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Nando's, Westgate. Picture: SUPPLIED/NANDO'S
Nando's, Westgate. Picture: SUPPLIED/NANDO'S

SA creativity arguably takes its place among the best in the world. It embodies our best traits, from our energy and resilience to our make-a-plan attitude that makes us who we are. SA’s favourite peri-peri chicken restaurant, Nando’s, is proud to serve as a platform to showcase southern African creative talent to the world. 

Standing in the Rosettenville restaurant — the very first Nando’s, cofounder Robbie Brozin says: “It is incredible to think that in the time since we started in this proud neighbourhood all the way back in 1987, Nando’s has not only put down roots all over the globe, but continues to invest in nurturing and developing Southern African artists in a meaningful way. I feel so proud to know we’ve helped change artists’ lives.”

With more than 21,000 artworks, Nando’s has the largest collection of publicly displayed contemporary southern African art in the world. The collection can be found on the walls of more than 1,200 restaurants in 24 countries across the globe. The art is sourced from the various Nando’s artists development programmes, which support more than 350 artists on a regular basis. 

“As we celebrate heritage (and our birthday) month, we thought it’s fitting to give our very first restaurant a makeover,” Brozin says. “Through our art programmes and platforms, we’ve committed to collaborating and sourcing works from the local creative sector. It’s why Nando’s Rosettenville, like all Nando’s restaurants globally, proudly features original Southern African art.

The restaurant showcases artists Selvin November, Lindile Magunya and Nkoali Nawa, who was part of the 2019 Nando’s Creative Exchange Exhibition and programme. On the building facade is a magnificent 2.4m x 1.2m half-square ceramic artwork by Jenny Parsons, in collaboration with artisans from Spier Arts Academy. Our goal is to democratise art, making it more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”

Beyond helping to nurture and showcase southern African art, the Nando’s artist development programmes also create a point of differentiation for the brand among its competitors and provide beautiful, inviting spaces that can be enjoyed by every Nando’s guests and each Nando’s team member (known affectionately as Nandocas).

Nando's, Crown Mines. Picture: SUPPLIED/NANDO'S
Nando's, Crown Mines. Picture: SUPPLIED/NANDO'S

Nando’s patronage of contemporary southern African art, through close partnership with Spier Arts Trust, enables opportunities for artists, as well as the curation of the global Nando’s art collection. 

This long-term partnership enables artists to focus full-time on their artistic careers, and offers the potential to earn a regular income. Nando’s believes this can make a difference in artists’ lives, and in turn grow the brand’s collection of high-quality contemporary southern African art.

Spier Arts Trust administers the various artist development programmes, including Creative Block, Nando’s Creative Exchange, and Nando’s Artist Society.

The Nando’s Creative Exchange Programme, which was first established in 2011, recognises emerging, SA fine artists who demonstrate exceptional ability. “The four artists selected for this programme each year enjoy the opportunity to take part in an exhibition sponsored by Nando’s at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, as well as mentorship opportunities and sponsored art materials,” Brozin says.  

Nando’s Creative Exchange is a programme that helps artists develop their careers through mentoring and support. It aims to help artists gain business skills, build a professional network and get noticed in the SA art industry, which is important for their careers. Artists work in a group to get ready for a public exhibition of their work, providing access to market and exposure to gallerists, buyers and art lovers.

Creative Block is an initiative that serves as the starting place for many artists whose works are now on the walls of Nando’s restaurants everywhere. More than 250 established and emerging artists have taken part in the Creative Block programme, with about 85 participating at any given point.

Canvases are provided for free, and at a monthly review, work is critiqued by the head curator and purchased there and then

To participate in this programme, artists submit a biography and portfolio of artwork. These are critiqued by the chief curator at Spier Arts Trust (who oversees the purchase of every work purchased for the Nando’s collection).

Artists are invited to become Creative Block participants based on the quality of their work and professional practice. Participating artists are then provided with blank blocks to transform as they wish.

The emerging artists can network with their peers at monthly gatherings, which also gives them the chance to present their work for valuable critique and suggestions. The works that are of a high standard are purchased and paid for on the spot. To level the playing field, each piece earns the same amount — irrespective of how well-known the artist is.

During Covid-19 the process has been digitised to ensure continuity for the artists involved.

Nando’s Artist Society offers a selection of promising Creative Block artists the opportunity to create larger-scale works. Many artists use this platform to build on their style and concepts, to experiment and to discuss their practice with the chief curator.

Canvases are provided for free and, at a monthly review, work is critiqued by the head curator and purchased there and then. The feedback they receive helps them develop and push boundaries and because of the frequent meetings — provided the work is of a high enough standard — they’re assured a regular income. Nando’s also pays for media training, website development, videos and blogs for the artists — all of which provide additional exposure and opportunities to help them fast-track their careers.

The Nando’s partnership with the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival is the ultimate platform to showcase and empower local talent in a creative expression. Hosted annually at Constitution Hill, Basha Uhuru aims to showcase and nurture Mzansi’s best art, design and music talent.

“We are proud to have been involved in the development of local artists for all these years. We love that we have a chance to showcase real southern African artistic talent through our global footprint of restaurants,” says Brozin.

If your mouth is watering after reading this, learn more about the group and place an order on the Nando’s website, or join the conversation and bring the fire on Facebook and Twitter.

This article was paid for by Nando’s.

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