Arts Alive to Ignite Creativity and Celebrate the City’s Diversity

City of Joburg introduces a re-imagined Arts Alive

Johannesburg, 13 November 2023 – City of Joburg’s Arts Alive International Festival is back and promises to be bigger and better. This year’s rendition will captivate the hearts and minds of art and culture enthusiasts.    Building on 30 years of an incredible creative story, this year offers nothing less than captivating spectacle, while honouring the history and the foundation of the Festival’s legacy.

Running from October 2023 to March 2024, the festival offers an array of artistic expressions that showcase local talent, cultural diversity and highlights those who have made a mark both locally and internationally while providing a platform to emerging creatives. The festival remains committed to fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity and unity, where people from all walks of life can come together and appreciate the vibrant Joburg arts, culture and heritage scene.

“Cultural diversity is the heartbeat of South Africa, where vibrant traditions, languages, and stories unite in a colourful tapestry that defines our nation’s soul. Art lovers of all ages will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a diverse range of artistic genres. The festival features visual arts, music, dance, theater, literature, and more. From traditional to contemporary, there is something to pique everyone’s interest,” says Vuyisile Mshudulu, Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage, City of Joburg.

Every year Arts Alive celebrates the richness of the City with an impressive lineup of performances, exhibitions, and interactive activities. Here’s what you can expect.

Old favourites that will return to the stage are the Clash of the Regions, the Creative Native Vintage Motor Show, Indigenous Gospel Festival, Joburg Choral Festival, Jazz in the Lights and the two elements that were introduced in the 2022 Arts Alive edition, which are Comedy and Poetry Showcase as well as the Emerging Fashion Designers Workshop and showcase in collaboration with Fashion Industry Awards South Africa and The National Department Of Sport, Arts and Culture. The programme targets emerging designers for the workshop which includes an opportunity to showcase their designs at The FIASA Awards ceremony.

The Clash of the Regions programme was designed for talent identification and  is open to a greater number of artists who ordinarily would not have an opportunity to present their work to audiences beyond their immediate surroundings. The remote places in the City are not left out, and this programme is aimed at giving artists an opportunity to showcase their talents in music, poetry and Dance.

The Creative Native Vintage Motor Show and Picnic creates awareness around transport through a creative and engaging approach to educating the public on the City’s history of land transport and the role in facilitating movement in the city, both in the past and the present. Key Activities include Refurbishing of the Mobile Exhibition Bus, a curated outdoor Expo of vintage vehicles, London bus tours, guided museum tours, a food and craft market as well as a picnic featuring live music.

One of the City’s flagship programmes, the Joburg Choral Festival gives opportunity to choirs from each of the City’s regions in a bid to stimulate and promote choral music development in the City of Johannesburg. While the Indigenous Gospel Festival offers similar platform for the genres of Clap ‘N Tap, Amazion, Interdenominational Choirs and Amapostolo. These programmes are important in highlighting and growing appreciation of the different artforms thereby creating an active and engaged market at a development and production level as well as at consumption level.

Jazz in the Lights, a reimagined version of the concept previously known as Jazz on the Lake, is once again back at the Zoo this year and is sure to build up on last year’s successes. The line-up includes a variety of artists that will delight jazz and music lovers, while the zoo animals and activities will entertain younger visitors.

A new addition to the line-up is the Sophiatown Revival Concert. This concert harks back to the heyday of Sophia Town for Sophia Town residents as well as Jazz lovers. Furthermore, Mr Drum a photographic exhibition, which documents the life and times of Henry Nxumalo, who was a journalist and editor of Drum magazine in the 1950’s, will also be on display concurrently at the St Joseph’s Diocesan Centre.

The visual art components of the festival feature exhibitions from renowned local artists, as well as emerging talents. Attendees can expect to be enthralled by a wide array of artworks in different media throughout the festival towards the end with the exhibitions of Dada Khanyisa, The Soil Conversations, and Tatenda Magaisa Solo Exhibition.  These exhibitions promise to stimulate thought, inspire conversation, and elicit engagement from every visitor.

Another new addition is the Creative Summit, which is a convention that will allow for a highly interactive and thought sharing exercise between creatives in the different sectors. It is important not just to consume but to educate ourselves as creatives and this programme offers that opportunity.

The City once again will be partnering with a number of stakeholders to expand on the reach through events and activities in different genres throughout the Arts Alive calendar. Partnerships include some returning features such as the Back To The City Festival, the Beatmakers Market and the Global Dance Supreme. Arts Alive also partnered with the Market Theatre to stage the production of Blacksmith, the winner of The annual Zwakala Festival which focuses on the development of performing arts productions, as well as GM50, the celebration of the legendary Gregory Maqoma’s illustrious career and contribution to the country and the world’s dance community.

Exciting new partnership programmes to look forward to include the Deus Ex Machina – Human Geography in a Virtual World, a public art virtual intervention, as well as the theatre production Clean Job which tells a story of justice and retribution during the liberation movement. Many other partners will join the Arts Alive Festival this year and we look forward to presenting our collaborations in the spirit of the arts.

One of the festival’s key objectives is its commitment to interactivity and information sharing. Attendees can participate in workshops, art installations, drama and dance performances, music concerts and more, ensuring that the festival is not just about observing, but also about actively engaging with the arts in all its various offerings.

The City of Joburg’s Arts Alive International Festival aims to be more than just a showcase of talent; it is a celebration of diversity, a platform for dialogue and overall appreciation of a creative and vibrant city Johannesburg.

“We are thrilled to bring the City of Joburg’s Arts and Culture Festival back this year, and we believe it is a testament to the resilience and creativity of our community,” said Mtshali. “Our goal is to inspire, entertain, and create connections among people from all walks of life. We invite everyone to join us in this celebration of art, culture, and community.”

This year’s Arts Alive promises an unforgettable experience filled with artistic excellence, cultural diversity, and undeniable entertainment. Mark your calendars and prepare to immerse yourself in this incredible celebration of the arts.


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Issued on behalf of the City of Joburg by Pundit Projects

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