Democracy and the Arts in South Africa
How the arts reflect South Africa's journey since the end of apartheid. Bridget Kendall talks to Mike Van Graan, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Percy Mabandu and Nomfundo Xaluva.
Twenty years on from the end of apartheid, what role can the arts play now in helping South African society develop? Recorded with an audience at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Bridget Kendall talks to playwright Mike Van Graan, poet Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, arts journalist Percy Mabandu, and jazz singer Nomfundo Xaluva who performs live for us.
Mike Van Graan
For playwright Mike Van Graan, satire remains a powerful tool: but the targets have changed. His new play, ‘Return of the Ancestors’, imagines murdered activist Steve Biko visiting modern South Africa. Encountering government corruption, poverty and police brutality, Biko begins to question whether his sacrifice was worth it.
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
As a mixed-race African and adoptee, poet Phillippa Yaa de Villiers has always felt like an outsider in her own culture – something she says has been an advantage as an artist. Free of the constraints of a traditional role, she simply tries to tell her truth as generously as she can.
Arts journalist Percy Mabandu believes that jazz is the most democratic of all art forms, and so uses it to measure how far his country has come over two decades. Like democracy, the music demands strict collaboration but also handsomely rewards individuality.
Jazz singer and pianist Nomfundo Xaluva performs a live rendition of Yakhal’Inkomo and explains why this song, which holds deep meaning for black South Africans as an anthem of the anti-apartheid struggle, still inspires musicians today.
- Sat 23 Aug 2014 11:00