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Arts Aweh! youth development at Infecting the City 2014

The Arts Aweh! programme is a youth development initiative of Infecting The City (ITC), co-funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and Santam. The programme exposes learners from diverse Cape Town high schools to the arts as a form of social activism. Presented by the Africa Centre and its generous partners, the Arts Aweh! programme offers around 450 grade 10 – 12 learners from 13 schools the opportunity to engage with professional artist-guides and experience the Festival from the perspective of their own creativity.

The 2014 Arts Aweh! has added an Ambassadors programme (AAA) that involves 20 specially selected learners from Pinelands High, Phandulwazi High and Cedar High. The Ambassadors programme kicks off on 15 February (prior to the ITC Festival) via a series of workshops and site visits. The ambassadors will research public spaces, host community dialogues and learn about the technical aspects of production as preparation for their artistic interventions.

Aside from attending the Festival the Arts Aweh! schools programme participants will produce a mass event on the Closing Day of the Festival (15 March) – for the first time, Arts Aweh! will also network with Cape Town-based youth organisations to present two site-specific art works in the Philippi and Fractreton communities on 29th March, post the Festival as a culmination of the Ambassadors’ training.

Malika Ndlovu, Arts Aweh! Programme Manager said: “Each year it is a great joy to interact with our local youth’s enthusiasm and curiosity about the artistic buzz that ITC manifests in the city. They are eager to learn from our Arts Aweh! artist-guides and workshop facilitators who are role models of how a career in the arts is a feasible and courageous pursuit, amidst a variety of challenges. They   gain direct creative stimulation from what all the Festival artists accomplish in exposing the power and beauty of the arts.  Learners’ and their accompanying educators’ feedback over the last three years tells us that they are hungry for more, not only during this annual event, but as part of their school curriculum. This year through the Arts Aweh! Ambassadors Programme we aim to expand their understanding of how the arts are a resource that can be accessed and applied in their own communities and school environment, leaving an artistic and uplifting imprint specifically on disadvantaged community landscapes outside of the CBD Festival radius. “

Tersia Mdunge, Corporate Social Investment manager at Santam, says they are thrilled to be involved with the Arts Aweh! programme. “One of the pillars of our CSI strategy addresses the provision of extra mural activities to engage school children, primarily through the extension of our child art programme.

“By enabling learners, who would not necessarily be exposed to an arts festival, the opportunity to experience Infecting the City, we are hoping to stimulate and inspire them and also awaken their love of art,” says Tersia.

“The National Lotteries Board is committed to be a catalyst for social upliftment and to achieve this we continue to support projects that will give the youth opportunities to develop to be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Prof Nevhutanda, NLB Chairperson. “Through participation in the National Lottery, the people of South Africa contribute to the projects we fund”.

Tanner Methvin, Director of Africa Centre says, “Over the last several years Art Aweh! has provided 1000’s of learners the opportunity to have a guided experience of Infecting The City.  What is significant about this programme is how it facilitates these learners to make sense of the artwork they experience, understand the range of artistic professions that are available to them and hopefully understand their city and themselves in a different way.”

Both the Arts Aweh! schools and ambassadors programme alike, aim to connect a concentrated group of youth across socio-economic and cultural divides in the city, cultivating these young “arts activists” to see their potential as creative minds. They get to experience how they can make an impact on the physical and social environments they inhabit, as well as ones they may have never navigated before. The goal is to expand arts education reach and exposure, grow audiences and appreciation for the arts and celebrate our wealth of talent.


Arts Aweh! is sponsored by:

  • Santam
  • Zubeida Shaik


The Africa Centre is proud to announce this year’s programme for Infecting The City, its free, annual public arts festival.  This is the seventh year the Festival is taking place and it features larger and more authoritative works than ever before.

The Festival runs from 10 -15 March and will showcase an increased number of international and local collaborative works, along with a diversity of entertaining, engaging and thought provoking pieces encompassing performance art, dance, music, visual art, and other forms beyond conventional categories.

2014 is a significant year for Cape Town as it celebrates both 20 Years of Democracy and Freedom and being World Design Capital 2014.  In recognition of this, Infecting The City, will be marking the year with its most ambitious Festival to date.

Jay Pather, curator for the third year in a row says: “Between 2008 and 2013 Infecting The City grew from just over 10 artworks to 54 artworks and performances.  This year the programme comprises around 40 works with more large scale, substantial works. Again, the productions range from the popular and entertaining to the conceptual and thought provoking. This year there are also many works of authority to mark the political and social importance of 2014 for all South Africans.”

Audiences can expect a mix of works across all artistic disciplines, some of which include:

An interactive dance and video collaboration by Mocke J Van Veuren and Nelisiwe Xaba called ‘Uncles & Angels’;

Neo Muyanga’s Thoriso le Morusu inspired by, and based on, Antjie Krog’s poem Country of Grief and Grace.

Using candles, Pedro Bustamante gives visibility to accumulation and the political subjectivity of maps. In The Accumulation is Primitive: he creates a raised-relief map representing the Gross Domestic Product data of various countries.

Swiss performance company DA MOTUS! presents their very successful public art work Con Tatto, an interactive performance spread over Thibault Square.

Interesting juxtapositions abound with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra on Greenmarket Square followed by an intervention by conceptual artist Christian Nerf, a provocative video work about Surveillance by Berlin based artist, Alien Oosting followed by intimate performances staged along Queen Victoria Road by several choreographers including Mamela Nyamza and Sean Oelf.

Another such juxtaposition involves a 60-strong Youth Orchestra playing for 30 Pantsula dancers directed by Mandisi Sindo.

A coup for the Festival is Untitled 310″ a music work by Spanish composer Francisco Lopez, performed by six blindfolded musicians and performed at the historic Centre for the Book and the Forgotten Angle Dance Theatre Collaborative’s Back which will be performed in the Whale Well at the Iziko South African Museum.

Sensorial experiences of the city abound: Tammy Frazers’ Smellscapes will see the fountains on St George’s Mall imbued with haunting scents each day of the Festival; a sound installation by Graham Lees in the city centre and 50 000 red rose petals used to create a sacred pathway at the Station by New York artist Kate Urban. Kira Kemper’s Wall-Hug presents a series of interactive performances, where members of the public get offered kind words and are embraced by the architecture of the CBD.

Brian Lobel from London brings two highly provocative works Carpe Minuta Prima and Purge. Purge questions the value of Facebook friends and will involve the audience in determining whether friends on the Facebook account of a performer are worth keeping or not depending on the performer’s real life rationale. The performer then deletes or keeps these friends depending on the audience vote.

A variety of dance companies and dance styles come together in a composite work performed to the stirring composition by Maurice Ravel, a feast of over 60 performers adoring the Foreshore.

The works will be spread throughout the public spaces of Cape Town and designed to encourage audiences to discover, define and experience the City’s private and public environments.

Tanner Methvin, Executive Director of the Africa Centre says: “Infecting The City allows us to create an alternative to daily life in Cape Town. It puts new ideas out in the open. Freely accessible to anyone who is interested.  It makes beauty and wonderment as common as shop fronts. And it gives proof to the idea that we all can decide for ourselves what is possible and what reality we want to create.”

Says Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing: “The City of Cape Town is thrilled to host the seventh edition of Infecting The City. The festival will once again bring Cape Town’s public spaces to life with a variety of acts, installations and imaginative artworks. This year’s festival is expected to be bigger and bolder than before and comes at a time when Cape Town celebrates its status as the World Design Capital 2014. A unique component of this festival is the audience participation, which allows residents to get involved in, and even influence, performances and designs. The event is an opportunity for citizens to showcase their creative brilliance.”

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) is a primary sponsor. Says Moleleki Ledimo, Arts and Youth Development: “The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), through its Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy, is committed to supporting the development of Public Art. This it is doing in collaboration with others, as is one of the principles of the MGE strategy of building up and upscaling existing initiatives in the creative sector.

The Cape Town Infecting The City Public Arts Festival, offers opportunities for these collaborations.  The DAC further regards the Cape Town Infecting The City Public Arts Festival as one of the milestones to mark the celebrations of 20 Years of Democracy and Freedom. It offers artists the ability to self-express which is also vital in the promotion of youth participation and engagement.

The Cape Town Infecting the City Public Arts Festival will stimulate local economy, it will contribute to the growth of creative industries, whilst bringing Cape Town alive to its own people. Through its diverse arts offerings, it creates opportunity for all to experience and enjoy the arts freely and without ‘boundaries and formalities’. It gives the public new tools of looking, challenges them and engages them. This is significant in celebrating the 20 Years of Democracy and Freedom, through South Africa’s arts and cultural diversity. It remains one of the relevant events on the creative arts sector and tourists calendar”.

The National Lotteries Board is proud to be the principal funder of the Infecting The City Festival. “Like the NLB, the Africa Centre aims to be a catalyst for social change. We are always excited to see projects that incorporate a range of artistic disciplines and provide a space for artists in our country. It is through projects like this that we can achieve the mandate given to us by Government”,  says Professor Alfred Nevhutanda, NLB Chairperson.

The programme will have day and evening components over the course of the Festival week. The daytime programmes includes both designated routes that feature larger scale works that audiences can follow from one to the next and non-route based work that is both scheduled or simply must be stumbled upon.

The evening programme will only be route based. The full programme is available on

The Festival Hub is situated at 6 Spin Street, Cape Town where copies of the programme and other information will be available throughout the Festival period.

As part of the Infecting The City youth development programme, Arts Aweh! 400 high school scholars from across greater Cape Town will be transported to the City Centre to engage and interact with the Festival and its artists.

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