The resurrection of Mmabana brings renewed hope for local communities

The re-birth of the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation in the North West has rightfully been welcomed by especially residents of Mahikeng who have been very worried that the continued existence of the Foundation had finally come to a sad the end.

The demise of Mmabana Foundation started as early as about three years ago when the department of CATA could not find a suitable candidate to run the affairs of the entity which led to former CEO, Moatlhodi Dilotsotlhe being appointed but was later unlawfully removed from the institution. Dilotsotlhe was recently paid off after he won his case against the department.
He was later replaced by ex-CEO, Dr Otsile Ntsoane who was suspended late last year and was subsequently replaced by an acting CEO.
Meanwhile the Foundation has been operating without a board, fulltime CEO, CFO and management team while workers have been staying away for a variety of reasons including lack of space due to the destruction of the complex while receiving their monthly wages.
The Standing Committees on Provincial Public Accounts (SCOPA) found during their latest investigation into the Foundation that Mmabana was not functional after parts of the complex had been destroyed by fire during wide-spread protest action by local communities protesting against the continuing leadership of Supra Mahumapelo as premier of the province.
SCOPA subsequently suspended their meeting with Mmabana after establishing that Mmabana had no standing board following the previous board’s dissolution. They were also concerned when they were told that the appointment of the Mmabana executive authority who represented the Foundation before SCOPA was irregular.
“It is an era where a lot of our people in the North West depend on Mmabana in terms of matters of arts and culture but nothing is happening there. We really have a problem. We think the that this matter must be resolved urgently”, said SCOPA chairperson Mahlakeng Mahlakeng.
Adding to the already worrisome challenges of the Foundation was the burning of the institutions when residents demanded the removal of Mahumapelo. Critical infrastructure including office equipment, music instruments and props valued at R50 million were lost. More than 100 employees are still without office space.
The Mmabana Foundation was established in 1986 by the erstwhile Bophuthatswana administration under the late Lucas Mangope whose daughter- in – law, Rosemary Mangope administered the institution for years as CEO.
True to its mandate, the Foundation was established to unearth and nurture local talent while creating hundreds of jobs in the area.
The Mmabana Foundation has produced hundreds of professionals who include artists , cultural activists and numerous sports personalities who are today spread all over the world, continent and many parts of South Africa who have become household names in their various fields.
“Mmabana is totally down now. There is nothing going on lately and it produced so many artists up to so far, but then for us as upcoming artists there is nothing goin on”, remarked local gospel artists, Nkele Morakanele.
As part of a government programme, the Foundation recently received a R10,000 donation from the North West province initiated by Premier Job Mokgoro. The riots caused damages worth up to R150m.
The announcement by Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs (Cata) MEC, Ontlametse Mochware of the appointment of eight members to serve on the new board of the Mmabana Foundation has certainly brought a new ray of hope.
Chaired by the former CEO of the Office of the Public Protector Themba Dlamini, the board boasts a diverse range of skills.
“I am excited about the appointment of the new Board. “We are confident that this team will steer the Foundation in the right direction and accelerate the rebirth of the Foundation.”
“We are doing our best with the limited resources to bring back Mmabana to its rightful place. We urge the community to be patient and give support where needed”, said MEC Mochware.