Arts Alive this year, a feast of visual art, theatre, fashion, music and motor show

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

If there is one festival that the City of Johannesburg has got right, it is the Arts Alive festival which features a diversity of art forms from music, visual art, theatre to art workshops, and of course the most popular segment of it being the Jazz on the Lake (this year slightly changed to Jazz In The Lights Music Festival: Main Event – 16 December and the venue is Joburg Zoo)

 In fact. This segment of the festival, in reality besides featuring jazz musicians has over the years evolved to include artists who pursue other music genre.  From kwaito, hip hop to Afro pop including performers from the African continent and even from those based abroad, have performed on the stages of Jazz on the Lake. Over the years.  Therefore it is safe to suggest that Jazz on the Lake has clearly become the corner stone of this festival. In fact it is now impossible to imagine the festival without this segment of it.

Many will therefore rejoice to know that this festival is again taking place this year and people can attend the festival in person after many years of disruptions that saw the festival either adopt a hybrid format due to the Covid-19 disruptions of the past three years. One can imagine the excitement that will definitely seize the lovers of this festival that they will once again be able to enjoy the Jazz on the Lake in person. It is always a pleasure to share the joy of watching artists do their best on the stages of Jazz on the Lake with fellow revellers.

And this year’s the festival marks an important occasion in its history. The Arts Alive line up this year celebrates Joburg’s vibrant art, culture, and diversity celebrating 30 Years of artistic excellence

For a moment forget about the instability and the uncertainty of who runs this City of Gold politically following the continuous contest for power among politicians. The squabbles among the political elites in the city is not stopping the City of Joburg celebrating 30 years of the Arts Alive. After all this is the people’s festival.

The International Arts Festival with always an exciting line up of cultural content celebrates the city’s vibrant and rich tapestry of arts and culture. Every year, the festival showcases visual arts, theatre, music, poetry, comedy, dance, masterclasses, and workshops.

In fact the festival is a convergence of various creative sectors brought to life by some of South Africa’s most revered artists and featured events hosted in and around the city’s most iconic spaces.  For 30 years, the Arts Alive Festival has created an outlet for artists to use arts as a tool to create safe and creative spaces for expression within the city. It has always been an opportunity for Joburg citizens to share their stories and experiences through multiple artistic mediums.

This year’s dynamic line-up of events reaches across traditional art barriers through commercial and avant-garde spaces, ensuring that many art forms of numerous genres and their contributions are recognized while highlighting the significance of keeping the arts alive.

The Arts Alive programme will once again feature a wide range of content to cater for various audiences.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Arts Alive International Festival will once again animate the City of Joburg with various arts activities from October to December 2022.

Some of the Arts Alive 2022 highlights will include the following:


Aloota Continua – 13 November

Aloota Continua is engaged South African theatre that creates a vivid picture of a series of events that shook our country and have left a reminder that we dare not ignore. It deals with the July 2021 uprising/riots sparked amongst others by the announcement of the conviction of Former President Jacob  Zuma  for contempt of the Constitutional Court order to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.. That event resulted in a lot of loss including the loss of life (about 350 people perished) and damage (approximately R35 billion) goods and infrastructure. This is unprecedented in our post 1994 history.

And as per style of theatre, it portrays a picture of balance about these issues and what unfolded during that traumatic time in the history of the country.  Therefore Aloota Continua presents arguments for and against Zuma’s jailing, and for and against the actions taken by his followers. The audience is encouraged to think for itself about these issues, that is whether the uprising was justified, and whether it has advanced the interests of the masses of poor and unemployed.

The play will take place at Doornkop Hall, Soweto – 23 October at 2pm – R30 and 13 November at 14.30 for R20, The Space Dot Com– 04 November at 6pm at R60 AND R35 for Students and pensioners and Alexandra Arts Academy 12 November 2022, 4,30pm – free entrance.

Clash of the Regions – 10 December final

Clash Of The Regions is a programme that stimulates musical art forms in Kwaito and Hip- Hop music genres and poetry. It targets youths from within the city to show-case their talents in a form of competition. As a city we seek to reach out to areas that ordinarily may be on the periphery, and we seek out talent that can be cultivated so that we move it from the periphery to the mainstream of the creative economy. This talent identification programme is presented in all the regions 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 areas.

Auditions will take place as follows:

05 November, Orange Farm, 12 November at Maponya Mall, 19 November at Alex Mall, 26

November at Diepsloot Mall between 10:00 and 16:00,

The Finals take place on 10 December at Park Recreation centre at 10:30

Entrance is free

It’s All Jazz Really Podcast – 03 November

The Evolution of South African Jazz and Alternative Music and its Youthful Revolution

A blended couch session style podcast and industry discussion on the current state of jazz/ alternative music and its youthful development. The podcast will also be an opportunity to grow the culture of archiving and documenting South African music and its story.

03 November at Untitled Basement, Braamfontein between 10:00 and 16:00

Entrance is free

South African Music Colloquium 11-12 November

The Humanities Graduate Centre Venue, South West Engineering Building, Wits, University, Yale Road Entrance, Johannesburg.

The South African Music Colloquium is set to deal with the current cross-cutting concerns through preparatory studies, capacity building and policy domain in education. Followed by a debate and meeting to formulate policies that will implement South African Heritage Music school as mandatory.

“We invite distinguished specialist, researchers, and authors in the South African Landscape,” state Arts Alive organisers .

The primary objective of the colloquium is to the facilitate the realization of the noble ideal of reintroducing art education in particular music education in institutions of basic education thereby advancing arts, culture, and heritage in society broadly.

The programme will feature one day schools Workshops as a precursor to a sustained programmatic intervention beyond magnet schools. Our target is music students, intermediate, teachers, advanced, musicians, and aspiring musicians who despite musical experience, may not have a good understanding and exposure to South African Indigenous Styles.

11 and 12 November, 17:00 at The Humanities Graduate Centre Venue at South West Engineering Building,Wits University Yale Road Entrance

Stand-up Comedy & Poetry Showdown – 12 November

Museum Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg

The programme aims to create a platform to showcase comedy and poetry and provide an educational and development workshop on the art of stand-up comedy.

Arts Alive wishes to create a platform for emerging artist in this growing discipline of the creative industries. Selected participants will go through a workshop to upskill and refine their talents in their respective craft and at the end of the workshop, they will be afforded an opportunity to showcase their skills to an audience, thereby giving them a kickstart and a boost to their careers.

12 November, Newtown between 14:00 and 17:00

Entrance is free

Alex Youth Arts Festival 16-17 November

San Kopano, Johannesburg

Breaking Silence’ is the theme of this year’s Youth Arts Festival.

“We strongly hold the view that it is through young people that we will be able to address things that are pertinent in our society. This year festival is going to bring a diverse group of artists that come from different parts of City and the Province at large. The Alex Youth Arts Festival will stage thought provoking theatre productions, using theatre as a tool for storytelling, stories that may not generally get a platform in traditional theatre spaces. The festival will also feature the famous Selaelo Maredi’s Black Age presented by the company and directed by the veteran himself, a media statement from Arts Alive states.

12 November, San Kopano Alexandra at 9:00

Swizz/SA Collaboration Exhibition – 13 November

Parts of the project are open-ended, inviting collaborators to use the museum space—to think with and in it, about their own work, about the politics of Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG,) and about what to do together using the prompt of ‘occupation’ with relation to art spaces. Accompanying this will be curatorial interventions with the JAG collection, as well as screenings and performances.

The intervention is interested in producing a methodology that is driven by learning together, rather than operating from a traditional curatorial position that has the potential to foreclose conceptual possibilities.

The list of participants, thus far, includes Memory Biwa, Abri De Swardt, Gilles Furtwängler, Thulile Gamedze, Donna Kukama, Robert Machiri, Zen Marie, Mpumelelo Mcata, Tumi, Mogorosi, Nkgopoleng Moloi, Gabi Motuba, Nayansaku Mufwankolo, Vusumzi Nkomo, Overnight Services, Naadira Patel, Tshepang Ramoba, Stéphanie Rosianu, The Wretched, Andrei Van Wyk, Henri Michel Yéré, Shirin Yousefi, and a group of second year students from the Wits School of Arts.

On Occupation continues the work of the shows BLANK. With a bet on a long distance relationship, with time, slow thinking and deep conversations, and The Ghost Exhibition, which took place at Circuit in Lausanne, Switzerland between 2020 and 2021. In this series of exhibitions, collaboration and collaborative processes underpinned the work of the entire project, guiding the way in which the shows were produced.

13 November -Joburg Art Gallery at 14:00

Entrance is free

Endzeni Ka Jele Ra Yena –17 November

A comedy Play based on the life of Amukelani Chauke. A salesman who loses his job due to the world pandemic and instead of searching for another job he decides to refocus on his music career ambitions, in realizing that it also doesn’t work. He drowns in depression and isolates himself from the society, hiding his alternate psychopathic ego from his family and friends as he delves deeper into his hedonistic fantasies. The play raises important lessons about everyday struggles of young people whilst proposing sustainable solutions.

Joburg Theatre (Lesedi Theatre), 17 November between 15:00 and 19:00

Indigenous Gospel Festival – Clap N Tap and Amazion

19 to 20 November

The Indigenous Gospel Festival

The Indigenous Gospel Festival, by the City of Johannesburg and in partnership with the Gauteng Province Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, is a cultural initiative that is aimed at stimulating indigenous gospel music development within the city. The Clap & Tap  and Amazion ‘genres’ are some of the key cultural as well as spiritual activities that communities have consistently and relentlessly produced over the years and their involvement in the Arts Alive Festival is one of the city’s ways of recognizing their craft and is also part of the broader strategy to promote creative industries in the City of Johannesburg whiles promoting social cohesion.

19 and 20 November – Finetown, Multipurpose center. 12:00 and 18:00

Free event

Creative Native Vintage Motor Show -26 November

James Hall Museum Of Transport, 193 Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle, Johannesburg

The annual Creative Native Vintage Motor Show creates awareness around Transport Month with a creatively 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 present. Key activities include Refurbishing of the Mobile Exhibition Bus, curated outdoor Expo of Vintage Vehicles, London Bus Tours, Guided Museum Tours, Food & Craft Market, Picnic & Live


26 November, James Hall Museum of Transport between 9:00 and 19:00

Entrance is free

Emerging Fashion and Craft Showcase and Workshop – 26 and 27 November

The programme aims to create a platform to showcase works of emerging fashion designers and crafter from all the regions of the city and provide them with a workshop on how to manage a fashion and craft business to promote creation of small businesses.

26 and 27 November – The Firs in Rosebank at 15:00

Entrance is free

Baseline Summer – 28 to 29 November & 02 to 03 December

Bassline Summer is a 2-day festival hosted at Jozi’s iconic Constitution Hill. Starting on Friday 2nd December from 7pm to 1am and Saturday 3rd from 2pm to 12am. Producing 3 stages with 24 artists/acts, six international acts &16 South African artists/acts. There will be a curated Craft Market, called the Creative Uprising Market which is an artisan pop-up market that showcases the talent of local artists, makers, and unique small businesses who create handmade goods and original artwork with a story. 02 December, 19:00 to 1:00 and 03 December, 14:00 to 00:00 at Constitutional Hill


Bloke and his American Bantu– 01 to 04 December

A Presentation of a professional theatre production from a prominent production company based within the municipality regions. Bloke & His American Bantu is a two-man play set in the 1960s, that reimagines the camaraderie between two prominent intellectuals, Bloke

Modisane and Langston Hughes, writers, and activists from Sophia town and Harlem respectively. The friendship between the two scribes was punctuated with constant visits, phone calls, exchange of gifts and well over 50 letters mailed between1960and1967.

Exquisitely performed by Anele Nene (Bloke) and Josias Dos Moleele (Langston), the play highlights the role of artists and intellectuals in forging international solidarity during one of the darkest hours in the history of South Africa. It exposes the overwhelming nostalgia and the longing for home while living a desolate life in exile, as well as the fortitude and resilience

of dreams. This is complemented by an African American’s quest for the reclamation of his black identity.

01 to 04 December, Keorapetse William Kgosietsile Theater at 19:00

Entrance is free

Gerard Sekoto Festival – 03 December

The Gerard Sekoto Youth is held annually at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) as a way of celebrating the birthdate of Gerard Sekoto on the 09 December 1900. Historically Sekoto the Festival has been focused on children’s activities such as face painting and making balloon animals.

03 December, Joburg Art Gallery at 10:00

Entrance is free

Mbuso Khoza and Heritage Ensemble Presents: “Ijadu le Afrika” – 05 December

African storytelling and lecture through traditional South African hymns, indigenous choral delivery, isicathamiya, the art of praise singing and the migration story of Johannesburg. The event will commemorate and preserve the art of oral historical archiving.

05 December, Kwa Mai Mai Cultural Precinct between14:00 and 20:00

Entrance is free

Baseline Summer 02 -03 December

Constitutional Hill, Johannesburg

Bassline Summer is a 2-day festival hosted at Jozi’s iconic Constitution Hill. Starting on Friday 2nd December from 7pm to 1am and Saturday 3rd from 2pm to 12am. Producing 3 stages with 24 artists/acts, six international acts & 16 South African artists/acts. There will be a curated Craft Market, called the Creative Uprising Market which is an artisan pop-up market that showcases the talent of local artists, makers, and unique small businesses who create handmade goods and original artwork with a story.

02 December between 19:00 and 01:00 and 03 December between 14:00 and 00:00

Jazz In The Lights Music Festival: Main Event – 16 December

The Arts Alive International Arts Festival will bow out with grand style with a impressive and lit musical experience. The programme will reach its crescendo with a concert with an impressive line-up of award winning South African artist performing with a live band under the musical direction of Sydney Mavundla.

The list of artists will include: Samthing Soweto, Mandisi Dyantyis, Thandi Ntuli, Stogie T, Dumza Maswana, Phuzekhemisi, Kenaan Meyer, Neo Joshua and many others. The Festival will take place under the majestic and magnificent Festival of Lights allowing families to enjoy the scenic gardens of the Joburg Zoo and an opportunity to engage on an educational tour of the Zoo for the same entrance fee.

The Festival will be a bustling, enigmatic yet fulfilling experience of music, food, connection and conversation.

16 December, Joburg Zoo at 12:00

Ten Days in a Shebeen – 20 to 23 December

This Standard Bank Merit Award-winning production is Set in a shebeen somewhere in Umlazi a shebeen queen narrates the story. The story revolves around a young boy who plans a robbery of his father together with his friends. A father who left them, an abusive father, a father who killed his mother, a father who never did anything for the family a rich father. They succeed and kill him. In a shebeen they are scared, fear rules them, they drown themselves in alcohol spending this blood money.

The story tackles the following issues: woman abuse, Gander-based violence, and alcohol and drug abuse. The play highlights the conflict and greed that occurs inside the shebeen, and the social topics aim to raise awareness about the struggles of women. The story is told through powerful monologues, images play a pivotal role, music and sound capes push the story.

 Date 20-23 December. Venue To Be Confirmed

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