Wushwini Arts, Culture and Heritage Centre’s 4th Annual Festival runs from 28 September to 1 October 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Wushwini Pan African Centre will host a four-day arts festival titled Botho Pan African Arts Festival from 28 September to 1 October 2017 at Wushwini, overlooking the scenic Inanda Dam in the Valley of 1000 Hills in KwaZulu-Natal.

A packed weekend program includes drama productions; conversations and panel discussions; storytelling; craft exhibitions; dance; music; poetry; culinary; film; sound experimentation; CD launches; and workshops.

The festival provides the opportunity to re-launch the much-loved and busy Arts Centre to include its pan-African context during a ceremony on Thursday 28 September 2017. Both the Centre and the festival will be launched by the former African Union Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The evening ceremony includes a host of drummers from many nations literally drumming in the new chapter for the Arts Centre.

“We warmly welcome all our guests to this, our fourth annual festival in which we salute South Africa’s 23 Years of Democracy and the Year of OR Tambo Celebration. Without Our Heritage, Our Culture, Our Roots, Our History, we are a lost nation. Botho is a Sotho word meaning ubuntu. Non-practice of ubuntu, which is what defines us as Africans, leaves us as soulless humans, hence we stage Botho by beating the drums to revive ubuntu bethu as Africans (Our Humanity),” explains founder Jerry Pooe.

Botho Pan African Arts Festival umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu features a vibrant program of acts by a strong line-up of groups, artists and companies from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Swaziland, USA, Congo, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, North West, Burundi, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

16 theatre productions will be staged over the festival weekend: Nomalizo the Brave, written and directed by Bonginkosi Shangase which premiered in Grahamstown Arts Festival; Emmanuel, written by Nkululeko Mzinyane and Mluleki and directed by Nkululeko Mzinyane; Daffi Falls, written and directed by Musawenkosi Shabalala and Bongumusa Shabalala, about life and times of Muammar Gaddaffi; AFDA’s Othello; Umabatha written by Welcome Msomi and directed by Siza Mthembu; DUT’s The Zulu Macbeth; Between Brothers, a “poor theatre” inspired production about three brothers wrongfully accused of raping a three-month-old baby; Roots of All Evil, written and directed by Xolani Dlongolo, about money; Two Dead Government Officials, by Bongani Baai; Sins Of A Man, by Thapelo Motloung (Gauteng); Peace Magents, by Linda Masondo; Robin’s Tale, written and directed by Anele Nene; Distant Silence, inspired by Mia Couto’s Sleep Walking Land, directed by Tsieng Mokgoro; I Have To Go Back, a powerful collaboration from three countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique; a production from Botswana; and TAU, a winner of Market Theatre Festival Naledi Theatre Awards (2017).

Offering food for thought and to share some inspiration there will be a workshop: The Magic of Lights and Sound in a Production by Peter Mokgosi as well as three panel discussions: Keeping our industry alive through Festivals; Women Powerhouse: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in the Arts; and What Contribution Can Arts Culture And Heritage Give In The Journey Of Africa 2063 Vision.

An interesting feature will be the discussion, Conversation and Sound Experiment, featuring Peru/Johannesburg Composer, Joao Orecchia with the internationally acclaimed KZN-born composer, cellist, and academic, Dr. Thokozani Mhlambi.

Carrying the dance flag will be Nelly Rashualang from Siwela Sonke in Durban and Reggie Denster from East London.

Film screenings will be on offer from AFDA: Amandiya by Liana Hassim; Mandlakhe by Charles Matthews; Dear Swanky Frank by Michael Struwig, and Homeless by Nathan Rice.

The spoken word will be celebrated in a Poetry Power Hour and music in the form of concerts featuring Zuloe Blue, AFDA singers, and Hlengiwe Pearl.

The concert culminates on with a full day’s music and picnic at Kwangcolosi, Inanda Dam on Sunday 1 October from 11am until 7pm offering a feast of African sounds from the continent fused with food and African crafts.

African cuisine will be available, prepared by Zambian Chef Pasco Mulenga, who will be showcasing different meals from various African countries and Chef Nonjabulo Khoza, will be specializing in South African cuisine, from bunny chow, breyani, braai-vleis, amadumbe, ubhatata, umgxabiso, and dumplings.

Crafters will be from different cultures showcasing the unique diverse artifacts as well as visual artists will be displaying and selling their works.

The audiences will experience diverse cultures at their best celebrating our golden vision of building one continent through Africa 2063 Journey with a hot lineup that caters for different sounds of jazz, gospel, kwaito, soul, and more featuring musicians from different countries: Brodas (Nigeria); Afro Soul (SA); Madala Kunene (SA); Mbuso Khoza (SA); René Tshiakanyi (Congo); Graphity and Meez (Ghana); OZ (SA and Tanzania); Jimmy Rama (Kenya); Sheilla; Dawn King (SA); Amavukayibambe (SA); Amachube Amahle (SA); Ngcolosi Home Boys; Ngcolosi Gospel; Big Nhlo; Three 5 Crew; Sikhuzeni Arts Production.

Botho Pan African Arts Festival tickets are R20 per show. The music concert tickets will be R50.  Tickets will be available at Computicket and at the gate. Tickets can be booked in advance through Mr. Phila Majola at 072 520 5093 or e-mail him at phila@wushwini.co.za.

“We, the organisers are sincerely grateful to Ethekwini Municipality, Lotteries Commission of South Africa; KZN Department of Arts and Culture; and various educational institutions, for supporting the festival, not forgetting all the participants who believe in the vision of this festival, and all Wushwini and Eager Artists staff for the hard work in ensuring the success of this festival. We invite you to participate and to enjoy the rare experience in our Kingdom,” concludes Pooe.

Interviews and photos available on request.

Features / Q&As can be easily facilitated.

Media inquiries to llla Thompson, Publicity Matters: 031 201 1638 / 083 326 3234 / illa@pubmat.co.za

This post originally appeared on Artslink on September 15 2017 and has been reposted with permission.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.