The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa last week gave young local creatives an opportunity to meet and greet one of the world’s greatest content creators, Mike Van Graan, at the Lady Olebile Masire Youth Centre.
The embassy works hand in hand with Young Africa Botswana (YAB).
Mike van Graan wears quite a number of badges as the president of the African Cultural Policy Network and an award-winning playwright with 32 plays under his belt.
He is currently an artist-in-residence at the University of Pretoria where he was conferred with an honorary doctorate in 2018 in recognition of his cultural activism and creative work.
After South Africa’s first democratic elections, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to the minister responsible for arts and culture, where he played an influential role in shaping post-apartheid cultural policies.
He has served in leadership roles in anti-apartheid and post-apartheid cultural formations, as well as in Pan-African organisations like Arterial Network, promoting the creative sector and its contribution to human rights, democracy and development. He also currently serves as the interim secretary for the nascent Global South Arts
The purpose of this Meet & Greet session was to allow participating art practitioners within the theatre industry to engage with Van Graan on how they can diversify their creative works. The Meet & Greet covered things from art activism and its impact on society to the need for cultural advocacy in policy.
Creative arts consultant, Gao Lemmenyane said as creative artists, it was a very exciting opportunity for them given that Van Graan was well known around the world for his good works.
“He understands Africa’s concept very much and it is a good thing seeing him give the wealth of knowledge to the youth here,” said Lemmenyane.
“We strongly believe his input to our conversation of developing the arts industry in order to diversify our economy, will be useful to all those participating,” mentioned Jelena Mitrovic executive director of YAB.