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SPONSOR FOR SCHOOLS (article first published : 2001-08-9)

At the official opening of the Standard Bank National Schools' Festival in Grahamstown, the bank's manager of arts sponsorship, Ms Mandie van der Spuy, re-affirmed the bank's commitment to the annual National Schools' Festival. This, despite the fact that the bank has withdrawn as anchor sponsor of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival that is held in Grahamstown every year.

The National Schools' Festival, which historically follows after the national arts festival, has always depended for much of its programme content on productions that come to Grahamstown for the national arts festival.

This arrangement has allowed the Grahamstown Foundation's art education department, who organise the event, to put together a top quality programme for the almost 1,000 grade 12 learners who, every year, descend on the town from all over the country for the five-day festival.

Mandie van der Spuy acknowledged that the bank's diminished sponsorship of the national arts festival may have created uncertainty about the future of the national schools' festival. Clarifying the central role of the bank in the National Schools' Festival she said: "The bank's financial commitment to the National Schools' Festival will remain at its current level. Obviously, because of their intimate relationship, the changes the National Arts Festival will be going through will have a significant effect on the National Schools' Festival. But this is an organisational matter and we shall have to see how these changes impact on future National Schools' Festivals".




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