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Sunday, October 4, 2015


(Pictured at Durban’s ACT briefing are ACT Ambassador Themi Venturas; Fortune Bengu, finalist - Visual Arts; Karabo Legoabe: Programmes Coordinator, Arts and Culture Trust, and ACT Trustee Caroline Smart)

Over the years the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) has consistently supported young talent in the arts and honoured those who have significantly contributed to the industry. To mark the 18th year of the prestigious ACT Awards, South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency, will pay homage to both young and old artists.

To date, the ACT Awards have recognised over 140 individuals and organisations for their significant contribution to art, culture and heritage in South Africa. These awards show the sustainable impact ACT pursues in the creative industry. 2015 will be the fifth year that ACT’s partnership with the Distell Foundation will see yet another group of young professionals being lauded for the remarkable impression they have made in the first five years of their careers.

ACT CEO Pieter Jacobs says: “The ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals highlight exceptional talent in the industry. This spotlight creates a platform for these young individuals who might not otherwise receive this kind of recognition - recognition that has the potential to powerfully propel sustainable careers in a highly competitive industry.”

With the Distell Foundation’s support, the ImpACT Awards for young professionals are given annually to honour young artists or businesses that have reached a notable level in their career. Giving the masses a voice through the public nomination process, ACT proudly boasts an excellent selection of these individuals in the categories of Theatre, Visual Art, Design and Music & Singing, and the newly-added Dance category.

“The Distell Foundation is proud to invest in young professionals thus assisting them to catapult their careers in the creative arts industry. We wish them success in growing their individual talent and businesses,” says Irma Albers from Distell.

This year’s ImpACT Awards finalists include an array of talented creatives ranging from graphic and interior designers, dancers, visual artists, curators and entrepreneurs; to singers, songwriters and musicians; and playwrights, actors and directors. Every year, the variety in skill and talent make the judging process even tougher, and this year is no exception. Each winner will receive a cash prize of R2,000, a certificate, a spread in Creative Feel Magazine worth over R30,000 and additional PR opportunities that will be generated through the ACT Awards. ImpACT Award recipients will also get ongoing backing from ACT in the form promotional support in their professional careers.

The judges for this year’s competition include: musician Sibongile Khumalo, Fine Arts and Arts Education Professor David Andrew, choreographer Jayesperi Moopen, actress Warona Seane and arts and culture development expert and consultant David Thatanelo April. Convenor of the judging panel and ACT Trustee, Moopen says: “The criteria we used as a panel was to honour artistic achievement and the impact of that concept and its aesthetic quality demonstrating talent, determination, imagination and risks.”

The cornerstone of the ACT Awards is the presentation of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards for Visual Arts, Theatre, Arts Advocacy, Music and Literature. Lifetime Achievement Award winners are nominated and selected by the ACT Board of Trustees, the recipient is someone that the sponsors are proud to acknowledge for their contribution to the arts.

The judges specifically choose winners who stand out due to the artistic excellence of their work; their experience in the industry and the impact this has had on their community and the commerce of the creative industry as a whole. The Lifetime Achievement Award winners will each receive R30,000 cash prize, totalling an impressive R750,000 since 2008.

This year, in addition to the five existing Lifetime Achievement Award categories, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) have come on board to support the introduction of the Dance Lifetime Achievement Award. “JTI is thrilled to have partnered with ACT in introducing this award. Dance is perhaps the most under-recognised and un-awarded of the arts disciplines. South Africa’s dancers and choreographers make a profound contribution to the local and international dance landscape and we thank ACT for affording JTI the opportunity to give them the recognition they so richly deserve,” says Corporate Affairs and Legal Director for JTI Lizette Rau.

The 2015 ImpACT Awards are presented in partnership with the Distell Foundation and Sun International.

The ACT Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented in partnership with Nedbank Arts Affinity, Media24 Books, DALRO, JTI, Creative Feel Magazine and SAMRO.

The Awards ceremony will take place on November 2, 2015, at Sun International’s The Maslow in Sandton, Johannesburg. For more information visit