May 25th marked the annual celebration of Africa Day and, despite the rest of the Cradle of Creativity being in full swing, many delegates still found the time to enjoy a day of entertainment that showcased performances, food and crafts from a variety of African countries.
Following speeches made by Anroux Marais, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, and Marlene le Roux, CEO of Artscape, the event officially began with ministers and delegates visiting booths that showcased the different cultures and cuisines of numerous African countries. This event then morphed into a performance that was decidedly Promenade Theatre-esque , held on the exterior steps of Artscape. The use of the outdoor space made the performance all the more dynamic and engaging, which seemed to capture the attention of many Cradle delegates as well as passers-by. The celebrations extended from the afternoon into the evening detailing, what I interpreted to be, the story of the birth of Africa. The narrative was incredibly engaging, brought to life through the contributions of international musicians, puppeteers, choirs and the like, and was punctuated by Cradle performances such as Maloza – The Man Cub (Dir. Bruno Cappagli, Margherita Malonazzi, Thokozile Mwale, Simon Kamanga and Andrew Lungu). On the conclusion of the outdoor festivities, Actors led the way into the Artscape Theatre for a performance of Tupo Kama Nipo (Dir. Mandla Mbothwe), a production which explores how living in post-apartheid South Africa shapes the identities and lives of teenagers.
Overall, this event appeared to be incredibly well received by its audience – a true celebration.