The National Arts Festival is ready to welcome crowds once again

Posted by David Henning on 23 June 2022

The National Arts Festival is back in full swing after covid wreaked havoc across the globe and the last two instalments were forced to go online.

Thankfully, 2022 will be a reunion for musicians, actors, artists and their patrons as crowds are allowed to gather again, and the town of Makhanda comes alive once more.

All that jazz

It’s a much-needed reunion for jazz musicians who will once again gather together to jam, collaborate and share. With a big focus on local talent and local jazz excellence, the 35th National Jazz Festival Makhanda also welcomes excellent musicians from Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Britain and Spain for this very special celebration of jazz.Highlights include 2021 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz Vuma Levin, Afro-Pop Groove Queen AusTebza, SA-born Tutu Puoane, who flies in from Belgium, Swiss band Mats-Up who join South African vocalist and songwriter Mbuso Khoza, Benjamin Jeptha, Kyle Sheperd, Dumza Maswana, Bokani Dyer, Amsterdam-based saxophonist Bernard van Rossum among many others.

Explore the Jazz program here

Circuses and more

Zip Zap Circus’ distinctly acrobatic and energetic MOYA takes us from the warmth of the fruit market, where the merchant juggles his apples, to the dark, windy streets of Cape Town where pedestrians bustle and tumble. It’s an energetic ride through stories of escape, encounter, brotherhood and ubuntu – a great family show. Urban Circus will be putting up a show through a collaboration with Johannesburg, The Cirk, and well-known physical theatre practitioner and Cirque du Soleil alumnus, Daniel Buckland.

Urban Circus is a love letter to the thrilling acrobatics of big city life. A talented troupe of Johannesburg’s hottest circus artists will take the audience on a wheel-spinning, nail-biting, day-dreaming escapade through the city. Urban Circus shows the City’s inhabitants as they try to strive, survive and thrive in a delicate and dextrous dance through the intoxicating frenzy of urban life.

A joy to the ears

Following sold-out shows in Germany, Hungary, Austria and Cape Town, Cape Town Opera’s Chorus has compiled a new one-hour showcase of uplifting African and African-American spirituals in Cape Town Opera Spirituals.

It’s an evening of soul-stirring music that celebrates the spirit of caring, resilience and joy that has buoyed humanity during some difficult years. ‘We wish this concert to be a reminder of the vital role music plays in healing our world,’ says Chorus Master Kernelle of the programme which includes traditional songs such as ‘Muhona Makutu Tanga’ and ‘Mahlo A Bona’ and rich arrangements of ‘Elijah Rock’, ‘Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit’ and ‘Didn’t My Lawd Deliver Daniel?’.Cape Town Operas Chorus will also be joined by the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra for a second rousing concert of great operatic choruses including much-loved pieces like Humming, Anvil, Slave and Bridal Choruses, as well as the ever-popular Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.2021 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music Cara Stacey’s work Transbordamento sees Stacey collaborate with esteemed Mozambican musician and composer Matchume Zango in an intimate concert that weaves together each artist’s diverse sonic influences and long-standing friendship in music. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Stacey’s ensemble work as Standard Bank Young Artist will be deferred to 2023.

Bold fringe shows

Nothing holds our Fringe artists back as they head for the Festival and a return to live shows. Catch comedy shows from Stuart TaylorKagiso MokgadiRob van VuurenTseliso MasolaneDalin OliverKate PinchuckYaaseen BarnesNkosinathi MakiAlfred Adriaan and more. Brendon Peel and Li Lau bring magic and illusion to transport us into other possibilities across a series of collaborative and one-man shows.One of the South African stage’s greatest hits is Mbongeni Ngema’s multi-award-winning musical drama, Asinamali! will, for the first time, be presented by a cast of women in a production directed by Mncedisi Shabangu and Tebogo Sechele.

Plus-size comedy theatre Bigly Yuge (based on a play by Clinton Marius) takes a look at life at the heavier end of the scale. You’ll hear good, bad, and funny stories from award-winning actors, Bongani Mbatha, Mduduzi Nombela and Bhekani Shabalala – each with impressive track records on stage, TV and big screen.

Explore the Fringe here.


First annual C Kite Festival about to kick off in Mauritius


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