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Friday, April 3, 2020

67 BLANKETS FOR NELSON MANDELA DAY MAGICAL MOMENTS 4 MANDELA GOES VIRTUAL FOR APRIL 4


(In 2015 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, 3133 square metres of handmade blankets knitted, crocheted or quilted by the Knitwits of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day broke a Guinness World Record – it is the largest area covered by a blanket.)

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day’s annual event, Magical Moments for Mandela (MM4M) which was scheduled to take place on April 4, 2020, at various venues across the country was cancelled due to the COVID -19 national lockdown but the good news is, it will now be a virtual Facebook event!

This event which takes place in major cities across the country, showcases handmade blankets that get distributed nationally. While public spaces will not be adorned with colourful blankets this year, blankets that have been knitted or crocheted will still reach those needing warmth during the cold winter months.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have to cancel this event,” says Carolyn Steyn, the Founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. She added “We could not even contemplate postponing our event as winter is on its way and our blankets (made with love) need to be distributed to those in need.

I have decided instead to keep the April 4 as our MM4M celebration, but this year, we will do it ‘virtually’, which is an exciting new idea for us; here we can connect with our KnitWit family via a live Facebook stream from our 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (South Africa) page.”

(Another Guinness Book of Records was achieved for The longest crocheted scarf which measures 29.17 km (95, 725 ft) and was achieved by 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (South Africa) at Mandela Capture Site, Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,
on 29 July 2018.)

“The Coronavirus is a very significant challenge and our lives are all being disrupted and will be for a while. However, we will get through this. Hopefully within a few months a vaccine will be found and life will get back to normal.” she says.

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day which was started in 2013 is now in 2020, considered a ‘movement’. This initiative has captured the hearts, creative spirit and hands of thousands of people, not only in South Africa but across the globe, calling themselves “KnitWits for Madiba”. These are people who join forces by knitting and crocheting blankets and scarves in order to keep those less fortunate, warm during the winter months.

Steyn says that while the public events this year have been cancelled, the ethos and commitment of the project thrives, no matter what: “We will never waver in our efforts to - stitch by stitch - create warmth for thousands upon thousands of people living in dire need for years to come.”

The programme for the MM4M is on tomorrow (Saturday, April 4, 2020) and one can catch it on the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (South Africa) Facebook group.

10h00: Carolyn Steyn will go live on Facebook and invite people to join Timothy Moloi in singing the National Anthem from the comfort of their homes.

To find out more about the project or to become a KnitWit visit:

Facebook: 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (South Africa)
Twitter and Instagram: @67blankets
www.67blankets.co.za

DEATH OF ELLIOT MKHIZE


(Right: Elliot Mkhize)

KZN master telephone wire weaver Elliot Mkhize, passed away on March 28, 2020.

Marisa Fick-Jordaan, designer and owner of Zenzulu, which she initiated 12 years ago under the auspices of the BAT Shop, grieves his passing:

“I really was so shattered to get the news of his death. He was the last of the male master basket weavers alive whom I worked so closely with when I started supporting the Wire weavers and the artform becoming my passion leading to the start of the wire weaving project when I joined the Bat Centre in 1995 and which continues under my Zenzulu brand. So many memories are flooding back as I think of Elliot and the roads we travelled!”

(Left: David Arment with Elliot Mkhize taken at Santa Fe International Folk Art Market)

Fick-Jordaan interviewed Mkhize for his feature pages in the book WIRED Contemporary Zulu Telephone Wire Baskets which she wrote the book with the biggest collector of wire baskets, David Arment. WIRED covers the development and history of wire weaving and all the master weavers.

The interview page follows:

ELLIOT MKHIZE
Born 1945, Richmond KwaZulu-Natal

“Elliot was introduced to the world of weaving at a young age, when he went to school at Inhlazuka near Richmond. At school, children in the early grades were taught grass weaving techniques in their art-and-craft classes. At the same time he was introduced to art and, one could say, to the economy of art at home, where both his grandfather and his father carved wooden spoons and utensils for trading. Using money he earned from his craftwork, his grandfather was even able to buy cattle for lobola. So in the 1960s, when Elliot had to choose a career path, it seemed natural that he chose to study at the reputable Ndaleni Art School in Richmond, which was then enjoying its heyday.

But, art being art and economic reality its often ugly self, Elliot went back to Sibonelo High School to finish his formal education. Thereafter, he found a job as a supervisor with Lever Brothers in Durban. In 1968, his daughter, the first of ten children, was born. From then on, his growing family necessitated steady employment and Elliot stayed on with Lever Brothers for several years. Then followed a brief stint as a machine operator at the Natal Mercury newspaper. A job at the Natal Playhouse Theater as a night watchman was his brush with destiny. He was introduced to the “night watchman’s art”, the world of telephone wire weaving.

(Right: Examples of Elliot Mkhize’s work)

After observing his fellow night watchmen use wire to decorate the handles of their sticks, Elliot began to experiment with telephone wire. He, however, worked with the more traditional bowl form and, in so doing, became one of the originators of the contemporary form of coiled-wire baskets. He wove his first basket in 1973, and took it to the African Art Centre in Durban. Jo Thorpe snapped it up and put it into the African Art Centre’s collection, where it was displayed in the shop until it was stolen in a robbery. Elliot quickly became a sought-after weaver and in 1984 he began working full-time as an artist.

He was currently South Africa’s most renowned and successful telephone wire weaver, and the only master weaver with formal art school training.”

(Left: The cover of WIRED)

Fick-Jordaan continues: 

“The Facebook post has had an incredible response from around the world. Many responding with images of his baskets in their collections. 

"He was our Master whose big smile I will always miss!”

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A SIN OF OMISSION SHORTLISTED FOR WALTER SCOTT PRIZE


A Sin of Omission, a novel by author Marguerite Poland and published by Penguin Random House, has been included in the shortlist for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2020.

“It is a formidable honour for any writer to have their work recognised by such an eminent panel of judges and very greatly appreciated,” Poland said in reaction to the news. “Writing A Sin of Omission has been a long, difficult and demanding project for me for a number of reasons but one with transcendent moments during research, and in the company of others, that made the writing of it the journey of a lifetime.”

Poland first heard the story as a 14-year old, told to her by a great uncle. “A fragment of history which lodged in my heart followed by a long gestation served by every other work I have written. In writing the book, I hope to have witnessed, in some small and personal degree, a history, culture and language that, for centuries, have suffered from the insidious sins of omission born of deceit, paternalistic patronage and outright repression.

“Mostly, I hope that in creating the fictional character, Rev Stephen Malusi Mzamane, I have honoured and respected the real man on whom he is based, the known fragments of whose life might have remained obscure forever but whose story, I believe, reflects the lives of legions of his fellow countrymen and women whose names ‘are only known to God’. I am deeply aware that this shortlist nomination could never have been achieved without the generous commitment of my publishers or the scholarship, interest, friendship and love of all who encouraged me and travelled with me along the way, especially my family.”

Set in the second half of the 19th century, A Sin of Omission tells the story of Stephen Mzamane, a young Xhosa boy who was taken in by the Anglican Church during the great famine. Upon his return from Canterbury, where Stephen has started his education to become a priest, he is sent to a remote mission station and has to confront his role within the Church and society. He also has to deal with his Xhosa heritage and the way his upbringing has estranged him from the culture into which he was born. The story was inspired by true events, as told to Dr Poland by a great-uncle.

The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction was founded ten years ago and celebrates quality of writing in the English language. The majority of the storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago, reflecting the prize's subtitle ‘Sixty Years Since’ of Scott’s famous work Waverley. It is open to novels published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

The other titles on the shortlist are The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic), The Parisian by Isabella Hammad (Jonathan Cape), To Calais, In Ordinary Time by James Meek (Canongate), Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker) and The Redeemed by Tim Pears (Bloomsbury).

The announcement of the winner has been postponed pending a decision of the organizers and therefore will not take place in accordance with past practice. The winner will receive £25,000.

A Sin of Omission is published by Penguin Random House. RRP R290. ISBN: 978-1-4859-0419-9 (print) I ISBN: 978-1-4859-0428-1 (ePub)

For more information, visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za

KINGS OF MULBERRY STREET SCOOPS TOP AWARD


(Shaan Nathoo as Baboo & Aaqil Hoosen as Ticky)

South African film Kings of Mulberry Street, directed by Judy Naidoo, has won the Best Feature Film award at the Children’s Film Festival in Seattle, one of the largest and most respected film festivals in the world. It’s the latest in a long list of accolades for the film.

Each year, Northwest Film Forum selects international children’s films from dozens of countries, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of more than 20 US cities. Children’s Film Festival Seattle stands for racial equity and diversity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness, and the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people.

This year, prizes were selected by three juries of children and youth, who watched the festival’s competition both during the festival, which began on February 27, 2020, and then remotely after the second weekend of the festival was postponed due to the public health crisis brought by the coronavirus.

“The festival celebrates the best and brightest in international cinema for children, and I am absolutely thrilled that Kings of Mulberry Street has won this prestigious award,” said Naidoo. “The results were announced one month after CFFS youth juries first gathered, and then dispersed after an abbreviated festival cut much too short. The jury is made up of dedicated young film critics, who gave the festival their all, writing insightful comments and fulfilling their duties with both joy and seriousness.”

Set in the early 80s, in the fictionalised area of Sugarhill District in KwaZulu-Natal, Kings of Mulberry Street is a charmingly nostalgic story of two young Indian boys (Shaan Nathoo as Baboo and Aaqil Hoosen as Ticky) who have to find a way to overcome their differences and unite in order to defeat the bullying local crime lord who is threatening their families. A delightful and hilarious adventure, with universal themes that appeal to the whole family, the film also pays tribute to classic 80s Bollywood movies and their heroes. Visually colourful and vibrant, the film is also touching and heart-warming. 

The film screened at cinemas countrywide in South Africa is 2019 and was distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution. 

“We are incredibly proud of Judy and the whole Kings of Mulberry Street team,” said Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “In awarding prizes, the juries chose 21 films from North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, recognising in their awards a majority of female directors for their work. Winning best feature is a wonderful accolade and we congratulate Judy and the cast and crew.”

ARTSTRACK NO.8 ABBREVIATED


(Head of Research, Madeleine Selmer-Olsen presenting ArtsTrack No.8 at the Museum of African Design. Image by Theana Breugem)

Commissioned bi-annually by Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and conducted by sponsorship research leader BMi, ArtsTrack monitors arts sponsorship, consumer engagement in the arts, as well as perceptions of the arts and its sponsors. The 2019 iteration of the report is the eighth update of the original version and evaluates the popularity of music, arts and cultural events, including closely quantifying and analysing audience sizes, genres, and other key demographics of those with an interest in these areas.

BASA Head of Research, Madeleine Selmer-Olsen, comments that research is core to BASA's work and that ArtsTrack is a key property in this regard: "It is a powerful tool to make the most of the shared value that partnering with the arts can bring. It also provides valuable insights for arts sponsors as well as for the sector."

"For nearly two decades, this wide-ranging research has been a key and exclusive resource for BASA members only," explains Savannah Feeke, BASA Head of Marketing. "However, we are pleased to be working on an abbreviated version as a free resource to guide everyone in the sector with regard to mapping a way forward in the wake of COVID-19 cancellations and closures," she adds.

ArtsTrack No.8 Abbreviated will be available for download from www.basa.co.za from Friday April 17, 2020. In the meantime ArtsTrack 7, 6 and 5 are available to download for free from https://www.basa.co.za/home-page/research/artstrack/

ARTSTRACK NO.8 ABBREVIATED


(Head of Research, Madeleine Selmer-Olsen presenting ArtsTrack No.8 at the Museum of African Design. Image by Theana Breugem)

Commissioned bi-annually by Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and conducted by sponsorship research leader BMi, ArtsTrack monitors arts sponsorship, consumer engagement in the arts, as well as perceptions of the arts and its sponsors. The 2019 iteration of the report is the eighth update of the original version and evaluates the popularity of music, arts and cultural events, including closely quantifying and analysing audience sizes, genres, and other key demographics of those with an interest in these areas.

BASA Head of Research, Madeleine Selmer-Olsen, comments that research is core to BASA's work and that ArtsTrack is a key property in this regard: "It is a powerful tool to make the most of the shared value that partnering with the arts can bring. It also provides valuable insights for arts sponsors as well as for the sector."

"For nearly two decades, this wide-ranging research has been a key and exclusive resource for BASA members only," explains Savannah Feeke, BASA Head of Marketing. "However, we are pleased to be working on an abbreviated version as a free resource to guide everyone in the sector with regard to mapping a way forward in the wake of COVID-19 cancellations and closures," she adds.

ArtsTrack No.8 Abbreviated will be available for download from www.basa.co.za from Friday April 17, 2020. In the meantime ArtsTrack 7, 6 and 5 are available to download for free from https://www.basa.co.za/home-page/research/artstrack/

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

SASOL NEW SIGNATURES ART COMPETITION CALLS FOR ARTISTS TO GO “BEYOND”


(Overall Winner: Patrick Rulore and his work: “Stage 4 Moments”)

Deadlines: June 24 & 25, 2020, between 10h00 & 16h00

The call for entries for one of South Africa’s oldest and most respected art competitions, the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, is now open.

Now in its 31st year of existence, the competition calls on this year’s entrants to enter works that are “imaginative, transgressive, transcendent, disruptive, boundless and ‘beyond’,” said new National Chairperson, Pfunzo Sidogi.

Explaining further, he said: “The world today is complex and full of seemingly irreconcilable contradictions, and as we march into a new decade, visual artists are best equipped to make sense of our dynamic, interconnected, and challenging environments. By promoting art that is ingrained with an aura of possibility and potentiality, the ‘beyond’ moniker is a call for artists to go ‘beyond’ mere mimesis of the global malaise.”

(Right: Merit Award Winner: Kagisho Moloto and her work ”Disguise Mask“)

Emerging artists across the country have the opportunity to submit their works at various collection points on Wednesday, June 24 and Thursday, June 25, 2020 between 10h00 and 16h00.

This annual competition is open to all South African artists who are 18 years and older, who have not yet held a solo exhibition. Artists who have held a solo exhibition for academic purposes, for example, a Master’s degree exhibition, are allowed to enter. Artists are able to submit artworks in all artistic mediums including photography, performance art, video and installations.

Not only do emerging artists benefit immensely from the profile of being named a winner but it is also “an enabler for emerging artists to not only unsettle societal conventions, but to also expand the possibilities of art” says Sidogi.

(Left: Runner Up: Luyanda Zindela and his work: “Phowtha sis'Mgabadeli”)

The overall competition winner receives R100,000 and an opportunity of a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum (terms and conditions apply) with the runner-up receiving R25,000 and five merit awards winners receiving R10,000 each.

Patrick Rulore (see above), who won 2019 competition for his work titled Stage 4 Moments – which is an oil on canvas – said the competition is “a wonderful platform to expose emerging artists and to show the huge belief this corporate company has in emerging artists. It has opened doors for me as an emerging artist. The Sasol New Signatures competition sort of means you leap-frog ten big steps at once. This sort of achievement usually takes fifteen years.”

Artists can enter by downloading entry forms from www.sasolnewsignatures.co.za

All details regarding Feedback Sessions as well as collection points and conditions of entry are also available on the website.

Due to the national state of disaster declared to curb the spread of Coronavirus in South Africa and guidelines on social distancing and gathering, the Information Sessions held in previous years will not take place this year. Artists can, however, follow on twitter (sasolnewsignatures) and visit the website for regular updates for further information, tips and more.

The winners of this year’s competition will be announced on August 26, and the Sasol New Signatures exhibition will run from August 27 to October 4, 2020.

BOLSHOI THEATRE OF MOSCOW FREE YOUTUBE VIEWING


For the first time in its history, the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow has announced that it will broadcast several classical opera and ballet performances (known as the "Golden Series") live on the theatre's Youtube channel for free viewing

The films will be reserved for 24 hours for a global audience to enjoy.

Moscow Grand Theatre Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/bolshoi

Programme schedule:
March 27, 2020: Swan Lake
March 28, 2020: The Sleeping Beauty
April 1, 2020: The Tsar's Bride
April 4, 2020: Marco Spada
April 7, 2020: Boris Godunov
April 10, 2020: The Nutcracker

THE SA ACTION AND DRAMA TO WATCH WHILE ON LOCKDOWN


(“Dora's Peace” - Khabonina Qubeka)

As people stay at home across the country, streaming platforms are offering a variety of top local films for every taste.

From heists to drama, and action to comedy, some of the best in South African films – released in cinemas by Indigenous Film Distribution over the years are available on digital and on-demand platforms as people across South Africa brace themselves for a 21-day lockdown to tackle the spread of the new coronavirus.

(Left: “The Wound”)

“There’s something for everyone – thrillers, dramas, action,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “Given the current circumstances, we are pleased these films are available on digital for audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their homes.”

In Assignment Kathleen (Kat) Jacobs, a renowned conflict journalist returns home to Johannesburg after her assignment is cut short by a near-fatal incident in the Congo. She discovers an incredible scoop, one which pitches her squarely against major political forces. Kat finds herself on the run. What ensues is the most dangerous cat-and-mouse chase of Kat's life. Not only her career and reputation are on the line, but also her life and her family's as well. Assignment stars Sandi Schultz, Gert van Niekerk and David Dennis.

In Charlie Vundla’s How to Steal Two Million, Jack comes out of prison having spent five years there for a robbery gone bad. His partner Twala never got caught and Jack never talked. But Twala is as treacherous as Jack is honourable. He’s married Jack’s former fiancée. Jack wants to go legit but after being rejected for a loan he needs a new source of capital. Twala presents him with an opportunity a job with a R2 million take. The heist films stars Menzi Ngubane, Terry Pheto, and Rapulana Seiphemo.

A must-see for political history fans, Mandla Dube’s  Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu, tells the story of the Mamelodi township schoolboy-hawker who, after the events of June 16, joins the military wing of the ANC to fight against the brutal oppression of the Apartheid regime and ends up becoming an icon of South Africa's liberation. The film stars Thabo Rametsi, Thabo Malema, and Welile Nzuza.

In iNumber Number, starring S'Dumo Mtshali, Presley Chweneyagae and Mncedisi Shabangu, Chili and Sello, undercover cops, are cheated out of a large reward by their corrupt superiors. Chili infiltrates a gang as it prepares to rob an armoured car, and instead of busting them, he convinces Sello to participate in the score.

Wonder Boy for President tells the story of a charismatic young man from the Eastern Cape who is coerced into running for president by two corrupt characters. It’s a political satire that delves into political dynamics and challenges that arise. Directed by John Barker, it stars Kagiso Lediga, Tony Miyambo and Ntosh Madlingozi.

Coming in April is Four Corners, directed by Ian Gabriel. Fatherless and raised by his grandmother, 13-year-old Ricardo Galam lives in the Cape Flats, a unique and volatile sub culture dominated by two Number gangs, the 26s and 28s. Ricardo's future as a chess prodigy is threatened by his growing interest in the 26s whose local leader is grooming him as a potential member. It’s a gripping drama set against the backdrop of a gang war which has been raging for 100 years.

On Showmax, women fight back in Dora’s Peace, a story about a Hillbrow prostitute who shields a gifted young boy from the violent clutches of organised crime. In the process she discovers aspects of her own lost humanity with Kabonina Qubeka.

(Right: “Five Fingers For Marseilles - Vuyo Dabula)

If you’re into westerns with an African twist, Five Fingers for Marseilles looks at how lives change forever when Tau, a young lion, kills two corrupt policemen in a South African shanty town. It stars Vuyo Dabula, Zethu Dlomo and Hamilton Dhlamini.

In ‘Inxeba (The Wound), Xolani, a lonely factory worker, travels to the rural mountains with the men of his community to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. The controversial film stars Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai and Niza Jay.

Monday, March 30, 2020

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE FOR MNET


M-Net (channel 101) will host Season 1 of Little Fires Everywhere tonight (Monday, March 30), 2020, at 21h00.

Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington drive this mini-series that is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller. 

Follow the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

"The story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster. (Wikipedia)

“THE FLAWED GENIUS OF JAN SMUTS” DOCUMENTARY


(Jan Smuts Jnr, who takes on the role of his grandfather, with Neville Herrington)

One project which has gone well for Durban based Tekweni Television is their one-hour drama documentary on Jan Smuts titled The Flawed Genius of Jan Smuts.

(Left: Anton Herrington (Director of Photography) on left with Sandra Herrington (Producer/Director) and Cape Town’s Skylab crew who were used for the aerial drone shots on Table Mountain and Riebeek West)

Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts PC, OM, CH, DTD, ED, KC, FRS (24 May 1870 – 11 September 1950) was a South African statesman, military leader, and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as prime minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. (Wikipedia)

The documentary was co-produced by Sandra and Neville Herrington and directed by Sandra Herrington, with financial assistance from the NFVF, using Jan Smut’s look-alike grandson in a cameo role of this great icon. It was shown several times locally on DSTV and then screened by them into 52 African countries. 

(Theriodopiolous Coetzer in the role of 11 year-old Smuts)

Sandra Herrington says: “We have now put it onto our You Tube Channel which has 90,000 subscribers and it has had 82,000 views (mostly over the last month) and growing daily. 

"What is very pleasing for us is that the documentary is doing the very thing we wanted it to do …. bringing this controversial figure into the public eye once more; by opening up on the site a heated debate through 450 viewer comments from around the world, including the following from the United States’ Presidential office :

"Thank you for sharing your history. love of country; respect of one’s and others roots creates balanced people and responsible stewards. 
Too often, public ignorance, skewed historiography and manipulative “grievance” based mass movements sustain control & unjust governance by an entropic clan of self serving oligarchic elites. 
The  United States & President Trump send our best wishes for South Africa

The link on Tekweni Television’s Youtube channel for anyone who wants to watch it - https://youtu.be/4qaZR4vRHY0

It can also be viewed on the home page of the new Tekweni Media website:  http://tekweni.co.za

For more information contact Sandra Herrington PhD, Producer / Director/Scriptwriter/Editor on 031 261 1034 or 082 552 3949 or email: sandyh@iafrica.com

AMAZON CANCELS SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR THE LOCKDOWN


Amazon today cancelled the subscription of books and audio stories for children and students of all ages as long as schools are closed, youngsters everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.

All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet using the following link https://stories.audible.com/start-listen