Sophiatown chic: The ACT Awards to revisit SA’s golden era


The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) will revisit the epicentre of 1940s and 50s South African jazz and blues culture at their 19th annual ACT Awards. The Sophiatown-themed affair will honour cultural icons and newcomers while delighting guests with stellar entertainment.

The ACT Awards, which will be held on October 21 at Sun International’s The Maslow Hotel in Sandton, will bestow Lifetime Achievement Awards on six of the country’s arts and culture stalwarts, while also naming five rising stars 2016’s ImpACT Award winners.

“We believe ‘remembering Sophiatown’ is a fitting backdrop to our celebration given the current winds of change blowing through our streets and moving our communities,” says Anastasia Pather, the awards project manager.

The evening will blend the past and the present with a strong female force. Live performances by the grande dame of jazz, Sibongile Khumalo will be juxtaposed with the sharp wit of the night’s hosts, all female satirical group, Thenx.

While Khumalo’s unmistakable voice will help transports guests back to Msanzi’s golden era, wry humour from Thenx will offer clever commentary on the current state of the country.

“Hosting the Awards is an honour and we are very excited,” say the ladies from Thenx. “We think the line-up is very fitting of the theme, and it’s going to be interesting to experience the mix between us as young artists and the legendary mama Sibongile Khumalo.”

This year, the ImpACT Awards will honour young creatives in five categories -visual art, music, theatre, dance and design.

All 15 finalists have achieved remarkable things in the first five years of their careers, and were brought forward by a public nomination platform. The judges – beneficiary relations manager for the National Lotteries Commission, Sershan Naidoo; ACT chairperson, Melissa Goba, Dance Umbrella director, Georgina Thomson, actress, playwright and voice coach, Motshabi Tyelele and award-winning pianist and educator, Andre Petersen- have an arduous task ahead of them.

ACT’s sojourn back to Sophiatown will also recognise six Lifetime Achievement Award winners in visual art, theatre, dance, music, literature and arts advocacy.

“We look forward to celebrating the winners’ lifelong contributions to our heritage,” says Pather. “Each of them have physically affected South Africa’s future and can certainly be heralded as icons of our time.”

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