The National Arts festival, the largest Arts festival in Africa will open on 27th June running for eleven days in Makhanda, South Africa
In its 45th year, the festival brings in hundreds of artists from different parts of South Africa, Africa, Europe and other parts of the world with visual and performing art, workshops, master classes, conferences and other arts activities in approximately 60 venues in the area.
The festival will feature over 1000 performances from music, theatre, stand -up comedy, poetry, film, children’s theatre, musicals and recitals; art exhibitions by local and international artists including students from Rhodes and nearby Universities and schools.
Over the years, the festival has grown steadily to hosting over 350 events with 1, 200 performances in recent times pumping more than R94-million into the local economy.
Festival goers will be entertained by popular artists like South Africa’s Mafikizolo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, comedian, Rob van Vuuren, Nigerian dancer, Qudus Onikeku and Irish comedian Dylan Moran among others.
This year’s festival comes at a time when the festival’s executives are in the early stages of deciding the new name of the festival’s building. For the past years, the building has been known as the 1820 Settlers National Monument, in reference to the Europeans who settled in the area almost 200 years ago. Interested Makhanda residents had until the 26th of June to submit their proposals for their preferred names.
By this time next year, the building will be known by a new inclusive name, a process which has been fraught with heated debates. This name change comes on the heels of a the city name change from Grahamstown to Makhanda in June of last year.
Nevertheless, according to the festival website, the organisers are getting everything ready for the patrons to have a great art experience. “The countdown to welcome our visitors has begun. The stages, halls and galleries will be filled with great work and we think it will be more meaningful than ever to take a deep dive into the formidable creativity and innovation that South African, and international, artists will offer us this year,” Festival executive, Tony Lankester says.
More informations about artists, shows and tickets can be accessed on the festival’s website.
By Lungile Sojini
L.Sojini thinks of himself as the bad boy of African writing. He has previously written for GQ, Books LIVE and the Business Day . His novel Emzana: Shack Recollections was published in 2011 by Pole, Pole, Press. He’d rather be writing novels, reading and talking to interesting people. But because this doesn’t pay the bills, he’d rather hassle local and international celebrities for interviews he can turn into features for the local papers. At least this keeps the hunger at bay.