Former Festival CEO Yusuf Ganief, who is returning as executive chairperson, said the revival of the ailing Cape Town Festival is to support artists battling to survive under the economic pressures caused by Covid-19. Picture: Supplied
Former Festival CEO Yusuf Ganief, who is returning as executive chairperson, said the revival of the ailing Cape Town Festival is to support artists battling to survive under the economic pressures caused by Covid-19. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town Festival making a comeback after joining hands with the Artscape Theatre

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Nov 12, 2021

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Cape Town - The colourful Cape Town Festival, which had a hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to return and join hands with Artscape to help struggling artists.

Former Festival CEO Yusuf Ganief, who is returning as executive chairperson, said the revival of the ailing Cape Town Festival is to support artists battling to survive under the economic pressures caused by Covid-19.

“A recent survey conducted in 2020 by IKS (indigenous knowledge systems) and arts organisation Samro, revealed the shocking figures that nearly 50% of artists have given up their careers and 40% have sold their musical instruments to survive.

“Having been a musician myself for 13 years, I understand the plight of artists and would like to use my experience as an arts administrator to develop sustainable projects to assist both established and emerging artists,” Ganief said.

Ganief and Marlene le Roux, the CEO of Artscape, see the value of supporting and nurturing emerging artists in a sustainable way.

With the impact of Covid-19 and the forced global trend towards online events, the Cape Town Festival has developed a unique project, aptly titled the “Growing Artists Project”.

“The rapid expansion of the arts industry towards online events and the opportunities for artists to promote themselves to a global audience, guided us to develop a concept that combines high quality audio and video recording and streaming for all our events, thus providing the participating artists with international standard promotional material.

“We have outsourced the project management to Rootspring NPC, a BEE-compliant non-profit company, which provides us with the expertise and equipment to produce professional events and HD quality videos for artists at a fraction of market-related costs.

“Their Karoo Project, featuring well known artists such as Zolani Mahola, Jitsvinger and Native Young, was showcased at the Basa Awards and is being streamed by KKNK through the Absa portal.”

Le Roux said when the pandemic and concomitant lockdown regulations hit the arts industry in particular, Artscape put together a team to research the best ways in which to approach the “new normal” with respect to its programmes, inclusive of assisting producers and partners.

“This required a holistic approach as to respond positively and equitably to the needs of producers and theatre makers.

“During most of 2020, the cultural institution could not roll out all our programmes as per pre-Covid-19. We therefore had to put our heads firmly together to see what would best serve the largest possible theatre community,” she said.

“The arts is the voice of our collective conscience and the Sounds of Change concert echoes the challenges women face. The songs are intentionally centred around these issues with tones of empowerment, a call to action and a plea directed towards humanity to end cycles of silence.

“We invite art lovers to support the first concert of the Growing Arts Project and look forward to seeing you online on November 15,” Le Roux said.

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