The best young artists in SA

Strik­ing an indige­nous chord

CityPress - - News - PHUMLANI S LANGA phumlani.sithebe@city­press.co.za VUKILE DLWATI vukile.dlwati@city­press.co.za

The cov­eted Stan­dard Bank Young Artist Awards were be­stowed in Sand­ton this week.

The hon­ours went to: Chuma Sopotela for Per­for­mance Art; Guy But­tery for Mu­sic; Igshaan Adams for Vis­ual Art; Jemma Kahn for The­atre; Musa Hlatshwayo for Dance; and Thandi Ntuli for Jazz. The six young artists form the 2018 con­tin­gent of win­ners, and will per­form at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val in Gra­ham­stown next year.

The event was hosted by the ever so el­e­gant Pabi Moloi. How this woman grace­fully tack­led the steps up and down the podium was truly a demon­stra­tion of poise and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

A few celebri­ties and for­mer young artist award win­ners pre­sented this year’s awards.

Stan­dard Bank has been quite ac­tive in the arts. The Stan­dard Bank Ova­tion Award, given to artists with win­ning per­for­mances at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val, was once again a hotly con­tested af­fair. This was no doubt due to the skill of those artists that per­formed at this year’s fes­ti­val.

One of them is jazz singer Ntuli, who brought her whole fam­ily along to watch her ac­cept the award for best con­tem­po­rary mu­sic.

Her fam­ily couldn’t get enough of her on stage hold­ing her cer­tifi­cate, and at one point Pabi jok­ingly re­minded them: “Thandi’s fam­ily, you are go­ing home with Thandi. There will be plenty of time for self­ies.”

It was re­fresh­ing to be at an award show that wasn’t too long and te­dious. The awards were dished out in just un­der 40 min­utes, leav­ing all those in at­ten­dance to eat, drink and be merry.

The Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val es­tab­lished the Young Artist Awards in 1981 to ac­knowl­edge emerg­ing young South African artists who demon­strate an out­stand­ing artis­tic tal­ent.

This year’s Young Artists are: cel­list Abel Se­lao­coe for Mu­sic; Ben­jamin Jeptha for Jazz; Beth Diane Arm­strong for Vis­ual Art; Di­neo Seshee Bopape for Per­for­mance Art; Mon­a­geng “Vice” Mot­shabi for The­atre; and Than­dazile Radebe for Dance. The US em­bassy chose the so­phis­ti­cated Or­bit Jazz bistro in Braamfontein, Jo­han­nes­burg, to an­nounce the in­jec­tion of about R1.2 mil­lion for the preser­va­tion ini­tia­tive of indige­nous south­ern African mu­sic, which is run by the South­ern African Mu­sic Rights Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Samro).

The par­ties signed the agree­ment and got rid of for­mal­i­ties in light­ning speed to en­able the guests, who were mostly mu­si­cians from all gen­res, to pop cham­pagne with jam­mers, and en­ter­tain guests with jazz and fu­sion ser­e­nades. Award-win­ning pi­anist, com­poser and pro­ducer Bokani Dyer was also tap­ping his foot.

Samro Foun­da­tion man­ag­ing di­rec­tor An­dre le Roux said the event sym­bol­ised the cul­tural re­la­tions be­tween South Africa and the US. The funds will as­sist Samro Mu­sic Ar­chive’s I AM project to tran­scribe and doc­u­ment South­ern African indige­nous mu­sic.

He said South Africa had an iden­tity and hu­man­ity cri­sis as there was no rain­bow na­tion or Nel­son Man­dela to bind its peo­ple. But through mu­sic, art and cul­ture South Africa could heal it­self some­how.

Jessye Lapenn, US em­bassy chargé d’af­faires, said pre­serv­ing and shar­ing mu­si­cal her­itage through the part­ner­ship with Samro would help strengthen ties be­tween South Africa and the US. The em­bassy was ac­cess­ing re­sources from the Am­bas­sadors Fund for Cul­tural Preser­va­tion, which was es­tab­lished in 2001, for South African mu­sic and mu­si­cians to ben­e­fit.

It was not just mu­si­cians that graced the oc­ca­sion. City Press also noted lec­turer in mu­sic com­po­si­tion and the­ory at Wits Univer­sity Andile Khu­malo, who is a co-chair at Jiwa Mu­sic, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to pro­mot­ing and ar­chiv­ing African mu­sic.

He told City Press that the fund­ing was awarded partly be­cause of Jiwa Mu­sic’s con­tri­bu­tion. “This is an im­por­tant ini­tia­tive that al­lows us to have lit­er­a­ture doc­u­ment­ing South African com­posers. We are go­ing to doc­u­ment all African mu­sic ir­re­spec­tive of the genre, not only tra­di­tional mu­sic.”

PHOTO: VUKILE DLWATI

JAMMIN’ Mu­si­cal guests got their groove on at the event

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