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Artscape festival offers creative look at gender

Hate rape and gender equality are to be in the spot light from 8 to 11 August at the sixth Women’s Arts Festival at Artscape in Cape Town.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

20th July 2012 09:26

Alessia Valenza

With the theme, Humanity, this year’s festival consists of theatre productions, exhibitions, workshops and discussions. The Women’s Arts Festival also marks South Africa’s National Women’s Day on 9 August.

A festival highlight is the gender equality panel discussion under the title Masculinity and Sexual Diversity in our Society with prominent speakers and experts. Participants include the Triangle Project, SWEAT, Free Gender and Gender Dynamix.

The Triangle Project is a human rights organisation that aims to build strong local communities of organised Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons.

This discussion will start with a report back and audit by community activist Elna Boesak on the 2011 panel discussion, Women & Justice: Are the Scales Balancing. She has completed research on the progress regarding women’s empowerment in post-apartheid South Africa.

The diverse stage fare highlights women’s and social affairs.

Artscape commissioned, award-winning South African choreographer Mamela Nyamza and British theatre producer Mojisola Adebayo to present ‘I Stand Corrected’. This physical theatre production is a response to homophobia, trans-phobia, corrective rape and murders of particularly black lesbians across South Africa. It weaves physical theatre, dance, music and drama to tell the story of a lesbian who rises after being murdered to seek out her perpetrator.

‘Dance for a Cure’ gathers top South African and international performers to raise funds for an initiative that ensures vaccination for children against a virus that causes cervical cancer, oral cancers and other sexually transmitted diseases. It features Jazzart, La Rosa and Cape Youth Dance Company. Vocal artists are Sibongile Mngoma (South Africa), Fem Belling (Australia), Dominque Paccaut (France) and Charlie Dee (United Kingdom). Directed by choreographer Adele Blank and Musical Director Richard Cock.

‘Die Vagina Monoloë’ offers a platform to women (and men!) to voice their secret and suppressed fears. This production about femininity, penned by Eve Ensler, has been translated into many languages worldwide but this is the first time that it is going to be performed in Afrikaans. Performer includes Antoinette Louw, Lulu Botha and Simone Alexia Biscombe. Nannie Wessels will play the lead role.

‘A Celebration of the Curve of Humanity’ is a jazz concert, which promises to celebrate the essence of being human with a female edge. It gathers original music, unique arrangements of jazz standards and poetry, while paying homage to the human spirit. Musical Director Lee Gelderbloem and artists Amanda Tiffin, Mtika and Bulelwa Basse join Artistic Director Melanie Scholtz.

The Borrowed Angels Healing Initiative (BAHI) will host an inspirational concert fundraiser featuring top local musicians. BAHI provides support to parents who have lost a child though stillbirth or other forms of pregnancy loss.

The ‘I Am Woman – Leap of Faith’ television series on SABC3 will be screened at the Artscape Theatre for the duration of the festival. It comprises 24-minute episodes and explores defining moments in women’s lives. This series shares a reflection of the deepest humanity in an effort to touch, inspire and uplift.

Cape Town-based photographer Eric Miller shows an exhibition titled ‘The Nevergiveups’. It celebrates the lives of a group of extraordinary Khayelitsha grandmothers. This exhibition runs from 1 to 31 August.

Award-winning journalist Riette Rust will talk about her first short story collection, ‘n Lyf onthou, at the festival. Her writing investigates the female psyche. She delves into the female body as a sexual instrument, vulnerable to terminal illness, alcoholism, degradation, abuse, molestation and harassment. It varies from being shocking to sad and funny.

A range of gender-related stakeholders and NGOs will exhibit information about their services in the Artscape foyers. These include the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, the first multi-disciplinary service (one-stop) centre for abused women and children in South Africa, as well as Pink Drive with its motto ‘Early Detection Saves Lives’. CANSA will host a stand focusing on Women’s Health. The New Women’s Movement (NWM) supports women with issues on child support grant, poverty and violence against women. The Women’s Legal Centre will also be present.

The annual WHEAT Trust awards takes place on 10 August and is by invitation only. The WHEAT Trust Girl Talk Workshop is scheduled for August 11 at 12:00 noon and it will explore questions about sex, drugs, peer pressure and socio-economic challenges.

For more information about this year’s festival check visit Tickets are available at Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695.

Media enquiries: Candice Jansen on 076 958 9593 or e-mail: