Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
RENOWNED arts manager and events coordinator Desmond Ntini has urged artistes to engage the services of managers in order for them to be taken seriously professionally.
Ntini who has been in the game for two decades, has managed successful individuals and groups that include Siyaya Arts, Umkhathi Theatre Works and US-based Heather Massie. He is now managing UK-based artiste Sisa “Sisa Senkosi” Mnkandla and Ishmael Muvingi and band.
In presentation during an online engagement that was facilitated by Gwanda’s TIME project (artistes training platform) on Wednesday evening, Ntini unpacked various factors that are key for the success of artistes.
The manager who was mentored into arts management by renowned arts practitioner Cont Mhlanga, said arts management is critical as it helps an artiste to make right decisions from a personal level to a professional level.
“Every artiste needs a manager, be it a person, computer or diary, but we all need to be guided in a way. My job as an arts manager is to make sure the artiste is properly guided legally, personally and mentally. It is very important for an artiste to have a manager,” said Ntini.
He said it was time artistes disabuse themselves of the notion that arts is for failures or people without a plan
“I think from the onset and from formative stages, let’s stop the notion that arts is for failures or people without a plan. It is from the formative stages that we lose it all. We need to have proper working documents or policies like a constitution and proper structures and we need to attend trainings to capacitate ourselves,” said Ntini.
He however acknowledged that managing artistes has its own challenges.
“It’s never easy, but it has to be done. We manage people and avoid digging deeper into personalities. We manage problems hence if you have a deeper understanding of each individual, it becomes manageable but not easy.”
Ntini said he was glad that arts management is slowly being appreciated nationally by colleges and universities, something which is key for the development of the arts.
“I believe colleges and some universities are now seeing the importance of arts and arts education. Hopefully, courses that help us as artistes to grow will be offered but nothing beats an inborn talent and it becomes powerful if capacitated,” he said.
The arts administrator said it is key for artistes to know that there is a difference between an arts manager and production manager.
“As arts managers, we manage individuals or groups while a production manager is responsible for the production of works,” – @mthabisi_mthire.