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NATIONAL CREATIVE ARTS YOUTH FESTIVAL (article first published : 2005-05-9)

The National Creative Arts Youth Festival, initiated by Professor Elizabeth Sneddon and now in its 16th year, is a celebration of the achievements of the youth of South Africa. Directed at young, predominantly school-going people, the festival has achieved remarkable success in building a broad multi-cultural base and participation. It is making a major contribution in building a united nation, based on values that serve the interest of the community in the new South Africa.

The National Creative Arts Youth Festival is designed to use and promote the Arts - Music, Dance, Visual Art and Drama - as fundamental educational tools to nurture and develop Skills for Life, particularly among young people. The Festival is unique in South Africa in that it is the only one promoting the visual and performing arts as an essential part of every young personís education. The festival is also a celebration of the arts, embracing wide and varying forms of tribal traditions, heritages and cultures.

The annual event offers great opportunities for communities with divergent cultural backgrounds to get to know each other in a non-threatening manner. It also allows for great Cultural exchange between various groups and individuals which can only be beneficial to young people. The variety of artistic activities provides boundless opportunities for young people to become acquainted across racial divides and to develop an appreciation of each otherís values, customs, heritage, traditions and cultures through relaxed, shared communal experiences.

The success and the meritorious educational goals of the Festival have been made possible by the emergence of like-minded sympathisers such as The Israel South African Foundation, The Aaron Beare Foundation, Pick Ďn Pay Retailers, The Anglo American Chairmanís Fund, The Fulton Trust, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Distell (Pty) Ltd, The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, The Durban Institute of Technology and The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

The National Creative Arts Youth Festival 2005, takes place in Durban from May 7 to 28. Among the highlights of this yearís festival are:

The 16th Brush-Up Your Shakespeare Inter-School Quiz Challenge taking place from May 14 to 15 in The Lecture Theatre, Durban Girls College, 596 Musgrave Road; Being presented at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre will be Speak For Joy! Showcases on May 16 and 17 at 19h00, Excelsior on May 18 at 19h00. (See Drama Pages)

For dance lovers, there are a number of exciting events Ė all taking place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. These include The Durban Dance Foundation Bursary Competition on May 19 at 13h45; Born to Dance on May 20 and 21 at 19h00, Dance For Joy on May 21 at 15h00, the Dance Choreography Competition on May 22 at 10h00; Imbumba 2005 on May 24 at 19h00 and We Are The World on May 25 at 19h00 and May 26 at 15h00 and 19h00. The final dance item of the festival programme will be Love of Dance on May 28 at 15h00 and 19h00 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. (See Dance pages)

While there is a strong focus on drama and dance in the festival, music is not neglected and the 10th Drum for Joy! Steel Drum Band Competition will take place at Durban High School on May 25 at 18h00. (See Music pages)

More information from the Festival Director, Ann Curry, on 031 201 9312 or 031 661 751 or e-mail: ncayf@iafrica.com

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