The Arts Alive International Festival – the City of Johannesburg’s month-long season of music, theatre, dance, poetry, film and comedy that started with a bang on Saturday September 5 with the hosting of a maskandi festival at the Soweto Theatre and followed up by a Jazz on the Lake concert the next day – is in full swing.
It moves up a gear on Friday September 11 with Santu Mofokeng, one of the world’s acclaimed photographers, holding a photographic exhibition under the theme “Graves" at the Joburg Art Fair at the Sandton Convention Centre. The exhibition will run for three days.
On Saturday September 12 the focus will shift to Newtown, which will host the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition plus a music concert featuring a cross-section of artists covering the entire South African song book – from kwela to hip hop. The third African Women Writers’ Symposium – sponsored by the National Department of Arts and Culture and the International Arts Alive Festival – will be held at the Fringe in the Joburg Theatre from Thursday September 17 to Saturday September 19.
The symposium, to be held under the theme “Peace and Turmoil: Women in the World", will feature poetry, music, talks and workshops by award-winning writers from South Africa, the African continent and its diaspora. The guest speaker will be Sapphire from New York. Also included in the lineup of poets and writers are Linton Kwesi Johnson, Professor Keoarapetse Kgositsile, Natalia Molebatsi, Myesha Jenkins, Odia Ofeimum from Nigeria, Yvonne Adhiambo-Owuor from Kenya and Nomboniso Gasa, a South African writer, activist and expert on land issues and traditional law.
In fact, poetry fans will be spoilt for choice because on the same day the Bassline in Newtown will stage the “Speak the Mind Poetry Festival” featuring, among others, Tony and Emmy Award-winning Black Ice from Atlanta in the United States, renowned sculptor and poet Professor Pitika Ntuli, Nomsa Mazwai, Charity Hutete from Zimbabwe, Kyle Louw, Afro Twist, Leshile Lovesong from Botswana and the Muffins, featuring maskandi living legend Madala Kunene.
From Tuesday September 22 to Sunday September 27 at the Market Theatre, an acapella quartet will pay tribute to the Manhattan Brothers, a South African vocal group that rocked the music scene in the 1940s and 1940s. The group will perform a variety of genres – from gospel and soul to traditional African music and Afro pop.
The International Arts Alive Festival will culminate in the staging of the Eldos Jazz Music Concert at the Eldorado Park Extension 6 soccer grounds on Sunday September 27.
The concert will feature artists such as Dr Vic, Bianca le Grange and Vincent Bones.