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 19th year of the prestigious ACT Awards, South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency, will pay homage to both emerging and established artists.
To date, the ACT Awards have recognised over 150 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. 2016 will see ACT partner with the Distell Foundation, The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and Sun International to see yet another group of young professionals being lauded for the remarkable impression they have made in the first five years of their careers.
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, Music, Dance and Design.
This year’s finalists, who were announced at The Orbit Jazz Lounge in Johannesburg are; Khela Chepape Makgato, Francois Knoetze and Loyiso Mkize (Visual Art); Benjamin Jephta, Thandi Ntuli and Tumi Mogorosi (Music); Phillip Rademeyer, Mkhululi Z. Mabija and Thenx (Theatre); Jody Paulsen, Katherine-Mary Pichulik and Margot Molyneux (Design); and Oscar Nhlanhla Buthelezi, Sunnyboy Motau and Angelique Harris (Dance).
ACT CEO, Pieter Jacobs says of the ImpACT Awards finalists; “We are thrilled to announce the 2016 list of phenomenal finalists who are all worthy of accolades. Receiving an ImpACT Award is an important milestone that often marks the beginning of an impactful trajectory.”
2016 will be the sixth year the Distell Foundation partner with ACT on the ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals. “The Distell Foundation is immensely proud of its long standing commitment to the arts and culture opportunities in South Africa as the ImpACT Awards contribute significantly towards transformation and positive change in the industry,” says Simoné Benjamin, Arts and Culture Controller for the Distell Foundation. “The Distell Foundation believes in offering alternative opportunities for communities to thrive and open up people’s minds to more possibilities. Youth development is one of the main focus areas of the Distell Foundation and we regard art as a catalyst that could be utilized to help shape our youth into empowered adults, capable of making responsible choices.”
Sun International’s Group Manager of Socio Economic Development, Nancy Ncube echoes these sentiments. “A large part of Sun International’s core business is in the arts and supporting these Awards enables us to help recognise and nurture talent, particularly young talent,” she says. “We all want our hard work to be acknowledged, these Awards, to me, are our way of acknowledging the enormous talent this country and in fact this continent has.”
Beneficiary Relations and Liaison Manager for the National Lotteries Commission, Sershan Naidoo, who also sits on this year’s panel of judges says the NLC, in line with Government’s National Development Plan, is committed to promote youth and their activities by making funding available to such participation. “Recognition of the efforts of these young arts and culture practitioners leads to more and better job opportunities, which is another focus of the NLC,” he says. “We want to see these young artists make an impact on other young artists across our country.”
As a judge, Naidoo says he anticipates great things. “I’m looking to follow the progress of these young practitioners. I’m hoping to see new and different works emerge as a result of the ImpACT Awards. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact these artists have on their communities and new artists.”
idoo’s fellow judges this year are; ACT chairperson, Melissa Goba; Dance Umbrella Director, Georgina Thomson; actress, playwright and voice coach, Motshabi Tyelele; and award-winning pianist and educator, Andre Petersen. They will have the arduous task of selecting a winner in each of the five categories.
Each winner will receive R10,000 and additional PR opportunities that will be generated through the ACT Awards.ImpACT Award recipients will also get on-going backing from ACT in the form promotional support in their professional careers.
The cornerstone of the ACT Awards is the presentation of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards for Visual Arts, Theatre, Arts Advocacy, Music, Dance and Literature. Lifetime Achievement Award winners are nominated and selected by the current and previous ACT 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 19th annual ACT Awards is hosted by Sun International in association with the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and is supported by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), Media24 Books, the Nedbank Arts Affinity, JTI, Creative Feel, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the Distell Foundation.
For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit www.act.org.za and use the hashtag #ACTAwards.