South African Cultural Observatory

Industry Highlights

BY 30.03.21

BASA Assembly

BASA, in partnership with the British Council, recently (24- 26 March) hosted an assembly where they discussed a number of issues that affect the creative industries. The programme was explicit that this was not symposium/conference/indaba, but an assembly.   

In line with 2021 being declared the ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’ by the United Nations General Assembly, BASA ASSEMBLY’s objective was to raise awareness, promote cooperation and networking, encourage sharing best practices and experiences, enhance human resource capacity, promote an enabling environment at all levels, as well as tackle the challenges of the current creative economy.

Themed Creativity Now: Cultural intelligence in the time of COVID-19, BASA ASSEMBLY explored what insights cultural intelligence can oer in terms of rebooting the creative economy in South Africa, on the African continent and globally.

It was also intended as a vehicle for showcasing BASA’s research into the South African creative sector with the launch of ArtsTrack No. 9, BASA’s biennial research project tracking consumer engagement within the arts and culture sector.

Recognition of SA’s cultural prowess continues in Coming 2 America

The month of March saw the premiere of the much-talked about Coming 2 America movie sequel on several platforms, including the Amazon Prime streaming service.  The show not only featured the talented Nomzamo Mbatha as one of the key characters in the comedy, but featured designs by two South Africans. The show’s costume designer, Ruth Carter, had also featured designs by Palesa Mokubung and Ladumo Ngxolo of Mantsho and the Maxhosa labels respectively. Despite the challenges that the sector continues to face there is a glimmer of hope when home-produced talent gets recognition from international industry players. The country can be proud of its ability to export and share such talent with the rest of the world.

The Fugard Theatre Shuts Down

On Tuesday, March 16 South Africa bid a permanent farewell to the Fugard Theatre as it announced the permanent shut down. The Fugard Theatre Founder, producer and benefactor Eric Abraham said in a statement that “we are not persuaded that it will be Covid-safe or financially viable to reopen as a theatre in the foreseeable future. The theatre will be handed back to the owner of the freehold of the building – the board of The District 6 Museum – as a working theatre and we hope that they will be able to use it for the benefit of the Museum and the District 6 community”.

The closure is another sad news in what has become a common occurrence for the industry that is being decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The theatre was said to have “symbolised what was possible in South Africa – the return to our roots and the reclamation of our histories”.

The Fugard Theatre was named after Athol Fugard, South Africa’s most significant and internationally acclaimed playwright. For over fifty years he has written soul-searing plays with roles for all South Africans which have moved audiences in South Africa and around the world to laughter and tears as they reflected the racism, barbarity and inhumanity of apartheid.

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