The spotlight is on all women at Artscape during Women’s Month this August


This year marks the 13th incarnation of the Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival (AWHAF) taking place from July 27 to August 16, 2019. Artscape has fastidiously designed a programme of stage productions, workshops, films, exhibitions, discussions and talks that focus on issues relating to (but not exclusive to) women.  Men, especially younger men, can benefit greatly by attending, contributing to and learning from the inspiring programme.

The programme recognises especially August 9, the historic day in 1956 when more than 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the pass laws and inhumane Apartheid legislation. With this in mind, the ethos for the month is set with a symbolic Humanity Walk to commemorate this historic event. It begins at 8.45am at the Castle of Good Hope.

Scene from the AbFab Drag Show at the Artscape Theatre. Photo by Jeffrey Abrahams

“I cannot be prouder of this year’s all-encompassing programme. The Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival is a dedication to all women – young and old, ordinary and extraordinary – who played (and continue to play) a role in the struggle for equality and liberty,” says Artscape’s CEO, Marlene le Roux. “We must constantly create paths and guide younger women and girls to become role models and icons in all areas. This is a festival not ONLY for women, but for EVERYBODY because Artscape encourages men and boys to attend, to listen, learn and contribute as true empowerment is about dignity and respect. The festival also embraces and celebrates LGBTIQ+ rights as well as people living with disabilities – issues that will always be close to my heart,” she concludes.

The festival begins with a bang on July 27 in the theatre. With feathers preened, eyelashes fluttering and sequins glittering, the fiercely feminine/masculine are gathering to celebrate the world of “lip sync”, the hugely popular Absolutely Fabulously Drag show again takes centre stage for the third year running. The highly celebrated Jazzart Dance Theatre team provides the choreography and the dancers for this event. Camillo Lombard is in the musical director’s chair while Basil Appollis stitches it all together as the director. Tickets cost R150.

This year’s flagship stage production sees inimitable theatre icon, Sandra Prinsloo in Kamphoer. Based on the true story ofSusan Nell, who, during the Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902) was raped and left for dead. In later years her path crosses with that of her rapist and Kamphoer transpires. This year marks the 120th commemorative year of the Anglo-Boer War and this stage production is an adaptation of Francois Smit’s award-winning novel of the same name. It has already won the Jan Rabie Rapport Award, an ATKV Award, and was on the shortlist for the 2018 Sunday Times Literary Awards. Kamphoer, directed by the award-winning Lara Foot, runs in the Artscape Theatre from August 6 to 9. This is one you do not want to miss. Tickets cost R120.

Sandra Prinsloo by Eye Poetry Photography

Another iconic woman on fire, Siphokazi Jonas, directs The Widow, a unique South African story of four women. An adaptation of Dr Nomfundo Mali’s support group reports, The Widowis a series of monologues representing a platform to investigate how widows cope after the loss of their spouses. The monologues aim to create dialogue towards healing and recognising the pain that comes with loss. The Widow runs in the Arena from August 7 to 10. Tickets cost R80.

A scene form THE WIDOW

The Artscape Theatre Complex will be buzzing with activities on actual Women’s Day, August 9, with free interactive entertainment on the piazza and free panel discussions and talks on various issues affecting women in a modern-day South Africa. Most prominent features include the Black, White, Red & Yellow art exhibition, comprising a colourful exploration of the life and times of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, as well as health screenings pertinent to women. Another highlight will be top-selling author Milanie Vosloo’s inspirational talk  which will focus on how women can increase their self-esteem through the belief in God – a topic throughout several of her books. The talk is prior to the opening of Kamphoer on August 7. Artscape’s Resource Centre will be offering arts sector entrepreneurship workshops daily from 8.30am to 4pm from August 12 to 16.

Tickets for the festival’s productions are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695. Discounts are available for students, seniors and for block bookings. Click here for more information about the festival, participating organisations and the full festival programme.

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