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DAC CELEBRATION EVENTS (article first published : 2004-03-1)

The year 2004 sees South Africa celebrating 10 Years of Freedom. To celebrate this auspicious anniversary, the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) has planned a number of events locally and internationally to run throughout the entire year. The DAC will unveil the Luthuli Legacy Project at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on March 20, where President Thabo Mbeki has been invited to deliver the inaugural Luthuli Annual Memorial Lecture. The university will also confer a posthumous Doctor of Law degree (LLD – Honoris Causa) on Luthuli in recognition of his work. The project pays homage to Albert Luthuli, his life, works and philosophy. Albert Luthuli is the first South African Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of the African National Congress.

Also in March, the National Traditional Dance and Music Festival, will showcase the diverse cultures of South Africa and celebrate the richness of indigenous dance and music. It runs from March 17 to 22 in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. The Ingoma Indigenous Music Festival takes place in the same provinces from March 19 to 21.

The launch of the Bursary Scheme, the Language Research and Development Centres and the Human Language Technologies takes place in KZN on March 30 and 31 and will showcase the successful process of language planning in the past decade. The theme of the launch is Advancing Multilingualism in a Democratic South Africa.

The National Film, Video and Sound Archives of South Africa (NFVSA) will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2004 as well as a decade that has seen its outreach programme reaching hundreds of thousands of previously disadvantaged South Africans. On April 2, the body will host a function to honour all those who have helped the institution. Awards will be presented to pioneers in the film, video and sound industries as well as those preserving the country’s audio-visual heritage. NFVF also plan to launch a video, a CD of oral history and indigenous music, exhibition and booklet as well as hold workshops and film festivals throughout the country.

The DAC will have a prominent position at the Rand Show which runs in Johannesburg from April 2 to 18. This year the DAC will share with the public what has been achieved over the last 10 years.

An Ushaka exhibition will be held in Italy, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium in April and May. May 10 sees the launch of the Road to Democracy exhibition aimed at providing a broader understanding of the political changes leading to the 1994 election through the records held at the National Archives.

The Cannes Film Festival, which runs from May 14 to 25 and which has been dedicated to South Africa and 10 years of democracy, features a screening of a South African film which highlights aspects of our history over the past decade. Another May event is the Exhibition of South African Literature which takes place on May 28 and 29. The aim is to display outstanding South African literature in all the official languages at national and provincial levels. The exhibitions are expected to encourage young and developing writers to write literary works in their own languages and to promote multilingualism. The music industry will be staging a music market conference in May. The conference will be a platform where the music industry discusses specific themes identified through a process of consultation.

June sees the Founding Fathers of Freedom exhibition. It will spotlight individuals who contributed to the attainment of freedom in various African countries.

African Skies will be launched on August 27, shortly before Heritage month. This exhibition features archival video material of the former Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1982 to1994. It is envisaged that material will be screened at movie theatres throughout the country as well as on SABC TV channels.

South African Music Week runs from August 28 to September 4. It will provide a platform for public performances of musicians throughout the country. It will also showcase emerging talent. Burkina Faso, Mali and South Africa will be taking part in the African Renaissance Film Festival, from August 9 to 22. The films will focus on the impact of apartheid or oppression with relevance to the three countries.

Heritage Month will be launched on August 24 (exactly one month before Heritage Day) and culminates in a spectacular event on September 24 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Heritage Month will range from formal ceremonies of state to spontaneous popular events organised at local government level. The celebrations will see contributions from every sector of society. There will be both a national and an international focus, incorporating the programmes of South Africa missions across the world in the national plans. Also in Heritage month is the National Choir Festival, which runs at the Standard Bank Arena on September 17 and 18. This year’s theme is Celebrating Two Decades of Song and a Decade of Freedom.

September’s Craft Imbizo will feature premiere handmade products initiated by various Department of Arts and Culture programmes. This year the Imbizo aims to create awareness of the opportunities for the youth in the crafts and related sectors such as design and marketing. Other opportunities include direct sales and long-term business partnerships with various markets. Achievements in the craft sector over the last decade will also be highlighted. Moasadi Wa Kgodi A Kgokgo – to be presented by the DAC in September – is an award recognising the achievements of women in their communities. The Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Ms Buyelwa sonjica, will present the award.

South Africa has been invited by Mexico to participate as a guest country at the Cervantino Festival in October. The organisers of the festival will arrive in this country on March 14 to select music groups from all provinces. It is expected that 150 local musicians will be involved and they will come from all genres of music.

The DAC is planning to stage an Artists in Distress Benefit Concert to raise funds for a benevolent trust that will benefit artists in distress. The project will ensure that artists will at least have access to the same social security as other workers.

More information from DAC through Mack Lewele on 082 450 5076 or Lolo Maphophe on 082 600 4644.




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