11 November 2003In Johannesburg’s Alexandra township there’s a car wash business called the Eksclusive Boyz Kar Wash. On the wall of the car wash is a mural of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, created by MSE (Mzantsi Street Effects), a group of young graffiti specialists from Alex.The Eksclusive Boyz Kar Wash doubles as an exhibition space for Alex artists, exhibiting local artwork on its premises in an effort to develop skills in the community and, at the same time, to attract customers.Last year, Chris Maseneke and Mphane Tlhoaele of Eksclusive partnered with law firm Webber Wentzel Bowens to sponsor a young artists’ competition with the objective of uncovering local talent – and received over 100 entries from artists of 21 years or younger.This year, additional support from public-private initiative Business and Arts South Africa (Basa) enabled the competition to be promoted more widely in Alex, and following an extensive campaign on Alexandra community radio station ALEX FM, 110 entrants submitted work on the theme “Christmas Wish”.Work by 35 finalists, selected by a panel of judges, will be exhibited at the [email protected] gallery, Rustenburg Road, Melville, from November 11 to 17, and at the Webber Wentzel Bowens offices in Illovo from 21 November to 24 December. The art works will all be on sale, with proceeds going to the artists.The winners will be announced at a special event on November 21, and five winners will receive prizes totalling R17 000.Last year’s competition winner, 18-year-old Mandla Mavundla, said he “wanted to prove a point to those people who think that Alex doesn’t have talent. I believe that people in Alexandra suffer a lot and need a saviour. I believe that the person who will help our people in Alex will be born in Alex and understand the standard of living in Alex.”Some of the artworks from last year’s competition can be viewed on the Webber Wentzel Bowens website.Basa CEO Nicola Danby said the partnership between Webber Wentzel Bowens and Eksclusive “shows clearly how the corporate sector can engage positively and imaginatively with the community, and make a real difference to people’s lives, through the arts.”Basa, a joint initiative between government and the business sector, aims to promote sustainable partnerships between the private sector and the arts that will, in the long term, benefit the community at large.SouthAfrica.info reporter
Senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are hopeful that the political logjam in the State would end soon, following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Wednesday. Mr. Pawar met the Prime Minister in Parliament on Wednesday to discuss the looming agrarian crisis in Maharashtra. However, senior BJP leaders said the meeting did involve talks on the political situation in Maharashtra. They said it has reignited hope that the party is not yet out of contention for government formation, even as talks between the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress appear to be heading towards some conclusion. “We are confident of forming the government. Maharashtra will only get a BJP-led government in future,” Ashish Shelar, senior party leader and member of the party’s core committee, said. The meeting between the two leaders set off speculation in political circles that the BJP and NCP were trying to strike a deal to form a government.But BJP leaders denied any back channel talks were on with the NCP. “This is mere speculation. When we want to talk with a party, we will not be clandestine about it,” a senior BJP leader and former State minister said. The BJP leadership also denied rumours that the two parties have struck a deal promising three cabinet berths to the NCP in exchange of support for government formation. “There is also talk that the Prime Minister has promised Mr. Pawar the post of the next President and has agreed on a 50:50 formula, with the BJP and NCP sharing the post of the chief minister. These are unverified reports,” the BJP leader said. Rumours of the BJP and NCP opening back channels for talks are not new. Previously, speculations were rife that a prominent industrialist from Mumbai was trying to broker a deal between the two. But these reports were quickly dismissed by leaders of both parties.