With renewed public outcry about the high rates of femicide, it’s now more important than ever to address the issues facing South Africa’s most vulnerable.
This year’s Artscape Women Humanity Arts Festival hopes to do just that when it brings people of all walks of life together from Wednesday 2 to Saturday 12 August. Now in its 11th year, the festival focuses on humanity, women and disability by not only celebrating the bravest souls of our society, but also addressing the challenges they face.
Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a woman who has made the understanding of humanity her life’s work, will open the festival as guest speaker. The launch in Artscape’s marble foyer will coincide with the opening of a new exhibition by sculptor Evette Weyers; before the opening performance of the Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy’s stage production: Ikhaya.
From Wednesday 2 to Saturday 5 August, Ikhaya, which means home, explores the roles of women at home and in the world, through dance. The production is presented in association with Artscape.
Off stage, the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) will bring respected theologians and faith leaders together on Thursday 3 August for a Conversation about Men of Faith, Violence Against Women and Music which is a partnership with New Birth and on Monday 7 August there will be a Conversation about Women, Religious Marriages and Customs in partnership with Women’s Legal Centre.
The Women's Achievement Network for Disability (WAND) will also be hosting another empowerment workshop with differently abled teenage girls from across the Cape on Friday 4 August.
Cape Town has a scintillating drag tradition that dates back to the Thirties, especially in vibrant District Six. Today the pageants, the parties, the hair dressing salons and the fabulous drag queen shows still flourish across the city. However, it`s often hosted in backwood clubs, catering to a select few who know where to find them. The Absolutely Fabulous Drag Show endeavours to put the crème de la crème of drag on centre stage at the Artscape Theatre Centre.
With fine feathers preened, false eyelashes fluttering and sequins glittering, the fiercely feminine/masculine are gathering to celebrate the world of "lip sync", ambiguous seduction and gender identification. The enigmatic and hilarious Soli Philander delves into his own wardrobe to reveal the rich tapestry of the sometimes outrageous characters from way back when.
Top class, drag divas Vida Fantabisher, SA’s Got Talent 2016 runner-up Manila von Teez, as well as Kat Gilardi, Tiara Skye Harwood and Angel Lalamore of gay cabaret 3D trio fame, will showcase present-day glory. Camillo Lombard maintains a strict tempo while Basil Appollis stiches it all together and cracks the designer whip as director.
Woman Zone is inviting Cape Town’s women to be part of The Everywoman Project by helping to create a textile artwork that will eventually be on display at Artscape. All are welcome, sewers and non-sewers alike are welcome to visit the Chandelier Foyer between 10:00 and 16:00 on Saturday 5 August, to play their part in bringing this exciting collaborative project to life.
Actress Quanita Adams will perform a limited run of Nadia Davids’ acclaimed piece At Her Feet. The production combines movement, song, poetry and monologues to explore issues like Identity, Islamophobia and Islamic Feminism through the eyes of four Muslim women in Cape Town. The piece is widely considered to be one of South Africa's most significant post-apartheid works and its staging from Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 August, will be the first in 13 years.
The Artscape Theatre Complex is set to become a hive of activity on Women’s Day on Wednesday 9 August. SAFFI and Woman Zone will join forces with Artscape at St George’s Cathedral from 09:00 for the annual Women’s Humanity Walk down to the Artscape Theatre Complex, the theme this year is Uniting Cape Town Against Gender Based Violence and as always, all are welcome – women, children and men – to join this iconic Walk. On arrival at Artscape in front of St George’s Cathedral from 09:00 for the annual Humanity Walk down to the Artscape Theatre Complex; where more than 100 stakeholders will be exhibiting their work throughout the day. Woman will also be able to access free health screenings offered by CANSA, legal advice and counselling, offered by the Southern Suburbs Legal Advice Centre (SSLAC).
The Institute for the Advancement of the Disabled will present a fashion show in the Chandelier Foyer from 11:00 to 12:00. Other entertainment for the day will be presented by the Amy Foundation and Cape Cultural Collective on the Piazza.
The New World Foundation will be launching their new book: Women Surviving Lavender Hill from 12:00. Facilitated by Kim Pillay, the book tells the story of seven women from Lavender Hill and how they survived a life of violence and abuse. These stories are written by the women themselves: Valerie Adams, Naema Moses, Margaret Arendse, Mary Bam, Veronica Kroukamp, Sheila Jacobs and Lorna Snyman. Their narratives force a spotlight on the plight of women in a community ridden with crime, addiction and poverty; while also offering them strength and healing.
The Humanity Lunch, sponsored by The Next 48 Hours takes place in the Artscape Tunnel from 12:30, followed by a production by the Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans (Foundation for the Empowerment by Afrikaans): Afrikaans Sing in Vrouestemme. This free concert sponsored by Dagbreek Trust, will feature an all-female cast in celebration of both Women’s Month and the Month of Afrikaans. Audiences can look forward to performances by Karin Kortje and eight vocal groups, including a 120-member mass choir. The show runs from 14:00 to 16:00.
Tickets for the festival’s productions are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695. Discounts are available for students, seniors and block bookings. Visit www.artscape.co.za for more information about the festival, participating organisations and the full festival program.