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ACT Awards Revisit SA’s Golden Era

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) revisited the Golden Era epicentre of 1940s and 50s South African jazz and blues culture at their 19th annual ACT Awards.

The Sophiatown-themed affair revisited South Africa’s golden era to honour cultural icons and newcomers while delighting invited guests with stellar entertainment.

The ACT Awards bestowed Lifetime Achievement Awards on six of the country’s arts and culture stalwarts, and named five rising stars as 2016’s ImpACT Award winners.

“We believe ‘remembering Sophiatown’ was a fitting backdrop to our celebration given the current winds of change blowing through our streets and moving our communities,” says Anastasia Pather, the Awards project manager.

The evening blended the golden era of South Africa’s past and the present with a strong female force. Live performances by the grande dame of jazz, Sibongile Khumalo juxtaposed with the sharp wit of the night’s hosts, all female satirical group, Thenx.

Khumalo’s unmistakable voice certainly helped transport guests back to Msanzi’s golden era of creative consciousness, wry humour courtesy of Thenx also offered clever commentary on the current state of the country.

Hosting the Awards is an honour and we are very excited. We think the line-up is very fitting of the theme, and it’s going to be interesting to experience the mix between us as young artists and the legendary mama Sibongile Khumalo.

The ImpACT Awards honoured young creatives in five categories; Visual Art, Music, Theatre, Dance and Design. All 15 finalists have achieved remarkable things in the first five years of their careers, and were brought forward by a public nomination platform. The judges included:

  • 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 Tyelele
  • Award-winning pianist and educator, Andre Petersen

To date, the Arts & Culture Trust has recognised over 150 individuals and organisations for their significant contribution to art, culture and heritage in South Africa through their Awards. And this year, ACT looks forward to adding more names to this impressive list.

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

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