HIS willingness to help other artists promote their work and put food on the table, especially since the sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, has paid off for resident artist at The Athenaeum in Nelson Mandela Bay, Farook Mohammed, when he was recently honoured with a prestigious award at The Mzansi Arts and Media Awards.
Mohammed, who is also director of his own brand, AfroArabianEmpire, and co-producer of Islamic TV programme, Liljamie Productions, won the award in the category of best events’ organiser, due to everything he had been doing to make it possible for artists to showcase their work and promote themselves during a difficult period for the industry.
Mohammed said that he did not expect to win, as the competition was tough and he was competing against some big names in the entertainment industry.
“The elimination rounds had everyone on edge but I had that feeling one gets of ‘I’m bringing this one home’,” Mohammed explained.
“I had faith that it would go well, but didn’t have my hopes up too high. I knew I had loyal supporters throughout the country and wouldn’t have made it without them.
“I must thank everyone in Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga for their amazing support, as well as family and friends throughout South Africa.
“I don’t always win when it comes to competitions, so it came as a surprise to me. I’m going to have to process this one and embrace it.”
When asked what it felt like when he was announced as the winner in his category, he answered, “At that moment I felt as if I had a lot to say but all I could say was: ‘I won, I really won’ and burst out with laughter. I couldn’t stop smiling. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the event held in Polokwane, but watched bits of it unfold throughout the day.”
Mohammed said that the award is something that has special meaning for him, especially since the last two years have been tough for the creative sector.
“Events were cancelled, venues closed, tourism came to a standstill but yet we all kept moving forward, enduring and trying our best. We have had to adjust, evolve and find new ways to showcase what we do.
“We tell the stories of our communities and nation at large; we capture history and the beauty of the world around us.
“We represent the culture and beautifully diverse face of South Africa. The award I see as a piece in my timeline of development and growth as an artist and by it I hope to inspire many others,” he said.
“In terms of my career, going forward, the award solidifies the idea behind the artist that I am. It becomes part of my legacy and stands alongside the many references behind my name and the collective faith in what I do. It will certainly play its part in adding value to my work and open new doors of opportunity.”
He mentioned that cash prizes were up for grabs, ranging from R5 000 and R10 000 to R15 000.
“The organisers of the Mzansi Arts and Media Awards always deliver. Depending on the amount of support you receive, the greater the perks. Some are hidden and I am yet to discover what those are or might be; even during the run up to the event, participants were given random surprises,” he added.
Regarding his career going forward, his current project is a focus on his brand, which also features his artworks, clothing and cosmetics.
“It combines our diverse cultural expressions, knowledge, history and beauty. I’ve tied part of it with Liljamie Productions.
“We have completed season one and will start shooting season two in the new year, with an exciting lifestyle twist, food, fashion, faith and art. So that’s something to look forward to.”