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Technical production, drama, scriptwriting, painting, singing, photography and embroidery were taught to young artists at the Arts Festival of Southern Africa.
OVER 500 aspiring young artists attended the Arts Festival of Southern Africa, where they received some intensive training in various forms of art. They also had to put into practice what they had learned.


A scene from one of the playsA scene from one of the playsThe three-day festival, an annual event, was attended by some big names in the business, such as Robin Hogarth, the Grammy Award-winning music producer, who shared his successes with the young artists. The young artists came from Gauteng and various other provinces.

A range of workshops were held during the festival, which ran from 27 to 29 May at the Church of Scientology in Kensington. The workshops focused on the technical production of drama, scriptwriting, painting, singing, photography and embroidery, and were meant to expose aspiring artist to the world of arts.

Participants were divided into two groups. Those ranging in age from 10 to 17 were taught in special workshops, where they were given individual attention by mentors. In the adults’ workshops, presentations on different forms of art were given.

After completing the intense workshop training, participants had to put their knowledge to the test by producing and performing their own plays to a packed auditorium. Some wrote and performed their own songs.

While the adults worked hard to impress the audience, for the youngsters it was just a matter of having fun, and showing what they were made off. The plays were produced professionally, with participants doing duty as scriptwriters, directors and actors.

In one standout performance, 13-year-old Nicola Khoury from Highlands Park and her team put on a 10-minute play. The audience laughed out loud when Nicola imitated Michael Jackson’s dance moves, a scene that left many asking for more.

The sound effects complemented the scenes, stage lighting was good and soft music playing in the background breathed life into the drama.

“It is a wonderful experience to be part of this festival and rub shoulders with some of the big names. I have enjoyed myself and I have made new friends,” Nicola said.


DanceA local group entertains the audience with some scintillating rock danceAn aspiring actress, she is determined to achieve her goal of being among the best in the country. “I practise every day, and after completing matric I am planning to study music at the Campus of Performing Arts … I have been involved in acting since the aged of six. Being part of this festival will help me grow,” she added.

Hogarth, who has worked with the award winning Soweto Gospel Choir, said: “The arts festival provides a platform for young artists to express themselves beyond limits. It is also an opportunity to market artists and [for them] to meet their idols.

“Since the start the festival 11 years ago, we have been able to spot potential and talent in some of the participants.”

Another youngster, 16-year-old Patience Thunyiswa who is part of the Joburg North Organisation, which develops young artists, believes she has what it takes to become a successful singer.

“Singing is my passion; I am extremely excited to meet some of the successful musicians in South Africa,” she said.

Well-known musicians at the event included Xavier Saer, a music producer, songwriter and singer; and Stix Hojeng, a jazz musician, among others.

The show ended with a bang when Hogarth performed one of his songs in an auditorium buzzing with excitement. The crowd sang along, with some mimicking the lyrics.

Hogarth concluded his address by encouraging participants to put education first before pursuing their careers. Education would help them to make informed decisions, he explained.

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