Article by : John-Otto Phike
Sibikwa, a leading South African multi-disciplinary arts centre, co-founded by theatre stalwarts Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz, is pleased to announce the appointments of Caryn Green, new Chief Operating Officer (CEO) and Napo Masheane new Artistic Director, effective from 1 July 2021.
Sibikwa was established in Bra Smal’s Daveyton home to serve as a creative refuge for young people to escape the conflicts of the tumultuous late 1980’s. It has since become a leading arts hub, recognised as a Centre of Excellence by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. Affectionately known as Ikhaya Lethu (Our Home) by thousands of young learners who trained at Sibikwa, it has produced numerous acclaimed arts professionals who grace the stages of the country’s top theatres and television.
Incoming CEO Caryn Green is an advocate for democratising access to the arts, with over 15 years’ experience in the arts sector. She was appointed Business Arts Manager at Sibikwa in 2019, when she was mentored by Bra Smal and Phyllis in preparation to take on the role of CEO. Napo Masheane, is a multi-award winning playwright, director, poet and acclaimed performer on both international and national stages. She is one of the leading South African black female theatre-makers, constantly crossing geographical, academic and artistic borders, through cultural exchanges, guest-lecturing, and with her provocative plays.
Departing founders said ‘We reflect fondly on the years that we have served at Sibikwa. We are immensely proud to hand over a world-class organisation to the new leadership team and are confident that we have identified an ideal fit for both positions of CEO and Artistic Director. Caryn has demonstrated strong leadership qualities since her appointment as CEO-elect in 2019 and, coupled with Napo’s deep artistic experience and intimate knowledge of theatre management, we are certain that they will ensure that Sibikwa continues to thrive in the future.’
Caryn and Napo share their sentiments on taking up their new roles; “We are honoured to be entrusted with taking forward the legacy of the co-founders, remembering and re-visioning a Sibikwa that upholds his-story, her-story and our-story. We look forward to consistently re-kindling the spirit of uku’bikwa, transforming raw talent into sustainable opportunities, engaging in global cultural exchanges and advancing the arts and culture landscape; taking Sibikwa to unprecedented heights, year on year”.
In conclusion, the Chairman of the Board of Sibikwa, Pamela Grayman, commented ‘It has been a privilege and a learning experience to work with Bra Smal and Phyllis and all the dedicated people at Sibikwa. On behalf of the Board, I extend thanks to the founders for their sterling contribution to Sibikwa and the arts. I am pleased to announce that Bra Smal and Phyllis will continue their life-long association with Sibikwa in a consulting capacity and both have been appointed as Non-Executive Directors.’
‘Sibikwa is strategically positioned to continue to play a pivotal role in the arts sector and I have every confidence that the new leadership team will continue to deliver exceptional results. I look forward to working with Caryn and Napo and wish them much success.’ In the spirit of uku’bikwa – the act of pronouncing, announcing and presenting for collective celebration – Sibikwa honours the legacy of its co-founders Smal Ndaba (Managing Director) and Phyllis Klotz (Artistic Director).