2020 Standard Bank Young Artists

The recipients of the 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards have been announced. They are Jefferson Tshabalala (theatre), Lulu Prudence Mlangeni (dance), Sisonke Xonti (jazz), Nthato Mokgata (music) and Blessing Ngobeni (visual art).

The National Arts Festival established the Young Artist Awards in 1981 to acknowledge emerging young South African artists who demonstrate outstanding artistic talent. This year marks 36 years of Standard Bank’s sponsorship of the awards, with more than 150 alumni who have gone on to make their mark in South Africa and abroad. The following is the welcome address delivered at the announcement of 2020 winners by Nobesuthu Rayi, Executive Producer of the Festival:

‘Board Members, Artistic Committee members, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the media, Arts administrators, Sponsors, Artists, Family and friends Good Evening. I want to thank my predecessor Ashraf Johaardien for passing on the baton to me and having faith in me and being my sounding board. I want to pay tribute to Ismail Mohamed for continuing to play an ambassadorial role for the Festival in a silent manner and for the continued support that he gives me without posting it on social media. I would like to pay tribute to our former CEO, Tony Lancaster whose judgment I don’t trust anymore, choosing to relocate to England, leaving the winning country behind

With that said let me take this opportunity to properly introduce myself, I’m Nobesuthu Rayi, The executive Producer of The National Arts Festival, My home is port Elizabeth, Kwa-magxaki, 8 kilometres from Dispatch where Rassie Erasmus’s home is, 4 kilometres from Zwide where Siya Kolisi’s home is. I work in Makhanda, the home of Charlse Wessels.

From Makhanda I’m 122km away from tsholomnqa in King Williams Town where Maphimpi and Lukhanyo Am where born. I’m still to investigate the clan name of Faf DeKlerk, because watching him from afar, I have a sense that him and I are related somehow. This issue of Clan names can be tricky at times, because I hear that I share the same clan name as Mmusi Maimane’s mother (She is Mamaduna and so am I), making me his aunt. It’s true that we can’t choose our family, just be careful of what you say about my nephew in front of me.
SBYAA is an extraordinary moment in the arts ecosystem which is a chain of connectedness that involves so many talented people and so many stakeholders – like Standard Bank – and one that we as the National Arts Festival both present a platform for and depend on.
The SBYA Awards are a stand out moment – forming an essential part of the puzzle, a part that nourishes and challenges the rest of the artistic environment. As a result, the Awards have become a vital chapter in the creative narrative.
We can certainly look to this moment to hear the heartbeat of our artists and what that heartbeat echoes in all of us … through the work that is produced by the SBYA, we can feel the very fabric of our society moving.
The 2019 SBYA brought a very strong and exciting narrative around African stories, this is a growing thread – but now South Africa’s artists have come to a moment where they have moved into a space of telling their own stories, telling us what they have lived, observed the best way they know how – proudly and beautifully. Our Artistic committee always does a great job in selecting SBYA’s whom as the industry knows the stripes they have earner and the body of work they possess. I want to thank them for their hard work and them helping shape the artistic vision of the Festival.
This is a defining moment for the future, both of our artists and of our country as a whole too. Our NAF is a Premium Arts Festival in South Africa, therefore, it cannot escape the terminology and the spirit of the moment in the country. The country’s president has declared his tenure as the new dawn. I’m not going to bore you with what his new dawn entails, but I will tell you that as the NAF we have our own new dawn, that we are looking at with excitement and great anticipation, The new Artistic Director Rucera Seethal, who will be leading the artistic vision of the Festival together with the rest of the Festival team and the soon to be announced new CEO.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Sponsors, Board members, Artistic Committee members, artists, allow me to deliver to you the 36th edition Standard Bank Young Artists Awards 2020.’
For more information about the Standard Bank Young Artists Awards click HERE (https://sponsorships.standardbank.com/groupsponsorship/arts-&-culture/National-Arts-Festival/Young-Artists-Awards).

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