Skip links

6 Cities, 3 Countries, 2 Months – Southern Africa in the Spotlight

Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Launches Winter Programme.

This winter, the Southern African arts and culture calendar is thrust into the spotlight with Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia’s announcement of an extensive tour of interdisciplinary performances and exhibitions. Designed to push the boundaries of the imagination, Pro Helvetia’s Winter Programme features a rich line-up of new and collaborative works by influential artists from Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Switzerland. The Programme’s selection of jazz, dance, contemporary art and installations is set to expand audiences, develop cultural exchange and connect communities throughout June and July 2017. Pro Helvetia continues a strong history of transnational support with this year’s Winter Programme and grows its position as a catalyst to advance innovation among arts professionals, cultural practitioners and the public. Crossing borders and bridging the creative industries, Pro Helvetia collaborates with Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to generate cross-cultural exchange, capacity building and world class performances. At the forefront of the creative arts industry, this year’s Winter Programme artists pioneer the frontiers of their respective fields in a tour spanning 6 cities and 3 countries over 2 months.

The range of performances and exhibitions on offer combine to form a dynamic journey offering a platform for exploration, discovery and engagement for artists and audiences alike.

With a focus on generating dialogue and interchange, the Winter Programme features a series of insightful workshops and panel discussions that blend to achieve greater creative development among communities. Pro Helvetia Head, Joseph Gaylard: “We are thrilled to work with a powerful line-up of artists this year, all of whom are among the finest practitioners in their field. We believe in the potential of cultural exchange to develop relationships, strengthen human ties and to provide a vital platform for exploration and experimentation. Each performance and exhibition in our Winter Programme generates opportunities for new experiences and new encounters. “The tours across Southern Africa offers audiences and artists a chance to connect with each other and explore familiar and uncharted cultural landscapes. These intimate experiences can serve to collapse distance between communities and reinforce strong cultural ties across the SADC region. We encourage audiences to join us in celebrating this rich diversity and exploration of intercultural partnerships.”


21 Joburg – Memories of Growing Up

Pro Helvetia
21 Joburg – Memories of Growing Up | Photos supplied by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

Launching the Winter Programme in Cape Town since May 2017 is Swiss artist Mats Staub’s collaboration with South African artists Nomonde Mbusi and Maia Marie for the South African version of the audio-visual project, 21 – Memories of Growing Up. This profound meditation on memory and storytelling delves into the recollection of coming of age and asks participants to explore their experience of the year in which they turned 21, and more generally their experience of becoming an adult. The installation allows visitors to view and listen to intimate and tender video portraits and stories that reflect diverse experiences across generations often revealing disarmingly private, distinct situations and experiences.

20 May – 25 June: District Six Museum in Cape Town

5 July – 9 August: The Market Photo 1969 Gallery

NEONS and Vacuum

Pro Helvetia
NEONS contemporary dance by Cie Philippe Saire | Photos supplied by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

A profound influence on the emergence of contemporary dance throughout Switzerland, choreographer and director of Théâtre Sévelin 36, Philippe Saire, kick-starts the Grahamstown National Arts Festival before touring to Cape Town, Maputo and Johannesburg with a cutting-edge opening night presentation of NEONS and Vacuum. This provocative double bill is the second and third parts in a series of performances called Stage Devices (Dispositifs). In convergence with the visual arts the works provide a visual feast of startling originality using neon and LED light displays to explore human relationships and visual perceptions. NEONS video and Vacuum video.

29 -30 June: National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

3 – 4 July: P4 Studio hosted by Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), University of Cape Town

8 July: Teatro Avenida, Maputo, Mozambique

14-15 July: Wits Theatre’s 969 Festival, Johannesburg

13 July: Saire will take part in a special day programme TRINE13th at Uncle Tom’s Hall in Soweto, alongside Soweto-born choreographer, Sello Pesa, founder of the Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre, presenting his fresh new work Bag Beating emerging from William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea, and Gaby Saranouffi of Madagascar will present her critically acclaimed piece, MOI.

Sanctum Sanctorium

Pro Helvetia
Sanctum Sanctorium – jazz duo with Tumi Mogorosi and Gabi Motuba | Photos supplied by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

Heralded as one of the most exciting new artists in South African Jazz, drummer Tumi Mogorosi and vocalist Gabi Motuba will embark on a tour of Mauritius and South Africa in July, together with leading Swiss jazz pianist Malcolm Braff, with whom they recorded and released an album during the course of 2015/6. The trio will be joined by bassist Sebastien Schuster [Germany], and in Grahamstown at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival, they will be accompanied by rising South African guitar maestro, Keenan Ahrends. The collaborative album, Sanctum Sanctorium, is a fusion of African and European music styles ready to captivate a diverse range of audiences in all cities.

1 July: Audi Zentrum, Bagatelle, Port Louis, Mauritius – € 12.5

2 July: The Orbit, Johannesburg, South Africa – R120 / Students: 50% discount  

4 and 5 July: Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa – R90/R80


Pro Helvetia
PLURISM – jazz collective | Photos supplied by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

The luminary contemporary jazz collective PLURISM, sets out on an energetic 4-city tour across South Africa with their latest sensational offer, More Fufu! PLURISM is formed around prolific drummer Dominic Egli and consists of an all-star line-up including Feya Faku on trumpet, Raffaelle Bossard on bass and Christoph Irniger on tenor sax. More Fufu! is a colourful declaration of love to Africa, its music and culinary offerings. The performances offer new takes on the bands original influences while staying true to their authentic sound. Exuding raw sensuality, explosive coolness and earthy playfulness, More Fufu! succeeds in producing complex, driving grooves with eruptive solos. PLURISM is set to wow audiences across the country by igniting South Africa’s first week of July with a whirlwind tour of some of the country’s most popular jazz venues.

3 July: Afrikan Freedom Station in Westdene, Johannesburg – R50 [tickets available at the door]

4 July: University of the Free State’s Odeion School of Music, Bloemfontein – R120

5 and 7 July: Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown – R90/R80

8 July: Alliance Francaise du Cap, Cape Town – R100 [tickets available at the door]

9 July: Guga S’thebe Arts and Cultural Centre, Langa – R100 [tickets available at the door]

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.