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2016 ImpACT Awards Judges Announced

An esteemed panel of judges have been confirmed to single out the winners for the 2016 ImpACT Awards, to be held in Johannesburg in the last quarter of the year. Held annually, the Awards recognise and celebrate excellence within the arts, culture and creative sectors in South Africa.

Sitting on the judging panel this year are Beneficiary Relations Manager for the National Lotteries Commission, Sershan Naidoo; ACT chairperson, Melissa Goba; Dance Umbrella Director, Georgina Thomson; actress, playwright and voice coach, Motshabi Tyele; and award-winning pianist and educator, Andre Petersen.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be announcing this year’s panel comprising some of the key role players in the arts and culture industry in South Africa. The panel, without a doubt, possesses the experience and knowledge to identify the very best of young emerging professional artists. We extend a heartfelt word of thanks for their willingness to take on this challenging task,” – Pieter Jacobs, CEO of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT).

The 2016 ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals, sponsored by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and the Distell Foundation in partnership with Sun International will present a total of five ImpACT Awards to honour young professional artists.

Since the inclusion to the ACT Awards in 2010, the ImpACT Awards continue to highlight the work of developing artists. The Awards recognise the growing impact these artists’ voices have already added, and the potential of where they can continue to mature and contribute to South African art. The Awards have gained national acclaim and exposure throughout the industry, and are a platform for young professionals to be identified by their peers as respected contributors. The ImpACT Awards are presented to individuals not older than 30 years old, working in South Africa for no more than five years.

Sershan Naidoo believes the name of the Awards says it all; “The name ImpACT emphasises that artists can be role models to others in their industry.” He goes on to commend the Awards for what they do for the industry; “The Awards will bring talented young artists, not only the winners, to the fore, and showcase talent that needs nurturing and talent that will change the landscape of the arts in South Africa.”

The six judges will select winners in the categories of Visual Art, Theatre, Music & Singing, Design and Dance. The winners in each category will receive a cash prize of R10 000 and additional PR opportunities that will be generated through the ImpACT Awards.

Georgina Thomson says, when judging, she will be looking beyond the performance or creation of the finalists’ work. She says she’ll be asking herself; “does it cause debate; does it garner further interest in what they do and does it set the standard that artists need to achieve?”

Naidoo says he’ll be on the lookout for “committed young artists who are discovering and developing innovative pathways to strengthen their careers in the arts and who are able to navigate through a complex arts and cultural terrain”.

“Local is lekker,” says Naidoo, “I’m interested in artists who don’t have to go to Jozi, iKapa or Durban to make good art, but who are able to strengthen the cultural industries in their own localities.”

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award winners will be selected by a respected list of ACT trustees and ambassadors; distinguished industry voices committed to encouraging excellence within the sector. These awards are presented to deserving individuals who have made a profound impact and contributed significantly to the enrichment of the arts and culture environment in South Africa. The categories for Lifetime Achievement Awards are; Visual Arts, Theatre, Arts Advocacy, Music, Dance and Literature.

Thomson says that awards like this are integral to South African arts and culture. “I believe it’s important that people are acknowledged for what they have done as it garners encouragement and, in a way, is also a celebration of their work,” she explains.

Nominations for the Awards are open to the public until Monday, 9 May. To submit, please follow this link

For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit

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