THE 2018 WOMEN’S HUMANITY ARTS FESTIVAL
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