National Arts Festival announces top music headliners


The National Arts Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary with a carefully curated program that not only showcases star-studded performers but also reflects universal themes and contemporary challenges. This major event will take place at Makhanda in Grahamstown from June 20 to June 30 and marks a major milestone in the festival’s history.

The rich diversity of musical talent is evidenced by a well-curated music program. Artists include the dynamic Zoë Modiga, the legendary Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse and the soulful Mandisi Dyantyis, who will perform with an 8-piece band. This diverse lineup promises to satisfy a wide range of musical tastes.

What began as an exhibition of 60 works to preserve British culture and the heritage of the 1820 settlers has grown into South Africa’s oldest and most diverse arts festival. It now showcases a diverse body of work from different languages ​​and genres, reflecting artists’ perspectives on South Africa and the world. This evolution is a testament to the festival’s adaptability and its commitment to promoting a broad range of artistic expression.

Artistic Director Rucera Seethal said: “In a year as monumental as this one, to include everything the festival is capable of is a daunting task and belies the festival’s commitment to breaking new ground and reimagining old works. role. Therefore, in creating this programme, we juxtaposed old and new, as well as the emergence of ambitious ideas that bring the festival into a new era of cross-border and international collaboration.

Curated programming includes The Stranger, 1789, a tribute to Mandela Mbowi at the Sibikwa Arts Centre, and innovative works by Standard Bank Young Artists.

Through several visual arts exhibitions, conversations began about the festival’s history, while exciting new projects connecting African artists and creators took the festival in new directions for the future.

Emerging curators Shalom Mushwana and Callan Grecia present “Speaking Loud,” a group show in which young artists comment on the perceptions and aspirations of their generation .

The renowned International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Makhanda will host the Joza Hip Hop event and focus on African music.

This year, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is sponsoring the South African National Jazz Orchestra in partnership with the Mandela Bay Theater Complex.

The Makhanda Jazz Festival (including the National Youth Jazz Festival) is held during the festival.

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