Brian Gaman, the Project Manager of Cue, the official National Arts Festival Newspaper, is a motivated and incredibly knowledgeable man. Holding a Bsc Honours Degree in Microbiology and Plant Pathology, he has since over the years found where his heart is; writing. Gaman now lecturers at the Journalism and Media Studies Department (JMS) at Rhodes, teaching JMS levels 2 and 4, boasting an energy and a charisma fit for a creative guru.
Cue has three main goals. It focuses on training journalism students in newspaper production, specialising in writing and the reporting the arts. “It is good to be exposed to a functional newsroom,” Brian says, validating for bringing students into the practical world of journalism. Over the years, Cue has served to the needs of the artists and pays great attention to putting together a good arts paper. “It also caters to the needs of the audience providing information, show reviews as well as enlightening the public on controversial issues during the festival,” Brian says.
Brian previously worked for a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, as a consultant for subsistence farming and travelled throughout the province until he became a father to a baby girl which changed his priorities. He then travelled less and eventually started a publication, writing and designing news letters of updates and advice for farmers. He thoroughly enjoyed it and then decided to do some freelance work and one of the companies he wrote for was an agricultural publication in Australia. Brian however eventually grew tired of it, saw opportunity and brought his freelance clients and started publishing by himself. Later, he then applied for a position at Rhodes University and has been part of the Journalism and Media Studies department since.
Brian recalls one of his hellish moments at Cue was years ago when Cue moved from one newsroom to a different building that was not done with the desks or wiring. “I spent the entire night before the festival wiring, drilling and setting up computers and I was at the edge of breaking point.” There was a moment when he thought that there just might not be newsroom; the thought alone to him was beyond scary.
Brian finds the festival very significant as it allows space for the Arts to be highlighted. “Grahamstown being a small town with not as much entertainment available as a big city then makes no room for distractions and full attention is given to the Art,” Brian explained. Brian is passionate and enthusiastic about his work and has dreams of Cue having a life outside of the festival. He firmly believes that art gives a country soul, and if art diminishes, the country diminishes.
By: Duschanka Hitzeroth