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Sunday, August 2, 2015


(Pieter Jacobs)

The Mail & Guardian has named Arts & Culture Trust CEO, Pieter Jacobs, on its list of 200 noteworthy and newsworthy young South Africans for 2015.

Now in its tenth year, the Mail and Guardian’s list of top 200 young South Africans has become the pre-eminent hallmark for acknowledging and celebrating the who’s who of an emerging generation of professionals at the forefront in their chosen fields.

A passion for the arts and the desire to improve the lives of artists is what motivates Jacobs. “To receive this kind of recognition is a tremendous honour,” he says. “The acknowledgement is deeply humbling. It encourages me to continue pushing boundaries and also challenges me to try doing better each day.”

An award-winning playwright, Jacobs first joined the Trust as a Projects Officer in 2006 and subsequently went on to helm ACT as CEO in 2010. In this role he has consistently increased the amount of funding disbursed to arts, culture and heritage projects across the country. At the same time, the value of the Trust’s investment portfolio has grown by 15% during his tenure.

He has played a vital role in ACT’s strategic planning over the past few years and has overseen the restructuring of the Trust’s grant-making programme funded by Nedbank Arts Affinity since 1994. Through this programme, ACT has funded more than 800 projects nationally with more than R21 million. Under his stewardship, the Trust launched a number of new programmes, including the ACT Building Blocks Programme, the ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Performing Arts Scholarships Programme as well as the ACT | UJ Arts & Culture Conference.

The ACT Building Blocks Programme is aimed at increasing the sustainability and capacity of South African arts and culture organisations through grants as well as the presentation of master classes and workshops, which benefited more than 450 practitioners and numerous local key arts and culture organisations and institutions. Since the inception of its Performing Arts Scholarships Programme, the Trust has awarded grants to the value of more than R1,2 million to young aspirant performers while the Arts & Culture Conference has not only grown in its scope and stature since its inception in 2012 but has also attracted support of a number of key local and major international role players, and of which attendance has consistently grown on a yearly basis.

According to Jacobs, he cannot take all the credit for ACT’s good work: “The Board of Trustees is hundred percent invested in our work and is a never-ending source of support, insight and guidance. I have also had the privilege of working with some of the best arts managers and administrators in South Africa. Without them, I would not have been able to realise nearly as much!”

ACT is South Africa’s premier independent arts, culture and heritage, funding and development agency. For more information and regular updates find ACT on Facebook at or follow the Trust on Twitter @actorgza Subscribe to the Trust’s blog at Also connect with Pieter by following @pieter_jacobs

For more information about ACT visit