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Monday, September 25, 2023



(Above: Prof. Nobuhle Hlongwa (Dean of School of Arts, UKZN) and Dr Ismail Mahomed, Director of the CCA, handing over the award to Dr Lliane Loots. Pic by Val Adamson)

South African Contemporary Dance Stalwart Lliane Loots honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at JOMBA! Opening.

The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on Dr Lliane Loots, the Curator and Artistic Director of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. The Award was presented at the opening of the 25th edition of the JOMBA! festival at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Tuesday August 29, 2023.

Dr Ismail Mahomed, the Director of the Centre for Creative Arts, said: “For a quarter of a century under challenging funding environments, changing political landscapes, and varying socio-economic conditions, Dr Lliane Loots has championed the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience as South Africa’s longest-running dance festival and as one of the leading contemporary dance events on the African continent. The Award recognises her visionary leadership, service to the cultural sector, and committed activism for dance education.”

In 2021, under the leadership of Dr Lliane Loots, the JOMBA! festival received the National Institute for Humanities & Social Sciences Award for Best Creations for work produced in the digital space during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the same year, JOMBA! launched an annual colloquium to advance academic scholarship in African contemporary dance. In 2022, JOMBA! was awarded the Business Arts South Africa Chairman’s Award for Arts & Education & Activism.

(Right: Dr Lliane Loots. Pic by Val Adamson)

During her distinguished career, Dr Lliane Loots has also won numerous national choreographic awards and commissions. She has travelled the world extensively as an academic and artist in her own right. In 2017, the French government awarded her the Chevalier l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of the Arts & Literature) Award for promoting extensive cultural collaborations between artists from France and South Africa.

For the past 25 years, since founding the JOMBA! festival, Dr Lliane Loots has combined her curatorial work for JOMBA! while simultaneously holding the position of dance lecturer in the Drama and Performance Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College Campus). She has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies and completed her PhD in 2018 looking at contemporary dance/performance histories on the African continent. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the now 20-year-old FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY which continues to contribute to the contemporary dance landscape of the country, as well as provide important dance training for youth in communities around Durban.

“The Centre for Creative Arts is indebted to Dr Lliane Loots for her selfless contribution that has grown the JOMBA! festival as an iconic international platform. The festival has catapulted the artistic careers of many leading South African choreographers and dancers. It has firmly entrenched the role that the JOMBA! festival can make to academic scholarship; and thus making her a worthy recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award for her more than quarter century of visionary leadership”, added Mahomed.

The JOMBA! festival opened on August 29 and ran until September 10 featuring performances, workshops, talks, digital offerings, an online festival news and review portal, a 25th anniversary book launch, and a dance for youth programme. The festival had a four-day satellite event at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg from September 13 to 16, 2023.

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