Formally signed-up members of Im4theArts are currently electing the inaugural National Steering Committee of the formalised organisation. Here is a time framework on how we got to this point.
The process of formalising Im4theArtsMike van Graan, Facebook Post, 3 August 2020
January 18: Sibongile Mngoma launches the Facebook group to mobilise the creative sector to hold accountable corrupt administrators and politicians for their adverse impact on the sector. The Facebook group – known as Im4theArts – is coordinated by a Working Group of volunteers invited by Sibongile to assist her to manage the group and the page.
January 31: The group grows to 7 000 members proving that the motivation for the group has struck a chord.
February 4: Njabulo Madlala summarises the grievances raised by members of the group into 78 points.
February 4: Im4theArts Working Group members meet the Director General and senior management of the Dept of Sports, Arts and Culture for the first time to share the grievances of the group’s members.
February 10: The group grows to 11 000 members
February 17: Im4theArts meets the Director General and senior DSAC management for a second time.
February 28: The group has 15 000 members
March 26: The President announces a three-week lockdown to stall the spread of COVID-19.
While the Facebook group has thousands of members, it becomes clear that in order for it to act effectively, it needs a clearer leadership structure, with more formal mandates for action and so that it cannot be excluded from forums dealing with artists’ issues because it is deemed to be an informal structure.
April 20: The Working Group posts a proposed Vision Statement for Im4theArts including a Mission, Values, Principles and Aims and tags thousands of members of the group to provide feedback.
April 24: The Working Group posts a document outlining three options to structure the group; the document includes a rationale for structuring the group, outlines the challenges in devising a structure and provides options for the status quo to continue, for a flat online structure and for a formally constituted body.
May 8: The revised Vision Statement is posted and members of the group are invited to comment about a few contested elements.
May 8: Summarised versions of the three structure options are posted and members are tagged, inviting them to select one.
May 13: It is announced that 70% of those who voted opted for the formal structure.
May 19: The final version of the Vision, Mission, Values, Principles and Aims of Im4theArts is posted in the Facebook group.
May 22: The Working Group – now rebranded as the Interim Steering Committee (ISC) – agrees to build a critical mass of members who subscribe to the Vision, Mission, Values, Principles and Aims in order to launch a formal structure with signed up membership and an elected National Steering Committee by 1 September.
3 June: Im4theArts hosts the first of its weekly webinars and calls for members of the group to sign up as members of the organisation by completing an online form and declaring their support for the Vision, Mission, Values, Principles and Aims.
4 June: An online membership form is posted and members of the group are tagged to sign up.
10 June: Members of the Facebook group are again invited to sign up online as members of Im4theArts, the organisation.
12 June: Members of the Facebook group are invited to join Working Groups on Advocacy, Arts Education, Communication, Cultural Policy and Sustainability. To be part of such working groups, members of the group need to sign up as formal members of the organisation.
22-24 June: Im4theArts hosts a Winter School and hundreds of members sign up in order to participate in the courses on offer.
26 June: By the end of the Winter School, 560 individuals have signed up formally as members of Im4theArts.
29 June: The ISC publishes a draft Constitution in the Facebook group and invites feedback; the Constitution will be the basis for formalising Im4theArts as an organisation.
2-9 July: The first meetings of the Working Groups take place and elect convenors who will serve on the new National Steering Committee.
15 July: The Constitution – amended in line with feedback from members of the group – is finalised and distributed directly by email to the signed-up members for adoption by 29 July. Another call for formal membership is made, again reminding members of the group that liking the Facebook page and being a member of the Facebook group does not translate to formal membership.
15 July: The membership form is posted again in the Facebook group since the Constitution requires that individuals be members for at least 14 days to be eligible to stand for election and/or to vote in the elections.
27 July: A call for nominations for President, Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson is made directly by email to over 700 signed-up members of Im4theArts.
29 July: The Constitution – which, in order to ensure that Im4theArts is a national organisation, may be adopted when Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal have at least 50 members each, and when three other provinces have 25 members and the remaining three have at least ten members – is formally adopted by 100% of the members who voted.
31 July: Nominations for the three top positions close, and Sibongile Mngoma – founder of Im4theArts Facebook Group – is elected unopposed to the position of President of Im4theArts, the organisation.
1 August: Another call for members to sign up is made, and should anyone new sign up by 3 August, they will not be able to participate in the provincial elections from 8-10 August, but they will be able to vote in the election for 7 national members to the National Steering Committee which is scheduled for 15-17 August.
18 August: The new National Steering Committee will be in place from 18 August, and members of the Interim Steering Committee who did not stand for election or who were not voted in, will stand down.