Introducing SANAA Africa 2015
Themed “celebrating the threads that bind us”, this year’s SANAA Africa festival will form part of South Africa’s official Africa Day celebrations. The four-day long event will celebrate the vast talent of our multi-cultural continent: from visual art and craft, to fashion, poetry, song and film. It is a veritable feast for the ears, eyes and soul.
Started in 2011, SANAA Africa is an annual festival that has enjoyed significant year-on-year growth. The festival serves to explore our rich African heritage from a contemporary perspective, paying tribute to and celebrating the artists among us, whilst creating a platform from which to preserve and build on our indigenous traditions, knowledge and talents. In celebrating South Africa – and, indeed, Africa’s – creative industries and cultural heritage in this way, the festival works to promote awareness and appreciation of the continent’s creativity, both regionally and internationally. It simultaneously contributes towards the sustainability of these artists and their businesses, enabling the viable commercialisation of our local and greater African creative industries. It is thus a legacy project: creating wealth for communities across the country and continent.
This year the Sanaa programme is not only a reflection of African talent but a story and reflection of trials and tribulations of present day Africa. The historical references are poignant reminder of just how much we still have to learn from history in order to chart a different growth story for Africa.
20 May: The opening event:
The official opening cocktail event will see guests entertained by poet Wally Serote and singer Nkulee Dube. The guests are in invited to take part in an art auction which will feature five pieces from the SANAA Africa art installation. The proceeds of the auction will be ploughed back into the Arts development programme.
20 – 24 May: Africa Art Exhibition
The SANAA Africa Art Exhibition will feature a 70:30 split of local and African artists. It will be combined with a selection from the MTN Foundation’s collection which includes both emerging and established South African and African artists.
21 May: Fashion Festival
The fashion show is the ideal platform for designers to showcase African talent and creativity whilst simultaneously creating opportunities for potential clients to see their collection and engage with the designers as corporate representatives or individual buyers.
This year the Fashion Festival will feature approximately 25 emerging and established designers from both South Africa and the continent. Participants include Korbla Dzotsi (Ghana); Liz Ugombo (Kenya); Lebo Merhafe (Botswana); and Khanyisile Dlamini (Swaziland).
Friday 22 May: Poetry, Theatre, Dance and Film Festival
The Poetry Festival will offer audiences of exciting poets – each with their very own “voice”, message and style. Athol Williams, Nova Masango, Vuyelwa Maluleke and Afurakan Thabiso Mohare are already confirmed.
Audience members will have the opportunity to engage personally with the poets about their work after the event, and support their spoken art by purchasing their autographed books of poetry which will be on sale.
Theatre-lovers can look forward to two ground-breaking pieces taking centre-stage at SANAA Africa this year. The festival will feature back-to-back performances of Piet se Optelgoed and Bottom’s Dream – revolutionary works that celebrate our humanity while challenging the life choices we make.
Piet se Optelgoed has been imagined, designed, devised and written by Liezl de Kock, with sound and direction composed by Rob Murray. It will be performed by Liezl de Kock and Lexi Meier. The production received a Silver Ovation in the Physical Theatre genre at the 2014 Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and has been chosen to be part of the Amsterdam Fringe in 2015 in association with a Conspiracy of Clowns.
Bottom’s Dream will be the second performance of the evening. Written and directed by Dorothy Ann Gould, it will be performed by the Market Theatre Lab second year students.
Based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, this highly entertaining play explores the narrative in the concrete jungle of Johannesburg.
A celebration of form, balance, poise and musical poetry, this year’s dance festival will showcase the talents of choreographers and performers from the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative and the First Physical Theatre Company.
The first piece Between Us, a duet about relationships and how they are perceived by other people, was choreographed by Fana Tshabalala, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Dance (2013). It will be performed by Fana himself and Thulani Chauke of the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative. The music for the piece has been composed by Nicholas Aphane.
Caught is the second original work that will be performed that evening. Choreographed by Nomcebisi Moyikwa, it will be performed by Nomcebisi and Maipelo Gabang, both of the First Physical Theatre Company.
This piece is a chapter of Nomcebisi Moyikwa’s own autobiography as a young black woman: a journey that expresses black women growing into the power of their bodies. It is an expression of the imperfection femininity that is absent from stories about black female subjectivities. Caught is Nomcebisi’s attempt at creating an incredible source of new images for the black female community.
Hosted at Killarney Mall in Johannesburg, the Film Festival will see three shorts showcased. The first Ana, Patrick and Nicolas- this short film which features Joseph Putter, Lauren Vankeisbilck and Nthokozo Majozi challenges viewers to consider how we say goodbye to the people we love the most. Compelling viewing which was directed by Bongani Vincent and produced by Gena du Plessis.
Yellow Fever, by Kenyan filmmaker Ng’endo Mukii (who was responsible for all animation, design and directing) explores the relationship between a woman and her skin colour, and the hierarchy of globalised beauty imposed on impressionable minds and bodies. Its title refers to the practice of skin bleaching – “lightening” and “brightening” – as per Fela Kuti’s 1970s song of the same name. While Kuti’s lyrics lash out at the women who choose to use skin bleaching products, Ng’endo’s short challenges those who create these ideals, asking audiences to actively address the lack of celebration of women of all appearances. The film features music composed and performed by Kadialy Kouyate.
23 May: Music Festival
Scheduled from 5pm onwards at Moyo, Zoo Lake on 23 May, the Music Festival will be hosted by an MC from Power FM and feature a musical line-up that includes Black South Easter, Nkulee Dube and Ringo, as well as Freshly Ground as the headline act.
This year’s Sanaa Africa Festival is indeed a veritable feast for your eyes, ears and soul.