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Friday, June 12, 2020


National Arts Festival primed for a unique online celebration of South African arts.

“It's nothing less than a whirlwind,” says National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton of the build-up to the Virtual National Arts Festival, which is happening entirely online from June 25 to July 5, 2020. The Festival will be presenting work that speaks to these unique times, and will feature the results of many new collaborations, experimental forms and new ways to engage with the arts and audiences.

The team, together with pioneering artists, have been in full flight, redesigning a whole new festival that will bring a curated South African arts experience to the virtual world stage. Here are just a few of the experiences you can look forward to ...

Former NAF Featured Artist and outspoken activist Mamela Nyamza premieres Pest Control, a layered piece, partially informed by the mythological story of Narcissus, that looks at the diverse relationships and situations that are either deeply impaired because of self-service or repaired to enhance a practice of empathy for the whole good of the other.

(Right: Photo: Ntombazana-Shabangu)

William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea revisits their Season 7, which introduced audiences to the hybrid analogue and digital technologies of Pepper’s Ghost, playing with illusion through live performance and projected recordings. 

An 80 minute programme curated by the Centre, includes two new works and asks members of the audience to join a live webinar In Conversation with Kentridge, Mahlangu and Phala.

(Left: Alan Committie)

Rob van Vuuren hosts Lindy Johnson, Alan Committie (above), Kagiso Lediga, Robby Collins and Tumi Morake in the Very Big Comedy Show, a frank and hilarious conversation about the worst gigs they have ever had to endure. 

A rare and side-splitting peek behind the scenes and into the not-so-glamorous reality of a comedians not-so-finest moments.

(Right: Photo: Nicky Newman)

Third World Bunfight will show the filmed version of their Verdi’s Macbeth – a radical take on Shakespeare’s story of ambition, treachery and witchcraft within a milieu of multinational double-dealings, ethnic conflict, brutal militia, ‘blood minerals’ and glittering Chinese imports.

Read more about other exciting productions on the vNAF2020 curated programme

The new National Arts Festival website will be launched on June 18 – and you will be able to browse shows and secure early bird Festival passes at

The Quick Guide

How to Festival in 2020

We’re doing something different this year by holding the National Arts Festival online. But this has left many of our Festival fans scratching their heads: just how am I going to experience vNAF? So we've put together a short guide to the Festival experience, as well as an introduction to buying tickets and how you'll be watching shows


(Left: Winning T-Shirt design by Shana Ellappa)

T-Shirt Competition

We have a winner...

The votes have been counted and the winner of the Virtual Arts Festival Souvenir T-Shirt Competition is Shana Ellappa (design number 1). We had an overwhelming response of more than 1,000 votes, with Shana taking 410 to win a R5,000 cash prize and an all-access pass to vNAF2020.

 Thank you to all the finalists for being a part of this and for sharing your immaculate design skills with us all! And a special thank you to all the vNAF followers and supporters for casting their votes. T-shirts will be for sale on our new website during the Festival. We can’t wait to see this beautiful t-shirt design being worn by you all

 The National Arts Festival Team

 (To link direct to the NAF site click on the large banner that runs across the top of this blog or visit or visit Facebook:; Twitter: @artsfestival or Instagram: nationalartsfestival)