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Thursday, August 5, 2021


Applications run from August 10 to September 3, 2021

The ACT team has been crafting away passionately at an exciting new programme, Thuthukisani. 

Funded by Nedbank, it will take successful applicants on a directed and purposeful journey through entrepreneurial training, development, one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to pitch for a monetary investment towards their chosen project.

The official open call for Thuthukisani will run from August 10 to September 3, 2021.

(Thuthukisani is a call to action taken from the Zulu word Thuthukisa (verb) meaning develop.)

The ACT has developed a progressive and impactful new series of programmes and interventions to address gaps in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) from an entrepreneurial and development angle. During the ACT roadshow in 2019, ACT undertook a nationwide investigative excursion to engage with their stakeholders and uncovered the need for relevant and implementable training and development, as well as for sustained professional mentorship among art practitioners and art businesses.

When evaluating many programme offerings across the funding landscape, ACT realised that there is no holistic approach to the journey of the arts professional in any one programme. Instead, they found that only certain components are satisfied. Practitioners and business owners could receive mentorship and training, but no monetary investment or grants, often leaving people feeling frustrated and at a loss.

(Right: Marcus Desando, ACT CEO) 

ACT CEO Marcus Desando says: “No one organisation can solve the problems in the arts and culture sector – it takes a village – and the majority of the existing organisations are doing their very best to address what they understand to be the immediate needs of their stakeholders. As the Trust, we have radically shifted our focus and role in the industry from that of a grant maker to that of an organisation deeply invested in offering practical, implementable skills to our stakeholders and focusing on the long-term trajectory of the living experience of artists, practitioners and creatives as entrepreneurs.

“Grants form an important part of the funding landscape but, over the years, many individuals and companies have derailed due to grant dependence and shrinking budgets. Thuthukisani addresses the lack of capacity and opportunity for small-to-medium creative practitioners to develop new projects with mentorship, training and investment towards a sustained participation in the creative economy,” he adds.

Thuthukisani is a programme designed to take 63 successful applicants from across South Africa on a holistic and enabling journey to empower them through training and professionalisation. The rollout will take place in three cycles, inviting applications from three provinces per cycle, with seven selected Thuthukisani participants per province. After thorough training and mentorship, the participants will then pitch their projects for the opportunity to receive monetary investment. Three projects per province will receive a cash investment and ongoing mentorship throughout the implementation of their project.

Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, says: “As we are a bank that prides itself on seeing money differently, the Thuthukisani Programme perfectly reflects Nedbank’s ethos. The programme goes beyond awarding money grants for projects, which are important but don’t always result in the watering of the initiative’s roots to grow further and become an arts enterprise with a future, empowered with the entrepreneurial know-how to operate, evolve and self-sustain. The pandemic era has revealed that this as an imperative.”


Applications open: August 10, 2021

Applications close: September 3, 2021

Outcomes: October 4, 2021

Application details to be released on August 10, 2021.

For more information email

*Only South African nationals may apply and projects must take place in South Africa. Allocation of programme slots is at the discretion of the ACT board of trustees. The decision about all applications for participation is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.

For more information click on the ACT advert to the right of this article or visit