Brian Banda is an entrepreneur and trainer based in Harare Zimbabwe. He is a guest at the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival, 24-26 August in Kampala and passionate about artists making money from their work.
1. We look forward to hosting you at the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival in August. As an entrepreneur, what do your work towards daily?
I have a passion to see young people in the creative sector being able to employ their energies towards putting bread on the table. Most of Africa today is facing serious unemployment problems yet there is lots of talent laying around, so every day I thrive to assist creative people realize the business potential that lies within them.
2. When you conduct trainings, what do you look forward to most in your participants?
Openness and huge willingness to learn and share. I appreciate very energetic participants who are more than motivated and active. Their energy and responsiveness keeps me going and assures me that my session is worth their time.
3. What is challenging about entrepreneurship amongst artists?
The very fact that most artists do not know how much their art is worth, thus most of the time they are taken for granted and always settle for less. Its only until artists themselves place value on themselves and their work that the public will commit in spending on artistic products and services just like they do with any other profession.
4. How can poets, writers and other artists begin to look at their work as a business?
By organizing themselves into strategic business units, documenting, quantifying and evaluating their work every step of the way, from planning, brain-storming, rehearsals, production, performance or exhibition. Creatives should create relationships with cooperates , their audiences and other stakeholders including governments. Also they need to adopt new attitudes towards their work and set clear cut monetary and substantial goals.
5. How do you feel about artists receiving sponsorship from donors, against funding their own events?
Artists can never survive in isolation, in most instances financial support is critical to any arts venture. However the problem comes when funders impose and influence artists sensibilities and ideology to an extent of stifling creativity. Artists should rather seek investment into their work instead of donations, this way, they retain autonomy and serve their true purpose and mandate to society.
6. What do you expect at the #Babishai2016 Poetry Festival?
To network , share experiences, empower and motivate artists and most of all to learn a lot from the Ugandan experience
7. If there was a specific diet recommended for poets, what would it be?
Kkkkkhahaaa …..anything marijuana and alcohol free kkkkk
8. When you think of poetry from Uganda, what comes to mind?
An anthology by Beverley Nambozo and others entitled Boda Boda, I bumped into it last year in Kenya and fell in love.
9. Any parting remarks?
Can’t wait for my first visit to Uganda, may the good Lord be with you in all your preparations…Asante
Thank you Brian.