Marlene le Roux CEO of the Artscape. Picture: Supplied

The Artscape Women's Humanity Arts Festival is holding its 12th celebration this year, running until August 18 at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. The festival focuses on humanity, women and disability. 

This year’s theme is “A Spotlight on Cultural Diversity: Transformation and Healing Through the Arts.”

The background to the fest goes back to the historic day, then 60 years ago, when over 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the pass laws and inhumane apartheid legislation. The pass laws directly affected their personal lives as well as their economic emancipation. When democracy dawned, August 9, the day those women marched, was earmarked and declared a public holiday to be commemorated in honour of women’s struggles towards freedom. 

In celebration of the strides we have made, the festival will be dedicated to both iconic women who led the Struggle as well as modern-day “she-roes.”
 Included are Albertina Sisulu and the dynamic Ruth First as well as modern-day activists through the arts, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Siphokazi Jonas and the late disabled activist, Patience Lunika, who, just last year, had her first fashion show at this festival.

The programme includes stage productions, film, poetry, exhibitions, discussions and workshops and asks the questions like Where is the struggle for women’s liberation at present? In which ways have women’s challenges of modern-day changed? Are our modern-day women empowered and do they honour themselves enough to take up those challenges? Are we steadily working towards the equality that stalwarts like Mama Sisulu, Dora Tamana and of course Tata Madiba so impeccably led?

The festival will include a free Piazza Production which will include a flash mob, line dancing, traditional dancers, singing and choral music, among others. Groups and artists included in the line-up will be the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies, Kleinvlei Fitness Club, Likwezi Dancers, Women Unite, Cape Cultural Collective Rosa Choir, Anathi Mabo (jazz vocalist), Siphesihle (Dee) Mayekane (jazz vocalist), Buyelekhaya Cultural Dancers and others.  

Tickets for the festival’s productions are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695.

Discounts are available for students, seniors and block bookings.

Visit for more information about the festival, participating organisations and the full festival programme.