Sixty years after 20000 brave women marched for their rights in Pretoria, Artscape Theatre honours them and other citizens fighting for the rights of South Africans.


Now in its 10th year, Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival takes place from Thursday 4 to Wednesday 10 August, marking the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria with the intergenerational theme: “60 years – Where are we now?”.


The iconic march was led by Sophia Williams de Bruyn, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Lilian Ngoyi and the festival will look especially at their impact on future generations of women in South Africa.


One of the highlights on the 2016 Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival itinerary is a panel discussion in Artscape’s Chandelier Foyer on Women’s Day where panellists like Simone Heradien and Professor Waheeda Amien will ask: “Freedom and Justice: Have we got what we marched for?”. They will be joined by The Black Sash’s Mary Burton, who launched her book on the organisation’s history and role in South Africa’s democracy at last year’s festival.


Artscape’s Women’s Humanity Arts Festival focuses on humanity, women and disability with the aims to restore humanity and social cohesion. One of the festival events designed to bring people of all different backgrounds together is the WOMAN ZONE’s Women’s Humanity Walk.


All Capetonians are invited to carry a placard with the name of a woman who’s inspired them, to wear headdresses appropriate to their culture and to be part of the interfaith walk from The Iziko Slave Lodge in Adderley Street to the Artscape Piazza. This year, the walk will honour Cape Town’s women with a collaborative artwork, “The Wire Woman”.


Created by Street Wires, the almost three metre high structure will be installed at Artscape in August where visitors can help decorate her with ribbons and the names of ordinary and inspirational women, making her a true representation of the women of Cape Town.


After the Humanity Walk, visitors are invited to join The Humanity Lunch Table, sponsored by The Next 48hOURS.


Other highlights of this year’s festival include the restaging of Cold Case: Revisiting Dulcie September with Denise Newman and Rivers of Emotion, a new production by Taare, a Bollywood dance performance troupe.


Written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and Basil Appollis, Cold Case looks at the life of teacher turned freedom fighter Dulcie September and her mysterious death. The piece won both the Standard Bank Ovation Award and Adelaide Tambo Humanitarian Award in 2014.


Choreographed by disabled dancer and founder of Taare, Ahneesh Valoodia, Rivers of Emotion combines Bollywood dancing with Indian classical, Indian folk, hip-hop and contemporary forms, with the intent of serving as an exploration of the wide range of human emotions. Proceeds from the production’s first show will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of South Africa.


On stage from Thursday 4 to Saturday 13 August, the production Oo Ma Sisulu explores the concept of political activism through the story of the life of Albertina Sisulu. The piece looks at the circumstances that drive a woman like Sisulu to become an activist and what it meant to be a woman at the frontlines of the struggle for rights in South Africa. The play is written by Dr Sindisiwe Magona, directed by Warona Seane with assistance from the associate director Chuma Sopotela, costume and decor design Alfred Rietmann. The performing cast includes award winning Thembi Mtshali-Jones, Chuma Sopotela, and Indalo Stofile.


Away from the stage, festival-goers will be also be able to attend a variety of law and consumer workshops covering subjects like Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences; the Role of women in establishing democracy in SA; and the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questing people.


Other activities around the Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival include book launches, Woman Zone’s Story Café with panel discussions and storytelling, exhibitions and health screenings covering everything from breast cancer to TB and HIV.


The festival will draw to a close with two performances of Women in Song on Monday 8 August at 20:00 and Tuesday 9 August at 15:00, directed by Thoko Ntshinga and musical director Janine Neethling. The musical concert will feature performances by Sylvia Mdunyelwa, Tina Schouw, Vicky Sampson, Fancy Galada, Zanne de Lang (previously Stapelberg), Zelda Benjamin, Sophia Foster, Thandi Swaartbooi & Women Unite, Diana Ferrus, Bulelwa Basse and the SACDA wheelchair dancers.


Visit for more information about the festival, participating organisations and the full festival program. Tickets for the festival’s productions are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695.

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