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DURBAN ARTS IN CULTURAL FESTIVAL (article first published : 2005-12-2)

Durban Arts Association plays a major role in the Workers’ Cultural Festival & Exhibition taking place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from December 1 to 3, 2005

Organised by COSATU, the festival is part of the union’s 20th Anniversary Celebration’s build-up events that culminate in a rally/festival to be held on December 4 at the ABSA Stadium in Durban.

The Workers Cultural Festival kicks off with an exciting programme that incorporates an exhibition and a performance by cultural community groups. Forming part of Durban Arts’s Local Arts Forums, these groups will appear with current and former COSATU members.

The exhibition will display visual artworks such as the Photographic and Poster Exhibition of Workers’ Cultural History, Screenings of Films of Trade Union and Worker Struggles as well as COSATU’s 20 Years Special Documentary. Appearing in the festival are the Workers’ Groups as well as Durban performers such as the isicathamiya outfit Mpumalanga White Birds, the Maskandi group Vumile no Jikelele and the Shaka Zulu Dance troupe as well as the Pansula Dance group ChizBoys.

“Most of these are community youth groups, which is not something new in the history of workers. I see these youngsters playing a huge role as our future workers who will also be performing, ‘worker artists’, says Gladman Ngubo, CEO of Durban Arts.

Gladman Ngubo and Mi Hlatshwayo, former director of Durban Arts, will also perform at the Festival as former Worker Poets.

Durban Arts Association is also organising the cultural seminar that takes place at 10h00 on December 3. The Labour Movement will discuss the status of labour and culture. It also aims to come up with a way forward as to how art practitioners see the role of the labour movement in terms of Cosatu’s involvement in the development of arts & culture.

Issues and topics to be discussed in the seminar will include the relevance and effectiveness of the policy that governs arts and culture. Another subject is Delivery Services: What is the level of ability of the delivery servicing organs of the State to effectively bring the resources of Arts & Culture from National level to the lower level of arts practitioners in the wider communities?

The topic of Structure will also be included in the seminar. Are the arts & culture structures that South Africa’s new democracy has put in place relevant or formed by condition or state of arts from the local/regional structures? Do they actually represent the masses and are these structures really addressing the artists’ concerns?

Major focus will be placed on the development of arts and culture through access to funding.

The seminar will conclude by looking at various issues such as how is COSATU playing a role in Arts & Culture; whether it should facilitate the establishment of relevancy of arts & culture structures, or make itself available in institutions dealing with this sector? Should it, indeed, have its own arts and culture desk?

The festival & exhibition are open to the public from 09h00 to 19h00 from December 1 to 3, 2005. For further information and registration for the seminar contact Durban Arts Association on 031 312 1236.




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