Veteran arts administrator keeps low profile
WHILE any member from the arts fraternity will do any gimmicks to attain publicity and fame, the same cannot be said about one of Bulawayo’s most creative arts administrator, Admond Desmond Ntini.
Ntini, who is popularly known as “The Manager” in arts circles, has been instrumental in “working behind the scenes” at renowned Bulawayo arts groups that went gold.
He worked as an administrator of the successful Umkhathi Theatre Works from 2006 to 2007 before moving to manage award winning Siyaya Arts in 2008.
The two famous groups have beyond doubt, flew Zimbabwe’s flag high during their fruitful international tours.
“I am a behind the scenes professional and I like it that way. The fun thing is that I am not the only person who is keeping a low profile but has been pivotal in the success of many arts projects in Bulawayo. Thulani ‘Javas’ Sibanda, Rue (Runyararo Mutandi) of Intwasa or Mercy (Kayumba) of Iyasa have collectively driven Bulawayo arts behind the scenes,” he said.
Ntini has worked with many artistes such as Dr Mahlaba Banda, Njabulo Moyo, Jeys Marabini, Desire “Moyoxide” Moyo, Impumelelo Shining Stars, Sandra Ndebele, Dumisani Mhlanga the Poet, Obert Dube (Imbongi), Thandy Dlana and Qeqe.
As if the list is not enough, Ntini is the manager of United Kingdom-based maskandi artiste, Sisa Senkosi. Ntini said he was also instrumental in the formation of Nobuntu Dance Ensemble which was currently touring beyond borders.
“I have worked with numerous artistes that have grown to be successful but many of them have been ungrateful for my role in their rise to stardom. Many arts groups in the region have consulted me during their formative stage. I advise groups and individual artistes from as far as Beitbridge and Victoria Falls,” he said.
Ntini lauded Skyz Metro FM for reviving the production of music in Bulawayo.
“Skyz Metro FM and this year’s Bulawayo Arts Awards set up positive trends for arts. Artistes now work extremely hard to produce music. They are aware that their music will receive airplay. The success of BAA made sure that artistes remain determined and perseverant to bag more awards in next year’s edition,” he said.
Ntini also expressed faith in the appointment of Honorable Makhosini Hlongwane as the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture.
“I have worked with Honourable Hlongwane in some of my health and development programs. He is young and energetic which suits the candidate for an arts minister. He is a purposefully driven man. As a member of the arts family, I only hope he delivers what is lacking in the industry,” he said.
Sunday Life also asked Ntini who is currently the Intwasa Festival co-ordinator on the challenges faced by Intwasa Festival that crippled this year’s edition. He said financial problems remained a key challenge.
“Intwasa is our festival and I can never criticise it in public even if there was something wrong with the recent edition. We have channels to express our grievances should there be any. However, let me hasten to say that funding is proving difficult for festivals. The economy is not doing justice to the festival,” he said.
Ntini was born in Njube suburb and was involved in arts activities at Njube High School.
His breakthrough into the arts industry came after a successful church play which led renowned Cont Mhlanga to recognise him. He said it was through Mhlanga that he became a creative arts administrator.
“Church plays took me to Amakhosi and up until now, Mhlanga calls me Preacher. He shaped my career as a creative arts administrator and manager. I am very much thankful to the Bulawayo icon,” he said.
Besides art, Ntini said he was involved in an international project that seeks to shape lives of young people.
“I am currently involved in a project that helps young people obtain meaningful work, engage or start their own business and become community leaders. The project promotes positive development and a health living for younger generation,” he said.
Admond Desmond Ntini