Performance by Motion in Dance at the ACT 25 Years campaign launch held at the Art Eye Gallery in New Doornfontein. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) first came to be 25 years ago with the aim of becoming a self-sustaining fund for the development of arts, culture and heritage in the country.

Yesterday, the trust launched its campaign “25 Million Reasons To Give” to mark its 25th anniversary celebrations.

The campaign is focused on raising investment towards five key pillars - scholarships, grants, building blocks, conference and awards.

“The trust has spent a lot of time trying to make sure that it is relevant to the sector and to the needs of the sector. What it started out, (it) had to shift with time. The greatest achievement besides all the programmes and events is that we have been an organisation that has stayed on the pulse of what is happening and what is needed on the ground,” chief executive Marcus Desando said.

“We started as a grant-making body then, with time, we started putting programmes together where we have bursaries for schools scholarships and started putting together an awards evening so we can celebrate the people who have done so much for our country. The need to evolve with time has been one of the greatest assets of the trust.”

Theatre Duo Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Billy Edward Langa – ImpACT Award for Young Professionals recipients with ACT CEO Marcus Desando, Lifetime Achievement Award for Arts Advocacy, Lindiwe Mabuza and David April. Picture: SUPPLIED

Desando said ACT was proud to be still a fully functional and self-sustaining organisation.

“ACT is run independently. That’s why we are doing this campaign so we can increase that sustainability.”

Over the past 24 years, ACT has paid out more than R20million to artists and organisations working across the artistic, music, literature, theatre, visual arts and dance space.

“The campaign is twofolds - we want to look back at 25 years, to see what kind of impact we have made. We will be looking at the kind of people and organisations we funded that are still going. With this campaign we want to get a lot more awareness of the trust because many people do not know about it. We want to also raise funds to invest and have it grow without government interventions.”

The aim, through the many positive stories of how ACT has impacted lives, is to invite investors to help raise R25m towards its cause.

This year as part of the Road to 25 journey, ACT honours legends, stalwarts and inspirations in the South African arts, culture and heritage sector through the Lifetime Achievement Awards and the ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals.

Lifetime Achievement honours will go to Antjie Krog for literature; William Kentridge for visual arts; Sibongile Khumalo for music; and Nomhle Nkonyeni for theatre.

The ImpACT honours will go to Franco Prinsloo as music composer; Calvin Ratladi as actor, writer, director; and theatre duo Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Billy Edward Langa.