In terms of advancing arts promotion, I believe that we need to use cultural engagement as a rallying point to unlock resources and leverage partnerships as we find ways to augment government funding.
And while the mainstream arts scene is increasingly growing – it often fails to extend to one important, but often forgotten group – South Africa’s deaf community. Often unconsidered in policy-making, interpreters are often the only visible point of contact with the deaf. After all, who can forget the huge controversy following the fake interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie. But there are strides being made towards greater accessibility.
Lefika La Phodiso (‘The Rock of Holding’) is Africa’s first psychoanalytically informed community art counselling training centre. The centre facilitates 16 arts counselling groups in Gauteng and Limpopo, collectively reaching almost 750 beneficiaries, receiving over 800 hours of intensive art counselling.
Said NAC CEO Rosemary Mangope, “As we celebrated the central role played by South African women during the month of August, the NAC’s focus on empowering and upskilling women across all arts fields continues. Central to our mandate is the importance of facilitating strong leadership roles for women of all ages within the creative industries, where their voices continue to be under-represented.”
It was a warm and beautiful night – far from the reports of the cold weather I was warned against. The next morning I was to meet the director of Julius Caesar, Estelle Shook, at her apartment on the east side of the city. I was here on a creative mentorship programme supported by the NAC and part of Canadian Stage: Spotlight South Africa, to work with Estelle’s creative team on her new production.
Their latest publication, Home Is Where The Mic Is, highlights the work of the growing Spoken Word community in South Africa.