THE 2018 WOMEN’S HU­MAN­ITY ARTS FES­TI­VAL

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The Artscape Women’s Hu­man­ity Arts Fes­ti­val, which is cel­e­brat­ing its twelfth year, will run from 27 July to 18 Au­gust.

It is with pride and heart­felt thanks to women from all walks of life that Artscape hosts yet an­other Artscape Women’s Hu­man­ity Arts Fes­ti­val this Au­gust to cel­e­brate them and their re­lent­less work en­cap­su­lated in the theme ‘A Spot­light on Cul­tural Di­ver­sity: Trans­for­ma­tion and Heal­ing Through the Arts’. The fes­ti­val, which is cel­e­brat­ing its twelfth year, will run from 27 July to 18 Au­gust.

Over 60 years ago, more than 20 000 women of all races marched to the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria to protest the pass laws and in­hu­mane apartheid leg­is­la­tion. Dis­crim­i­nated against based on the colour of their skin, the pass laws di­rectly af­fected their per­sonal lives as well as their eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion. Then democ­racy dawned, and we iden­ti­fied iconic events that led to our eman­ci­pa­tion from the shack­les of apartheid. Au­gust 9, the historic day those women marched, was ear­marked and de­clared a pub­lic hol­i­day to be hence­forth com­mem­o­rated in hon­our of women’s strug­gle to­wards free­dom. The day was to be known as Na­tional Women’s Day.

Thus, as part of Artscape The­atre Cen­tre’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of this strug­gle and in cel­e­bra­tion of the strides we have made as a demo­cratic so­ci­ety, the Artscape Women and Arts Hu­man­ity Fes­ti­val will be ded­i­cated to both iconic women who led the strug­gle as well as mod­ern-day sheroes. This in­cludes cel­e­brat­ing, through the arts, the cen­te­nary of Al­bertina Sisulu and the dy­namic Ruth First as well as mod­ern day ac­tivists, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Siphokazi Jonas and the late dis­abled ac­tivist, Pa­tience Lu­nika, who had her first fash­ion show just last year at this very fes­ti­val and whose con­tri­bu­tion to women’s chal­lenges we want to re­mem­ber.

More than 24 years into our democ­racy, as South Africans we pre­sumed that, given our civil lib­er­ties and Bill of Rights, we would be com­pletely and en­tirely free to live our lives guided by our found­ing doc­u­ment, the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of South Africa. But we must stay abreast of the new set of chal­lenges that we, as the cit­i­zens of this fledg­ling democ­racy, face. Sex­ism re­mains rife. Women are judged based on what they wear; lam­basted for de­fy­ing

tra­di­tional roles – both ‘African’ and ‘West­ern’; vil­i­fied for en­trench­ing their guar­an­teed rights; and many are sub­jected to vi­o­lence, part­ner abuse, sex­ual at­tacks, rapes and femi­cide – vile deeds en­cour­aged by pa­tri­ar­chal, misog­y­nist norms that re­main deeply en­trenched within the male psy­che. Un­for­tu­nately, many women up­hold the afore­men­tioned norms too, some­thing we also hope to high­light dur­ing this im­por­tant fes­ti­val.

A glance at the Artscape Women’s Hu­man­ity Arts Fes­ti­val pro­gramme (with its stage pro­duc­tions, film, po­etry, ex­hi­bi­tions, dis­cus­sions and work­shops) tes­ti­fies that our theme of shin­ing ‘A Spot­light on Cul­tural Di­ver­sity: Trans­for­ma­tion and Heal­ing Through the Arts’ will go a long way to ad­dress and ask per­ti­nent ques­tions like: Where is the strug­gle for women’s lib­er­a­tion at to­day? In what ways have women’s chal­lenges of mod­ern-day changed? Are our mod­ern-day women em­pow­ered and do they hon­our them­selves enough to take up those chal­lenges? Are we steadily work­ing to­wards the equal­ity that stal­warts like Mama Sisulu, Dora Ta­mana and, of course, Tata Madiba so im­pec­ca­bly led?

In­te­gral to the fes­ti­val is the Hu­man­ity Walk, sym­bol­is­ing the spirit of the women who marched to the Union Build­ings more than 60 years ago.

Mean­while, a host of pro­duc­tions will en­ter­tain:

Af­ter a sen­sa­tional sell-out de­but at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val in 2016, Ruth First: 117 Days drama­tises her har­row­ing 1963 ar­rest and de­ten­tion un­der the no­to­ri­ous 90- day clause. She be­came the first white woman to be ar­rested un­der this act.

Around the Fire is a fu­sion of the­atre, po­etry and live mu­sic. A uniquely South African story un­folds as four women with very dif­fer­ent back­grounds un­ravel their re­spec­tive sto­ries.

Liefde is Rooi, an Afrikaans play writ­ten by 22-year-old En­rico Hartzen­berg, tells the story of vic­tory in a ghetto com­mu­nity in Cape Town where there is no time for love; no time for re­gret; only time to sur­vive. Di­rected by Lee-Ann van Rooi.

Take a trip down mem­ory lane with drag mime artists Ram­say Davids and Martin Neeth­ling in the colour­ful Di­va­li­cious Dames.

Bol­ly­wood En­chanted will show­case Taare dancers along­side other guest artists as they bring themes of hope, love and re­silience to life while stay­ing true to all that Bol­ly­wood rhythm, colour and vi­brancy.

The Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous Drag Show, back by pop­u­lar de­mand, fea­tures among oth­ers, drag di­vas Vida Fantabisher and SA’s Got Tal­ent 2016 run­ner-up Manila von Teez.

Tick­ets for the fes­ti­val’s pro­duc­tions are avail­able through Com­puticket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695. Dis­counts are avail­able for stu­dents, se­niors and block book­ings. Visit www.artscape.co.za for more in­for­ma­tion. To stay up-to-date on Artscape’s pro­grammes and pro­duc­tions, fol­low them on Face­book and Twit­ter @ArtscapeTheatre.

The Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous Drag Show Liefde is Rooi is one sev­eral pro­duc­tions dur­ing the Women’s Fes­ti­val

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