Highlights from the Pan African Arts Festival 2018

In celebration of Africa Month, Afropolitan Explosiv announced a call for contributions for its first annual Pan African Arts Festival. Artists submitted across different creative disciplines, including, Music, Poetry, and Visual art.

The festival took place on the 18thof May 2018, at The Creative Hub operated by Afropolitan Explosiv Media, which is located at the Old Mutual Building, in Newcastle CBD. The Hub is like an archive of African culture and black genius. It is adorned with pictures of formidable creators like the avant-garde Phillip “Malombo” Tabane, the poet of resistance Prof. Keorapetse Kgosotsile, the mother of our nation Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and others. There is also a nostalgic curation of African traditional music instruments that further explain what The Creative Hub is about.

Art lovers came in their numbers in support of the initiative, in-spite of the rainy weather condition. The space was packed with people from different walks of life, from places like Madadeni, Osizweni, Ncandu Park, Blaaubosch, and other locations in and around Newcastle, plus guests from Johannesburg and the Film Department at Wits University.

Art events are usually seen as gatherings for the rich and posh, but this one was attended by people from different classes of life, who all came in one accord.

Hip Hop Acts

Contributing with their street elegance was hip-hop collective Rackxcity, which includes acts like Bux Griff, who has been in the Newcastle hip-hop scene since the days of Tawn Platt and C-Section in the early 2000s; Ms Cizzle, a young female rapper with an attitude, a perfect vosho and bars upon bars. They were all led by the founder of the collective, Thabiso Shibase.

Rapper and producer MKV also graced us with his style and bars that have been raised so high, you would need the whole flying squad to bring down.

Soulful Acts

On a more mellow tone, pianist and vocalist Navan Mapps blessed us with his soulful tunes. Now this brother has a special story for every song he performs, and when he plays, you could swear that he plays for you and you alone. The pianist and vocalist Nobuntu Mhlambi also performed her honest and reflective tunes, that do nothing but send you inside yourself. Nobuntu is also a music teacher.

To call upon the Holy Spirit, we had gospel musician and pastor, Zipho Dube with his husky voice that prays the devil to hell. Dube also runs a vibrant and youthful church in Blaaubosch.



We were also blessed with the poetry of Kamo, who is an inventive word weaver that casts a spell with only a few sentences. Very theatrical in his manner, he is like an act of ten alone! We ended up being treated to an impromptu performance by Kamo, and L-Key; a guitarist and vocalist also from Newcastle.


Visual Art

Artwork by Khaya Mncube

For the eye, we had young Sphesihle, whose drawings teem with innocence and an adorability—undiluted by the dictates of art school and art criticism. Most of his drawings are done in pencil, and others in pen. They are realistic portraits that do not fail to reveal the inspiration of their composer. This was his first exhibition. The reception of his work affirmed his decision to further his studies in fine art, which he will be doing next year at the University of Johannesburg. Artworks by the dandy Khaya Mncube, with his very flamboyant, yet simple paintings style was also exhibited. Khaya is one of the most committed painters in Newcastle, and his work is a testament to this. The surrealism of his painting! If his works were to be made into songs, they would probably sound like a Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse composition. This is what he had to say about own his work, “I want to use colours that open your appetite…this art is God given and is all about love.” 



Simphiwe Qwabe, Film-maker

Simphiwe Qwabe, a local filmmaker was also in attendance. His short documentary called Amandla Embokodo was screened. The documentary is about women who work at an unofficial open-cast mine in Blaaubosch (outside Newcastle), the sacrifices they make in order to provide for their families, and the danger they face while working.

The atmosphere was filled with the magic of different storiesthat seemed to be extracted from the same source. The festival will take place annually, and one can only imagine how it with be next year.§

Report Compiled by Nanu Mabaso.

Copyright Afropolitan Explosiv 2018


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