Celebrating the Human Treasures in Sophiatown, Johannesburg

“Celebrating Human Treasures by Asserting our African Identity” was the theme of Heritage Month 2016, celebrated in Sophiatown, Gauteng

September 15th, 2016
Dimitra Giannou, CD News

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Mathi Mthethwa, hosted this celebration of local heritage at the Trevor Huddleston Center in Sophiatown, an area of both cultural and historical significance.

Living Human Treasures, the guardians of cultural heritage, were the main characters of this year's celebration. Partly as a result of the principal role played by Sophiatown during apartheid in South Africa, the town was chosen as the location for the celebration. Sophiatown was formerly known as Sof'town or Kofifi, also as Triompf during apartheid, before the original name of Sophiatown was reinstated in 2006.

In Sophiatown the South African Jazz movement has grown through the Jazz Epistles: Hugh Masekela, Kippie Moeketsi, Johhny Gertze, with a number of female artists, such as Miriam Makeka and Dolly Rathebe, also playing a key role in this movement.

Can Themba, a well-known writer in Sophiatown, turned his house into a ''House of Truth''. This is a place of intellectual ideas, thoughts and discussions. Other remarkable personalities that shared their story in Sophiatown include Bloke Modinase, Don Mattera and Lewis Nikosi.

Minister Mthewa, in his speech during the celebration, stated: “We need to continue to embrace and celebrate our African identity in its entirety. In the clothing that we dress, in the cuisine that we eat, in the hairstyles we adorn ourselves with, in the languages we speak in our daily lives, in our idiomatic expressions and in the content of our conversations, in our embrace of Ubuntu, in the plans and dreams we have for this country together, in the multilateralism that we hold dear in our global relations, we are African and we proudly assert our African identity,"

The Human Treasures and living legends are men and women from our society who have provided charismatic leadership and used technology and creativity to improve the lives of ordinary people.

This month the Department of Arts and Culture will host the following activities:

1) National Book Week, 05 -11 September - Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg & all provinces

2) Living Legends Master Classes programme:

Madosini, 07 September: Indigenous Music contribution to the cultural, identity landscape, celebrating the art of indigenous wisdom, Lookout Hill, Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dorothy Masuku, Abigail Kubheka, 8 September: The heritage of South African Music in the world stage, Joburg Theatre

Nomhle Nkonyeni, Winston Ntshona, 15 September: Theatre and TV, celebrating the role of community and industrial theatre in the South Africa's liberation, New Brighton, PE, Alice East London, Fort Hare (venue to be confirmed)

Des Lindberg, Dawn Lindberg, 16 September: Celebrating sustainable contribution to the Theatre standards in SA Lecture, Pretoria University, Masker Theatre.

Dr Peter Magubane, 22 September: Narrative through the lens Colloquium, celebrating photography in conveying SA's story to the world, (VenueTBC).

James Mathews, Gladys Thomas, 23 September: Poetry Explosion, celebrating SA's liberation through poetry, Delft Community Art Centre, Cape Town.

Sanza Loate, Johny Mokea, Barney Rachabane, Stompie Manana, 26-27 September: Voice, Brass Brand and Trumpet Clinic Masterclass, Gauteng Music Academy, Benoni

Welcome Msomi, 29-30 September: Decolonizing Shakespeare, Contestations and re-imaginings for a post-liberation South Africa, UKZN Drama Department.

3) CD Launch, Swibi Swa Ndhuma Music Development Academy, 03 September -Malamulele, Limpopo

4) Moretele Festival, 3 September -Moretele Park, Pretoria

5) Opening of Rocks & Roses play, 06 September - Soweto Theatre, JHB

6) Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition, 07 -10 September - ABC Auckland Park, Johannesburg

7) Fourth Royal Heritage Festival, 07-10 September, Royal Gardens, Nandoni Dam - Venda

8) Pondo Culture and Heritage Festival, 09 -10 September - Ntabankulu, EC

9) Joy of Jazz Festival, 15 - 17 September- Sandton, JHB

10) Unveiling of the tombstone of Chief Tyali, as part of the centenary commemorations of the University of Fort Hare, 16 September - Alice, EC

11) Minister's Sectoral consultation on social cohesion & nation building

Private sector, 26 September - Midrand, Gauteng

Media, Academia 7 Intelligentsia, 30 September - Sandton, JHB

Consultations and sectoral interventions on Social Cohesion, Nation Building and Anti-racism take place in the latter part of September with focuses on the business sector as well as academics, intellectuals and media. These summits will continue throughout October.

12) International Translation Day Workshop, 30 September – Pretoria


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