All hail the National Arts Festival

The National Arts Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has always been a crucial platform for cultural expression and political contestation, even at the height of apartheid repression

16 June 2024 - 08:24 By Sibusiso Mkwanazi

Half a century ago on July 8, a handful of creatives, technical crews and entertainment devotees gathered in the town that was then called Grahamstown for the first National Arts Festival (NAF). Little did they know that they were launching what would become the country’s longest-running and most diverse arts festival, and one that would have an impact on almost all areas of South African life, from politics, grassroots development and women’s empowerment to technological innovation and, ultimately, the global arts and culture industry...

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