For the first time in its 46-year history, the National Arts Festival is being held virtually.
The online celebration of the arts got underway on Friday, June 26 and aside from a few technical glitches, the festival remained steady in showcasing everything set out for the day.
The live event was suspended when Covid-19 shuttered theatres, cultural spaces and festivals globally. Rather than cancelling the event, the organisation decided to take the experience online for eleven days.
The festival will continue until Sunday, July 5, 2020 and includes art, music, theatre works, dance, talks and comedy and much more. This year’s festival is a richly diverse collection of works that totals more than 270 hours of viewing online.
There will also be a vibrant Fringe visual art element to the Virtual National Arts Festival where artists are invited to exhibit their work.
National Arts Festival Fringe manager, Zikhona Monaheng said: “We have facilitated this space for artists to showcase their work and also for buyers to be able to connect directly with artists and potentially even commission works.
This is a great opportunity for artists who may not ordinarily be able to attend the Festival to exhibit through this virtual channel,” said Monaheng.
One of the major partners who have come onboard this year is ViacomCBS Networks Africa channel brand BET Africa.
Monde Twala, senior vice president and general manager of ViacomCBS Networks Africa said: “The Virtual National Arts Festival opening is a momentous opportunity for Arts and Culture in South Africa and for the continent.
ViacomCBS Networks together with BET Africa is excited to bring audiences extensive and inspiring content that will be showcased.
We are thrilled to support the Virtual National Arts Festival alongside great partners like the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and Standard Bank. Together we look forward to elevate local African creativity and talent to the world”.