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Tuesday, January 13, 2015


The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) and Nedbank Arts Affinity have announced the list of professional development projects that will receive grants from the Trust.

For the past 20 years ACT, with the support of Nedbank Arts Affinity, have been supporting and promoting sustainable businesses and careers in the arts. The Professional Development Programme supports the development of reliable, sustainable and vibrant arts in South Africa and is designed to support job opportunities, develop arts organisations, associations, collectives and arts practitioners. The second cycle of grants boasts ten deserving recipients for 2015 and spans the country.

“One of the reasons we can reflect and celebrate 20 years of a democratic country is because South Africa has a wealth of artists which contribute to the preservation of our history, our national heritage and cultures. They spark our imagination: from the rural heartlands to the corporate skyscrapers - they inspire our diverse nation to reflect, innovate and move into action. Nedbank and our Arts Affinity have been making the arts happen for 20 years and together we will continue to make a difference in our communities,” says Maseda Ratshikuni, head of Cause Marketing at Nedbank elaborating on Nedbank’s involvement.

Among the projects supported is Hinterland, a play by Duncan Buwalda and directed by Caroline Smart which saw its early rehearsal stages taking place at Stable Theatre in Durban. Hinterland will run at Johannesburg’s Theatre on the Square during the course of April and May in 2015. The play is a historical comedy-drama about the fictional meeting of two giants of South Africa’s history: Cecil John Rhodes and Sol Plaatje. ACT and Nedbank Arts Affinity proudly support the project by providing employment to four professional actors for one month. For more information on Hinterland, email Duncan Buwalda at

Another project with a confirmed Durban link is the inaugural production of Spartacus of Africa presented by the South African National Dance Theatre (SANDT). This promises a mixture of contemporary dance and classical ballet with a live orchestra and launches in Johannesburg, going on to tour in Cape Town and ending with a performance at the Playhouse in Durban on July 23. The grant from ACT will contribute towards the costs involved of the regional dance coaches and co-ordinators.

The Collaborators Group Exhibition will take place at the BAT Centre in Durban on February 27. Nontsikelelo Ngqakayi graduated from the Nelson Mandela University in Fine Arts. She majored in stained glass, print making, history of art, drawing, and sculpture. ACT and Nedbank Arts Affinity support Ngqakayi’s initiative to oversee six artists in KwaZulu-Natal in a group collaboration, creating new prints, paintings, ceramics and other mediums that can be combined, reworked and integrated within the KZN arts community. Fees will be allocated towards the costs of venue/studio hire, purchasing material and publicity.

Also making its way to KwaZulu-Natal will be Battle of the Saxes. In 2014, Matthew Lombard commissioned (via SAMRO) a new work for two saxophones (jazz and classical) with a string quartet and a rhythm section. The work is intended to promote original South African music in a new and unique setting by fusing jazz and classical idioms. In 2015, a team, including Karendra Devroop, will be commissioned to perform this work and other South African works at several venues in Gauteng, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and North-West provinces. The grant from ACT and Nedbank Arts Affinity will be utilised to fund one of the performances, including performer fees and transport.

Once-off grants ranging between R10,000 and R60,000 per grant are given to arts and culture organisations, associations, cooperatives, networks, individual artists and practitioners, for a range of activities that support their professional advancement.

Pieter Jacobs, CEO of ACT, reflects on the programme: “We are delighted about our beneficiaries' positive response to the re-articulated criteria of the Trust's funding programme. Not only have we seen an increase in the number of applications received, especially from under-served regions, but the quality of applications has also improved. Moving towards closure of the first round of Professional Development Programme projects, announced at the beginning of 2014, it is rewarding to see that ACT's support has had an impact on the areas of development we set out to improve - job creation, capacity building, sustainability and audience development. Being selected among 600 applications during the course of a year is no mean feat and we look forward to taking hands with the new projects the Trustees of ACT have selected for funding.”

For more information on all the grant recipients and the ACT Development Programme visit