The theme for this year’s Artscape Women’s Humanity Festival, to be held during Women’s Month in August, is Milestones: Celebrating, Supporting, Empowering Women of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Three icons will be celebrated as symbols of courage and strength: the late Cissie Gool, first black female advocate admitted to the Cape Bar; Fatima Dike, well-known playwright from Langa and the first black South African woman to have a play published and performed; and storyteller and author, Sindiwe Magona on her 80th birthday, with two books recently published in her honour.
The Artscape Women’s Humanity Festival, hosted in association with Woman Zone and the Suidoosterfees, also embraces the LGBTQ A+ community. “AbFab” (Absolutely Fabulous) stories, for instance, are about embracing yourself as a human being. The festival especially embraces people living with disabilities who are so often “invisible”, “because their lives matter too”, says Marlene le Roux, CEO of Artscape.
The highlight of the festival is the Women’s Humanity Walk on national Women’s Day, Wednesday August 9. This year the route does a circuit around the Foreshore precinct, starting and finishing on the Artscape piazza and symbolising women’s role in demanding peace and justice. Everyone – women, men and children, all faiths and cultures – are invited to make a bold statement by bringing banners of their organisations and wearing the clothes of their professions.
There will be a special concert on the day by hip-hop star, Dope Saint Jude. Born in Elsies River as Catherine Saint Jude Pretorius, she began her career as a drag king, soon moving to producing and performing her own music which she describes as a soundtrack for feminist inclusivity, acceptance and empowerment. She has also been noted for bringing a “queer” edge to the South African hip-hop scene.
The festival also remembers iconic women who passed on in the last year: Gloria Bosman, Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni, struggle activist Blanche la Guma and Kimendri Pillay, senior manager at the New World Foundation, a long-standing stakeholder of the festival, and well-known poet, Primose Mrwebi.
Special tribute will be paid to the all-women hip-hop group, Godessa, who painted a portrait of their experiences as coloured women living in the Western Cape, and the late Jo-Ann Petersen, a former Artscape colleague who helped introduce the hip-hop genre at the theatre.
This year’s Artscape Women’s Humanity Festival programme includes:
Tuesday August 1: Exhibition in the Artscape Marble Foyer including Karen Bester’s digital She Had a Name.
Thursday August 3 and Saturday August 5: Drama My Kroon se Krank by Veronique Jephtas and Lynthia Julius.
Saturday August 5: Interview and interaction celebrating veteran playwright Fatima Dike.
Sunday August 6: Knit and Natter – Stitch-Along, in aid of NOAH Homes for the elderly. Donations of wool or scarves are welcome.
Tuesday August 8: 1000 Women celebrating 20 years, with music by Women Unite Marimba Band.
Women’s Day, Wednesday August 9: Stalls; interfaith prayer by faith leaders, music by the Cape Whalers Field Band; opening address by Marlene le Roux and Judge Rehana Parker; Women’s Humanity Walk with poetry performance by Elzana October, Diana Ferrus and Lebo Mashifane; performances by Jazzart, Cape Town City Ballet, South Roots International and ZipZap Circus, and a special concert by the internationally acclaimed hip-hop star, Dope Saint Jude. FMR radio will broadcast a special hour-long Women’s Show produced and presented by Woman Zone.
Wednesday August 9 and Friday August 11: Do Not Fear The Past: A Mother’s Words, commemorating 30 years since the murder of Amy Biehl, will also be staged in the Artscape Arena.
Saturday August 12: Book launch of W is for Witness by Karen Lazar. Meeting of The Story Club presented by Balisa Nathi.
SaturdayAugust 26: Launch of two books recently released in honour of Sindiwe Magona marking her 80 years: I Write The Yawning Void and Sindiwe’s Gift. A presentation by I see U young women’s mentoring programme.
Sunday August 27: FMR concert at Guga S’thebe in Langa
For more information, visit www.artscape.co.za