SA National Arts Festival: Dance, Film and More
Grahamstown in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province is home to Rhodes University and the country's annual National Arts Festival. This year the festival boasted more than 2,000 different performances in a wide array of art forms.
Some artists at the festival addressed politically sensitive contemporary issues like HIV/AIDS and the country's recent trouble with violent xenophobia. Other performances simply displayed South Africa's rich and diverse traditions of song and dance.
The National Arts Festival filled Grahamstown with street performers and vendors, and Neon Tommy reporters fanned out across the city to capture a few slivers of the festival's sights and sounds.
1950's South African Dance Revisited and Revived
By Richie Duchon
Pantsula dance was born in the 1950's in Alexandra, one of South Africa's original townships outside of Johannesburg where non-whites were forcefully resettled under apartheid. The dance was born out of the rapid migration from rural life to the hard conditions of a new dense urban lifestyle and heavily influenced by American gangster films of the 1950's. The dance has been making a resurgence along side the rise of South African hip-hop. Click to see Hip Pantsula Jive
Spotlight Shines on Young Mdantsane Township Dancers
By Shannon Pence
The Kusile Youth Dance Theatre performance in Grahamstown was not just another day on the stage. The teens from Mdantsane township and the Daily Bread Children's Home were performing in front of a national audience for the first time. Mzimasi Dyonana and Phumlani Nyanga, dance instructors from Mdantsane township, taught the kids and prepared them for the festival. performance. Click to see Kusile Youth Dance Theatre
Pewter in the Making
By Lauren Mendoza
Amid the theatrical and musical performances at the arts festival, craft vendors were hard at work making sure their stalls were stocked. One crafter set up a station for people to watch her bend and mold pewter into customized art pieces. Click to see Pewter in the Making