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MTN South Africa has been unwavering in its commitment to supporting the development of the arts, culture, and heritage sectors. In response to a national priority for education, preservation, and the advancement of South African history and heritage, MTN has taken significant strides to establish a digital platform that bridges the gap between artistic expression and learning.

Screenshot from the Gabisile Nkosi video, as part of Women + Art.

Since the inception of the MTN Art Collection in November 1998, the collection has grown to encompass nearly 1,400 artworks by diverse South African and African artists. Beyond being a repository of artistic creations, the MTN Art Collection has evolved into an instrument for educational development and community outreach programs within South Africa’s Arts and Culture sector.

MTN SA remains steadfast in its dedication to its art collection and the mandate it carries, all while being guided by the vision that access to modern connectivity is a right that should be enjoyed by all.

Responding to this call, the MTN SA Foundation, custodians of the art collection since 2001, introduced the MTN Online School platform in October 2021. This innovative platform has provided the means to create enriching digital content based on the MTN Art Collection and its archives, amplifying the teaching and learning of arts and culture.

Through strategic partnerships and collaborations both within and outside the organisation, the MTN SA Foundation seeks to expand awareness and viewership of the MTN Art Collection. As part of this initiative, the Foundation is proud to announce its collaboration with Melanie Tait a visionary in the realm of visual storytelling.

Melanie Tait, an established figure in the documentation of South African art, brings an unparalleled approach to artist narratives. Her storytelling style delves deep into the artists’ world, capturing their voices without the need for narration. Tait’s objective aligns with celebrating South African art by bringing it closer to the general public and facilitating a more profound understanding of the artists and their work.

Tait adds “My mission is to celebrate South African art through storytelling and to connect the general public with art, bringing the public into the world of the artist. To educate and expand access to art through the production of these videos”.

Arthur Mukhuvha, General Manager of the MTN SA Foundation, expresses the Foundation’s enthusiasm for this collaboration, saying: “The arts play a vital role in preserving our heritage and culture, and the MTN SA Foundation is proud to champion initiatives that promote art education and celebrate the contributions of women artists. Through our collaboration with Melanie Tait, we aim to inspire a deeper connection between the public and art, fostering appreciation and understanding.”

Under the banner of Women + Art from the MTN Art Collection, a series has been initiated to celebrate the contributions of women artists to the art industry and cultural landscape. This initiative seeks to shine a spotlight on the legacy of women in art, and the first two videos from the series are dedicated to two remarkable artists:

  • Gabisile Nkosi: Renowned printmaker and artist-activist against gender-based violence. Her powerful linocuts from the ‘Healing’ (2007) portfolio have been displayed at MTN’s head offices during the 16 Days of Activism campaigns.
  • Usha Seejarim: An internationally recognised artist known for her in-situ installation piece Pin Code (2005), crafted from 140,000 safety pins, is located in MTN’s phase 2 reception.

“The MTN SA Foundation and Melanie Tait are thrilled to share these engaging productions with the world. The videos offer an immersive experience that highlights the stories and contributions of these exceptional artists,” adds Niel Nortje, MTN’s Art Collection manager.

Gabisile Nkosi

Usha Seejarim

“As a forward-looking telecommunications leader, MTN South Africa continues to champion the convergence of art and education through digital innovation, ensuring that the rich tapestry of South African history, heritage, and creativity is accessible to all”, concludes Mukhuvha.

In 2001, MTN South Africa established the MTN SA Foundation as its corporate social investment (CSI) arm. Through the Foundation, MTN SA partners with communities, civil society, and other corporates in supporting development interventions in disadvantaged communities across South Africa. The Foundation’s mandate is also informed by the ICT Charter, which requires telecommunications companies to prioritise ICT led social investments. To attain this goal, it harnesses its position as a corporate Foundation to capitalise on strategic corporate resources like MTN’s extensive telecommunications infrastructure, brand image and reputation, along with the expertise and abilities of MTN employees, particularly empowering women through the implementation of ICT solutions.

Their strategy is Ambition 2025: leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress is anchored in building the largest and most valuable business platform with a clear focus on Africa. This rests on a scale connectivity and infrastructure business – mobile and fixed access networks in the consumer, enterprise, and wholesale segments.

For more information, follow MTN on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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