Cape Town Arts Festival returns in 2023

The Cape Town Arts Festival, formerly the Cape Town Festival (CTAF), is back and all set to celebrate the dynamic fusion between arts, culture, and community with showstopping talent, taking place on 9-10 December 2023 against the backdrop of the Castle of Good Hope, a historical gem nestled in the heart of the Mother City.

This two-day creative immersion promises a mix of artistic expressions, community engagement, with a strong focus on wellness. Festivalgoers can expect an exciting lineup of activities, including live music performances, poetry readings, engaging storytelling, the art of wellness (featuring Zumba, yoga, Tai Chi), live painting, art exhibitions, visual art installations, workshops, sculpting, food markets, and a Cape craft exhibition – all of which is designed to be good for the soul.

“The Cape Town Arts Festival stands as a testament to Community Arts for Community Wellbeing, with a mission to upskill, nurture and spotlight community artists within their own neighbourhoods, and recognize their exceptional contributions by showcasing them on the main festival stage – a meeting ground for emerging and established artists.”, said Yusuf Ganief, artivist and festival CEO.

What to expect

The first of many musical acts set to appear at the event is Dee Koala. The South African hip-hop sensation will perform on the main stage on 10 December. Other artists include Afro Suns Marimba Band and Imad, with many more to be announced.

Dee Koala. Image supplied
Dee Koala. Image supplied

World-renowned storyteller, Fatime Dike, will be presenting a captivating and historic narrative about the rich history of the Castle of Good Hope in a sensational narrated parade, adding depth and context to this iconic venue and the event.

In the week leading up to the festival, a visual art exhibition will showcase the works of 17 talented artists including Dr Professor Zanele Muholi, internationally celebrated South African photographer and visual activist. The exhibition comprises ceramics, visual arts, photography, sculptures, and a captivating live art installation.

Additionally, the festival will feature an interactive poetry masterclass by the esteemed Bulelwa Basse. Basse is founder of the Lyrical Base Project, an arts and culture organisation which seeks to elevate the profiles of writers from marginalised communities through community-publishing projects and performance poetry. The masterclass is open to the public but with limited seating so early arrival is encouraged.

SHiNE: Social Harmony through National Effort

The festival's theme for 2023 aligns with a national initiative of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) entitled “SHiNE” (Social Harmony through National Effort). SHiNE aims to foster social harmony through effort, personal initiative, and positive dialogue, echoing the festival's commitment to community well-being.

"Our partnership with the Cape Town Arts Festival is driven by our deep conviction in the festival's mission to enhance community well-being. This collaboration symbolizes our joint commitment to fostering a more inclusive and harmonious society. By joining forces with the Cape Town Arts Festival to amplify the 'SHiNE' message, we embark on a mission to inspire personal initiative, encourage dialogue, and collectively paint a brighter future for all," commented commissioner Fatima Chohan, deputy chairperson of the SAHRC.

The Cape Town Arts Festival extends beyond the main event with a series of innovative programmes that span three months. These initiatives, such as Artists for Artists, Beyond Busking, and the Phillipi PESP Project, are designed to upskill community artists, align their training with the digital age, create job opportunities, and ensure the sustainable promotion of artists.

The Cape Town Arts Festival is made possible through the generous support of its sponsors, including the Department of Sports Arts and Culture, Ariva Arts Foundation NPC, the Western Cape Government, the Castle of Good Hope, and the City of Cape Town.

Entrance to The Cape Town Arts Festival is free.

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