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Friday, December 26, 2014


 (Mandie van der Spuy receiving her award with Rosemary Mangope, Mannie Manim and Lore Watterson. Pic by Gareth Jacobs)

The inaugural category of Arts Advocacy, sponsored by Classicfeel Magazine awarded Mandie van der Spuy the honour as a Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. Van der Spuy’s career in the arts spans a period of 35 years. She grew up in Johannesburg and Cape Town but spent the greater part of her secondary school years in Vienna, Austria.

Following her tertiary studies in South Africa, she spent four years in France, first as a student at the Sorbonne and later as a translator at the South African Embassy during which time she also worked as a freelance news correspondent. She holds a degree in Languages and Literature and a post-graduate degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Cape Town as well as a Master’s Degree in Theatre Studies and Literature from the Sorbonne University, Paris.

Van der Spuy worked in the theatre industry in various capacities, starting her career at the Market Theatre in 1979 where she was involved in theatre management, production and public relations. In 1983 she joined the Playhouse Theatre in Durban as Head of Publicity and Public Relations where she was responsible for the launch phase of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the theatre and dance companies leading up to the official opening of the renovated theatre complex.

In 1987, she returned to Johannesburg to join the Drama Department of the State Theatre in Pretoria as Head of Marketing and Publicity followed by her appointment in 1989 as Head of Drama.

Van der Spuy was Head of Arts & Jazz Sponsorships for the Standard Bank Group from 1992 to 2014, when she decided to step down to pursue independent interests in the arts world. She was responsible for the strategic direction, management and implementation of the bank’s arts, culture and jazz programmes.

As a long-standing supporter of the arts, Standard Bank’s main sponsorship portfolio during that period included the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards, the National Schools’ Festival, the bank’s Corporate Art Collection and African Art Collection, the Standard Bank Gallery with an annual programme of major South African and international exhibitions, a series of jazz festivals, as well as the heritage project, the Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST).

In 2007, the French government bestowed a Chevalier Award of the National Order of Merit on her for her contribution to the promotion of cultural exchange between France and South Africa through her role in the presentation of various cultural projects, with special emphasis on the major art exhibitions presented at the Standard Bank Gallery and Iziko South African National Gallery such as Picasso, Chagall and Miro.

Currently Van der Spuy serves on the boards of several arts organisations such as the Artistic Committees for the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown; Business and Arts South Africa (BASA); Standard Bank Art Advisory Committee; Gerard Sekoto Foundation; Hermanus FynArts Festival; and Chairman of Friends of Institut Française South Africa (IFAS) Committee.

The 2014 ACT Awards ceremony was sponsored by Nedbank Arts Affinity, hosted by Sun International and presented in association with the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), Media24 Books, ClassicFeel Magazine and is supported by the Distell Foundation and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).

Other Lifetime Achievement Award Winners include Richard Cock for Music, Sam Nzima for Visual Art, Richard Loring for Theatre and Andre Brink for Literature. Each Lifetime Achievement Award winner received R30,000 as a cash prize.

For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) visit