South African music and film takes centre stage in Los Angeles
The world's entertainment capital takes on a distinctly South African flavour this weekend, when the Department of Arts and Culture launches the inaugural South African Arts Festival 2013 (SAAF), in Downtown Los Angeles in the United States. SAAF 2013 will showcase seven local films and seven musicians representing the diversity of the South African experience at free events over two days.
The Festival is part of the Department’s Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, which aims to place arts, culture and heritage at the centre of efforts to create sustainable livelihoods, skills development and economic growth, by amongst others, opening up new markets for South Africa’s creative talent.
"We want to use the US as a gateway to world markets for South African products. Los Angeles, is leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television and stage productions, video games, and recorded music. We are happy to be creating an opportunity for South Africans to showcase their skills, interact with and build mutually beneficial relationships with influential role-players in this sector," said Sibusiso Xaba, Director General of the DAC.
In launching the festival, Xaba also spoke of the benefits the festival will have on relations between the people of the US and South Africa. "There has been a shared history, especially during our country's struggle for democracy, between South African and US artists. As we prepare to celebrate 20 years of freedom in 2014, and work on making our creative industries more lucrative and sustainable, we hope for new partnerships between our peoples,"added Xaba.
SAAF 2013 in Los Angeles also presents participating South African artists and entertainment industry professionals with an opportunity to meet with members of the Los Angeles area creative film and music communities.
Saturday’s outdoor “South African Music Festival” is reflective of the country’s colourful diversity yet still speaking to contemporary artistic movements, with Hugh Masekela’s jazz grooves, the Mahotella Queens’ uplifting acapella, infused with Jozi‘s Zulu hip hop mix, the Parlotones’ arena rock anthems, Simphiwe Dana’s sultry Afro soul, and The Soil’s harmonious new voice.
Showcased films represent a broad range of South African cinema – from uplifting family-friendly fare Felix, to gritty dramas such as the critically-acclaimed Otelo Burning, about a group of kids who learn to surf against a backdrop of conflict, to documentaries such as The African Cypher, which explores Soweto’s street dance sub-culture.
For more on the festival, please go to www.sa-artsfest.org/