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Thursday, February 27, 2020


(Front row: Lifetime Achievement Awardees: Avhashoni Mainganye, Neville Letard, Thoko Ntshinga, Prof. Njabulo Ndebele, Prof. Angelo Gobbato & Caroline Smart.
Second row: ACT ImpAct Awardees: Winner Jefferson Tshabalala with Phelelani Ndakrokra, Slindile Mthembu, Wezile Mgibe and Neo Mahlangu.
Image © John Hogg/Arts & Culture Trust)

Since 1998, the ACT Awards have been bestowed upon individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to cultural life in South Africa. In that time, the awards have become ACT’s flagship event. The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards are held annually to recognise and celebrate excellence in South African arts, culture and heritage.

In spite of the tough economic challenges that faced South Africa in the year 2019, the arts and culture sector of South Africa continued to produce work of a high calibre. With the 2020 instalment of the awards held at River Meadow Manor, a boutique hotel and venue in Irene, Pretoria, the awards continued to honour those that have created a lasting legacy within the arts through the Lifetime Achievement Awards and to recognize those young artists who not only walk in those footsteps of the old but are creating a lasting impression of their own as ImpACT Award Finalists for Young Professionals.

With the overarching sentiment from the Lifetime Achievement Awards Recipients being that artists need to see themselves not only as artists but also as businesses, the ImpACT Award Finalists certainly left with a few words of wisdom to inspire them to be the next generation of possible Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients.

2020 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
Caroline Smart – Arts Advocacy: Sponsored by the City of Johannesburg
Neville Letard – Dance: Sponsored by the Arts & Culture Trust
Prof. Njabulo Ndebele – Literature: Sponsored by the Dramatic Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation
Prof. Angelo Gobbato – Music: Sponsored by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation
Thoko Ntshinga – Theatre: Sponsored by the Arts & Culture Trust
Avhashoni Mainganye – Visual Art sponsored by Nedbank

2020 ACT ImpAct Award Winner
Jefferson Tshabalala – Sponsored by Sun International
Jefferson Bobs Tshabalala is the founder and co-owner of the Johannesburg based live-arts production house, Kiri Pink Nob Arts (Pty) Ltd. This company produces multidisciplinary productions. Having gone through the famed “struggling artist” stage and experiencing the hardships that come along with pursuing their passion, Tshabalala wanted to change the narrative for those who would follow him.
Tshabalala has been an educator at Wits University and The Market Theatre Lab. Sharing his skills and experience is something he is intent on doing because of his love for the art, even more, his love for people continues to move him forward.

The ImpACT Award Finalists also consisted of the following:
Neo Mahlangu
Wezile Mgibe
Phelelani Ndakrokra
Slindile Mthembu

The 2020 ACT Awards were hosted by The Arts & Culture Trust and supported by the City of Johannesburg, DALRO, SAMRO, Nedbank, Sun International, Ngwenya Glass and River Meadow Manor.

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding available for arts and culture initiatives and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured funding programmes, ACT provides support for all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration. Follow ACT on Twitter at or like the trust’s Facebook page at