Arts and Culture Programmes
MACUFE is the flagship programme of the Free State. Staged annually the festival has become the cultural pilgrimage of this Province as it attracts artists and arts lovers from across the country, continent and overseas. The festival was launched in 1997. This festival showcases a number of programmes which includes, amongst others:
- MACUFE Comedy Show
- MACUFE Indoor Jazz
- MACUFE Divas Concert
- MACUFE Main Music Festival
- MACUFE Soccer Cup
- MACUFE Wordfest
- MACUFE Arts and Craft Market
As part of efforts to maximize the participation of local artists in the staging of MACUFE programme the department will host the 2012 MACUFE Homebrew Programme across the Free State Province. MACUFE Homebrew programme constitute a formidable part of the department’s developmental programme for arts and culture. The primary objective is to ensure the fact that local artists’ talents are developed and showcased at various arts and culture platforms such as MACUFE.
This MACUFE Homebrew programme consists of two legs: MACUFE Music, Dance and Drama Auditionsas well as MACUFE Visual Arts and Craft Selection. The Music, Dance and Drama Auditions are staged at Local and District Municipality level. The objective is to select artists who will perform during the mainstream programme of MACUFE. The purpose of the Visual Arts and Crafts Selection process is to select crafters at district level to form part of the MACUFE Visual Arts and Craft Market that is staged during the MACUFE programme October. The MACUFE Visual Arts and Craft Market is one of the showpieces of MACUFE programme and it features the following elements:
- Basotho Cultural Village
- Crafts Exhibition
- Art Gallery
- Traditional Fashion Show
Days of National Significance
Through the arts and culture programme the Days of National Significance such as Freedom Day (Celebrated on the 27th April annually), Mandela Day (Celebrated on the 18th July annually) are observed. The celebration of these days is mass participatory in nature and also involves implementation of community upliftment projects.
Arts in Schools
Arts in Schools is a project or programme which not only aims to provide exposure and experience to learners in different forms of art such as dance, drama and music, but to advance the overall performance of schools. Most importantly the project aims to support our youth in pursuing their talents as it will move learners from being inheritors of culture to being active participants. This project is premised on the long-held view that a healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body. It is the Department’s considered view that artistic performance enhances both the physical and mental agility of a person. Art, like sport, serves as a refreshing exercise to a learner who is engaged in an academic pursuit. The Arts in School project is undertaken in the fields of visual and performing arts.This program imparts skills in Drama, Dance (both contemporary and traditional), Visual art and Craft. The project is in partnership with the Department of Education. Art and Culture is also offered as a subject in schools. Arts and Culture in education covers a broad spectrum of South African arts and cultural practices and beyond.
Although the Department has always been supporting performing artists it has never been able to give these artists a platform to transfer their skills and natural talent to others at a larger scale. This program therefore is introducing learners to the arts at a very tender age through the services of performing artists in the province. Learners will also will grow knowing about career paths available in the arts. Learners will get to understand the geographical, economic, social and gendered context in which Arts and Culture emerges. After the conceptualization of this programme forty six (46) schools were invited to participate in the program by entering selected learners in Grade 4 to 7 in primary schools and Grades 8 to 10 in secondary schools who would be primary beneficiaries. Twenty three (23) facilitators who are artists in their own right were also identified and placed in schools to transfer skill.
The main objectives of the programme are:
- Exposing learners to Drama, Dance (both contemporary and traditional), Visual art and Craft.
- Providing exposure and experience for learners in Dance, Drama, Music, Visual Arts, Craft, Design, Media and Communication, Arts management, Arts and Technology and Heritage.
- Developing creative and innovative individuals as responsible citizens.
- Providing access to Arts and Culture education for learners as part of redressing historical imbalances.
- Assisting young people to develop their talents and have a platform to display their abilities and help the learners to improve and develop skills in arts and culture.
- Advancing the over-all performance of schools in arts and literacy.
- Supporting school based youth in pursuing their talents.
- Enabling all learners to achieve to their maximum ability.
- Providing opportunities to develop usable skills, knowledge, attitudes and values in Arts and Culture that can prepare learners for life, living, and lifelong learning
- Enhancement of content retention in main stream schooling.
- Promoting intercultural exchange and cultural tolerance.
- Encouraging learners to participate in extra-curricular activities.
- Instilling discipline among the learners through the arts.
- Access to quality arts and culture education within formal schooling.
- Promoting Arts and Culture practitioners and the cultural industries as a resource for arts and cultural education in schools.
- Developing an understanding of the Arts and Culture as a universal symbolic language
The project includes:
- Training of learners at school based to advance the over-all performance of schools in arts and literacy.
- Careful monitoring, evaluating and recording in order to facilitate reliability.
- Thorough evaluation of the program for identification of future refinements and development.
- To enhance and sustain the product that presenters and beneficiaries of the program can be proud of.
Mines Cultural Dance Competitions
Through the Mines Dance Competition, the Department aims to popularize the unique traditional dances as practiced in the different mines of the Free State by providing regular workshops, providing a representative platform for mineworkers to showcase their talents. For a long time mines across the country have served not only as drivers of economic growth and development but also as a source of strong and rich traditional dance practices and performances amongst mine workers. The diversity of cultures that is prevalent in the mines led to different ethnic groups engaging in dance and music as a form of entertainment during their free time.
It is against this backdrop that the Department undertook to identify, preserve and promote these traditional dances through community development, workshops visual and written documenting as well as providing platforms for formal competition. Through the Mines Dance Competition, the department popularizes the unique traditional dances as practiced in the different mines of the Free State by providing regular workshops, providing a representative platform for mineworkers and local community dancers to showcase their talents. This initiative also complements the Department’s objective to promote social cohesion through the arts.
It is envisaged that the competition will improve the social and cultural condition of mineworkers and immediate communities by creating awareness, transferring skills and promoting social cohesion. The dance competition caters for all the various ethnic groups found in the mines across the province and the country and includes performances in the following genres of cultural dances: Huphe; Mohobelo; Ntlamo; Ndlamu (Swazi, AmaZulu) Setapo; Baca; Isingile; Mokgibo; Tswana Dance and Famo. The competition is held over a two days period in Welkom, the Gold fields of the Free State.
Choral Music Programme
The Department not only strives to be the custodian of Choral music as a fully-fledged art form which is historically important, but also want to use choral music as a tool to fulfill the communities’ desire to be morally uplifted. Over the recent period, the Department has committed itself to the upliftment of choral music in the province. This commitment has already been expressed through the hosting of the Provincial Choral Music Festival and, subsequently, the Provincial Choral Music Competitions since 2010. This objective of promoting choral music in the province was further enhanced by the province hosting of the Old Mutual Choral competition in December 2011.
This evolution of choral music in the Free State was followed by the launch and hosting of the first ever Church Interdenominational Choral Music Competitions in June 2012. For the first time in the Province, prize money, as well as trophies was at stake in an Interdenominational Church Choir Competition. Prizes were awarded to overall winners in each category. All the participating choirs each received a R1 000.00 participation fee. Positions 1 – 3 in each category received Trophies and Prize Money ranging from R5000 to R3000 in both the Male and Female voice categories; R8 000 to R4000 in the Senior “B” Category and R10 000 to R6000 in the Senior “A” category. To further entrench this art form in the province the Department financially supported choirs such as Bel Canto Voices; Central University of Technology (CUT) choir; Bohlokong Chorale Society; Thabong Serenade; Calmato Choir and Jaggersfontein Community Choir to participate in national competitions. Support to provincial choirs continues unabated.
Disability Dance Competitions
The Disability Dance Competitions are staged through the Thabong Arts and Culture Centre as an annual event. The competitions are aimed at bringing people with disabilities to the mainstream of the arts. The project aims to mobilize communities to support people with disabilities and also introduce dance to the disabled community. In 2008 the South African Disability Dance competition was held in Bloemfontein. A number of dancers trained at the Centre received silver medal and five more participating couples achieved position five. In 2011 Dance Competition for the Disabled was the first national competition for the designated group to be hosted by the Department through the Lejweleputswa Arts and Culture Centre. The Dance Competition reached between 400 disabled competitors.
Cultural Evenings and Youth Camps for Free State Bursary Holders
As part of fulfilling its mandate as contained in Outcome 12 part B, which talks about “An Empowered, Fair and Inclusive Citizenship”, the Department implements a programme on Cultural Evenings for Free State Bursary holders.The Outcome 12 part B has the following outputs which need to be realized through activities: i) Nation Building and National Identity; ii) Citizen Participation iii) Social Cohesion. This programme targets specifically young people who are in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Students who are bursary holders of the Free State Provincial Government Bursary Scheme participate in the Youth Camps and Cultural Evenings programme that is staged across the country where these students study. Students are selected to take part in the Youth Camps based on the number enrolled at a particular HEI and merit as per their performance in the June Examinations. The main objectives of the programme are:
- Creation of an interactive platform for young people in discussing challenges they are faced with;
- Understanding and redefining the role young people should play in shaping their province and history for the better;
- To better position young people as agents of change and leaders of societal change in the province; and
- To form long term partnership with young people that will lead our province to its full realization of youth development.