New Year message from Council Chairperson, Rajesh Jock

It is 2021 – a new year.  My hope to you is that this year will be filled with abundant prosperity, progress fulfilment, contentment and above all Ubuntu.

The previous year, 2020, has not been easy for many of us. In fact, it’s been a year like no other, exacerbated by the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, not just in South Africa but across the world.  The year unfolded in a never ending cycle of challenges and difficulties.  Some have lost loved ones, some have lost income, others have lost jobs and saw their livelihoods crumble.

Our iconic first democratic president and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Nelson Mandela once said:

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

It is thus in this vein that my opening message of hope refers.

Thus, as we face 2021 may we engender the best possible choices for our lives and those of others.  May we not be held back by our fears even though we face an uncertain future.

In the midst of all this difficulty I have some good news.  At Artscape, we are preparing to celebrate an iconic milestone of the building that houses the theatre stage. Constructed in 1971 and then known as the Nico Malan Theatre it will turn 50 this year.

We intend to showcase the 50-year journey with special emphasis on how it has transformed to become an inclusive cultural institution of all, giving access to the previously historically disadvantage and in particular art forms that were disadvantaged due to government diktats at the time.

A host of productions are in the pipeline in collaboration with the Associated Companies housed in the theatre which includes Cape Town Opera, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Town City Ballet among others.  They will include Lunch Hour concerts with the aforementioned associated companies in and around the City.  Additionally we will also showcase galas of flagship Artscape transformation programmes such as the star participants of the Youth Jazz and Youth Classical Music Festivals over the years, Schools Arts Festival participants and feature iconic women who performed or spoke here during the Women’s Humanity Arts Festival over the years.  These are just a smattering of events planned and hope that it whets your appetite to celebrate this milestone with us, whether at the theatre, cognisant of possible restrictions, or via our virtual platform which through your support has grown exponentially.

On a personal note, I am happy to have been appointed as the new Artscape Council chairperson by the Department of Sport Art and Culture Minister “Nathi” Mthethwa as of the 09 December 2020 to 08 December 2023. I endeavour to lead the Council by the exemplary example of those who have served before by providing the oversight and strategic direction as required by this appointed body.

Once again I wish you all well and a wonderful 2021.

Yours in the Arts

Rajesh Jock