The Field Band Foundation NPC (FBF) salutes its outgoing leader, Mr Herman Mashaba, as he steps down as company chairman, and from all company positions.

Mr Mashaba’s resignation, with immediate effect, allows him to focus on an electoral campaign that he is engaged in for the South African 2016 local government elections; is taken on having come to the conclusion that he is unlikely to be able to fully discharge his FBF duties at this time; and is also a decision reached in deference to the Foundation’s necessarily non-party political stance.

Mr Mashaba’s company duties are assumed by Field Band Foundation Vice-Chairman Mr Brian Gibson, as Acting Chairman until the Board of Directors decides to make a permanent appointment to that position.

Addressing his resignation letter to the Board of Directors this past month, Mr Mashaba said that his decision to step down is “deeply informed by my unquestioned love of the organisation. I already know that I am not going to be in a position to discharge my duties as a board member during the next eight months or so (and) a Board member has to be an active member”.

Mr Mashaba went on to “assure the board, our 6 500 youths and all our stakeholders” of his support for the Foundation: “I have a plan to have every youth in this country pass through the FBF magic sometime in their lives, and in particularly in areas where there is a social intervention need”.

Mr Mashaba concluded: “Please allow me to sincerely thank you for the privilege of directly serving the youth of this country the last 16 years. I have full confidence in the board and management, and that the FBF can only grow from here. The foundations (are) formidable”.

On behalf of the Board, Vice-Chairman Mr Gibson responded to Mr Mashaba, noting that the Board must “reluctantly concede to your request. We do so safe in the knowledge that your legacy with the Foundation will continue to grow through your ongoing personal support and endorsement.

“Even though you will remain an important member of the Field Band family – and that we will continue to enjoy the strongest of relationships – it would be remiss of us not to take this opportunity to signal our gratitude, respect and admiration for all you have done for the Foundation to date.

“It is an honour to have enjoyed your leadership these many years.

“We are also deeply grateful to (Mashaba’s wife and children) Connie, Khensani and Rhulani for their individual contributions; and for allowing you to spend so much time with your ‘other family’. While the Foundation remains strictly apolitical, we wish you all success in your public service endeavours”.

Speaking on behalf of the Foundation’s staff complement, more than 6 500 current members, and our more than 40 000 alumni, CEO Nicky du Plessis credited the company’s strength of operational structure, excellence in governance oversight and direction, uninterrupted clean auditing, executive competence, and operational duty of care, as being in no small measure due to Mr Mashaba’s keen sense of duty to position, and to cause.

This, she noted, was evident in his important public addresses to partners and interested private sector and government audiences in Norway just this past month, underlining Mr Mashaba’s constant availability, and careful support for, and advice to, the Chief Executive office.

du Plessis emphasised the manner of seriousness by which Mr Mashaba took his duty of leadership in the company – right through to its members, to whom he has been a lodestar: “Herman’s extraordinary willingness to be on-the-ground in Field Band activities is a hallmark of his support. He literally walks the walk – he travels 12 hours to march with bands in a street parade down the dusty street of Dordrecht Emalahleni; he attends festivals and performances in Norway and the US, and frequently visited the Field Band Academy to talk to graduates and sponsors alike. He is up for all events – hosting, speaking, greeting, meeting and motivating. He makes time. He listens. And he hears with his heart and his mind”.

After assuming the FBF chairmanship, Mr Mashaba and the Foundation were honoured in receiving the highest award at the 2009 Business Day – Anglo American Business and the Arts Awards, the Chairman’s Premier Award, for youth development through music and dance outside formal education.

Formal local and international recognition continued through this period (12 awards for excellence in governance and for outstanding social returns on investment), culminating in last September’s recognition, again its highest award, by Business and Arts SA of Mr Mashaba as South African “Arts Champion of the Year Award” for his work with the Field Band Foundation, and also for his long-term support for the visual arts.

Due to his being abroad, this award was accepted on the occasion by Mr Mashaba’s wife, Connie, and daughter Khensani, from then-Arts & Culture Minister Mr Nathi Mthethwa. That is fitting too, in that the FBF has been privileged to receive the full and consistent care and involved support of Mr Mashaba’s wife, and broader family.

Indeed, in his 2012 autobiography, Black Like You, (MME Media), Mr Mashaba writes at length about how he and his family were “mesmerised” on their first encounter with an FBF National Championships, and why (Ch. 19).

He goes on: “Most importantly, I had seen with my own eyes that well-developed and carefully managed social development programmes are more than just struggling charities – they are strong instruments for personal development, social integration, and the future growth of communities”.

These would be prophetic in inadvertently describing the legacy that he himself would leave on the conclusion of his FBF tour of duty. The positive consequences of this, in thousands of lives across the Republic, and inter-generationally, are beyond calculation.
The Field Band Foundation dips its banners in salute.

– This statement supersedes a previous statement of 16 January, covering related issues. Issued by the Field Band Foundation NPC of South Africa, 8 February 2016. Kindly address all queries to the FBF Public Affairs function, on telephone 011 234 9040, email info@fieldband.org.za. Field Band Foundation Acting Chairman Brian Gibson can be contacted via the FBF Public Affairs contact details above, or directly on gibson@icon.co.za.