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Standard Bank pulls the plug on National Jazz Festival

FILE IMAGE: Thandi Ntuli performing at the 2015 National Arts Festival’s Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Makhanda. The Jazz Festival, a highlight of the National Arts Festival, has suffered a major blow after the main sponsor of 37 years, Standard Bank, has announced that they will no longer sponsor the event. Pictures:Nokuthula Mbatha

FILE IMAGE: Thandi Ntuli performing at the 2015 National Arts Festival’s Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Makhanda. The Jazz Festival, a highlight of the National Arts Festival, has suffered a major blow after the main sponsor of 37 years, Standard Bank, has announced that they will no longer sponsor the event. Pictures:Nokuthula Mbatha

Published Jun 20, 2022

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All roads lead to Makhanda in the Eastern Cape this week, as the most anticipated National Arts Festival (NAF) makes a comeback with a full live format, after a two-year hiatus.

The Jazz Festival, a highlight of the National Arts Festival, has suffered a major blow after the main sponsor of three decades, Standard Bank, has announced that they will no longer sponsor the event.

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Standard Bank, will, however, continue its sponsorships of the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards and the Standard Bank Ovation Awards for the next three years.

“Our involvement in the arts is in line with our purpose of driving Africa’s growth. Through the partnership with the NAF, we have contributed (to) and continue to see the growth of the industry, its participants and beneficiaries,” says Desiree Pooe, head of sponsorships at Standard Bank.

“We are evolving and adapting to the environment to ensure our approach continues to have maximum impact in the arts.”

The Standard Bank Young Artists Awards are presented by the NAF’s artistic committee to artists under the age of 35.

The candidates need to have demonstrated considerable excellence and innovative talent worthy of being considered for such a prestigious award.

Previous recipients include Sibongile Khumalo, Dada Masilo, and William Kentridge.

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“We appreciate Standard Bank’s commitment and investment to the success of the NAF. They have played a key role in helping us stage successful events and unearth great talent over the past years and we look forward to partnering with them again,” shares Monica Newton, chief executive of the NAF.

Mbuso Khoza

National Jazz Festival curator Alan Webster points out that the programme has a strong line-up of younger jazz artists and, although the headlines are filled with young South African jazz artists, excellent musicians from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Britain and Spain will be collaborating with them for this very special celebration of jazz.

Some of the headliners of this year’s Jazz Festival include Aus Tebza, Mbuso Khoza, The 2021 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz – Vuma Levin, Bokani Dyer Trio, Tutu Puoane, Benjamin Jephta and Kyle Shepherd.

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“It’s a much-needed reunion for jazz musicians who will once again gather together to jam, collaborate and share. With a big focus on local talent and local jazz excellence, the 35th National Jazz Festival Makhanda has assembled an exciting programme of artists from across SA.

“Our celebration of jazz this year is bitter-sweet, as musicians once again take to the stage at the festival to engage with live audiences for the first time in two years. We will also be remembering and celebrating lives lost during the pandemic,” said Newton.

The 2022 National Arts Festival is set to take place in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape from Thursday, June 23 to Sunday, July 3.

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For more information on the National Arts Festival and the full programme click here.

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