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Celebrating 20 years of the ACT Awards

Marcus Desando

The twentieth edition of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards will be taking place on Friday 17 November 2017 at the Sun International Maslow Hotel in Sandton. The recently appointed ACT CEO, Marcus Desando, shared his thoughts with Creative Feel.

The ACT Awards has been honouring South African legends, stalwarts and inspirations in the South African arts and culture sector for the last 20 years. The 2017 edition of this event is bound to be more glamorous than ever with special guest and emcee Bridget Masinga from KayaFM and entertainment provided by internationally acclaimed songstress Lira. ‘We have selected the theme of celebrating South African legends to honour not only this year’s selection of winners, but also the long legacy that comes with our awards,’ says Marcus Desando. While the Arts & Culture Trust has many different programmes that aim to better the South African arts and culture landscape, the ACT Awards are seen as its flagship event and ACT has therefore decided to change the format of this year’s awards to a talk-show style presentation to achieve a more intimate knowledge of the winners and the impact that they have had on our sector. Furthermore, tickets to the Awards will be on sale this year so that everyone is able to partake in this momentous event. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, an ImpACT Award winner will be revealed on the evening of the event. The Lifetime Achievement Awards are given to those who have consistently contributed to, sustained, grown and defined the South African arts and culture sector over the course of their lives. Many of them have faced incredible personal, financial and political hardship in order to carry out the work that they do. ‘I believe that the Lifetime Achievement Awards have, and continue to be, a mirror of our society and, more importantly, the arts and culture industry. This has been shown very clearly by the kinds of South Africans who have been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Awards,’ says Desando. Some of the great names that ACT has acknowledged over the years include Miriam Makeba, Johnny Clegg, Dr Mongane Wally Serote, Adv. Albie Sachs, Pieter-Dirk Uys, John Kani, Esther Mahlangu, Es’kia Mphahlele, Gibson Kente, David Koloane, Pops Mohamed, Sam Nzima and Nadine Gordimer, to name a few.

The 2017 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award winners are:

[button color=”” size=”” type=”round” target=”” link=””]Arts Advocacy (sponsored by Creative Feel): Lindiwe Mabuza[/button]
[button color=”” size=”” type=”round” target=”” link=””]Dance (sponsored by JT International): Adele Blank[/button]
[button color=”” size=”” type=”round” target=”” link=””]Visual Arts (sponsored by Nedbank Arts Affinity): Basil Jones & Adrian Kohler of The Handspring Puppet Company[/button]
[button color=”” size=”” type=”round” target=”” link=””]Music (sponsored by South African Music Rights Organisation [SAMRO]): Dorothy Masuku[/button]
[button color=”” size=”” type=”round” target=”” link=””]Literature (sponsored by Dramatic Rights and Literary Organisation [DALRO]): James Matthews[/button]
‘The recipients of this year’s twentieth edition of the ACT Awards are yet again members of our nation who have dedicated their lives, in one way or another, to developing a creative industry that we can all be proud of,’ says Desando. ‘And, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the important and hard work that the ACT trustees, ambassadors and my team have put in to make the ACT Awards a superb and memorable occasion.’ Tickets for the ACT Awards are available at

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