So says Freddie Nyathela, the President of The South African Roadies Association (SARA), a unique non-profit organization that is empowering young people with technical and production skills (audio, lighting, staging, video technicians, etc) to equip them to work in the arts and creative Industries.
With a 500 strong membership, many in permanent venues specialising in equipment service and hire centers, SARA forms an essential component of the AV industry in South Africa.
After ten years of existence, SARA has moved into new operations facilities situated at # 55 Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. This was made possible by funds raised primarily from the National Lottery Fund, and international partnership support.
The new facility now houses skills transfer programs including an expanded resource centre and library, with adequate technical space for sound, lighting and staging equipment, [owned by the association], administrative and workshop facilities.
The facility is named and is home to the “Institute for Sound, Lighting and Staging”. SARA is fully accredited by MAPPP-SETA to service Further Education and Training Certification, and Live Events & Technical Production qualification.
SARA has embarked on setting up satellites throughout the country’s provinces as demand for its members’ services pick up. “Currently we are in Gauteng but we are expanding to reach outlying provinces. If we get support from our government, especially the Department of Arts and Culture, we will roll-out our programme to needy areas. We are talking here of skills that will enable our members to work anywhere in the world. We are serious about creating employment and we have been doing that with excellent results.”
Talking about the forthcoming Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup soccer showcases, Nyathela says that his organisation is more than prepared to handle the expected influx of regional and foreign production and media houses that will come through. However, he says, as a country we might still be found wanting in terms of personnel if previous experience is considered. “During the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in the country some years ago, South Africa had to import over 50 technicians and several tons of equipment from Europe.”
99% of support for SARA, formed in 1992, comes from overseas organisations, where an increasing number of international friends have come to know its existence and have been able to help tremendously over the years.
If you want to help SARA, please contact Freddie directly,
PresidentSouth African Roadies Association (SARA)
55 Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown, Johannesburg 2001
Tel: +27 11 639 7940 Fax: +27 11 833 0549
Mobile: +27 82 784 6271