national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Tony Lankester and Ismail Mahomed (CEO and Director respectively of the National Arts Festival) thank Caroline Smart for her unbroken 25 years of NAF coverage. Pics by Suzy Bernstein (NAF) and Peter Gardner (CS). Composite pic by Dominique Cortes)

artSMart editor Caroline Smart recently received a very pleasant surprise from Tony Lankester and Ismail Mahomed (CEO and Director respectively of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown) in the form of a gift for her unbroken 25 years coverage of the NAF as a member of the media. This included the former D’ARTS Magazine produced by the Durban Arts Association, the radio programme Durban After Dark hosted by the late Monica Fairall on SAfm, and various Durban newspapers. She also covered many Grahamstown events during the years when she worked as a magazine producer for television arts programmes.

The main outlet for her coverage, though, is on a voluntary basis for this website and artSMart celebrates its 12th year of existence this year. She also writes a Durban column for the prestigious ClassicFeel magazine.

Director of the Festival, Ismail Mahomed, had this to say:

“Congratulations on scoring twenty-five years of consistently high standard reporting of the National Arts Festival.

Over these years you have given enormous exposure to a diverse group of artists. For many such artists, this kind of exposure is often one of the most important platforms to catapult their careers even further and to grow their audiences.

In recent years, you have also embarked on a programme to nurture younger writers to continue in your fine tradition of honest and structured reporting of the arts. This is an incredibly wonderful legacy that you are investing for the future growth of both the South African arts sector and for South African arts journalism.

I wish you continued strength as we look forward to the years ahead. Your passion to document and interpret the vibrant expressions of our artists whose work defines us as a nation is highly valued.”

The thank-you gift took the form of a beautiful ceramic bowl and lid, carefully housed in a colourful basket. Unfortunately, Caroline had left the Festival to return to Durban on the day of the media function when this presentation was to be made. Hence the composite picture above.

“I was truly stunned and very honoured,” says Caroline Smart. “It’s also very heartwarming to have received this acknowledgement of the work that I do. If I have achieved any success, it is mainly due to the hard-working and passionate arts practitioners in Durban and further afield in KZN. It was a very proud moment at festival this year to attend the world premiere of Neil Coppen’s Abnormal Loads and to see a Durban artist being acknowledged and acclaimed at such a high level.”

Caroline Smart is currently on a mission to see a stronger KZN component at the National Arts Festivals. The project is labelled Festival Wires and simply requires supporters of the festival to pass on festival press releases via email. For more information, contact her on