Quintessential UJ Arts fare at National Arts Festival

​UJ Arts & Culture is geared up to present its usual heady mix of bold, provocative, contemporary and world-class performances at this year’s National Arts Festival (NAF).

For the first time at NAF, the highly accomplished UJ Choir is set to spellbind its audience with a programme of African vocal music that won them the Grand Prix Prize at the Bratislava Folk Music Festival last year. “It’s really great to be on the Main Programme for the second time since I’ve been at UJ,” says Head of Arts & Culture, Ashraf Johaardien, commenting on the UJ Choir’s NAF debut. The Choir is set to perform music from heavyweight contemporary composers (Nystedt, Runestad, Dubra and Mealor), as well as some older gems and covers.

Uj Choir 2016

Festinos can also look forward to Ntozake Shange’s FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE / WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, a UJ Arts & Culture student production on the Fringe, directed by Khutjo Bakunzi-Green, choreographed by Kieron Jina and designed by Jade Bowers and Camille Behrens.

This extended ‘choreopoem’ tells the stories of seven women with subjects ranging from rape and abortion, to domestic violence and abandonment. The play weaves their interconnected stories of love, empowerment, struggle and loss into a complex representation of sisterhood.


This year’s Standard Bank Young Artist award-winner, Jade Bowers, has been a UJ Arts & Culture associate director for several years. For this year’s NAF she will be directing SCORCHED by acclaimed Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad. The play explores the nuances of identity and difference beyond the simple black–white binary of our apartheid past, and will debut in Johannesburg at the UJ Arts Centre following the Festival.

The UJ Choir – conducted by Renette Bouwer and Sidumo Nyamezele – will perform only two concerts at the NAF Guy Butler Theatre on 2 and 3 July. Book at


FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE / WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF runs in the NAF Centenary from 5 to 9 July. Book at https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/for-colored-girls-who-have-considered-suicide-when-the-rainbow-is-enuf/

SCORCHED will run at the NAF Rhodes Box Theatre from 8 to 10 July (book at https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/scorched/) and at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre from 27 July to 6 August 2016 (book at http://online.computicket.com/web/event/scorched/1035817726/0/72815515)

Kieron Jina
Kieron Jina Photographed by Tyron Janse van Vuuren​
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