Today the Festival continues to provide space for work that interrogates the country and world we live in, and expresses the viewpoints of diverse communities locally and across the globe.
The last few years have brought with them challenges that have been felt globally as well as ones that are very South African. The pandemic left no element of human life untouched. Artists and all of those involved in the creative industries felt the devastating effect of a world in lockdown. From digital to hybrid editions, the Festival pivoted like so many others in the creative sector, presenting groundbreaking new works that adapted to new technologies.
Nothing compares to face-to-face gatherings though, and it was with much excitement that we welcomed everyone back to Makhanda in 2022. The lockdown levels lifted just as the Festival opened, allowing us to gather in numbers we hadn’t seen since 2019.
And now we are here in 2023, with its own challenges…We have backup power available throughout the Festival venues, but more importantly, we have a programme celebrating excellence in the arts including drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, music, jazz, exhibitions and more.
Transformation and keeping apace with the artists who make the Festival unique and distinctive every year is complex, difficult, rewarding and exciting. Crucially though, this allows us to stay relevant, to stay sustainable and to still feel like home to the artists we work with; transformation is not negotiable.
Here’s to not becoming history! And to finding creative ways to be heard, to listen, to heal, to understand and to make meaning. Here’s to a great 2023 NAF!