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​This year’s edition of the highly regarded Arts Alive International Festival ensured that there was something for everyone
The 2012 Joburg Arts Alive International Festival has come to a close, having thrilled and delighted audiences over a two-week programme.
Dubbed the “10 days in September”, Arts Alive showcases some of the best talents in dance, theatre, music and fine arts.

Organised by the City of Joburg and managed by the Community Department’s Directorate of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Arts Alive has become a “must-attend” event enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

“The City of Joburg once again delivered a successful Arts Alive programme. The ‘10 Days in September’ was embraced by communities across the city, with people attending and supporting all the events,” said Alba Letts, Acting Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Theatre-lovers were again spoilt for choice this year, with seven theatre productions forming part of the programme, which saw an exciting combination of emerging and established talent being showcased.

The plays included the iconic Bopha! by Percy Mtwa; Owl starring the talented tenderfoot Briony Horwitz; Hayani by Nat Ramabulana and Athandwa Kani; as well as The Mother of all Eatings, a satirical take on post-colonial corruption directed by Makhaola Ndebele.

Partnering for the first with Arts Alive was the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival, which featured The Youngsters, a refreshingly entertaining series of pocket books featuring prominent South Africans, including Khaya Dlanga, Shaka Sisulu and Nick Rabinowitz.

The literary festival also featured a poetry evening with Breyten Breytenbach, Oswald Mtshali, Rustum Kozain and Dan Wylie, as well as a political satire session chaired by Sandile Memela. Panellists were Zapiro, Glenda Daniels and Sifiso Yalo.

Jazz on the Lake was enjoyed by close on 20 000 people, who flocked to Zoo Lake to listen to local legends and emerging artists such as Lira, Vusi Mahlasela, Thandiswa Mazwai and Maleh.

Jazz fans also enjoyed the Eldo’s Jazz Festival. This township jazz experience was aimed at creating harmony in diversity, giving audiences the opportunity to enjoy international musicians, including the JSL Project, Jordan, Nancy G, ADVAITA from India, Dr Kathy Brown from Jamaica, Blondie & Pappa, The Rockets and Don Laka.

Also taking part, all the way from the East, was the Fujian Marionette Art Troupe in The Charm of Fujian. The all-strings attached performances thrilled audiences young and old with the amazing skills of the puppeteers, the beautifully crafted miniatures and elaborate costumes.

The troupe originates from the City of Quanzhou in China’s south, celebrated as the capital of Chinese puppetry. The art of puppetry in Quanzhou has been handed down through generations for over 2 000 years and is seen as one of China’s “cultural treasures”.

“We keep the traditions of ancient puppetry, but we make it lively for the current market. We perform in both traditional and new plays to meet the tastes of modern audiences,” said Wang Jingxian, Director of the Fujian Quanzhou Marionette Troupe.

The troupe was brought to South Africa by the Cultural Ministry of the People’s Republic of China to showcase China’s “intangible cultural heritage”.
“The 2012 programme ensured that there was something for everyone. Now, the planning starts for the 2013 festival which will also see the celebration of 21 years of the Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival," concluded Letts.

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