News Article

The Mandela Bay Arts Festival Brings Creativity Home this September

Published: September 15, 2022

The inaugural Mandela Bay Arts Festival kicks off this month (23 September- 2 October) in a ten-day celebration of local and regional talent happening live in the Nelson Mandela Bay area. The Festival has released its full programme and tickets are now on sale through the Festival’s online booking platform on
Audiences can expect a full programme of artistic works across theatre, dance, music concerts, comedy, film and spoken word which will unfold during the Festival in more than 102 live shows. The programme also includes workshops and experiences for both adults and children. Many of the performers will be well known to the community, while some will be enjoying the opportunity to find a new platform for their work. Shows will be taking place in venues across the city including the Athenaum: Little Theatre & Gallery, Masifunde Youth Centre, Barclay Theatre in Kariega and the St Thomas’ High School Auditorium in Gelvandale.
Says Artistic Co-ordinator of MBAF, Rucera Seethal, "So many of South Africa’s favourite artists have come from the Eastern Cape area and sadly too many leave to carve a career elsewhere. This Festival turns a spotlight on artists from the Nelson Mandela Bay area performing on home ground and we hope that audiences will discover and treasure the exceptional talent in their midst.”
The Mandela Bay Arts Festival is brought by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, with Executive Mayor Cllr Eugene Johnson saying the Festival was long overdue as the City prides itself in having a rich history in the arts sector.
"We are happy to see this exciting Festival finally coming to life, a great platform for all the different arts industries to shine. We are well known for being a home to many national and international artists in different fields and it’s only fitting that as the world takes notice and claims our stars, we create an enabling environment for them to shine and grow for those who are still upcoming and support them as mandated by our service delivery role.”
"It is going to be 10 days full of life, especially after the past two years, where we were limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an opportunity for artists to not only perform but for our Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to benefit by providing services during this time. There are jobs that will be created as an event of such magnitude requires efficient planning and execution. We are excited and want to invite visitors to come join us as history is about to be made,” said Executive Mayor Johnson.
The Mandela Bay Arts Festival, which is being produced by the team that created  the annual National Arts Festival in Makhanda, coincides with Heritage Month and hones in on the important role of culture and creativity in forming social cohesion, particularly where issues close to a community’s heart are explored. The programme kicks off with a Heritage Weekend launch on 23 September 2022.
Ticket prices will range from R30 to R120. The programme and ticket sales can be accessed via the website
The programme features a wide range of artistic works across multiple genres
Asanda Mqiki:  The Balladeer
Thandikhaya Magayiyana:  The Bhacasoul Experience with Joliza
Mahesh Narotam:  Mosaic
Nomabotwe Mtimkulu:  amba Ungemi
Wela Matomela:  Welaz Kabah
Sisa Zako:  Kwa Xhosa
Phumlani Mtiti:  Phumlani Mtiti and the Raf Collective
Denzil Africa:  Jazz Explosive with Denzil Africa and Vusa Band
Mariloe Booysen:  Let's Blom with Flower Lady and Friends
Eastern Cape-born award winning artist, Msaki.
Siphiwe Vikilahle:  Weeping River
Marcia Tandokazi Ntoni:  The Laundress (Uwuxhomile Umlevo)
Xolani Mali:  The Chronicles of Cinderella and the Giant
Zukiswa Cakucaku:  Closet
Phambili Ngcayisa:  A Picture Frame
Nomxabiso Rala:  Path Crossing
Dulgulth Ferrira:  The Uprising
Mandilakhe Gwashu:  Zazi
Visual Arts & Crafts
Mntuwabantu Mtshiselwa:  aBantu Conversations Through Arts and Craft
Sakumzi Nyendwana:  Love & Compassion
Farook Mohammed:  True Pan-Africanism – A Look into the Future of Africa
Masifunde Youth Workshop:  Music
Masifunde Youth Workshop:  Painting  
Masifunde Youth Workshop:  Music Drama
Khaya Ngcanga:  Fabric Collage
Other genres
Siliziwe JakoImibongo Negubu:  (Poetry)
Mbuleleo MsongelwaStand Up People:  Comedy with a Twist   (Comedy)
Thulani Soqaga:  The Pallet Dr Still Lives  (Film)
Ntombosindiso Genge:  Ubuhle (Poetry)
Luxolo Gosani:  Akulahlwa Mbeleko Ngakufelwa
Okuhle Dyosoopu:  Instomi ya la Cherrie  
Jennifer Ndlovu:  Ashes to Ashes  
Brendon Peel:  Impossible!
Brendon Peel: The Absolutely Mental Magic Show
The Mandela Bay Arts Festival is spread across a number of venues in the region. These include:
• Athenaum: Little Theatre & Gallery in central Gqeberha
• Mendi Arts Centre, Gqeberha
• Mandela Bay Theatre Complex: Opera Stage & The Barn
• Masifunde Youth Centre in Walmer Township
• Barclay Theatre in Kariega
• St Thomas’ High School Auditorium in Gelvandale
• Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Art Museum in central Gqeberha 
The programme was curated by Artistic Director, Rucera Seethal, and an Artistic Committee comprising of representatives from the Nelson Mandela Bay cultural sector. Over 262 entries were received and considered through a collaborative process with criteria which included the area of residence and work, content or materials proposed, cost, scale and the artist’s experience. Another important factor was the mix of productions and experiences that were designed to give audiences an opportunity to explore diverse forms and content.
The 2022 Mandela Bay Arts Festival Artistic Committee are:
Lelethu Mahambehla (Bay Creatives)
Mninawa Mangweni  (Dance Council)
Monde Wani (Veterans representative)
Richardo Moss (Guildar Youth Academy)
Thamsanq AkaMbongo (SAUCCIF)
Sonwabiso Ngcai (Visual Arts)
Tawuya Mushaike (CCIFFSA)
Khanyile Mgqwanci (NMB Theatre Council)
Ulagh Williams (Music representative)
Zikhona Mgogi (Development Artists/Craft)
Rucera Seethal is the Artistic Co-ordinator of MBAF and chaired the Artistic Committee
Released for the Mandela Bay Arts Festival by National Arts.

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