobramoney: Thank you for engaging with this piece. ‘Mr Fund your Fire’ and I are committed to supporting people through their financial freedom journey. As a start, I recommend subscription to the respective sites. Through our journey to provide support, ‘Mr Fund your Fire’ and I have realised that every human being has similar needs and desires. The industry is irrelevant. What is important is the desire to succeed and the commitment to take the necessary action to start this journey and – more importantly – stay the course. There are a number of factors to consider, such as income sources; risk mitigation strategies; how to unlock additional revenue streams with the current skill sets; what additional skills are required, and how to source these in challenging times. This is especially relevant within the current time in which we find ourselves. The formula is simple. Spend less than you earn and invest the rest! However, TIME is of the essence. Unless you win the lottery or are lucky to inherit, the financial freedom journey takes decades to fulfil. It is never too late to start, so just start. It is important for me to state that WEALTH is often erroneously connected to only the concept of ‘money’.
WEALTH embodies so much more: W – Wisdom E – Equity A – Assets L – Learning T – Time H – Health
This recent interview with Creative Feel Magazine helped clarify what I do. According to my friend ED Dudley, I help people achieve their greatness! Thank you, Tammy Greer, ED Dudley, Savannah Feeke and Ashraf Johaardien for helping me clarify what I do.
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I wish you love, light, happiness and Freedom
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